The Abundant Life Doula aims to support Christian authors who chronicle the love, faith and hope of God in their writings.
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Monday Chat with Mom, Maritza Smith
If you ever wonder where Maritza is, I can tell you. She is never very far away from family and friends. Today, Maritza is our featured mom for Motherhood Mondays. She is married to her husband Andreas and this year, they celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary. Maritza and Andreas reside in Orlando. Florida with their three children.
I have known Maritza since she was about 5 years old and, in recent years, I would describe her as a devoted daughter and mother. Her style? She prefers a style that is laid back, comfortable and loves kicking it in her favorite pair of flip-flops. But let’s be clear, she can glam it up when she wants.
Maritza is passionate about her work in event designing. Most recently she launched Alexander Dior, a high-end event designing business in Orlando, Florida. Alexander, as it turns out, are her son’s middle names and Dior is her daughter’s middle name. Her choice in a business name is no mistake. Alexander Dior is a family endeavor because family members, as Maritza states, support one another. They are all in it together. As a family they are led by collective family goals and a willingness to invest in one another. In fact, the next big events on her calendar are birthday parties. One party is for her daughter who will soon be 5 years old. The second party will be a Hollywood themed sweet-sixteen affair for her younger sister, Adair.
During our chat, I talked with Maritza about my work as a Doula and inquired about her ideal birth experience. She reluctantly admitted that giving birth to her three children could have been even more special. Reflecting back on her birth experiences, she is convinced that having a Doula present would have been very helpful. With only her husband and a Doula on her support team, a more intimate and memorable environment would have been possible.
Maritza’s exposure to the Bible and spirituality began early in life. In fact, she grew up going to church services with her mother, Adriene. However, her faith, Maritza explains, grew from her own personal trials and tribulations as an adult. Maritza is a member of the the West Orange Church of Christ in Winter Garden, FL. She enjoys books by Christian authors and, recently, began reading a book by Beth Moore, a well-known Christian author.
When Maritza is not busy with family events and her new business, she enjoys vacationing with her husband. One of her favorite destinations is Jamaica. While in Jamaica she and her husband enjoy the beaches, waterfalls and mountains. On one adventure she rode up a mountain with Andreas to discover that it was much higher than she had expected. Looking down was pretty scary, as she recalls. Happily, everything worked out fine! She looks forward to enjoying more adventures with her husband in the future.
Amy Julia Returns to talk about White Picket Fences
As a woman of privilege, Amy Julia is not satisfied to rest in the material comforts of her life. Instead, she is inspired to look more closely at privilege with honesty and uncomfortable truth. As a student she excelled. The time she sacrificed was hers and the accomplishments she made were based on her work. Amy Julia makes it very clear that privilege does not mean that people of privilege don't work hard. What she conveys is that privilege provides advantages that are not readily available to others. In fact, in the case of African Americans, advantages are denied in order to maintain exclusive white privileges.
As an African American woman, I can appreciate Amy Julia's honesty and I welcome the research findings she shares. She is a mother, who, in caring for her children has reached out beyond her own family to offer love to her neighbor. Fear could have been an obstacle but Amy Julia's faith led her to conclude that love is stronger than fear. In addition, in her efforts to be a bridge, she has found healing.
Amy Julia acknowledges that she can never know what it is like to be an African American. That barrier, however, has not stopped her from seeking to understand the black struggle. I would say she has made understanding a priority over being understood. In her journey to be well, she has, in some respects, become a healer. If hurt people hurt people then healed people, can certainly heal people. And that can make all the difference.
A Sense of Accomplishment
My happiness list begins with the following: A sense of accomplishment. I love the feeling of setting goals and meeting or exceeding those goals. That sense of accomplishment makes me happy. There are many things that give me a sense of accomplishment. However, the one thing I decided to do was focus on enjoying a fit body! I love feeling strong and fit but, over the years, I have let my fitness slip away and failed to maintain an exercise regimen. The good news is regaining a sense of fitness does not take long but keeping it up is certainly a challenge. Of course, I have devised a plan.
Morning Glory Fitness Plan
I have participated in many fitness programs in the past. I even know how to bring myself back from a fitness slump. I don’t recommend that anyone start a fitness program without consulting their doctor. My doctor had already checked me out this year and cleared me for exercise. I am healthy, with no reason not to increase my daily activity. Normally, I am content to get in a 30 minute walk every other day or so. This was sufficient but it was not enough to make me feel fit and it was not challenging. I could do more.
This week, I implemented the Morning Glory Fitness Plan. In July, sunrise is at 6:08 am and the temperature is an amazing 72 degrees! Around 6: 15 am, the bright rays from the sun act as a silent alarm clock, gently nudging me awake. It’s a great time to get up and get going. I never use my backyard but was inspired by my Instagram friend and mother of two, @viannajenise, who often uses her backyard for weight training, cardio and trimming her core. This morning I used my backyard to set up five exercise stations. The stations included a mat and fitness ball for core, kettle bell for whole-body strengthening, free weights and an exercise bar.
Consistency is key. For consistency sake, I made this weekly workout schedule:
Sunday: Light workout ending with a 1-mile walk – 40 minutes
Monday: Interval training with 5 exercise stations and intermittent running
Tuesday: Cardio - Zumba, 30 minutes, and 20-minute walk (African Zumba)
Wednesday: Interval training with 5 exercise stations and intermittent running
Thursday: Cardio – 40- minute bike ride
As a Doula, supporting mothers and families can be physically demanding. I look forward to enhancing my fitness so that I am able to continually meet the demanding nature of the work I love doing.
Have you tried the 30-Day Happiness Challenge? How did it work for you? Share your journey to daily happiness on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/abundantlifedoula.