Monday, April 22, 2019

Today we started Toastmasters with a pray-in by Jesse G. Our Toastmaster was Cortez E. and our general evaluator was Scott D. Our first speaker’s speech was on places he had been, from city to city, and it was very hard to comprehend. Santos F.’s speech was about moving people’s property – he got stuck on a few words like “um,” “well,” and “you know” – but overall, he did really well. Carlos E. spoke about dancing from the back of the room and why we have to dance, when we clearly already talked about why we have to dance! Dante had a great speech on proper speech presentations. I gave a speech about life on the Beto unit with all the drama, humor, action and excellence one could bring. Dustin F. gave a speech on “Gone Fishing” where he basically described how to fish in a river and a lake. Being from the country, fishing is a big deal, so I rated him pretty high on his speech.

Overall, we all did a great job, and our class is getting better. This class is vital to overcoming the fear of speaking in front of large crowds. Toastmasters has produced real confidence to become better public speakers, and has also taught us how to memorize and develop skills we are going to need once released.  

David G. (a.k.a. “Dashiki”)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

We had an eventful day in class – boy oh boy, it was a wing-dinger. We knew going in what part of our day had in store … but they had more in the inventory than displayed. We took the weekly test on Living in the Village. Some decided to absentmindedly distract others from focusing by using their clipboards as music instruments. After testing on credit card importance and retirement, we had a PowerPoint presentation conducted by the notorious Jason J., a.k.a. “should have been gone with his FI-2 self,” a.k.a. Sweet Baywatch. He taught us about IRAs and a retirement savings plans. We had plenty of questions and received feedback. Then came the real punch: the names test. We knew that it was coming, we just were not sure when. Well, today was that day. In order to pass, one had to make a 90 or higher. Out of the 76 participants that took this test, the majority seemed to have a hard time remembering the names of their peers. As of the posting of this journal, the level of homework is not known. But if history repeats itself, it will be in the neighborhood of having to write each name that one did not know at least 100 times, plus acquire information from each person and write a 250 word essay on that individual as well. As if that was not bad enough, some failed to write their own name at the top of their paper, hence they will also be required to do additional homework. For that they were welcomed with a yellow slip. Once it was established that the vast majority of us had “glass in our jaws,” they decided to ease the monotony with three pray outs. All three are headed home in their progress and on their journey to freedom, becoming better citizens in society.

Finally, we moved on to the famous media team with clips of our Fun Day. This was to aid the next class in “breaking the ice.” We ended the day with a motivational video and high hopes on what tomorrow may bring. No matter how one explains it, in the end, we all win because we are Legendary ‘19.  

Floyd H. (a.k.a. “Tighty Whitey”)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Today was a wonderful day. Not only did Jimmy W. bless us with his presence, but his teaching skills were remarkable. He thoroughly explained Chapter Six of our entrepreneurship workbook. Our learning objectives consisted of three things: first to recognize the fundamental importance of cash flow analysis; second to prepare a cash flow statement and a budget; and finally, to be able to identify other financial tools. His many years of experience made it easy for us to understand his examples. He explained that cash flow is not the same as profit. He showed us how profit is desirable, but cash pays the bills. He also explained that a cash flow statement should not be confused with a budget. They are in fact complete opposites. He explained that budgets are helpful, but knowing the amount of cash you need to pay the bills is reality. We will all definitely all benefit from the knowledge that he shared with us today. We all are excited to see more of him in the future and learn even more from him.

We would like to thank him for the knowledge he shared and for the tools that are provided by PEP. We also would like to thank Dustin for pouring out the knowledge he possesses. He provided a lot of very useful information that will definitely help prepare us to adjust our business plans as well as having our numbers right. His goal was to make sure our initial investment exceeds our expenses. Special thanks to Dustin and the others who continue to give back. We are truly grateful.

Estevan H. (a.k.a. “Paragraph”)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Today was a good day in PEP. David F. brought us a movie to watch. The movie was a reward for the accountability group winners. We didn’t come in until the afternoon, but whole day was a blast. We just brought some of the Phase One guys into the classroom the other day for orientation, so they asked a plethora of questions about the program. The two movie selections we had for the day were the new Spiderman movie and a movie called Hunter Killer, which was a movie about some guys in the navy trying to avoid the bad guy.

Earlier this morning I went to the computer lab to finish up some of my assignments. I really like the computer lab class because it allows you to feel more connected to the outside world. The computer lab gives us the opportunity to interact with Microsoft Office programs like Excel, Word and PowerPoint. We also get to read the letters from our business plan advisors and check out our market research data that we received. Our business plans are coming together pretty well with all the great insights we have been getting.

Back on the pod today, we celebrated one of our brother’s birthdays. He’s a big Cowboys fan, and he wanted us to say “Go Cowboys!” for his birthday song. After that, we relaxed and watched some TV. And that’s another day in PEP.

Jose H. (a.k.a. “Dora the Explorer”)


“It is in the quiet crucible of your personal and private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God’s greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you have been through.”

~ Wintley Phipps    

Without a doubt, this quote has changed the way I think and helped me grow. This quote has greatly inspired me, because it is a reminder that when we suffer, there is a reward on the other side. God is behind the scenes, watching to see how we deal with our private sufferings so that He can bring the blessing into our lives as well as those around us. It does not matter what we expect out of life, but rather what life expects from us. We are confronted everywhere with fate, with a chance of achieving something, through our own sufferings. The way this has changed my outlook and the way I think is that I cannot change my life situation, but I can change myself as a result of my situation. Rather than the mere gratification and satisfaction of drives and instincts as a result of one’s environment, a mature man concerns himself with fulfilling a meaning, a destiny.

My feet are firmly planted, not on a playground, but on a battleground, and the battle is for my faith and meaning in life, as well as for my soul. The Bible says we are doomed to sin and harm ourselves, that we are doomed to die, to suffer, to fail. Thank God that there is a pathway to a much more noble way to live that is within reach. That pathway is faith in God and His promise of grace, love and blessings, and most importantly spiritual growth.

Samuel H. (a.k.a. “Zebra Cake”)