Tampa Bless: 2021: A Year in Review


This year, Tampa Bless has had the opportunity to celebrate and honor ten additional members of Team Do Good, positive forces in your neighborhood. The total Team Do Good roster now stands at thirty members strong. Each one brings their own life experiences and unique contribution. It has been wonderful to connect with and be inspired by these amazing people that live right here in the Tampa Bay and Greater Tampa Bay area. I have had meaningful takeaways (things that affected me in a positive way that I can apply to my own life) from each and every one of them.


Being that the most recent Team Do Good feature was #30 and the tenth for the year 2021, I decided to wrap up the year with an annual review and plan to publish the next feature in 2022. I would also like to thank any and all of you out there reading this that have supported Tampa Bless in any way; whether it be socially (subscribe, share, follow, references, and/or spread the word), or financially (merch) or both. In addition to the shop selection regularly available here, I will be looking to drop some exclusive and very limited merch periodically this upcoming year so keep an eye out for those. And get blessed!


Now speaking of references, I want to once again give an extra special shout-out to both my brother Rob Reynolds and Ana Stooks for continuing to connect me with so many referrals. Muchas gracias! I am always looking for new members to feature so holler at me y'all if you know of anyone that fits the bill. You can hit me via tampabless@gmail.com or right here on the website. Let's go!


And now, without further ado haha... Here are your Tampa Bless 2021 Team Do Good members and honorees in order of appearance:


21. Yashira Anderson

22. Joseph Warren

23. Nick D'Amico

24. Marya Reynolds

25. Col. Curtis Carlin

26. Tyler Yonge

27. Justin Cole

28. Billy Jo Galeazzi

29. Dr. Jonathan Keenan

30. Carmen Cayon


Talk about a solid group of people (players haha). Bravehearts! Team Do Good is legit! Similar to last year's Inaugural Year in Review, I will highlight responses from question 6 of The Tampa Bless 12. It will consist of 30 highly recommended activities or routines. The format remains the same: Team Do Good member's name in bold followed by the three activities or routines he/she recommended. My hope is that this will serve as a quick reference or manual of sorts for some practical information. Of course, you can always easily access any of these or earlier Team Do Good features and further review them as you please.


Some activities may be recommended more than once. To me, that just stresses their importance. Let's begin...


Yashira Anderson


1. Starting your day with gratitude and spending some time in thought and prayer with the Lord. We are all on Earth for a very specific purpose but at the very core of that is living our lives for Jesus. In order to do that we need to remind ourselves daily of our purpose and be reminded to walk in our faith. I find the best way to do this is by starting the day with our Lord and giving thanks.


2. Spending time in nature and moving our bodies – this is so important for the mind, body, and the soul as well as learning how to eat and nourish your body. Your body is a temple and God wants us to care for it and fuel it with the right food so we can live out our God-given purpose.


3. Laughing – life is meant to be lived out loud! It should be happy and joyous and laughter truly is the best medicine. Take time to spend moments with the people you love and laugh with them.


Joseph Warren


1. Checking in with friends and family for no good reason. Just calling them and checking in on their life and how it’s going with no agenda for the call other than just to hear and listen and encourage and celebrate their life. I've done this several times in my life and it's just an absolutely awesome experience for them and for me. So that's a great routine.


2. I love coaching people, just listening to where they feel stuck or stopped or struggling, and giving them the key or the access to God's power, healing, and freedom. Even though it's my work, it's a routine and I love it. It's fantastic to participate in that.


3. The third is called the Holy Hour, and I do it in my coaching with my clients. It is spending an hour a day in silence with God, not talking, not reading rote prayers, but just sitting with a pen and paper, asking Him questions about my life and waiting for Him to answer and just listening and not talking. So during the Holy Hour with God is where my entire life got flipped upside down and I stopped glorifying me, and the rest of my life I spend glorifying Him. The Holy hour - best routine I've ever done in my life.


Nick D'Amico


1. Cold Showers - just try it. I started doing this when I did Exodus 90 last year and continued the practice even after Exodus was over. Now, to be fair, it's much easier to take a cold shower in Florida than in Ohio. But regardless, you feel amazing after. It’s good for your heart and circulation, your skin, your alertness, and probably saves money on energy too.


2. Monthly Confession - the Sacrament of Penance is so underused by Catholics. It's such a beautiful gift that for years--close to a decade at one point--I did not take advantage of. My life is materially better now that I go monthly. It forces me to focus more on my shortcomings, while at the same time not being so hard on myself when I fail. This might seem counterintuitive at first, but makes so much sense when you experience it.


3. Reading at night - I don’t do this as consistently as I would like, but reading rather than watching a show or staring at my phone before I go to bed helps me to sleep so much better, on top of being a better use of my time. The light emitted from screens signals to our brains that it is time to be awake, so naturally we find it hard to sleep after spending an hour scrolling Twitter. Reading a book, on the other hand, tires me out in a few minutes.


