Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Achieving another Goal in Life

Many years ago, when I began working with people and dealing with working relationships at different level, I instantly knew this was something I would love and enjoy doing it. Upon coming back to Panama, things did not turn out the way I had intended and I ended up studying a master degree in business and human resources administration. I always thought the working experience I enjoyed abroad, opened my horizons and perspective. It added a lot to my life. Studying at college an MBA not only provided me with the latest tools of administration at all levels, but made me realize that acquiring knowledge in a continuing way of all sort is so important if you want to make a difference. Of course, although knowledge and been smart is good and important, more important is to be wise. Wisdom is the ability to use the knowledge and intelligence in a proper and effective way.

Anyways, I finally ended up after the longest 15 months and I reckon it was stressful, challenging, but kept my brain and neurons active. I have to thank God for allowing me the financial means to achieve so, my good ol' friends Alexis and Ariel for been so understanding in numerous times and all those people I have learned to love in the past 2 years who know share part of my life. So many times did I want to spend my leisure time on the beach, at a restaurant, on the park, just about anywhere to share and celebrate our relationships, but I had to sacrificed many of those for the sake of been responsible with the studies.
2010 is almost gone, and can happily say that I am satisfied with this new achievement and hope to make sense of this in addition to the rest of competencies and abilities I have been gifted with to be part of those who make a difference and bring integral solutions in every level wherever God's will lead me to.

Special thanks to Dad and Mom who supported me in many different ways and encouraged me to finish it up during a very difficult situation back on february.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Mom's Legacy

Every-single-day must be a good day to say "I love you mom" and really mean it, not just from the lips-out.

While I am sitting here at a very slow and extremely rainy day at work, thinking, hey...I should be home with mom and the gang, sitting on the couch and sipping tea as probably everyone does on a mother's day I have to think about the legacy that her life has left so far in my life.

I have to remember that though been an imperfect woman, she has shown determination, courage and lots of love.

I do remember vivid episodes of changes she had to make in her character in order to be a better mom and wife. I recall this phase in our family life when she would come home after a long day of work and find such a mess the house and three kids throwing the house upside down and she would get real mad. But after the years passed by and she became maturer she would recognize that loosing her temper would just not change the situation and would just do worse than good. I remember this one time when she came to a messed up home after her work shift and I was expecting her to become mad and she did not. She began calmly giving instructions to set up everything again.

As a young boy I noticed that change and it really made an impact in my life. Today I look back and I can see how her love for her terrible children drove her to make changes in her character for the better raising up of us.

I have to recall all the times when she would be the most influential person in her family (still is)(uncles, grandparents) and would be the first person to be there for them and bring them to make a prayer to God for healing, for consolation, during birthdays and funerals. She became the person to turn during bad weathers and continues to be. Somehow, her life was shaped throughout the years to become what she is and be the support so many people badly need in their hospital's beds.

Special mention to the occasion when she fought a breast cancer and won. I was at the time majoring as a physical therapist and never thought I would have to be involved that much into my mom's physical rehab. Though there was this one particular time, she thought she was not going to make it, she never gave up and the strength God invested in her she hung up to it like a hanger to a clothes bar. She became a stronger woman from that particular experience almost 10 years ago.

This woman is my mom. I am a blessed man to have her as my mom. I could have been born somewhere else perhaps, but God allowed me to be part of a Pandales-Garcia family.

Love you mom.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sobre Valores, Influencia, y Mision de Vida

Mientras espero sentado en un centro de salud mi turno para ser atendido, entre el alboroto de algun nene que ha sido victima de una malvada aguja, los retortijones estomacales y la constante queja general de la mala calidad de atencion, trato de concentrarme en mi lectura matutina del diario, y entre las notas de caracter nacional e internacional de mayor relevancia, llama mi atencion, un articulo de autor desconocido, que hace referencia a "la claridad y lucidez" de pensamiento y toma de decisiones de una popular y mal llamada celebre canta-autora colombiana.

Cuantos de nosotros no habremos coreado en algun momento sus muy famosas lineas, cuantos jovenes de ayer y de hoy no la consideran un icono y ejemplo digno a seguir?, despues de todo, es atractiva, tiene talento, es famosa y baila bien.

