Deep in the Heart of Texas
A Personal Blog of Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Last night I attended the 5th Annual Benefit Dinner for the St. John Paul II Life Center in Austin. The Center awarded Greg and me their 2015 Dignity in Life Award, and we were truly honored. Promoting life will always be a priority for us, and with the steadfast commitment of partners like the St. John Paul II Life Center, we will continue to vigorously defend and protect innocent life in Texas.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Today, I join Greg in honoring America's bravest - our veterans. It is because of the service of our men and women who wore the uniform that America is the strongest and greatest nation the world has ever known. On this Veteran's Day, Americans all across our great country are honoring our veterans in a multitude of ways, but we are thankful EVERY day, not just today. We are thankful because we know that the freedoms and liberties that make America so exceptional are because of their service. Thank you also to the families of our veterans, who have stood by their sides as they put service above self. May God bless all of our veterans, their families, and may God forever bless the United States of America.
With me in this photo is a veteran I recently met - 1sg (retired) Will Williams of Round Rock, who served our country as an Army Ranger for over 20 years before retiring. I met 1st Sgt. Williams at the Governor's Volunteer Awards in September, where Greg and I awarded him the Lone Star Achievement Award.
Thursday, November 05, 2015
Back in September I had the pleasure of spending a day in Granbury, and I made several stops while there. First, I addressed the Hood County Children’s Charity Fund at their Inaugural “Yellow Envelope” Luncheon. The Hood County Children’s Charity Fund is a local nonprofit that was established in 1984, originally to provide warm coats for winter to local children in need, but their mission has expanded over the last 30 years. I was in awe when I learned how many children’s lives have been made better because of the generosity of the Hood County Children’s Charity Fund. Whether it is new clothes for school, a warm coat for the winter, assistance with medical costs, or a scholarship to college, their generosity is genuinely helping the children of Hood County. I also stopped by the Brazos Pregnancy Clinic, the Hood County Senior Center, and the Boys and Girls Club of Hood County. It was a wonderful day getting to meet so many Granbury residents who are doing so much to enhance and enrich their community. Granbury – thank you for a delightful day, and I hope to see you again soon!
Thursday, October 29, 2015
A couple weeks ago I joined a large group at the Texas Capitol for the AmeriCorps Opening Day and swearing-in ceremony. Hosted by the OneStar Foundation, in Austin we welcomed about 500 new and returning AmeriCorps members, who are committing to give a year of service to their communities and fellow Texans. Other ceremonies were held across the state in Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and Waco – and in Texas, more than 2,200 new and returning AmeriCorps members were sworn-in. Nationwide, about 75,000 AmeriCorps members were sworn-in and honored.
I believe we are each called to service, and these AmeriCorps members have enthusiastically answered that call. They are giving a year of their life in service to Texans in need, and they are helping to enrich the lives of Texans young and old, rural and urban. I want to say “thank you” to these generous individuals for sharing their talents to help others succeed. And thank you to the
OneStar Foundation for all that you do to promote volunteerism and service in the Lone Star State.
Monday, October 26, 2015
Many of us are blessed with the joy and privilege of knowing a senior citizen – whether it is a parent, grandparent, maybe even a great-grandparent, or an elderly neighbor or friend. Sadly, the financial exploitation of elderly and vulnerable Texans is a growing problem in our state. This October, the State is partnering with local governments and organizations across Texas to raise awareness about ways we can help prevent, recognize and report elderly financial exploitation. The effort is being led by Texas Adult Protective Services, and the rallying cry is “If it is not your money, it is a crime.” To learn more and find ways you can get involved, visit http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/everyonesbusiness/.
Protecting the elderly from becoming victims is everyone’s business. If you know an elderly or disabled individual who you believe has been a victim of financial exploitation, please make a report to Adult Protective Services by calling 1-800-252-5400, or online at http://www.txabusehotline.org.
Texans have a long tradition of helping our fellow Texans in need. I have no doubt that by increasing awareness of elderly financial exploitation, we can go a long way in helping our Golden Texans live their lives free of the fear of having their money and possessions cruelly stolen.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting Ennis and Rosenberg for the Texas Historical Commission Texas Main Street Program's 2015 First Lady’s Tour. Since 1981, every Texas First Lady has participated in this special tour celebrating and welcoming the new communities designated as official Texas Main Street cities, and this year it was my pleasure to continue this grand tradition.
All across Texas – from our busy urban centers to our treasured small towns – it is in our downtowns where the past, present and future meet, and a sense of community grows. Thank you to Ennis and Rosenberg - and cities and towns all across the Lone Star State - for helping to make Texas such an extraordinary place to call home.
