Updated: Sep 7, 2021
It is with pride and joy I present to you the 24th member of Team Do Good, my sister-in-law, the mighty Marya Reynolds. I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate Marya here via Tampa Bless and Team Do Good. Her willingness to participate in this feature is highly appreciated. And now, without further ado...
Name: Marya Dougoveto Reynolds
Place of birth: Chilton, Wisconsin
Currently reside: Tampa
Family: Married to Rob Reynolds (almost 15 years), mother to 6 daughters, and baby #7 on the way (yes, we’re waiting for the surprise).
Alma Mater: Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio
Activities you organized or participated in related to helping others and uplifting humanity?
I co-lead St. Monica’s Mothers, the Wednesday morning mom’s group at Christ the King Catholic Church in Tampa. I also help teach Sunday School--aka, Little Lambs--to preschoolers during Sunday morning Masses throughout the school year. Aside from those things, I full-time raise my 6 daughters; if I do that well, hopefully, they will uplift humanity. Does that count?
The Tampa Bless 12
1) Favorite pastime or hobby? Why? Please explain.
Nothing beats a hot coffee, my porch swing, and a good conversation. I can’t say I do that combination nearly as much as I’d like, but that setup is nostalgic and rejuvenating for me. During my high school years and beyond, we concluded most meals by cleaning the kitchen as a family (God gifted me two great parents and 6 siblings), and then heading to the porch with our coffees and whatever my mom had on the counter in the cookie tin. We would chat and simply enjoy the neighborhood scene. Other than that: scrabble, trying out new restaurants, and creating with my sewing machine. I have no formal training, but I am a very hands-on person and I enjoy creative outlets, so I enjoy that, as well.
2) Favorite sport, team, or player? If not into sports, your favorite musician or album? Or answer one of each if you’d like or any combo. Please explain why for any one or more of the questions you answered.
Green Bay Packers. Radiohead. I grew up during the reign of Favre. For all of the famous clips of Brett running around with his youthful, celebratory glow and his arms victoriously in the air, I can remember the simultaneous celebration in my living room, complete with jumping on couches and giddy screams. Proud cheesehead: all the way. I love music and have always taken pride in my music taste. That being said, I still remember the very first time I heard a Radiohead song. I’m certain I can’t explain it properly, but something about their sound and Thom Yorke’s voice just disarms me. It’s just, quite simply, my wavelength. I love it. My husband teases that judging by my music I should be way more depressed. I am not at all! I’m a very happy person...but I can’t help it. I repeat: that’s just my wavelength, I guess.
3) Favorite movie? Why? Please explain.
Star Wars, Episodes IV, V, and VI. I refused to watch Star Wars for years since I had no interest in Sci-Fi. Then in 2015, Rob (my husband) started prepping our girls for the release of The Force Awakens, Episode VII. I’d be doing things in the house as he began showing them the original three movies; what I saw from the background piqued my interest enough to get me to watch the movies when the kids were in bed so that I’d fully understand. I was instantly hooked. I love the character development, the retro film quality, the struggle for good, the undeniable family bonds, and loyal friendships. Don’t get me started. I’m obsessed. On the Darth Vader/Luke vein, for some reason, I’m a sucker for father-son-themed movies. Two of my other favorites are Field of Dreams and Warrior. My dad--from Indiana--played basketball through college; a good sports movie will also get me. Hoosiers, because of my dad obviously, is a favorite. I think I grew up thinking Jimmy was my dad, and of that, I was always proud. I also think the movie McFarland, USA has one of the most moving movie scenes ever. The coach drives a bus of defeated high school cross country runners to the ocean. The boys had never before experienced the ocean, much less waves. They become like giddy schoolboys running into the water for the first time ever. I don’t know why, but I cry like a baby every time I see that.
4) Favorite place (country, city, town, etc…) you have visited and why?
Gaming, Austria. I spent the first semester of my sophomore year at Franciscan University of Steubenville studying in Gaming. It was picturesque--right in the mountains--clean, and full of natural beauty and history. Gaming, specifically the Kartause--a former Carthusian monastery, now hotel/dorm--will always hold a special place in my heart.
5) Last meal? You could have anything, what is it? Why? Please explain.
Besito Mexican! Give me anything on the menu, along with their tableside guacamole and unlimited chips and salsa. I love that place!
6) Three activities or routines you would highly recommend? Please explain your reasoning for each.
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.
7) A) Personality trait you highly value? Why? Please explain. B) The personality trait you highly dislike? Why? Please explain.
A. Good work ethic. Both of my parents were hard workers, and I grew up with millions of stories from both sides of the family of hard-working relatives, and the fruits of their labors. I know all of my grandparents modeled hard work and positive attitudes. They never resented the time and effort it took to provide for their families. They simply did what it took, and were grateful for the ability to do so.
