Introducing: Monthly Manic Mondays with Marisa


One of my goals this year is to be more intentional with my relationships and engaging more with people I have been drawn to, but veered away from over the years due to my deeply inherent feelings of inadequacy. Basically, I want to play with the cool kids! I’ve been doing better with that online, but it’s time to expand to people who have actually met me face to face. The ironic fact is that even my best friends and most supportive peeps who know me in person, most often only get contact with me through the virtual unreality that is only made possible through social media on the interwebs.

Like many girls, I grew up secretly aspiring to be a singer/dancer. I loved singing along with the music on the radio, trying to match my voice, pitch, and tone with the likes of Helen Reddy and Linda Ronstadt in the 70’s and graduated to striving to keep up with Pat Benatar, Blondie, and Madonna in the 80’s. Alannis’ Jagged Little Pill was my anthem album in the 90’s. I’ve lost touch with the music inside of me over the course of the past 15 years or so. However, one brand of music continues to call to me and remind me how my soul needs it, worship music. I don’t necessarily mean the grand, sweeping, cleanly produced Contemporary Christian music, although that works at times. I mean raw, real, worship music led and sung by those who are passionately immersed in the music flowing through them and the words streaming from their mouths as they move beyond performing on a stage and actually engage in worship at the deepest core of their being.

Marisa is one of those worshipping souls encased in flesh.

I first encountered her about the same time as I met Marc Schelske, whose Author Interview can be found here. They worked with the youth and on the worship team together. It turns out they used to be in a band together for a little while as well, Three Days Waking. They were definitely the cool kids I wanted to hang out with, but I was busy single-parenting my toddler daughter and her rambunctious pre-teen brother as they ran in opposite directions, leaving me wanting to scream and wish I had elastic arms. I spent a few years secretly yearning to have the availability, mobility, and confidence to risk trying to do more than admire their camaraderie and passion for worship from a silent distance.

My awe and admiration was cemented when she got up and provided the “special music” by belting out Susan Ashton’s, Crooked Man. I thought it took great confidence and risk to perform so passionately music that could be perceived as secular and irreverent by the staid and conservative denomination we were all part of at the time. A few years later, I saw more of her courage when she spoke up about a deeply personal challenge in her life. It made me reevaluate my assumptions about who I had built her up to be in my own mind. It made me think that, just maybe, even though our lives had nothing to connect us on the surface, that we were more alike than the differences I thought separated us. I barely acted on those thoughts, but I think I reached out a little and let her know her story had touched me.

To be perfectly honest, I think I’m a closet “ageist.” I’m not exactly sure why, but because I thought I was about 8-10 years older than her and because I was parenting the kids, I somehow believed she would find it awkward and weird if I tried to seek out her friendship. It turns out I’m only a few years older than her. Go figure.

In the intervening years as I’ve spun around in circles and cycles, in and out of the church community that rose out of the place we met, I would see her and maybe say hello, or not. Just enjoying the worship, losing myself in it the way those leading it seemed to. Then I disappeared into my chaos again. Then came the moment when I walked through the doors and the ones who remembered me being there from the beginning were fewer and farther between than those greeting me as a newcomer. Marisa had moved away and gotten married, visiting occasionally, which thankfully happened during one of my reappearances. I reached out and told her I’d missed her presence and we got connected on Facebook a couple of years ago.

Through the impersonal invasion of privacy that we voluntarily subject ourselves to, I discovered many more facets to her and she found out about my fibromyalgia, headaches, and other ailments, as well as the numerous updates and pictures of Luna. I learned more about some of her struggles and witnessed how indomitable her spirit is. She’s kind of become a bit of a role model for me in some ways. In other ways, I have opted to just accept that she is a phenomenon and appreciate what she has to offer the rest of us, while letting go of my strong sense of inadequacy because I can’t imagine ever being the dynamo she is while dealing with the different health issues she does.

She is a foodie and occasionally writes in her food blog. She puts together 60 guest luaus in her back yard complete with decorations and organizes gala events complete with intricate place settings and centerpieces. She upcycles what others consider junk and creates functional art. She makes her own designer dresses ;), does custom embroidery on Chucks, creates string art, is making lavender rice neck pillows and eye masks, and is in charge of the home-based boutique business of crafting organic hot sauces. On top of it all she is the furrever mama to a menagerie of furbabies including a descented skunk, a couple of boxers, and at least one cat.

She is also following her dream and will be releasing a Christmas album later this year.

She reached out and invited people to join her on her journey and be part of her creative team to support her in her efforts. I took the plunge and offered to host her here. What began as an idea to expand my Author Interview concept to an Artists Interview has morphed into Monthly Manic Mondays with Marisa. At least one Monday a month, I will have an update or feature on Marisa. Maybe I can get her to guest blog. Through sharing her story and escapades with you, I think you will be entertained and inspired by her the way I am.