Deep in the Heart of Texas
A Personal Blog of Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott
Friday, September 11, 2015
Today is Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance – a day for remembering our fellow Americans who lost their lives in the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001. We also remember the brave first responders who boldly ran towards harm to offer help, and the men and women in our military who courageously defend our freedom and liberty. But most of all, we remember and celebrate the patriotism and love of country that makes America so exceptional, and we pray that we never forget it. May God continue to bless America.
Friday, August 28, 2015
Earlier this week, Greg posthumously awarded the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor to Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle and Lieutenant Colonel Ed Dyess at a ceremony at the Governor's Mansion. It was a festive event attended by many on a beautiful day.
Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle and Lieutenant Colonel Ed Dyess were both heroes, and very deserving of this award. The Texas Legislative Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the state or federal military forces by the State of Texas. I am proud of the Texas Legislature for honoring them, and celebrating their lives and legacies.
I join Greg in saying "thank you" to Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle and Lieutenant Colonel Ed Dyess, and to all who have served. Greg said it best at Wednesday's ceremony: "We can never repay the debt we owe for the lives these men saved and the freedom they preserved, but today we honor their memory, their patriotism and their sacrifice."
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
It's back to school time in Texas!
To all the students, parents, teachers, and administrators across Texas - I hope you had a wonderful summer, and I wish you all the best for the upcoming school year.
I had the pleasure of being a teacher and principal in Texas schools for ten years, and I remember how exciting the first day of school always was. In Texas, there's such a passion for education among our students, teachers, administrators, parents, and communities. Greg had the opportunity to see that passion in-person yesterday, when he visited Zavala Elementary School here in Austin on their first day of classes. The video below really captures the excitement among the students and teachers.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
One of my favorite parts of the Governor’s Mansion is the beautiful garden. Chef Connie has such a green thumb and is able to keep vegetables, herbs and flowers growing in the garden year-round.
Connie recently showed me around the garden and updated me on what’s currently growing. This summer we’ve got okra, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, Swiss chard, and arugula.
The Mansion Garden is also home to citrus and peach trees.
Chef Patrick even made peach pies from the Mansion peaches. Yum!
There is nothing better than fresh fruit and vegetables and we are so lucky to be able to grow them at home.
Connie is also growing many herbs, including basil, mint, sage, rosemary, and lavender. Connie and Patrick use the fresh herbs in dishes they prepare, and they smell wonderful as well!
As for flowers, we grow a variety of zinnias. Trent, the Mansion Steward, uses the zinnias – as well as some of the herbs – in lovely flower arrangements displayed throughout the Mansion. Beautiful pinks and oranges have bloomed this summer, and I am excited to see what fall brings to the garden!
Another neat part of the Governor’s Mansion garden is our compost bin. The garden is fully organic, and Connie composts the kitchen scraps, which turns them into fertilizer. This helps keeps the garden strong and healthy year after year.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Today's Throwback Thursday is about our trip to the New York Stock Exchange earlier this summer. The NYSE was highlighting Texas companies that are traded on the market, and Greg rang the opening bell. It was quite the experience! Did you know that there are more than 280 Texas-based businesses listed on the market, representing over $2 trillion in market capitalization?
Following the opening bell, Greg appeared on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street". The show airs from the floor of the NYSE. Greg did a great job with the interview, and even sparred a little with Jim Cramer over the Dallas Cowboys. To watch the full interview, click here.
After the interview, we toured the floor of the NYSE and spoke with a few traders. They have such a fascinating job!
Friday, August 07, 2015
This is one of the biggest weekends of the year in Texas – almost as big as Black Friday! Starting today and going through Sunday is the annual sales tax holiday, also known as Texas Tax Free Weekend.
This weekend only, many items that are sold in stores all across Texas and worth less than $100 will be exempt from state and local sales tax. The items include many back-to-school necessities, like school supplies, backpacks, clothes, and shoes. The tax exemption also includes items sold online, by telephone, mail, and even lay-away.
More information, including a full list of items and FAQ’s, can be found at http://www.texastaxholiday.org/.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
On this Throwback Thursday, I’m remembering the Texas National Prayer Breakfast, which was held in Austin in May. Greg and I both attended – Greg delivered remarks and I led the attendees in prayer.
In May, Greg also declared May 7, 2015, to be A Day of Prayer in Texas. Here is the text of his declaration:
Throughout our nation's history, prayers have been offered by every generation of
Americans. During times of strength and times of weakness, in moments of joy and moments of despair, America has prayed, seeking repentance, giving thanks and asking for guidance and grace.
ln 1775, the Continental Congress asked the colonies to join in prayer, seeking wisdom as they faced the responsibility and opportunity of building a new nation. Years later, during a time of national turmoil, President John Adams declared “a day of solemn humiliation, fasting and prayer” and asked citizens of all faiths to pray for America’s protection from danger. Later, as civil war tore our young country apart, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of national fasting and prayer, saying “it behooves us...to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray to the God that made us.”
Today, Americans continue in the tradition of our forefathers by recognizing the power of prayer in our lives and cherishing our right to pray freely. Since President Harry Truman signed a joint resolution creating a day of prayer in 1952, one day each year is dedicated to national supplication.
