Volume 2, Edition 7
A Word from the
First Lady of Louisiana
Over the past few weeks and days, I have heard and read very similar passages and thoughts. Does that ever happen to you? Where an idea or topic, or maybe even a specific verse, keeps showing up day after day.
The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His namesake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; Your rod and Your staff comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
One summer, as a child, my Mamaw came to stay with us for a week. During that time, she taught me Psalm 23, and we practiced it daily. I still remember it and can recite it today. Lately, Psalm 23 keeps showing up in my day to day readings, songs, etc. When I think of the images as I say the words I feel peace, stillness and the world seems quiet.
An excerpt from “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Peale:
The words we speak have a direct and definite effect upon our thoughts. Thoughts create words, for words are the vehicles of ideas. But words also affect thoughts and help to condition if not to create attitudes. In fact, what often passes for thinking starts with talk. Therefore, if the average conversation is scrutinized and disciplined to be sure that it contains peaceful expressions, the result will be peaceful ideas and ultimately, therefore, a peaceful mind.
Another effective technique in developing a peaceful mind is the daily practice of silence. Everyone should insist upon not less than a quarter of an hour of absolute quiet every twenty-four hours. Go alone into the quietest place available to you and sit or lie down for fifteen minutes and practice the art of silence. Do not talk to anyone. Do not read. Think as little as possible. Throw your mind into neutral. Conceive of your mind as quiescent, inactive. This will not be easy at first because thoughts are stirring up in your mind, but practice will increase your efficiency. Conceive of your mind as the surface of a body of water and see how nearly quiet you can make it so that there is not a ripple. When you have attained a quiescent state, Then began to listen for the deeper sounds of harmony and beauty and God that are to be found in the essence of silence.
Americans, unfortunately, are not skilled in this practice period, which is a pity, for as Thomas Carlyle said, “Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves.” This generation of Americans has missed something that our forefathers knew and which helped condition their character – and that is the silence free of the vast forest or of the far-reaching plains.
Perhaps our lack of inner peace is due to some extent to the effect of noise upon the nervous system of modern people. …Silence is a healing, soothing, healthy practice. p.24-25 This book was written in the 1950s but is still relevant today.
What beautiful weather we’ve been blessed with to enjoy and to appreciate. God blessed us with such a fantastic Spring this year. It has given us time to be outside and enjoy nature, ride a bike, sit on a porch. Here at the Governor’s Mansion on some of these most beautiful days, there has been noise outside, lots.
I find myself frustrated with people that don’t understand, even though I don’t know their stories. I find myself irritated with so many noisy people when we are all going through this trial together. The whole country and the entire world is going through this together. So many are struggling and going through the death of loved ones, sickness, and working long hours to save others or to hold their hands as they die.
I find myself saddened when I think this was supposed to be the month that our youngest child was supposed to graduate from high school. He has missed his senior prom, graduation, and his senior trip. He had been planning for it all year long, as had I and our entire family. So many other families are experiencing this same void. Our second daughter had to come home from DC and put her dreams on hold. My own family is going through tough times with health issues unrelated to COVID. But yet the NOISE persists. The uncertainty of the future, the worries of tomorrow, what will happen, and how will we get through it? The thoughts won’t stop, and the thoughts keep producing more noise in our minds.
Sometimes I have to change venues to find peace, quietness, to find silence and to escape the noise. I made a cup of tea and went to sit outside on the porch. Here I found my quiet place. There were beams of bright sunlight shining through the trees and a slight breeze. The air was cool and fresh. It was indeed a magical moment. I breathed in the soft air and sat still. Yes, breathing in quietness and breathing out the noise. Then I heard it. Without even knowing it would happen. I heard it for the first time in a long time. I heard silence. Silence in the breeze. I was still, my mind was still, and I found peace. I was so still, and the silence was so real I didn’t want to move or lose this moment. This silence was what I had been reading about. I had read about it in my meditations, in multiple books, and I heard it on a podcast. This stillness and silence were in the verse my Mamaw had taught me from the book of Psalms. (He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for His namesake.)
