country and cape town.

peanut butter + jelly.
regis + kelly.
summer + country.
they just go together, don't they? well, for me...it's the only season i love listening to country... windows down, music up.
here's my summer09 top 10:

speaking of COUNTRY...

cast your vote, and help us win a donation for mocha club and help lady antebellum win a CMT award! lady a is up for 3 awards in the final round of voting for the 2009 CMT music awards! as part of the show on tuesday, june 16th, 2009, CMT will be donating to the winner of each category’s charity of choice. lady antebellum has said that if they win june 16th, their donation will go to mocha club!

speaking of MOCHA CLUB...

our team leaves in 48 hours for cape town. (yikes!) don't forget to follow all of our adventures on the blog. (click on the pic below to go directly to the blog...)


so urban right now.

as much as i love my east nashville neighborhood, i totally covet a neighborhood in nashville called "the gulch". it's the hip new area that is home to a bunch of great retail and restaurants (including a new one i tried today for lunch, urban flats - super good)...and it just happens to be where the new urban outfitters opened. you catching the "urban" theme yet?

so we have a couple of friends who own condos in the new high-rises there...specifically at the icon.

and last night was a little slice of urban heaven. we had a group of about 15 of us that found ourselves hanging out on the 9th floor deck of the icon after dinner. i don't know what it is about city skylines that take my breath away, but the combination of my nashville community that i love dearly, all packed into one huge outdoor couch, enjoying both moments of deep conversation and sweet stillness...and the view of the nashville skyline in front of us on a cool summer night...it just felt perfect.

it's moments like those that make me so thankful and grateful to enjoy life right where i am...in this city...with these people.

p.s. dear God, if You'd like me to get a condo in the gulch, just say when.
love, marisa.


as we forgive.

mocha club had the opportunity to host the nashville screening of a new documentary this last week, as we forgive. i was so involved in the planning process, that i honestly didn't even take the time to prepare my heart for such a heavy subject. (if you're not familiar with the genocide that took place in rwanda in 1994, educate yourself here.)
one of my favorite quotes from the movie was "to err is human, but to forgive is divine." i know that is so true in my own life. it's easy for me to mess up, it's my nature for me to be hurtful and spiteful and wicked. but to be loving? to be peaceful? to put aside my own emotions and my own agenda? that's completely divine. forgiveness is a blessing that only God's strength can provide. and it brings such healing and restoration to communities.

at african leadership, we have a ministry to refugees right here in nashville, and that ministry was actually started by a rwandan genocide survivor. after the film, we had him share his story and answer questions about his own story of survival and reconciliation. it was truly powerful.

i highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of this film, and even hosting a screening of your own. laura, the filmmaker, is traveling around the country to lead discussions following the screenings. God is using her story and her film to spark the idea of reconciliation all around the globe.

you can view the trailer and get more info here.


journey to the northwest.

my coworker missy and i had said that one of the places we both wanted to visit in the states was the pacific northwest - specifically portland and seattle. neither of us had been up there before, and we had heard great things (aka i was kinda obsessed). plus, our friend mark had just moved to seattle, and offered to host us if we ever decided to go.
so i set a "DING" for southwest back in january, and not long after, a fare popped up for $79 each way. done and done. so we booked it for mid-may, and anxiously awaited our trip.

we planned a packed-out 3 1/2 days. i think we honestly did everything we wanted to in seattle -- the space needle, pike's place market, the original starbucks, sunset dinner on the waterfront, walked to a local coffee shop for a leisurely breakfast, caught a mariners game at safeco field (for free!). we even got to go to a service at the mars hill church - ballard campus -- i love listening to mark driscoll preach, so that was a huge treat for me.
my aunt & uncle had recently moved to portland, and offered to host us there, so we took a little 24-hour trek down to oregon in the middle of our long weekend. i don't think we were able to do portland justice with such a short time there, but we did grab some voodoo doughnuts, go to the saturday open market, and spend awhile in powell's bookstore (the biggest in the world). and the nob hill area reminded me so much of athens. i'd definitely like to go back someday and explore portland more!

so i'm not gonna lie, i had pretty high expectations for our trip. but i really, truly loved it. we had amazing weather all weekend, and it was the perfect combination of seeing the touristy stuff but also seeing a local's take on real life there, too.
i have a feeling i'll be back real soon.

see my whole photo album from the trip here


full of GLEE.

if you've watched anything on FOX the last month (specifically american idol) you have probably seen the trailer for their new show GLEE.

(you can watch the shorter trailer here)

so how excited am i for this show? you have no idea.

1. we already know i love musicals in general.
2. as much as i love the HSM series (and, i do) i have a feeling this will be a little more grown-up and more witty...
3. my own high school days consisted of a lot of bright lights, costumes, and big chorus numbers. (the main character, rachel berry, sings "on my own" from les mis as her audition piece. that was my audition piece in high school...coincidence?) :)
4. really, anything that involves singing and over-dramatization gets me excited.

the series won't officially start until the fall -- but there's a preview episode next tuesday after the american idol finale! let's just say i'm full of...well...GLEE!


3 weeks 'til CAPE TOWN!

so 3 weeks from tomorrow i'm headed to CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA!

you may know that last year i had the amazing opportunity to visit 3 countries in east africa (uganda, kenya, and ethiopia) -- more on that trip here and here.

well, this summer i'm getting to lead a group of 10 to cape town for an official mocha club trip. and i'm a combination of super excited and super nervous.

excited because: we'll get to experience and be a part of a variety of the project work we do there -- from our learn to earn job training center to living hope center who treats those infected with and affected by hiv/aids to working with the kids in the slum of kyalitcha. it will be a completely different experience than last year...oh yah, and the team is composed of a bunch of my nashville friends! we'll also get a couple of free days to explore and cape town is supposed to be beautiful!

nervous because: did i mention i'm leading this trip? yah. have i ever been to cape town? nope. that combination is a little frightening. but...again, my team is amazing, and i'm confident the Lord wouldn't put me in a position He didn't think i could handle.
please be praying for our team dynamics, for the work we'll be doing and the people we'll be meeting, and for my wisdom and discernment as i lead us.

as the leader and as part of my job, my trip costs are covered...but if you would like to give financially to other members of my team who are raising support, let me know!

oh -- and we'll be blogging the whole trip (courtesy of miss annieblogs herself)

more updates in the coming weeks...


1,051,200 minutes...

so we all know i love musicals. you may or may not be familiar with a song from RENT called "seasons of love" (hear the song here). it talks about 525,600 minutes -- the number of minutes in a year. so if my math skills are correct, 1,051,200 would be the number of minutes in 2 years.

today marks the 2 year anniversary of my move to nashville!

the song asks, how do you measure a year? in daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee? in inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife?
nope...measure in love...seasons of love.

my 1,051,200 minutes are definitely measured in love. i can't say it enough -- how much i feel loved here. how much i love my home, my community, my city. sure, mixed in the last 2 years have been some seasons of pain and uncertainty and confusion and heartache. but reigning supreme are seasons of joy and hope and purpose.
love has been the theme.
(lots of the last 2 years of my nashville journey documented here)