Marya Reynolds


1. Pray. Converse with Jesus and the Blessed Mother, daily. These are the essential friendships. They will always listen, always have your back, and the more one fosters those friendships, the more he will see evidence of their hands in occurrences in his daily life.


2. Go for walks, preferably without phones and with kids. Nature has a way of provoking thoughts, or maybe simply allowing you to take time to acknowledge God’s amazing ability to create. Being with kids on a walk is just fun. Their simple pleasures and excitement at various observations always crack me up.


3. Family dinner. Gather, eat, converse, laugh. Every day.


Col. Curtis Carlin


1. Set your first and last hours of the day - I’ve recently started being very purposeful when I first wake up. I drink a substantial glass of water, eat what I call a fueling (small meal), and then do my faith-based readings which help me set my mindset for the day. In the evening, I get a last stroll around the neighborhood, turn off electronics (none in the bedroom), and reflect in bed while taking deep, cleansing breaths. I sleep so much more soundly now and wake refreshed.


2. Date your children - I’ve tried to be consistent and it can be hard at times, but over the years I’ve ensured to spend time with my children in special/unique ways to deepen our relationship. From very young ages until now as young adults, my desire is to cultivate opportunities for meaningful conversation. My hope is for my children to bring home a wonderful spouse. So far, we are 1-for-1!


3. If you have children - Be sure your spouse gets your attention before anyone else. To this day, I kiss my wife first whenever I see her. I believe it’s a small but important example to your children and even grandchildren. If you keep your spouse at the center of your family dynamic, your children will grow up witnessing the core of strong families and feel the ongoing and overflowing love. With that as their base, they will most likely seek that type of love in their own marriage.


Tyler Yonge


1. Having a Rule of Life: something that you must accomplish each day. Whatever it is that you decide, have a rule and follow it. This can change over time but have something that you are committed to at all times. Good topics would be physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health improvements.


2. Functional fitness: high-intensity interval training. This can be scaled for everyone for all fitness levels. I think good fitness, combined with good eating habits/nutrition, could revolutionize the medical industry, and really destroy the prevalence of metabolic diseases. People should be doing this daily, and it can easily be done at home.


3. Fasting. This could be from food in general, or from a certain type of food (sugar, alcohol), or even from certain modern conveniences, and offer that fasting up for others. This is a great way to exercise your suffering/discipline muscles.


Justin Cole


1. Morning Prayer. Getting off to a good start to my day is extremely important. Sometimes I just start a workout or normal work without prayer and it typically isn’t as enjoyable of a day. Knowing you’ve asked God for what you need for the day before getting started has helped me immensely.


2. Consistent Exercise. We were made to be active and without activity we can fall in all sorts of slumps. I truly feel the best mentally and physically when I have a consistent routine I’ve been sticking to.


3. Just having a routine and sticking to it. If I don’t stick to a routine or let a different area of my life overpower the boundaries I’ve set it can cause issues. Having set bed, prayer, exercise, and work times, and defending the time cut out for them is huge.


Billy Jo Galeazzi


1. Mandatory Monday - This is more of a mindset than a routine. Mondays are the best day of the week! And Mandatory Monday is the routine that sets up the entire week for success. It is called Mandatory because there is no other choice but to wake up, shock the mind and body, and get after it. No matter what, you get up early and work out on Monday morning before you go to work. When you get to work you pick the biggest hardest thing you have for the week and you get started on it right away. After work you go and get your groceries for the week, when you get home you do your laundry, you clean your home, and do every chore you can think of. Monday is a day to tackle every task you possibly can and you do it with a big smile on your face. When everyone else is out there crying that the week has started you are sprinting laps around everyone. It is also the perfect day to start a new habit you have been meaning to get started on, like working out, starting a diet, or quitting something you have been meaning to carve out of your life. The momentum of the weekly grind is powerful when used properly.


2. 2 Alarm Clock System - This is a routine for anyone who struggles to get out of bed in the AM. The 2 Alarm clock system. First off, if your phone is in your bedroom, you are doing it wrong! Stop going to bed with your phone.


Now onto the routine. The first alarm should be near you and just loud enough to get you up. Oftentimes people hit that snooze button; here is where the second alarm comes in. Make sure it is either next to a sleeping baby you don’t want to wake up, or off in a distant room, preferably next to a fridge with a source of caffeine in it. Set it to go off 5 minutes after the first one goes off and make sure it is as loud as possible. Make it so when the second alarm goes off someone is going to be very upset. Once the 1st alarm goes off there is going to be pressure to get up and get to the 2nd alarm before it is too late. Once you are up and at the 2nd alarm, slam a coffee or some type of caffeine to prevent you from falling back asleep. There you go! A simple routine to start waking up every day.


3. Silent Prayer - Same spot, same time, every day!


Now that you are waking up in the AM without any problems, it is time to fire up your prayer habit. I have been experimenting with this for years and so many people recommended the same thing. Prayer is incredibly important in life and the way to get the most benefit out of it is by doing it at the same time in the same place every day and doing it in silence.


