Volume 1, Edition 3
A word from the First Lady of Louisiana
Happy New Year 2019!
In December 2011, I started the spiritual practice of choosing a Word for the Year – a word to meditate on and delve deeper into its meaning for my life. Sometimes I don’t receive my words until January and they can come to me in a variety of different ways. Most of the time, they stand out through my meditations, prayer, readings, messages from friends, etc. The Holy Spirit just seems to highlight a special word over and over again until I get it. Believe me, I don’t always get it initially so He has to pursue me. So this year my word is FAITH! I wasn’t really excited about the word initially, but it has become obvious to me that this is my word. So, I’m embracing it.
So what does FAITH mean? The dictionary defines it as follows: 1. Complete confidence or trust in someone or something; 2. Firm belief that is not based on proof; and 3. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
This practice has proven beneficial to me in countless ways. I highly recommend it to anyone who has started or is continuing on their spiritual journey. If you’re interested in finding your word for this year, just ask God! It really is that simple. Ask, and then be still. Spend some time slowly reading scripture passages. Watch for the Lord to illuminate a particular verse or word.
I believe I have a strong faith, but I’m trusting that God must have more to teach me about faith in 2019.
Speaking of 2019, it’s here! The older I get the faster the years go. I’m sure that’s the case for many of you. With the New Year, we have new opportunities to make positive changes in our lives. So what changes will you make this year? Eat healthier, exercise more, spend more time in prayer, read more books, spend more time with family and friends? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes for me! We all start off with good intentions, so what happens? We’re human! That’s what happens. But we still strive each day to do a little bit better and try a little bit harder.
Perseverance is an admirable quality and perseverance happens to be my dad’s favorite word. As the New Year begins we all tend to look at our lives, our work, our family, our faith and so many other areas of our lives. We ask ourselves questions like, “Am I making a difference? Am I learning and growing? Am I giving my all to achieving and being productive in this or that area of my life?” My morning ritual, before I begin my daily activities, is to connect with God and grow closer to Him. This is my source of strength and peace for the day ahead, especially the unexpected challenges. As I embark on the journey into 2019, I am immensely grateful to God for the gift of a new year, a new year to give back, to give to others, to be a light and to have FAITH in God’s plan for me, my husband, our family, our friends and our great state. I realize that all of us have challenges, struggles and fears. The New Year gives us a chance to make a choice to be different, think differently and do differently.
The truth is, all of us can choose to look at this New Year and see it as “our year.” That’s why I’m going to go into 2019 with the faith and trust that it is going to be my best year ever. So, I’m going to eat better and exercise more. I’m going to laugh more. I’m going to continue to work hard and support my husband and his vision for a better state for our children. I’m going to continue to use my voice in ways to lift others up and make a difference. I’m going to pray more and spend more time with God. I want this for myself and for you too. I hope and pray we can all try and step into the New Year with a profound sense of gratitude and always see our challenges as disguised opportunities to grow. Ultimately, it is up to each of us to set our own course. This year, we will all start with good intentions. So, let’s encourage one another and be accountable to one another to keep to our New Year’s resolutions. And remember that small changes ultimately add up to huge results — one step at a time, one day at a time. Have faith! May God richly bless you all!
A Note On Human Trafficking
John Bel has joined other governors and the president in recognizing January as Human Trafficking Prevention Awareness Month. As many of you know, John Bel and I are passionate about shining a light on this senseless and horrible crime that’s destroying the lives of so many children and adults. It impacts both girls and boys and unfortunately, it’s prevalent in our state. The good news is that Louisiana is very progressive in its efforts to identify, treat, and prevent human trafficking. This month, I joined John Bel as he proudly announced that Louisiana has been awarded a $1.2 million dollar grant from the United States Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime to improve outcomes for child victims of human trafficking. Since 2015, only 7 other states have received such funding. We were also joined by the Governor’s Office Children’s Cabinet, the Human Trafficking Prevention Commission, Human Trafficking Prevention Advisory Board and other stakeholders. It is important for children and families to be aware of the cunning ways in which victims are recruited, and we want citizens to know that our state is doing everything possible to increase public safety. The Children’s Cabinet, under the leadership of Dr. Dana Hunter, will serve as the state’s lead agency in implementing a multi-year federal project known as The Louisiana Child Trafficking Collaborative.
I encourage each of you to learn more and engage more on how we can all actively work to prevent and end this vicious abuse of innocent victims. We all need to continue the battle to abolish modern slavery and restore the lives of those affected by human trafficking. It takes all of us together to make a difference. Even those of us not in law enforcement can be attentive to the things happening around us and the people we see moving about in our lives, whether in stores, on the streets, in restaurants and malls. Pay attention. It’s possible that you can save a life by just paying attention to others around you and reporting unusual or strange situations. Those who are used and abused need you, so pay attention and call for help!
Words on Metanoia Manor from
Senator Ronnie Johns
As we go through life, there are times when we have difficulty remembering what happened last week. And then there are those defining moments that we will remember forever. One of those moments in my life was in January of 2012 when I first met Father Jeff Bayhi, Pastor of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Zachary, La. We immediately connected and today we enjoy a very close and spiritual relationship. In 2013, Father Bayhi began to share with me his work on human trafficking and his vision to do something significant here in our state to address this horrible tragedy. I knew nothing about human trafficking at that time. I had read about it but like so many other bad things in life I figured that this was something that happened halfway around the world and not in “our backyard”. The more I learned the more I understood that indeed it was happening in “our backyard”.
In 2015, I made my first of multiple trips to Rome, Italy to meet with Sister Eugenia Bonnetti, who is perhaps the most well versed authority in the world on human trafficking and has devoted many years of her life to working with victims and bringing worldwide awareness to the bondage of human lives. Father Bayhi shared with me his vision for building and operating a shelter in Louisiana for minor female victims. These young women were being rescued from this modern form of slavery but had nowhere to go to receive help to rebuild their fragile lives. This is how the vision of the Metanoia Manor was born and how I became involved so deeply in this project.
Louisiana First Foundation
Yes Mam, No Mam, Thank you Mam = Teach MAM!
MAGNOLIA IN THE
At the request of First Lady Donna Edwards, contemplation and work began on a Magnolia painting to hang in the “Magnolia Room” of the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion. As the Edwards have long been collectors of RC Davis’ work, the artist was honored to have been chosen to create this one-of-a-kind artwork and hoped to excel.
The Magnolia Room is brightly lit on the East Wing of the Mansion and seemed to require something of a decorative, contemporary flavor…something to symbolize the importance and status of the (political) wall upon which it would hang. As Gov. John Bel Edwards had taken art lessons is his youth, the artist elicited his symbolic hand in the work, and indeed it was the governor who applied the only pure white tint in the work. Prose to elucidate the symbolism was also composed and inscribed on the back of the work, with the Governor’s approval, making the piece historically unique and significant. A highly-collectible, limited edition reproduction, with the signatures of both Gov. Jon Bel Edwards and RC Davis , is being offered to collectors who desire to support the Governor’s Mansion Foundation and collect this extraordinary Louisiana artwork.
Ladies of Louisiana Making a Difference
Chef Bonnie Breaux’s
Louisiana Shrimp & Grits
Creamy Cajun shrimp and grits, a classic Southern dish that’s been elevated with flavors of sweet smoky shrimp and cream and Tasso grits.