Category: My Journal

Meet my son Sam.579781_10150843431604823_752499822_9903108_1388614689_nToday was a very tough day for this mom that only wants good things for her son.  I have worked hard to get where I am which may not be much but it’s been a long journey to becoming an educated Latina originally from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.  I come from a very modest upbringing.  Raised in a Mexican household with 6 siblings and not much in the way of monetary things.  We had one television that we all fought over.  Excellent Mexican cooking by my mother Josefa and a very hard working and talented dad Elias.  I have worked the onion fields of California (green onions) Grapes of Cucamonga, California, white onions of Ontario, California.  This made me or molded me into who I am today.  My parents never wanted me to work in the fields, but I was never one to sit around and do nothing.  I enjoyed my time away from home, but being in the scorching hot sun and getting up at 4am on the weekends was not for kids to experience.  California growers are ruthless, they don’t care if you’re an adult or a child as long as their crops get picked they pay!

I have had many other tough jobs, but never a wimp about doing the tough work.  One of the greatest things I took away from my working in California fields is that I never wanted to work outdoors and I always knew I wanted to work in an air conditioned environment.  I feel for my people that continue to do that back breaking work, but it also makes me want to work hard for them, for their children and for my son.

My son has had a few jobs here and there, but today when I saw him working at our local car wash something made my heart jump to my throat.  When I left the car wash I could hardly breathe, I cried the whole way home.  This is not how I envisioned my son.  This is tough work, he is a driver there, but it was still tough seeing him in this establishment that hires a lot of Mexican men and women to do the cleaning work.  I spoke with an older Mexican man that brought my car out, he spoke to me in Spanish, he was very nice.  He could easily be my uncle or dad for that matter.  I told him my son Sam works there, he seemed perplexed.  He said there is only one Sam and I think he’s a gavacho – white!  I said if he’s 6-3 that’s my son, he’s Mexican/German.  The man said that Sam had told him in Spanish that his mom is Mexican and from Tijuana lol.  I guess it’s the right Sam :).  This man said that he’s had many conversations in Spanish with my son who I sent to a  Spanish immersion school and can read, write, and speak Spanish.  He said that he has told Sam to go to college and study so that he will not have to struggle in life as our people have.  Sam has replied that he is going to college when he finishes high school.

This man made my day, I love that Sam is interacting with Paizas.  People of our culture, that he is having those experiences.  That he sees how tough life can be for those who do not have the language or the education.  I hope this helps mold him and appreciate our people just in case he hasn’t up to this point.  Sam has grown up around a lot of kids that come from affluent backgrounds.  Sam’s mom has not been so fortunate 😦

Today was tough, but after speaking with a close friend and hearing her stories handed down from her father about our kids needing to have those experiences, needing to be carpet cleaners and car washers along side our people who’ve struggled so that someday they will appreciate their people, where we come from and the work they may someday do is priceless.

I know that Sam I Am will do great things, I hope he can someday be a great leader.

I’m so glad I have this blog, a place to put my story and reflect on how fortunate I have been and how lucky we are to live in America as my dad put it “The land of opportunity”.

Marina Castillo ❤



Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

  1. Researched FASD many years ago, today it is so necessary to educate parents who’s kids suffer from this.

    How to Educate Your Child with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome | Home Educating Family Association Blog
    Admitting that your child has Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a brave thing indeed. Unlike Down Syndrome or ADHD, FAS has been caused directly by maternal drinking in pregnancy, and can therefore lead to finger pointing and judgement. It is true that not a great amount is known about how much drink…
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The cute things kids wear today!!!

So many cute things out there for the fashion conscious individual 🙂


christmasFeliz Navidad – Merry Christmas

Lawmakers think that banning guns will take care random shootings. Passing more laws will not fix the problem. When the president sees that banning guns is not the answer legislators will continue to pass more laws and the public will feel better and make us think that we are really doing something to prevent gun violence.When will we finally address the real problem????? – Mental illness.There is talk about putting more security in schools, how about more support for children and families in need of help.

GAP high school has a great thing going, helping youth and families in need. They have always wanted the kid that didn’t do well in the mainstream school, the kid no one else wanted. school with counselors and therapists that assist children and families in need. Everyday there are more and more kids suffering from ADHD, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and many other illnesses yet we want to put more money into banning guns?

