Thoughts on “Broken Paradise” and stolen freedom

I have been reading the book Broken Paradise by Cecilia Samartin. It is the story of two cousins who lived in Cuba during the time that Fidel Castro came to power. This book is a beautifully written work that really pulls the heart strings with its real characters and moving story. broken-paradise

End of the world, the world after a great crisis, rule under a crazy government books like the Hunger Games and Divergent (I love them! At least Hunger Games, I haven’t read Divergent…yet but I liked the movie!) are easy to get caught up in and led us to imagine ourselves as heroes and heroins in a world that doesn’t exist ….and forget the reality of it all. When Cuba was taken over by the Communists and their leader, Fidel Castro, the people didn’t know he was a bad guy. They thought he was going to be the leader their country needed. They didn’t even realize what was happening and before they knew it their land, horses, food, religion, money was taken away from them and “distributed evenly”. Communism is the idea that tries to rid social classes and money and create a world “utopia” where everyone is equal. No one is poor, no one is rich. It is a classless, stateless society where everyone shares everything. In theory, it sounds like a good idea. But in reality it means: the government decides on how many children you can have, tell you what books you can and cannot read or write, what kind of house and job you can have, what you can believe. It steals people’s money and dreams and lives. The government is in absolute control. You aren’t smart enough to make your own decisions, the government should take care of you and make them for you. And if you are not “pro-communist” well, you get thrown in jail…or worse. Your own thoughts and opinions are not your own or are not allowed. Communism is anti-freedom.

People, millions of people, have lived through experiences through communism that ring scarily close to books like the Hunger Games and Divergent. I guess reading Broken Paradise was a  wake-up call/reminder. Freedom can be stolen, so we must protect it. People were made to be creative and have goals and pursue them. The government should be there to create a system of protection…not be a provider. When a government is big enough to give you everything you have, it is big enough to take it all away. – Thomas Jefferson. We need to vote, we need to get involved, we need to protect our freedoms. People in Cuba lived normal lives, they were just like us. It just took one person to take over the country and take away their lives. If you are rich, donate-help people. If you are poor, (like me…I make 13,000$ a year) keep working, keep dreaming but don’t think that taking money that isn’t yours from the rich is a solution. We cannot make decisions for other people (we can try to influence them…but we cannot force them). We cannot force people to do what we would want to do with their money, it just isn’t right. Would you want someone to do that to you? What we can do is focus on ourselves, and strive on being the best person we can be. The most free society is made up of good people… people doing good things because they choose too. You change the world by being the change.

thoughts on leftovers and “Chopped”…

One of my favorite shows to watch is “Chopped” where chefs battle against each other by trying to create awesome dishes out of the various (often weird) foods that they pull out of a basket. I just watched a “Chopped” episode where every food is a leftover. Some of the foods the chefs had to work with were leftover french fries, chili, German chocolate cake. Wow! I couldn’t imagine with making something delicious out of those items.

My Mom has a strange ability to use and re-invent leftovers. Probably because our family has 8 people in it! My Mom’s best leftover remake was using all the basically empty salad dressings and sauces and sour cream and cream cheese and dumping all of these ingredients into a bag along with chicken breasts and ….making it into a marinade. I remember watching in horror as my Mom’s unholy mixture flavored our dinner. But, it was amazing how it tasted. You would never think that many ingredients or different flavors would create something so delicious!

Other things I like leftover: mac and cheese…so good!

I was wondering if there any dishes you prefer to eat as a “leftover”? Do you have any awesome ways you reinvent a leftover dish?


Photo Friday: 2 days before I moved to the East Coast…

photo credit: google images

photo credit: Google images

Days before I moved to the East Coast in 2012, a wild fire started near my hometown of Colorado Springs, Colorado. I had gone on a walk that day and took off my flip flops along a path. When my feet hit the soft dirt, it burned. The dirt was boiling hot. The air was dry and you could smell the trees literally drying out. I remember thinking that if someone struck a match, it would send this little forest up in flames. A few hours later, it happened. I will never forget seeing that first column of thick smoke in a crevice of the Rocky Mountains, dangerously close to the city. The smoke was everywhere…filling the sky with a white and gray haze. The smell was stronger, permeating everything it touched. The picture above is the Garden of the Gods, one of my all time favorite hiking spots and spots in general. (Garden of the Gods IS A MUST SEE for adventurers!) It was awful flying away from my home state not knowing what would happen and wishing I could stay to help somehow. Colorado Springs did survive, but many families lost their homes. Anyway, a little bit of a sad photo Friday but this picture isn’t just a picture it’s a memory of how close the place I loved was to being destroyed. Don’t take things for granted!Photo Friday

new things: Photo Friday

I would like to start a new thing on my blog of randomness. A new thing called, “Photo Friday”, I will try and make sure it is done every Friday, however, I don’t have any access to the internet at my house and I work all day long on Fridays so Photo Friday may occur on another day of the week…but I will try my best to keep it on Friday!