B. Ingratitude. Everything we have is a gift. When people are discontent with what they have or their circumstances, the resulting self-pity is just sad. In everything or every situation there is an opportunity. Choosing not to see that is just selfish and sucks the life out of those who choose to hold that perspective.
8) Favorite thinker (author, philosopher, theologian, etc…)? Why? Please explain. And what is your favorite piece of advice, quote, or text from them or in general? Why? Please explain.
Picking a favorite is tough, but one person I will always have a soft spot for is Mr. Rogers. From growing up watching his reruns, to seeing documentaries and movies on him later on in life, I am always so inspired by his ability to be truly authentic and present to the person he is talking to (even his TV viewers). I hate when you are talking with someone and you can tell their mind is elsewhere, or feeling like someone is being somewhat fake or ingenuine. I love that he truly valued children and spoke to them with respect, and visibly valued what they thought and had to say. I believe children have much truth and simple wisdom, and can definitely be formed by the perception of being valued or not by the adults around them.
9) Biggest influence in your life or a top one, and what was it about them that really stood out?
My parents and grandparents jump out, first. I mentioned the hard work modeled by all of them, and they also modeled great faithfulness--as Catholics--as well. I’ll focus a bit more on my parents, though. My dad and mom were both fun-loving. In a crowd or family gathering, it was just visible that people loved being around them. They are always quick to laugh or build others up or tease in a loving way. They raised 7 kids on one income. My dad was a high school teacher. My mom stayed at home. When I was in middle school my dad had to retire early on disability--Multiple Sclerosis--and then my mom jumped back into teaching. In the early years, we just had one family vehicle, which my dad took to work. They never complained and were always joyful, and while we may have noticed what others had that we didn’t, we really didn’t care in the end. We had a very stable home life. I was always close to my dad. He is a great storyteller, and to this day I could sit and listen for hours to his many memories and life lessons and reflections. I did this a lot as a child, and cherish that my girls now love to sit with him and do the same. He was never afraid to do his own thing or to stand out in a crowd. I recall going to a high school football game and seeing him show up with my younger siblings in a huge, white, thrift store sheepskin jacket. It had huge wool cuffs, and where the wool collar should have been it was evident he had simply cut it off. He just didn’t care but did everything with confidence, and everyone loved him for it. Funny, but I was really proud seeing him that night. I also remember going to his high school sports events. It was clear that all of the students loved him, and loved talking to him. I was always proud to be with him...plus he always bought me concession stand candy. The perfect dad!
10) If there is one thing you could change in the world, what would it be?
I’d ban iPhones. What crazy convenient and addictive distractions they have become. By now it is obvious that I am nostalgic; I am grateful that I didn’t have to compete with the iPhone when I was growing up.
11) Where did your desire to help others and uplift humanity come from? Please explain.
My parents always modeled service to others. They always volunteered to help with church or school events, and they often forced my siblings and I to go along to help. While we’d complain, the lesson was not lost on us. Also, the many stories of the saints and their selfless lifestyles are so inspiring. Don Bosco: love that guy!
12) What are you working on now and how can people get involved?
Honestly, I am just trying to be a good mother and wife. I love and take those two responsibilities seriously. Rob and I are unified in the goal of raising faithful, hardworking, virtuous adults. For that I am grateful. I hope to impact my children by mirroring my husband’s love and support for me back at him. How can others help? Do the same in your own spheres.
OH, and get ready for the premier of Studio 3:16 this fall! This is our family's other "baby". My husband's production company--Cross Boss Media--has been working towards this release for the past 3 years.
Studio 3:16 is a Hollywood-quality Christian kids show that will both keep children entertained, and educated/engaged in their faith. We are very excited for the show's future. It targets children from 7-12 years (but younger and older siblings will get sucked in, too). Check out the Studio 3:16 Trailer. 18 episodes will be released in their Fall 2021 Season.
Once launched, encourage your kids to give it a try... and what I really mean by that is: MAKE them watch it. Parents and Grandparents: you know what's better for them than they do! If they're not entertained, that's on Cross Boss! This virtue-building entertainment in front of kids will be awesome!
*Update: Studio 3:16 Show debuts September 8, 2021 via studio316.com which launches the same day. Watch. Pay it Forward. Share! Thank you.
Thank you so much for your time Marya and for all that you do. The place we live in is that much better because of you. I hope that this feature has served to inspire you, as well as successfully celebrate those that help others and uplift humanity.
If you like, please subscribe to Tampa Bless below and be on the lookout for the next featured member of Team Do Good as well as check out 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.