Our hearts are heavy, as millions of people across the country are affected by devastating weather events. In my home state of Texas, many people are beginning to restore their lives and homes after the tragedy brought on by Hurricane Harvey. Many are grieving unthinkable losses. In Florida, in the wake of Hurricane Irma, many are facing great challenges. Wildfires rage in Montana, Oregon, Washington and beyond, taking lives and property. Our thoughts and our prayers are with each and every person who is suffering, who is scared and uncertain, and whose heart has been touched by loss.

It is my hope that you will find the strength to look up and carry on. It is my hope that those untouched by tragedy will join with those hurting. I thank all the heroes that have already shown and will show their courage. Men, women and children reaching out to neighbors and strangers to show that we are together in our struggles and that together we are strong.

I remember a story that most of you have probably heard or seen online in various places, but it is meaningful in trying times. A young woman was feeling as if life was simply too difficult for her to bear. Her father boiled three pots of water and placed in them a potato, an egg, and ground coffee beans. After each had cooked, they observed what came out of each pot. The daughter noticed that the potato had become soft, the egg had become hard, and the coffee had become a delicious beverage. The story continues with the father’s wise words, “The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which one are you?” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

This story reminds us that whatever happens, we do have some choice about how we react and what we become. I have been inspired by the many “coffee bean” people I’ve seen throughout recent events; these people change the world and make it a better place by helping, giving to and loving those who are in crisis.

I hope that in this time, we will each do what is within our power to make the world a more caring and loving place and that we will give and help those in need. Keep hoping, keep loving, and keep dreaming, for we know that Dreams Really Do Come True.

 All My Love,