I started a blog on Friday Dec. 14th. 2012 about Angels “Angels in the Midst” I wasn’t sure what story to start with. Then I heard about the l20 little angels god called home :((.

This is definitely not the way I wanted to start my Angels in the Midst blog :((

On Saturday, the Connecticut State Police released a list of the names of the 26 victims who were shot and killed at a Connecticut elementary school.

The victims are 12 girls, eight boys and six adult women. The victims, police said, were shot up close, multiple times.

The following is a list (as released by police) of the victims in Friday’s shooting spree on the campus of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female
Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female (full date of birth not specified)
Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female

Police knew the names of the victims Friday, but officials said they were pending positive identification by the state medical examiner’s office.

The suspected shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza of Newtown, died Friday morning from a gunshot wound. Authorities said they believe his wound was self-inflicted.

Lanza forced his way into the school around 9:40 a.m. Friday, police said, about 30 minutes after the school day began. The first 911 call was received by police one minute later.

Investigators said the gunman fired his weapon at least 100 times.

Authorities also said they believe Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza. She was found shot to death in her Newtown home Friday.

12-12-12 Virgen De Guadalupe

Celebrating El Dia de la virgen de guadalupe – If you are Mexican or Latino chances are you know about the miracles the Virgin Mary is known for.

Listening to all the stories on television of Jenni’s life makes me so sad.  What an incredibly difficult life she endured only to have it end in more tragedy.  What a beautiful spirit and human being she was.  She had such a talent and energy or presence about her.  I have never really listened to her music except when I’m in California and my sister picks me up in at the LA Airport with her Jenni Rivera music playing and wherever we went she usually had her music playing.

I am sad watching the news hearing that an 80 year old and a 20 year old were flying her plane, it was an accident waiting to happen.  It makes me mad, makes me want to do something, but of course nothing I can do other than pray for her children and her family.  She was so loved by her siblings and relatives.  I would love to have known her and talk to her about her strength and her powerhouse attitude.  She kind of reminds me of me in many ways except in the ability to sing of course lol.

Maybe someday I will be able to speak to her kids about Jenni’s spirit and her strength.  I send them strength to get through this to help them communicate with her.  amy

Mexican singer Jenni Rivera feared dead in plane crash
Published December 09, 2012
Associated Press