At this time, I encourage Texans of faith to come together in prayer, acknowledging God's glory, seeking His promise and offering ow gratitude for our many blessings.
Therefore, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, do hereby proclaim May 7, 2015, to be A Day of Prayer.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Two of Texas’ most important and iconic buildings are located right here in Austin – the Governor’s Mansion and the Capitol. The Texas State Preservation Board conducts free public tours of both buildings, offering opportunities for Texans and out-of-state visitors to explore and learn more about their history.
If you are interested in visiting the Texas Capitol, free tours are conducted daily (except for certain holidays). The tour is about 30-40 minutes in length and features information on the Capitol, Texas history, and the Texas legislature. For more information on Capitol tours, click here or call 512-305-8402. You can also take a self-guided tour of the Capitol. And while you’re there, be sure to stop by the Capitol Gift Shop to say hi to First Dogs Oreo and Pancake Abbott!
Texas truly is a place like no other, and we’ve got a rich history like no other. There’s still a few more weeks left of summer break, so I encourage you to get out and explore our great state. And the next time you’re visiting Austin, be sure you make time to see the Governor’s Mansion and Capitol.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
In today’s Throwback Thursday I’m recalling an event Greg and I attend back in May. We were honored to help celebrate Texas students who participate in KICKSTART KIDS.
KICKSTART KIDS is an in-school physical education program that teaches students martial arts. The program was started over 20 years ago by martial artist Chuck Norris. But KICKSTART KIDS is teaching Texas students more than just the martial arts – it’s also teaching values. Texas students are learning responsibility, discipline, courage, loyalty, respect, dedication, self-esteem – and all of this is helping to build strong character in the next generation of Texans.
I’ve had the privilege of working in schools in Texas as a teacher, vice principal, and principal, and I’ve also visited schools across Texas. I’ve seen such a passion for education among our teachers, administrators, parents, and communities. But it is our students who inspire me the most. Today’s students will be tomorrow’s leaders, so we must help our students master not just chemistry and calculus, but also character.
Monday, July 20, 2015
The deadline for Texans to submit nominations for the 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Awards has been extended! You now have until 11:59 p.m. CDT Tuesday, July 28, 2015 to submit your nominations.
As a reminder, here are the nine categories:
Governor’s Lone Star Achievement
First Lady’s Rising Star
Partners in Education
Service to Veterans
Higher Education Community Impact
Corporate Community Impact
Senior Corps Community Impact
AmeriCorps “Make a Difference”
If you know an individual or organization who fits into one of these award categories, I encourage you to nominate them!
To see descriptions and criteria for each award, visit http://onestarfoundation.org/2015-governors-volunteer-awards/.
To submit a nomination for an award, visit http://www.tfaforms.com/379117.
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as Honorary Chair of the 32nd Annual Governor’s Volunteer Awards. The Governor’s Volunteer Awards are administered by the OneStar Foundation and honor the exemplary service of individuals, groups and organizations in Texas that have made a significant and measurable contribution to their communities through service and volunteering. The positive impact that volunteerism and service to others has is immeasurable, and I’m looking forward to recognizing and honoring those who go above and beyond to help their fellow Texans.
With me in this photo is Eric Cooper, President/CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank.
Monday, July 13, 2015
I’m so excited to report that the Governor’s Mansion Restoration recently received a prestigious Preservation Award from The Victorian Society In America (VSA.) What an honor for our beautiful home!
The Victorian Society is a national non-profit organization committed to historic preservation, protection, understanding, education, and enjoyment of our nineteenth century heritage. It was founded by leading preservationists in 1966, in part as a reaction to the destruction of New York's Pennsylvania Station.
The annual Preservation Awards Program honors outstanding preservation and restoration projects throughout the country. To be eligible for an award the building must have been constructed between 1837 and 1917.
Texas is also home to two other Preservation Award winners! Austin Hall at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville received an award in 2013 and the State Capitol's Governor's Reception Room received a Citation for Excellence in 1988.
The Texas Governor’s Mansion and its storied history – from its early days in the 1800s to its recent restoration – represents one more reason why Texans should be proud of our state’s rich heritage. I hope you enjoy this wonderful piece of history as much as my family and I do.
Thursday, July 09, 2015
Today's Throwback Thursday is for the McMurry University Women's Leadership Luncheon I attended back in March. The luncheon celebrated outstanding women leaders and honored the recipient of the Dr. Sandra S. Harper Women's Leadership Scholarship, which is awarded each year to a student at McMurry University. Taylor Russell, who will graduate in May 2016 with a degree in biomedical science and is captain of the basketball team, was the recipient of this year’s scholarship award.
Texas is home to so many strong, accomplished women - women who inspire us to dream big and give back to our communities. I was honored to be a part of the event to celebrate and recognize the leaders at McMurry University who have distinguished themselves through their accomplishments in the classroom and stewardship to their community. Congraulations again to this year's scholarship recipient, Taylor Russell. And thank you to all of the students who were nominated for the scholarship for enriching your community and building an even better future for our great state.