Es por ello que me llama la atencion y no deja de preocuparme que alguien con todo el "exito y fama" de este mundo, quien tiene muy bien definido lo que piensa, sea quien ejerza las pautas del juego, quien con su ejemplo ofrezca direccion a un ejercito de jovenes quienes son y seran nuestro relevo generacional y en cuyas manos esta el bienestar social de nuestras naciones. Despues de todo, ya sean funcionales o disfuncionales, seran los formadores de las familias de manana, y llevaran sus formas de vida a todas las esferas de la sociedad, abogados, medicos, politicos, economistas, cientificos, etc.

Creo que es por ello, que nuestra mision y vision de vida debe ser clara, precisa, concisa y puntual. El tenerlo, nos debe llevar a desarrollar valores cristo-centricos que nos lleven a vivir un estilo de vida digno de admirar y ser considerados como roles en toda esfera de nuestras sociedades.

Valores como la lealtad y castidad y la creencia y vivencia de una familia funcional tal como fue disenada por el Creador, se proyectan como escasos, cada vez mas valiosos y cotizados al alza en una sociedad global enganada por Satanas y empenada en vivir separada de Dios.

El llamado es urgente, el tiempo cada vez menos, somos llamados y escogidos a vivir de manera distinta. Fuimos llamados para anunciar las Virtudes de Aquel que nos saco de las tinieblas a Su luz Amirable.

Mientras termino de esperar lo interminable, quiero dejarles con el link de abajo.

Josue P.

Friday, November 12, 2010

This past week two weeks, my mind had been racing with the preparation of a class both written and oral for an exposition in my Labor Economy class. As usual we teamed up to make this one task possible and in the process of researching, collecting and analyzing the data I came across two interesting facts. Our task was to show the tendency of the Panamanian labor force against the the current and mid-term job demand market and its effects over the country's macro economy.

In our teamwork, my job was to analyse the statistics and data found on the internet and make sense of it. One particular fact I found was the unemployment rate and its tendency over the past 20 years since we re-gained our democracy. It showed an almost stable rate of 14% until 2005 when it dropped dramatically to 5.5% . Did not give too much thought to it, until I mentioned it to my uncle who happens to be an economist and whom political point of view is against the imperialism of the developed and rich countries of the world and is more aligned to the cuban revolution and H.Chavez's socialism perspective.

My uncle and I got into a super heated argument about how this 6.5% unemployment rate could or not be true at all. He stated this was a mishandled figure and could not be trusted and went to explain all his point of view which are aligned to the humanistic and socialism way of thinking and I went to dispute the fact that he could not just say this figure is untrue without showing facts and proof that would validate his point of view. My uncle argument ed that even if the rate was that low, all you had to do is open the eyes and look the day to day activities and people and one would just find out that there was no quality life.

Yesterday during our oral presentation, our professor, Dr. Alicia Jimenez just blew my mind in about 15 min. Right before I mentioned the unemployment rate, she interrupted our presentation and explained how this figure was not to be trusted and showed us the formula that was used to come up with that number. In just 10 min. all my uncle had argument ed yesterday, she provided proof, facts and examples that are just irrefutable.

I came home yesterday at night and had to offer and apology to my uncle because he was right and I was wrong...yet again. I explained to him that I am a man of numbers and would not believe something if it is not proven or if it does not offer warranty of been true.

This all led to a whole different conversation, one of those that I will cherish in years to come. He described to me part of his childhood, my dad's and other two uncles' childhood.

He put his mind to work and reminded how not only they were raised to be hard workers but were raised to be smart and self-learners. Turned out that my granddaddy, was a self learner who only got to finish 4th grade, but knew more about philosophy and human history than most of the learned men of his social status. He inherited that to his children who though all different one from another are all wise. Remembers my uncle, granddad would always say, the best inheritance he could provide was to form men and women of good for this society. Now I see where my dad would take that line. Dad would often repeat that while I was growing up as a teenager with a new and much improved focus, namely, Christianity.

On the other hand, my grandma was a hard worker enterpriser and lovely mother and I will add grandma. She carved into my uncles and dad's mind and heart the way of a hard worker who would NOT give up NEVER. My grandma was a very wise woman as well, not only would she raise her four children of hers with ironing, selling goods, cooking fry fish and "tamales"on the flea market and all sort of interesting things apart from her job as a volunteer for the red cross association, but she would plan for the future of her children. She taught all of them how been poor was only temporal and in their mind and hands they had what they needed to overcome it, she taught them how saving every single penny was the best way to invest in the future and she put that into practice. Almost half century ago, when 10K was a ridiculous amount of money for a poor person, she and her family managed to put together that money and buy a piece of land in the middle of nowhere, because she knew that in the future that would be worth much more. How does a woman who barely had any education and let alone any master degree in administration and strategy and all of that would be so clear? It turned out that that piece of land is NOW in the middle of one of the most expensive square feet land in the city and is worthed at least 40 times more than what it cost.