March 8, 2012: File photo, Mexican-American singer and reality TV star Jenni Rivera poses during an interview in Los Angeles. Mexican authorities confirmed that the plane in which Rivera was traveling disappeared early Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, after leaving the Mexican northern city of Monterrey where she performed in concert on Saturday night. (AP)
MONTERREY, Mexico – The wreckage of a small plane believed to be carrying Jenni Rivera, the U.S-born singer whose soulful voice and unfettered discussion of a series of personal travails made her a Mexican-American superstar, was found in northern Mexico on Sunday. Authorities said there were no survivors.
The singer’s father, Pedro Rivera, said he thinks his daughter died in the crash and that her brother will travel to Mexico on Monday to identify what they presumed were her remains.
Authorities in Mexico say the remains found are unrecognizable and have not yet publicly confirmed that she is dead. They say there will be an investigation.
Born in Long Beach, California, Jenni Rivera was at the peak of her career as perhaps the most successful female singer in grupero, a male-dominated regional style influenced by the norteno, cumbia and ranchero styles.
A 43-year-old mother of five children and grandmother of two, the woman known as the “Diva de la Banda” was known for her frank talk about her struggles to give a good life to her children despite a series of setbacks.
She was recently divorced from her third husband, was once detained at a Mexico City airport with tens of thousands of dollars in cash, and she publicly apologized after her brother assaulted a drunken fan who verbally attacked her in 2011.
Her openness about her personal troubles endeared her to millions in the U.S. and Mexico.
“I am the same as the public, as my fans,” she told The Associated Press in an interview last March.
Rivera sold 15 million records, and recently won two Billboard Mexican Music Awards: Female Artist of the Year and Banda Album of the Year for “Joyas prestadas: Banda.” She was nominated for Latin Grammys in 2002, 2008 and 2011.
Transportation and Communications Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said “everything points toward” the wreckage belonging to the plane carrying Rivera and six other people to Toluca, outside Mexico City, from Monterrey, where the singer had just given a concert.
“There is nothing recognizable, neither material nor human” in the wreckage found in the state of Nuevo Leon, Ruiz Esparza said. The impact was so powerful that the remains of the plane “are scattered over an area of 250 to 300 meters. It is almost unrecognizable.”
Rivera’s father told dozens of reporters gathered in front of his Los Angeles-area home that “I believe my daughter’s body is unrecognizable.”
“My son Lupillo told me that effectively it was Jenni’s plane that crashed and that everyone on board died,” Pedro Rivera said.
Rivera said his son would travel to Monterrey early Monday morning.
No cause was given for the plane’s crash, but its wreckage was found near the town of Iturbide in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Oriental, where the terrain is very rough.
The Learjet 25, number N345MC, took off from Monterrey at 3:30 a.m. local time and was reported missing about 10 minutes later. It was registered to Starwood Management of Las Vegas, Nevada, according to FAA records. It was built in 1969 and had a current registration through 2015.
Media and celebrities in Mexico sent condolences to Rivera’s family even though authorities still had not confirmed that she was aboard the plane.
“My friend! Why? There is no consolation. God, please help me!” said Mexican pop singer Paulina Rubio on her official Twitter account. Singer Miguel Bose, who appears on the Mexican show “The Mexican Voice” along with Rivera, wrote on his Twitter account: “My dear Jenni, you will always be in my heart. Forever. I love you.”
Also believed aboard the plane were her publicist, Arturo Rivera, her lawyer, makeup artist and the flight crew.
Though drug trafficking was the theme of some of her songs, she was not considered a singer of “narco corridos,” or ballads glorifying drug lords like other groups, such as Los Tigres del Norte. She was better known for singing about her troubles in love and disdain for men.
Her parents were Mexicans who had migrated to the United States. Two of her five brothers, Lupillo and Juan Rivera, are also well-known singers of grupero music.
She studied business administration and formally debuted on the music scene in 1995 with the release of her album “Chacalosa”. Due to its success, she recorded two more independent albums, “We Are Rivera” and “Farewell to Selena,” a tribute album to slain singer Selena that helped expand her following.
At the end of the 1990s, Rivera was signed by Sony Music and released two more albums. But widespread success came for her when she joined Fonovisa and released her 2005 album titled “Partier, Rebellious and Daring.”
Besides being a singer, she is also a businesswoman and actress, appearing in the indie film Filly Brown, which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival, as the incarcerated mother of Filly Brown.
She was filming the third season of “I love Jenni,” which followed her as she shared special moments with her children and as she toured through Mexico and the United States. She also has the reality shows: “Jenni Rivera Presents: Chiquis and Raq-C” and her daughter’s “Chiquis `n Control.”
In 2009, she was detained at the Mexico City airport when she declared $20,000 in cash but was really carrying $52,167. She was taken into custody. She said it was an innocent mistake and authorities gave her the benefit of the doubt and released her.
In 2011, her brother Juan assaulted a drunken fan at a popular fair in Guanajuato. In the face of heavy criticism among her fans and on social networks, Rivera publicly apologized for the incident during a concert in Mexico City, telling her fans: “Thank you for accepting me as I am, with my virtues and defects.”
On Saturday night, Rivera had given a concert before thousands of fans in Monterrey. After the concert she gave a press conference during which she spoke of her emotional state following her recent divorce from former Major League Baseball pitcher Esteban Loaiza, who played for teams including the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I can’t get caught up in the negative because that destroys you. Perhaps trying to move away from my problems and focus on the positive is the best I can do. I am a woman like any other and ugly things happen to me like any other woman,” she said Saturday night. “The number of times I have fallen down is the number of times I have gotten up.”
Rivera had announced in October that she was divorcing Loaiza after two years of marriage.
There have been several high-profile crashes involving Learjets, known as swift, longer-distance passenger aircraft popular with corporate executives, entertainers and government officials.
A Learjet carrying pro-golfer Payne Stewart and five others crashed in northeastern South Dakota in 1999. Investigators said the plane lost cabin pressure and all on board died after losing consciousness for lack of oxygen. The aircraft flew for several hours on autopilot before running out of fuel and crashing in a corn field.
Former Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker was severely injured in a 2008 Learjet crash in South Carolina that killed four people.
That same year, a Learjet slammed into rush-hour traffic in a posh Mexico City neighborhood, killing Mexico’s No. 2 government official, Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino, and eight others on the plane, plus five people on the ground.

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