Category Archives: Culture

Texas Wine Country

Even with masks and sanitizer and shields and distance… I was recently able to do the most normal, non-essential, but very essential, thing I’ve done in seven months. 

Four of my dear girlfriends and I got away to the Texas Hill Country over Labor Day weekend and visited several local wineries on that Sunday. Le sigh, it was wonderful. 

Main St. in Fredericksburg, Texas, with my friends Brandi, Jenny, Lisa, and Amy

When you think about Texas, your mind may first go to BBQ and beer. We like those, too. But search the web for the best wine regions in the US and Central Texas will pop up on every list. The Texas Hill Country wine region spans 9 million acres, making it the second-largest wine region in the nation. You read that right. So we had a lot of vineyards from which to choose.

We started at Grape Creek Vineyards, one of the area’s first. It’s gorgeous with its Tuscan decor and rolling hills of full of beautiful vines. Even on a busy holiday weekend, we were able to get into a tasting with only about a 10 minute wait. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and we had a lovely time. To me, Grape Creek is exactly what comes to mind when you think of a traditional winery experience. 

Wine tasting underway at Grape Creek Vineyards
Grape Creek Vinesand my girls ♡

Next up was my personal favorite, Barons Creek Vineyard. I loved the more modern European aesthetic and the open-air interior courtyard. The day we visited we enjoyed a live band, plus they had large patio games set up for a more festive feel. There was also plenty of outdoor seating available, even though they were quite busy. But the best part of all? They have villas you can stay in on-property, and they are stunning. I’m already planning a little anniversary getaway for me and the hubs next year!

You can see the villas behind us. They are the cutest!
Barrons Creek has a stunning courtyard area

We ended the day at one of the newest wineries in the area, Bingham Family Vineyards. In fact, they’d only been doing tastings for three weeks! Maybe because of the newness, or maybe just due to an emphasis on details, I felt this is where the most attention was given to our group by staff. The vineyard has also partnered with Yee Haw Ranch to provide a wonderful shopping experience for guests. I would highly recommend a tasting here for the friendly experience. 

We were seated at a roomy table for the tasting at Bingham Family Vineyard
Yee Haw Ranch and Bingham Family Vineyards share one property

If you’re thinking “wait a minute, she hasn’t talked about the actual wine yet!” you’re very perceptive. And that is because I can’t, ha! Full disclosure, I don’t actually care for wine. However that makes me a wonderful friend to have because I will gladly be your designated driver on a day-long winery tour! Also, all the money I save on wine tastings I get to spend in gift shops, and that’s my kind of high! 🙂 But I will tell you that my friends enjoyed all of the wines tasted throughout the day and purchased several bottles to take home of the Bingham wines.

Shirt and bag both purchased at the Yee Haw Ranch! Ballcap, on table, from Barons Creek.

So if you find yourself in Central Texas, I encourage you to take time to visit the Texas Hill Country and the many wonderful wineries and cellars it has to offer.

If you can do it with your girlfriends, even better. Thank you, beautiful friends, for bringing joy and light into my life. And thank you Chad, my love, for encouraging me to go. It was a good day.

Peace & hugs,
Kelli

P.S. All accessories worn in pictures are from the Sanctuary Project and you can get 15% off their entire site using code KELLIH15

Sanctuary Project Advocate

My love for Sanctuary Project runs deep. So please let me tell you about it…

It’s a “nonprofit social enterprise providing meaningful employment and job training to women who have survived lives of trafficking, violence, and addiction.” I can’t read that without getting emotional about what it means. These women are warriors. And now they have been given an opportunity to lead. The organization is completely survivor-run, offering “a safe community for women in transition to grow in practical skills while restoring their lives and hearts.” My heart beats for them.

The jewelry Sanctuary Project creates is hand-made and packaged by these women that are able to be empowered and employed because of your purchases. You can be a part of FIGHTING human trafficking! By simply shopping. That may sound trite, but 100% of sales goes directly to providing more job opportunity and job training to survivors. You really CAN make a difference!

I am THRILLED to announce that I have been chosen to be an advocate for Sanctuary Project!

What that means is one, I get to be an official cheerleader for these women I’m so in awe-of. And two, I get to share a discount code with you to use!

KELLIH15

You might think “discount?” I want to give them more money, not less. But actually, it’s the product quantity that’s important. The more pieces you are able to buy, the more dignified work these women have. So use my code! It will give you 15% off. Use it again and again!!! Share with your friends and social network! Let’s keep these women busy doing something they love!

Human trafficking is not an over there thing. Sadly, it’s a right here thing. But awareness is the first step to ending human trafficking because it can actually prevent it from happening! The more voices that are empowered with EXPERT information and resources the more those around them learn what to look for… so they too can reach out to vulnerable individuals before traffickers do to stop the cycle before it begins. 

To learn more about the realities of human trafficking, Sanctuary Project recommends the below resources:

Finding the Light

Let’s just be real here for a sec. There is such a heaviness in our world, do you ever feel like you’re constantly having to dig yourself out of the pit? You’re not alone.

Here are some tools I use to help me break through to the light. 

• When I start to feel the darkness descend, I don’t push it away, I stop and assess the why. Is it worry over the pandemic? Is it sadness over the latest police shooting? Is it anxiety? Is it a fibro flare? Is it physical? Emotional? Spiritual? Is it politics? Is it a relational conflict? Knowing the why will help me learn how to move through it.

