Archives for holidays

Celebrating Cinco de MayoTexas and Mexico have a long history together, from Spanish colonies in both places in the late 1600s, through the Texas Revolutionary War against Mexico, to the current $41 billion per year in Texas exports to Mexico.

So it’s no surprise that in Texas any major “celebration of Mexican heritage and pride” is celebrated widely.

It may be a surprise to you, though, that while Cinco de Mayo, the 5th of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle of Puebla in 1862, it’s NOT Mexico’s Independence Day, which is September 16. Given the long and rich history Texas and Mexico share, though, it probably should not be surprising that the victorious commander of The Battle of Puebla, Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza, was born in Goliad in 1829.

Cinco de Mayo is primarily a regional holiday celebrated only in the city and state of Puebla, and “is a holiday that is virtually ignored in Mexico”.

You Never Know What Will Catch Fire

The Battle of Puebla was a relatively insignificant event. The French forces were beaten back, but they did capture Puebla only a year later. It’s not even a national holiday in Mexico. Yet on this day each year millions of people, of Mexican heritage and not, will celebrate the day in the United States.

What has caught fire with your clients? Are you trying different ideas? The only way to know what will work is to test many options. When one does catch fire – run with it! Next thing you know you may have a surprise holiday of your own.

What has surprised you? What has resonated with your clients that you didn’t really expect? Share your experience in the comments.

270 years after the birth of Christ, Christianity had spread throughout the Roman Empire. Part of that expansion included Lycia, on the Mediterranean coast of what is now Turkey.

A wealthy couple in the town had one son, Nicholas. He grew up devout, and after his parents died, was raised by his uncle, the local Bishop. As a young man he went on pilgrimage to Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Shortly after he returned he was named Bishop of the region, and in 325 AD, he was one of a small group of Bishops who attended the First Council of Nicaea at the request of Emperor Constantine. Those bishops developed the Nicene Creed at that meeting, a statement of faith that is still used worldwide to this day.

Nicholas gained a reputation for helping others. The two most famous stories about that include one where in the middle of a severe famine he arranged to distribute desperately needed food to the entire community. In the other he changed three local girls’ lives by secretly arranging to provide the money for their dowries so they could marry and avoid being sold.

He died on December 6, and that day was commemorated for over a thousand years.

In medieval times nuns used that night to deposit baskets of food and clothes anonymously at the doorsteps of the needy. By the 1500s it was a common practice in Holland for children to put out their shoes on the 5th, to discover gifts that St. Nicholas had left for them on the morning of the 6th. Dutch immigrants brought the gift-giving ways of St. Nicholas, also known by his nickname Sinterklaas, to America in the 1700s.

Here St. Nicholas went through many transformations. Eventually Sinterklaas became Santa Claus, and the gift-giving tradition was merged into the Christmas holiday. His place in our holiday and our minds was cemented by the 1820 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas“, better known now by it’s beginning line: “Twas the Night before Christmas“.

We won’t all be remembered for millennia for the actions we take in this life. Even if he’d never been remembered by strangers, Nicholas did make life-changing differences to those around him. At Christmas, and as we plan for the new year, that’s a good thing to remember.

We too can change lives of those around us, one at a time. The opportunities are there.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.


Veterans Day Flag - honoring all who serveIt’s Veterans Day in the United States today. In other parts of the world it’s called Armistice day since it’s celebrated on November 11th – the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.

Wherever you are and whatever you call it, take a moment today to thank a veteran. Freedom is not free, and those who have served have made payment on behalf of all of us who enjoy the benefits of that freedom every day.

For those of you who have served – you have our sincere gratitude.

Thank you.

Arlington Cemetery Sunburst

Arlington National Cemetery near sunset.

We had been walking for a while.

The July heat was as stifling as our disappointment that visiting hours had ended. The rapidly descending sun promised, but had not yet provided, any relief.

Neither of us knew exactly where to go, but we were compelled to continue moving. There was no mistaking the contrast between the cars fleeing D.C. on one side and the utter stillness of the cemetery that was both completely empty and far too full.

We turned a corner. Just over the low brownstone wall that separated us from the silence, the field appeared. The grass between the rows of white headstones made paths toward the setting sun. Individual rays of sunlight rested on some of the markers and pointed at others.

My daughter and I stood for a moment that lasted much longer. We couldn’t see their names, ranks, branch of service, or the too short range of birth to death. We could only see the stones memorializing their sacrifice.

We didn’t talk there, in that moment. Other than the rolling peel of commuters’ tires off the hot asphalt and the alternating whines and purrs of their engines, it was silent. Just before it was too late, I snapped a photo that somehow managed to capture a fraction of the tragically beautiful scene.

At iMGA we’ll close the office early today and remain closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day.

Please take a moment this weekend to be silent, to remember those who have given their lives for us and our liberty. We will.

SmokedTurkeyThanksgiving is a special season. It’s full of great traditions like family time, delicious meals and good football games.

Even better, though, it’s a time when we count our blessings and give thanks.

At iMGA we are grateful for so much:

  • A fantastic team in the office. True friends who help each other at every opportunity and share more than a few good laughs.
  • The best agents in Texas. Every day we get to interact with professionals who really care about helping insureds get the protection they need at a reasonable price. Working with them teaches us what’s important to clients and makes it possible for us to provide even better products and services.
  • Families that support our effort and our dream. Without them we could not devote the time and energy we do to building iMGA into what we know it can be – and without them it wouldn’t be as worth doing.

We know we are incredibly blessed. Our wish is that everyone would have as much for which to be grateful, and that this season we would all take the time to appreciate what we have.

If you are a Texas insurance agent who would like to work with a Personal Property market that is truly appreciative – contact us.

Valentines Day Candy AssortmentWishing all our agents, friends and partners a very sweet day on this St. Valentine’s Day.

What’s your favorite treat?

The whole gang at iMGA is in the Christmas spirit. So much so that we’ve been doing some dancing around the office.

Don’t believe us? Here’s the video:

And if you missed the one with the ladies, here’s that one.

Independence came with a big cost to the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence.

It came with a cost to the thousands of farmers, lawyers and tradesmen who fought in the Revolutionary War.

As we celebrate with friends and family we at iMGA want to take a minute to remember that our independence still comes at a very real cost.

Flag Day is celebrated each June 14, commemorating the resolution passed by Congress on June 14 “that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

Since then every generation of Americans has celebrated “Old Glory”.

“Old Glory” was the name that Captain William Driver placed on a flag he was presented in 1831, and that nickname became so well known that the Confederate forces made it a major goal to capture that specific flag. Captain Driver, wanting to prevent the capture of Old Glory, had it sewn into his bedcover to keep it hidden and protected when not in use. In 1862, when Confederate forces captured Nashville, he took Old Glory from its hiding place and flew it over the Tennessee capitol to prove that the Union still stood firm.

We have honored Old Glory on Flag Day each day since 1885 when a Wisconsin schoolmaster’s idea for his students to remember the flag’s birthday inspired others around the nation. In 1916 Woodrow Wilson issued the proclamation that made Flag Day an official national event.

We hope that while you enjoy this Flag Day, and many more, that you fly “Old Glory” proudly. We’re proud to be able to – and to work with great people like you.

A special bonus from The Man in Black:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

These words, immortalized on a document signed by 56 men 235 years ago, and backed up by the selfless sacrifices of thousands of militiamen and citizens, changed history in ways no one could have expected.

We’ll close the office at 1pm today and be off on Monday in order to take some time to remember their impact.

Enjoy your Independence Day!

Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull

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