This silence was what my soul was yearning for and thirsty for. My soul drank in this silence like a person that had not had water for weeks. This time of stillness, this silence, produced what I needed, peace. Peace to forgive people, to overlook their unawareness, to see past their pain. This peace brought new energy, a new feeling of joy. A peace that surpasses all understanding.
There are days, weeks, and months ahead of uncertainty, trials, tribulations, and days full of noise. I beg each of you to stop, to breathe softly, be still, and to sit in silence. Allow that silence to give you the peace and stillness your soul is yearning to have. Peace! Let there be Peace on Earth and let it begin with ME.
With Love & Joy,
LOUISIANA WORKFORCE COMMISSION A Word from Secretary Ava DeJoie
From the very beginning, this disaster was different. Anyone working in Governor Edwards’ administration or observing Governor John Bel Edwards can immediately sense his military training; it’s even more evident during a disaster. The Unified Command Group on Wednesday, March 11th, 2020, was different from the very beginning. There was not an X hour to impact , a discussion of wind or storm surge, or river crest. This time, our threat was an allusive virus.
Clearly, we were on the precipice of an event that was unlike anything else. Winston Churchill said, “those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” We learned so much from our country’s actions in response to the Spanish Flu, the creation of the modern-day Unemployment Insurance System, the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935, the ingenuity of Louisianians building Higgins Boats and our entire country’s response to WWII.
LOUISIANA FIRST FOUNDATION
Yes Mam, No Mam, Thank you Mam = Teach MAM!
GARDENING AT THE
The newest addition to the Mansion grounds came about early on Good Friday. The First Family, at the request of the Governor, gathered outside to plant vegetables in the newly constructed raised beds. Planting on Good Friday is an Edwards family tradition. Lots of the new plants have already sprouted and are growing fast! The family looks forward to the day they can harvest their work. Fresh vegetables will be a great addition to meals in the family dining room.
Women’s Health Blog
The Pilates and Yoga Loft
Community has always been the core of The Pilates and Yoga Loft’s mission. Bringing people together through movement, whether virtually or in the studio, has been a goal of the studio for the past ten years. People always have and will always have common needs such as belonging, inclusivity, nurturing, and, most importantly, human touch. The present situation began abruptly – daily routine completely changed, people’s regular schedules disrupted, daily updates on death, despair, and fear constant. At first, this adjustment seemed like a necessary break from life’s consistent requirements. It almost seemed as it was an opportunity to breathe for a second. However, the unknown has proven to be overwhelming as there is no light allowing people to understand when this will pass. During precarious times, people desire a community even more, especially when isolated at home. Louisiana folk have witnessed hardships. This community has witnessed starting from the bottom and rebuilding our communities so that the comeback can be strong and unified. One thing remains true – this too shall pass.
PEOPLE OF LOUISIANA Making a Difference
HandsOn New Orleans
New Orleans Resiliency Initiative
So Everyone’s Served
A natural disaster or public health crisis exacerbates pre-existing conditions for vulnerable residents. In Orleans Parish 53% of Orleans residents live at or below the federal level of poverty or paycheck-to-paycheck. Due to historical racial inequity and health disparities. low-income African Americans are disproportionately affected by COVID.
8th Grade ELA Teacher and Instructional Coach
Paul Habans Charter School
On the evening of Wednesday, March 18, I got a text on my work phone from a student who I will call Jacobi. I’d assumed he was reaching out for assistance in traversing the new world of distance learning. Instead, it was a group text he set up with the two of us and another student. We got to talking—first about basketball, then about school closing, and when we might go back.
Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs
At the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, we serve 281,000 Louisiana veterans. Last year, through a partnership with AmeriCorps, we launched the LaVetCorps program, one of only two in the United States. Our LaVetCorps staff, called Navigators, are stationed on 30 public and private college and university campuses and are dedicated to serving more than 8,000 of Louisiana’s student veterans and their families.