About Photo Friday:
My family is spread across the entire country. I live on the East Coast…my closest sister is 5 hours away and my farthest sister lives clear across the country in Washington.We have all been really close and try and call each other as much as we can but we still miss out on so much of each others lives. I started a little thing I called, “Pic of the day” between us, where each of us have to send a random picture to each other each day. It could be something you saw, something you are doing, something you think is funny, something that touched you…whatever! This has been so much fun! With that inspiration, I thought I would share a photo to my blog hopefully every week. A photo that made me laugh, raise an eyebrow, was stunning, thought provoking, random. and perhaps worth a thousand words.

With that, hopefully Photo Friday will be starting tomorrow….so stay tuned!

Question: The saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”…agree or disagree?

Life Lessons from Gone With the Wind

Yesterday I watched a movie I haven’t watched in …..FOREVER. Even though its been probably over 10 years, I remembered a few things about Gone With the Wind…giant hoop skirts, southern plantations, Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, Vivian Leigh as Scarlet O’Hara, and I remembered the movie was sad. After watching it last night, I was struck by the sadness of it all. It wasn’t just a little sad, it was heartbreaking! I felt like bursting into tears. There was so much loss, so many words not said, so many lives torn apart. I really couldn’t stop thinking about this movie vivian leahfor hours into the night…and I took some things to heart.

Practical Life Lessons from Gone With the Wind:

Don’t chase after the Ashley’s in life and miss the great guy you have right in front of you.This is probably the biggest lesson I got out of this movie. Don’t waste your time on a person that is with someone else (let alone married…never do that!!). Scarlet had told Ashley her feelings before he ever even got married…he could’ve chosen Scarlet, but he didn’t! If the person you like doesn’t like you…MOVE ON! Stop pining over the dream of them…you could be missing out on the person who is quite perfect for you. “No, I don’t think I’ll kiss you, although you need kissing badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.” -Rhett Butler.

If you are an Ashley…stop it! If there is someone in your life that is your friend…maybe even your ex…maybe you even care about them…BUT you don’t see a future with them (and you get married!!!) stop stringing them along. It might be hard to do because you don’t want to hurt them but you are doing far more damage by letting them hope and not be able to move onto better things! “Ashley, you should have told me years ago that you loved her and not me, and not left me dangling with your talk of honor. But you had to wait till now, now when Melly’s dying. To show me that I could never be any more to you than, than this Watling woman is to Rhett … And I’ve loved something that doesn’t really exist. Somehow, I don’t care. Somehow, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter one bit.” -Scarlet to Ashley

Don’t be too proud to tell people, “I’m sorry.” If only Scarlet would have learned this earlier….how different her life would have turned out. Own up to your mistakes and apologize…before it is too late!“My darling, you’re such a child. You think that by saying “I’m sorry,” all the past can be corrected.”-Rhett to Scarlet.

Money isn’t everything. When we become obsessed and willing to do anything for money…we slowly become poisoned. Scarlet lived for money and it slowly destroyed her. When Scarlet married Rhett she became filthy rich. She could have anything she could possibly want. Yet her life seemed so depressing. There was no laughter no kindness and very little love. “I liked to think that Bonnie was you, a little girl again, before the war, and poverty had done things to you. She was so like you, and I could pet her and spoil her, as I wanted to spoil you. But when she went, she took everything.”– Rhett to Scarletclark gable

Learn how to communicate. Scarlet and Rhett were constantly crossing signals. Take a risk and tell your significant other how you really feel and what they mean to you. Rhett Butler: “I’m leaving you, my dear. All you need now is a divorce and your dreams of Ashley can come true. “
Scarlett: “Oh, no! No, you’re wrong, terribly wrong! I don’t want a divorce. Oh Rhett, but I knew tonight, when I… when I knew I loved you, I ran home to tell you, oh darling, darling!”
Rhett Butler: “Please don’t go on with this, Leave us some dignity to remember out of our marriage. Spare us this last.”
Scarlett: “This last? Oh Rhett, do listen to me, I must have loved you for years, only I was such a stupid fool, I didn’t know it. Please believe me, you must care! Melly said you did.”
Rhett Butler: “I believe you. What about Ashley Wilkes?”
Scarlett: “I… I never really loved Ashley.”
Rhett Butler: “You certainly gave a good imitation of it, up till this morning. No Scarlett, I tried everything. If you’d only met me half way, even when I came back from London.”
Scarlett: “I was so glad to see you. I was, Rhett, but you were so nasty.”
Rhett Butler: “And then when you were sick, it was all my fault… I hoped against hope that you’d call for me, but you didn’t.”
Scarlett: “I wanted you. I wanted you desperately but I didn’t think you wanted me.”

Don’t give up! Scarlet is a person that never gave up. She is a fighter. Fight for the people you love and never give up on them (other than if they are an Ashley). “I can’t let him go. I can’t. There must be some way to bring him back. Oh, I can’t think about this now! I’ll go crazy if I do! I’ll think about it tomorrow. But I must think about it. I must think about it. What is there to do? What is there that matters? Tara! Home. I’ll go home. And I’ll think of some way to get him back.”-Scarlet O’Hara