• I put my faith in Jesus and so for me the next step is prayer. I highly encourage you to give talking to Him a try. But if that’s not your thing, meditation or contemplative breathing is a wonderful way to center yourself.

Own any part of the heaviness that is in your control to improve. Take that nap. Don’t forget your meds. Have that conversation. Adjust your perspective. Take a walk. Take action. And trust that change is inevitable. Don’t let that scare you, it can be a good thing! The current situation will not remain the same always. Things do get better. Or at least different.

• Be a force for good. You can be the reason someone else smiles today!

What are some other ideas for finding light in the dark? Take a moment and use this as inspiration to think through what works for YOU!

“Let the inner movement of your heart always be to love one another, and never play the role of an actor wearing a mask. Despise evil and embrace everything that is good and virtuous.” Romans 12:9 TPT

Peace & hugs,
Kelli

Mom, Mama, Madre, Mum

I’ve been thinking about the idea of motherhood lately. The responsibility of it, the different stages of it, and what it means. Growing up when I’d hear the word mom I only thought of my mother. Now it’s my own job title. And what a privilege it’s been to have a front row seat to our kid’s development and growth. It’s also been exhausting and frustrating and awe-inspiring and challenging. I wonder if I’ve been a good example. If I’ve taught them the values that will help them in wise decision making. Are they healthy? Do they know how to do their own laundry? Cook? Do they have a crush on anyone? What are the qualities we’ve encouraged them to look for in a partner? Have we talked about that yet? Have we talked about alcohol and safe sex and how to be kind but don’t talk to strangers but help those in need and call if you’re in trouble and is the formula warm enough or too warm and are the off-brand diapers ok or does that mean I don’t care enough for my baby and what about music class and how are we going to pay for college and should we let him play tackle football (I hear about the head injuries) and can she go on that school trip without me (what if she gets scared) and the questions and the concerns just.keep.going. The types of questions and concerns shift over time, but they don’t go away. My mama still asks me to call her when I get home if I’m driving at night (y’all, I’m 44). She still wants to know if I’ve gotten enough rest and what my weekend plans are. When I was young I would just answer and keep going. Now, I ask her the same questions in return. Life really is a circle.

So yeah, that’s what happens in my mind when I think of the word “mom”. I imagine the response will be different for each of us. 

What comes to your mind when you think about your mom, mama, madre, mum, mami? Or when you think about being a mom? Or how you don’t want to be a mother and the way society may view you in that decision?

Many of us have wonderful relationships with our mothers. Others have strained or nonexistent relationships. Some of us when we think about being a mom the hopefulness of that brings sweet joy. For others it brings nothing but heartache and loss.

Maybe your mother figure is actually your aunt or grandmother. Maybe you have a mom and a step-mom. Or maybe you were primarily raised by a close friend. Maybe your upbringing was in foster care or you experienced adoption. Some of you may have walked through the adoption process to build your family.

No family is going to look just like another, in the same way that a mom is not a carbon copy of any other woman who goes by the same title. We each have to forge our own identity. We are not from where where we come, we are who we choose to be.

Have a nasty relationship with your mother? Choose to break that cycle and form relational bonds with your children. It may not be easy, but there’s a reason why “nothing worthwhile ever is” is a cliche.

Struggling with infertility? I understand the emotional devastation that brings, both of our babies are rainbow babies. Be honest with your family and friends about what is happening and be specific in how they can support you.

Single parent pulling the weight of two? God bless you! Take a deep breath when you find yourself reaching the breaking point, and reach out for help, instead. If you have family and friends you can rely on, great! You can also look for local organizations and churches to support you.

Happy with your life and don’t want children? Totally ok! If you like, you can explain to those around you why you’ve made that choice. Or don’t! It’s your life, your call. Please don’t allow anyone else’s opinion of you to lessen your’s of yourself.

Having a hard time with any of the above — or the million other things moms have hard times with? Don’t be afraid to seek out therapy. Some of my darkest times have taught me the most, but I may have missed those lessons if I didn’t have a trained councilor helping me walk through it.

It’s so important to understand the beauty and strength we each hold, as a mother, as a woman. The more we recognize the differences and uniquenesses in each of us — and value those — the more opportunity we have to lift one another up. There’s absolutely no reason for the term “mom shaming” to have ever existed. Remember, we have no idea what all is going on behind the screen of certain families and friends.* Let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt and just be kind. Be good humans to one another. Lift each other up.

One woman shining bright doesn’t diminish another’s light, it illuminates us all.

*If you suspect domestic violence or child abuse, please contact your local authorities and if you or someone you know is in danger, you can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or https://www.thehotline.org/.

Culture vs. Morale

I’m working on my notes for a session on organizational culture I’ll be facilitating and thought I’d take a moment to share my predominate thought here.

Culture and morale are not the same thing.

They are certainly related, but it’s a mistake for leadership to treat the two realities as interchangeable.

A company’s culture is characterized by the attitudes, behaviors, world-views, values and perspectives of its employees. It’s the innate self of the organization.

The morale of a company reflects the feelings of the employees at a particular time.

Generally, an establishment with high employee morale will also have a strong culture.  But strong cultures can withstand dips in morale. More negative cultures may have moments of employee satisfaction, but it’s not sustainable.

If you’re interested in participating in this conversation join us at the Austin Leading Ladies Power Hour and you can check out more of my thoughts on corporate culture here.

star-wars-motivational-poster-office-morale