Deep in the Heart of Texas
A Personal Blog of Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott
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.
Friday, October 02, 2015
Yesterday I addressed the United Way of Williamson County Community Impact Summit on Education. The summit focused on population growth in Williamson County and how it impacts education for students in the local communities. A good education is the ladder we give our children to help them reach their dreams. Every Texas student deserves to have access to the best education possible. I am thankful for those in the Williamson County community for uniting and working together to figure out what you can do to ensure that your children thrive and reach their full potential as students.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
September is National Literacy Awareness Month. To help celebrate it, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation held a “Life Without Literacy” Luncheon last week, and I was honored to have the opportunity to attend and address the luncheon. We also heard from Byron Pitts, Emmy Award-winning journalist and ABC chief national correspondent, who spoke of dealing with literacy problems as a child. It is so easy to take for granted the incredible gift we were given when we are taught to read. When a person learns to read, it unlocks the door to opportunity. I’m so appreciative of the efforts of the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation to address the literacy needs of not only children, but also adults, in the Houston area.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Today I was in Houston attending a Governor's Small Business Forum titled "Women Exceeding Limits." The forum was hosted by the Texas Governor’s Office, the Texas Workforce Commission, the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance, and the Houston Galveston Women’s Business Center and focused on the important role that women-owned small businesses play in the success of Texas's economy. I was honored to be there today and help hand out the 2015 Governor’s Small Business Awards and honor the recipients.
Texas is the country’s premier state for doing business, and women have been leaders of that success. Women-owned businesses are crucial to our state’s economy, and play an important role in the future of Texas. Today we are honoring women who are truly exceeding limits. Congratulations to the winners, and thank you for all that you do to make Texas the model for doing business.
Monday, September 28, 2015
I am honored to join 24 other First Spouses as an Honorary Chair of CASAColumbia Family Day 2015. CASAColumbia – the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University - is a national nonprofit research and policy organization focused on improving the understanding, prevention and treatment of substance use and addiction. And Family Day is a national movement to celebrate parental engagement as an effective tool to help keep America’s kids substance free. According to CASAColumbia, research shows that children with hands-on parents are far less likely to smoke, drink or use other drugs. As a mother and former teacher, vice principal and principal, I know that parental engagement matters in helping prevent substance use in our kids. It can be as simple as sitting down to eat dinner as often as possible or asking your children about their day while driving home from school – every little bit counts. Greg and I always made attending Audrey’s school activities and spending as much time together at home a priority. The key is being engaged in your children’s lives. For more ideas about how to celebrate Family Day, download CASAColumbia’s Family Day Parent Toolkit. Remember: Be Involved. Stay Involved. Let’s all join together to commit to spending quality time with our sons and daughters. Happy celebrating!
Friday, September 25, 2015
Last night I attended the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Texas Regional Office's annual Texas Heroes for Children Gala. Greg and I were given the 2015 Texas Heroes for Children Award, and it was truly an honor. I am particularly proud of the things Greg has accomplished to make Texas the national leader in the crusade to end child abuse and exploitation. Special Agent Ryan Kindell of the Texas Department of Public Safety also received the 2015 Texas Heroes for Children Award, and several other Texas law enforcement officers who have made protecting Texas children a priority were also honored last night. Greg and I are so appreciative of their service to our state. We are also grateful to have the Texas Regional Office of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as a partner in that crusade. Thank you for your commitment to protecting Texas children.