What is Your Passion? Finding Your Philanthropy

What do I consider philanthropy?

For me, it is the budgeting of a percentage of my family’s financial resources, donated yearly to nonprofits that are pursuing missions we agree are important and are being done well. My personal time and volunteer efforts may come along with this financial support (statistically, many people do give more to nonprofits where they volunteer), but it is not guaranteed. My husband jokes that I work more hours than he does in his full-time job, but mine are much more variable!

You have limited resources and only you can decide what is the best way to use them!

I started thinking of myself as a philanthropist through my work with Impact Austin. This is a collective giving group that gathers 500 or more women together who donate $1250 ($1000 to grants and $250 to overhead) and cumulatively give out half a million dollars or so a year in high-impact, targeted grants to nonprofits in the Central Texas area. Sounds kind of magical, doesn’t it? Few of us are wealthy, some are budgeting each month to make their yearly commitment, but most of us are in the middle. We can write that check but it definitely takes away from other charitable things we could do.

Why do women choose Impact Austin? Continue reading

The “Year of YES!”

Woman Says Yes

(c) Can Stock Photo /studiostoks

I recently wrote a piece for a women’s collective giving circle blog. It was an interview with one of its many interesting and philanthropic women. You can see it at Impact Austin if you are curious. There was something she said that caught my attention and wouldn’t let go. She said that she had decided this past year was the “Year of YES!”

In her case, what she had decided to say yes to was travel. If an opportunity came her way, she took it and found herself with family and friends in places all over the world, having a blast!

What would your “Year of YES!” focus on? We all know we can’t possibly say yes to everything, but what if we decided for a year, or even just a month, to say yes to a certain neglected interest area in our lives?

I think our world might change. Continue reading

Singing Through the Pain-Burning Mouth Syndrome

Kali SingingNOTE: Although this post will remain on Kali’s Musings, future BMS posts will appear on A Burning Journey. Please check it out if you are interested in more about Burning Mouth Syndrome.

As those of you know who have visited this blog from time to time, I am a singer. In fact, when I die and my obituary goes into the paper, the first line will say, “She went to sing with her Savior…”

I don’t remember when I didn’t sing. Sometimes not so well, but with experimentation and practice comes expertise, and then there is always the question of talent. Not just hitting notes perfectly, great pitch, phrasing or vocal range, but something a bit more ephemeral…

I have the ability to make people feel something when I sing.

When I experienced Burning Mouth Syndrome the second time, I became aware that speaking and singing increased the burning, and so two things happened. I withdrew from my usual extremely extroverted social schedule and I stopped singing at church. I might as well have lost a limb. The pain of not expressing myself grew over time, and I found myself crying at worship services because I could not understand why God would take away my instrument of praise to Him.

I eventually discovered that He did not. That instrument was still available to me, but it was going to take a decision, some effort, and a great deal of perseverance on my part to use it.

I had to sing through the pain.

If you are not a singer, dancer or athlete, I am not sure I can convey to you what that is like, but if you are, you know that sometimes you simply hit a physical or mental wall and the only way to scale it is to break through until you come out the other side.

Each Sunday morning I would start easy, warming up my vocal cords, and by the end of the service, I made it my goal to be singing out in full voice. It wasn’t easy, and many times I questioned myself and my decision, but by the next Sunday, I was ready to try again.

Would I have continued if I was actually damaging my voice or vocal cords? Continue reading

By Women For Women – Impact Austin


IA Banner 2I am involved with a wonderful collective giving group here in Central Texas, called Impact Austin.

We have just concluded our recruitment season for the coming grant year and I had coffees and lunches with many women over the last few months, telling them my Impact Austin story, and answering any questions they had about becoming a member.

Often, when we share our stories and knowledge with other people, we seem to understand them better ourselves, and that is exactly what happened for me. As I listened and talked, I realized the genius that had gone into designing Impact Austin and its purpose.

The way I expressed this was to say to my new friends, “Impact Austin was designed by women, for women…and so it takes into account the many roles we fill throughout our lives.”

Just think about our twenties, when school or perhaps the beginning of our career or family filled our time. Then our thirties, when some of us were deep into child rearing, PTA and family and others were equally deep into building a successful career. Our forties, when some of us who married and started families young were already looking at empty nests and coming grandchildren and others were just now getting our chicks off to college…and our career women were nearing the top of their career ladders. Then our fifties, sixties and seventies, when some of us found ourselves with time on our hands and others were totally overwhelmed with the combined needs of our families, caring for aging parents, and careers or retirement activities on top of all that. Women do it all, and yet somewhere, there exists the time to give back to our communities in myriad ways. Continue reading