Don't be scared of Prayer.


Dr. Jonathan Keenan


1. Heroic Minute, an idea from Saint Josemaria Escriva.


Immediately when you wake, or as soon as the alarm buzzes, drop to your knees and offer a prayer. Consecrate your day to Jesus, to do God’s will through every single action you take, and to intentionally invite the Holy Spirit to accompany you in your daily duties. I often choose a version of the Morning Offering,


“O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

I offer you my prayers, works, joys, sufferings of this day

for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart,

in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world,

in thanksgiving for Your favors, in reparation for my sins,

for the intentions of all my relatives and friends,

and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father, Amen."


2. Sacrifice for your family.


There are hundreds of small sacrifices every day that we can offer for our families. In the Society of St. Joseph we once watched a Knights of Columbus video series and one of my favorite quotes from the video on suffering is that men only live 40% of their lives. The other 60% they just put up with. Basically saying we need to learn how to enjoy suffering as much as we enjoy the other emotions. Another striking quote was that we fear death because we don't prepare for death until the very end of our lives. We need to practice dying every day-- dying to ourselves in small ways time after time. Offering up that afternoon coffee or that snack between meals, or volunteering to scrub the dirty pots and pans in the sink. Saint Mother Teresa said,


Wash the dish not because it is dirty

nor because you are told to wash it,

but because you love the person who will use it next.


Instead of wasting these opportunities to sacrifice for our spouses and children, we can apply the redemptive grace towards our own life or for someone who's suffering, or in purgatory. And every time we offer up a small suffering we earn a partial indulgence, which “removes part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin." (CCC #1471). As members of the Church Militant, it’s always good practice to offer the indulgence for a soul in purgatory instead of our ourselves—because we can always lose the indulgence by sinning a minute later, but a soul in heaven will offer greater prayers for us than we can for ourselves.


3. Exercise.


As an evidence-based family doctor, I have to emphasize that exercise is good for everything. There is no medical condition that couldn’t be improved or cured by appropriate exercise relative to one’s condition. Choose a type of exercise you can enjoy (so you could continue it long term), and keep progressing. If you haven’t exercised since you ran middle school track, you don’t have to sign up for a marathon. Go for a walk after dinner; make it longer each day. If your joints hurt, try swimming or water aerobics. Choose a trendy app like 7-Minute-Workout that can help you squeeze exercise into your day.


Don’t forget spiritual exercise, either. Most people want to go to Heaven, where we’ll spend eternity with God, but-- reality check-- most people won’t be going to Heaven. Even if we do make it, how can we believe we’ll enjoy eternity with God and the angels and saints if we can’t find a way to enjoy just five minutes with them in daily prayer, or an hour with them in mass? If prayer or mass or adoration or any sacrament is not appealing or enjoyable to you-- it’s not the sacrament, it’s you. It could be the devil, distracting you from those things while simultaneously hiding or disguising his existence from you, but you have to overcome that. When you meet the Lord after death, in that judgment moment when you will be held accountable for every action in your entire life, you best believe the Lord is going to reveal to you the extravagant amount of time you spent binge-watching, scrolling social media, surfing the web (and the things you viewed), compared to the time you did not spend in prayer or dedicated to Him.


Just like physical exercise-- choose a type of prayer you can enjoy (so you can continue it long term), and keep progressing. Try reflecting on the daily readings, reading the lives of the saints (real-life examples of how to be holy), praying the Liturgy of the Hours, daily reflection or meditation (my favorite is The Imitation of Christ and this year we added Divine Intimacy by Gabriele di Santa Maria Maddalena to our collection), attending weekly Eucharistic Adoration, finding a Bible study, praying a family Rosary as you put the kids to bed, praying a novena for a specific intention, reading saint quotes, fasting, etc.


There’s a saying, “​​Every one of us needs half an hour of prayer every day, except when we are busy—then we need an hour.”


Carmen Cayon


1. Daily prayer and Mass often. We know that Mass is the ultimate form of prayer, so that is the ideal. These two go together in my frame of mind.


2. Exercise regularly. Just like we develop our spiritual “muscles" regularly, our body also needs movement. Our body is made to be in motion, whether it be walking, gardening, biking, or doing anything that challenges our body to stay healthy and fits into our lifestyle.


3. Have dinner each night with family. This family time is essential. When our kids were still at home we had dinner around the table as many nights as possible; phones and tv were turned off. It allowed us time to listen to each other and plan together our upcoming days as we wound down each night.


And there you have it. It will be here whenever you may want a reminder. Once again, thank you so much and I wish each and every one of you and your families a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year! God willing, onwards and upwards. Peace.


Sincerely,


Thomas "T-Bless" Reynolds


If you like, please subscribe below to the Tampa Bless blog and be on the lookout for the next featured member of Team Do Good as well as check out the available merch right here at tampabless.com/shop-1! Represent! Positive Forces In Your Neighborhood. Let's go! May God bless y'all and thank you for your support. Much love and appreciation.