Monday, October 19, 2015
Today I participated in the worldwide “Read Across the Globe” initiative. Hosted by Points of Light, the goal is to set a new Guinness World Record for the most children read to by an adult in 24 hours, while also promoting literacy. Below is a photo of me reading to the Pre-K 3 class at Cathedral School of Saint Mary.
I was joined by members of the Governor’s Office staff who volunteered to help. Here we all are!
We read to 183 children in 11 different classrooms at the Cathedral School of Saint Mary in Austin, where I was once principal. We joined volunteers all across the globe in reading the book “Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table.” In order to break the Guinness World Record, over 300,000 children worldwide need to be read to during the 24 hour period. In a few weeks, we’ll find out if we did indeed break the record! Either way, I was honored to join so many passionate volunteers right here in Austin and all across the globe during today’s effort to not only to set a new Guinness World Record, but to also shine a light on literacy.
Friday, October 16, 2015
One of my favorite events is this weekend - the Texas Book Festival! If you are in the Austin area this Saturday and Sunday, I encourage you to attend. Here is information about the Festival from its website:
The 2015 Texas Book Festival will be held October 17 – 18, 2015. The Festival is from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Texas Book Festival Weekend is free and open to the public and takes place in Austin, Texas, at the State Capitol and surrounding grounds. One of the largest and most prestigious literary festivals in the country, the annual Texas Book Festival features 250+ nationally and critically recognized authors, 20+ venues including the State Capitol, 80+ exhibitors, live music, local food trucks, family activities, and countless opportunities to meet authors and fellow book lovers.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Today, National Hispanic Heritage Month wraps up, but of course, the influence of Hispanic heritage can be felt throughout Texas no matter what month it is. The roots of Texas history – and my own personal history – are deeply influenced by Spanish heritage.
One way to see the influence that Hispanic Heritage has had on Texas is to travel around our state and visit the Spanish Missions. Back in May during Texas Travel and Tourism Week, I posted a blog about some of the historical places you can visit to learn about and see firsthand the influence that Hispanic heritage has had on our state. You can see that blog by clicking here.
Whether it’s our beautiful missions, our cuisine, our music, or our values, there are many reasons to celebrate the influence and contributions that Hispanic heritage has had on Texas, and recognize the important ways it has helped shape our history and culture.
Photo courtesy of the San Antonio CVB.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Today, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I joined HHSC Commissioner Chris Traylor, members of the Texas Legislature, breast cancer survivors, and others at the Texas Capitol for a bipartisan Breast Cancer Awareness Rally. Raising awareness is such an important step in reaching our ultimate goal, which is to end breast cancer. The more we can all do together to share information and hope, the more Texas women we can help, and the more lives we can save. Thank you to those who attended the rally today for helping us celebrate survivors, honor the memory of those whom we have lost to breast cancer, and raise awareness about a cause that we are all so passionate about.
Monday, October 12, 2015
I’ve had the pleasure of attending the Texas Conference for Women several times, and it is one of my favorite events of the year. I find it to be enriching, educational, and inspiring – and thousands of women agree, because the Conference always has an enormous crowd. There are so many opportunities for women to network and connect, grow professionally and personally, and be inspired. Whether you are looking for career advancement, personal development, health and wellness, or to pitch your business idea in hopes that it will become the next big thing, the opportunities are endless! The 2015 Texas Conference for Women is this Thursday, October 15th, and tickets are still available. To learn more about the Conference – including speakers, exhibitors, panels, book signings, roundtables, and more, visit http://www.txconferenceforwomen.org/. I hope to see you there on Thursday!
Monday, October 05, 2015
On September 21, Greg and I hosted a reception at the Governor’s Mansion honoring the 2015 recipients of the Governor’s Volunteer Awards. One of the nine award recipients was Texas A&M University’s The Big Event, which was awarded the 2015 Higher Education Community Impact Award. At this weekend’s Texas A&M football game, Greg and I participated in a presentation once again congratulating Texas A&M for this award. Greg and I are so proud of the positive impact A&M students are having on their community through The Big Event. The Big Event is embedded in the culture of Texas A&M students, and is just another example of Texas A&M's commitment to service. In 2015, over 22,000 students volunteered to assist local residents with painting, yard work, cleaning, and various tasks, completing over 2,500 jobs through The Big Event’s one-day service blitz, which is A&M’s way of saying thank you to the surrounding community. Now we are the ones saying “thank you” to Texas A&M!
Pictured here with Greg and I is Marti Young, Texas A&M President Michael Young, Chris Bugbee ’98 and COO of the OneStar Foundation, Mark Lutz ’16 and 2016 Director of The Big Event, and Katie Edwards '16 and 2016 Assistant Director of The Big Event.