I got to see thru the past yesterday at my uncles's feet, maybe as a consequence of an argument that didn't ended well the previous day, but led to this amazing conversation and me thinking even further about it. What a blessing to see where one come and the reason why one is the way one is. I can find on the Scripture how generational curse goes generation after generation, and how Christ breaks the chain and makes us new beings. I am thankful for my grandparents, immigrants to this land who while not knowing Christ until very late in their lives, had values and taught that to their children, my dad and uncles who did just the same when my siblings and I were growing up. I hope to be up to the task when is my turn to raise a new generation of men and women of good, hard workers, self-learners and most importantly godly men and women who may continue pursuing the ongoing change some of us have embraced for this society and dear country.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Today at work, like almost every Sunday, for the past several months, I did hang out with my sundays' gal. Slow day at the information center, low volume of calls, longer periods of time between call and call. For most of the part I would just listen to her stories about her friends, last halloween party, her family and all sort of interesting stuffs. I would jump in here and there to ask a few questions and answer some others, but that's all.

Over the years, I have learned to keep quite during a conversation, first when I have nothing of real value to add and second to avoid confrontations at the wrong time that would end up wrong. For the past few months though, I have shared with my work-gal a few things about my life, about my faith and about the way I think on some particular issues.

What makes today's hang out stand above the other Sundays, is that I dared to ask her opinion of what she thought about me as a whole in every aspect, in other words, the way she would perceive me as a person... the good, the bad and the ugly. Very few times I have done this with anyone, for it is means, becoming vulnerable to be told what one does not want to be told and yet I felt it was something I wanted to do. Long story short, she tricked me into doing it first because since she does most of the talking in our conversations and though it was not my intention, I was given no other choice.

Finallly her turn was up and among the several things she said, two hit home. First, she said, I am the kind of person that thinks and plans a lot about things but very undecided about taking the step towards it, and second about my self-esteem she had to say that on a scale from 1 to 10, I was natural at 4 and on my best days I could be a solid 7. She would base her diagnosis on very vague knowledge of the real me, since we only have a superficial relationship and would base it on the fact that I speak almost none and on a story I told her once about my first girlfriend and how it affected me.

It got me thinking, and she was not too far away from the reality. As bad as it is, let alone the fact of been on the spotlight in front of a work college, I have to recognize that, on my FODA list, those would be top on my weakness list among others I am well aware of. I recently learned that knowing your weakness, specially those that are not well visible from within, but are obvious from the outside, is important in order to work on them in order to overcome it. Been accountable to others about those is sometime the only effective tool to check on them and keep working until it is overcame.

The other thing she said, I am not sure wether or not she said it in joke or what, but got me thinking even more. She said, she had a feeling that I did not believe in God as a christian and that she felt I was more of an agnostic. If that was a real and honest thought of her, which I have my doubt of, then it is quite a serious statement that reflects only one thing: I may not been portraying Christ's love and message loud and clear enough to others. Now, I am crystal clear about my love to Christ as a consequence to what He has done and what has promised to me, such a statement like that would not get me into doubting that, no way. However, it is kind of disturbing as a check point, to realize that I may not be doing what I am supposed to. Specially if it is true what I once heard about witnessing to others: For some, one will be the only Bible many will ever read.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The other day at class, everyone was assigned to read two chapters of a book that would talk about the Panamanian Laboral Economy and then to be ready to answer questions about it, the following week. Nothing really weird about it, if you are studying at college. But...the catch here, was that the reading was in English and the challenge was for many whose English level was little or null.

However, among the different disciplines represented in class, we have a young lady who is a lawyer and did raise her concern out loud in front of the class. Her argument was that although she handles the language, she decided NOT to read the document because she wanted to be solidary with those who could not read, let alone understand the assignment. Furthermore, she reminded us all, that our mother tongue is Spanish and that when she signed up for the MBA she was not notified about the use of a different language other than Spanish. The professor looked at her in disbelief and very politely, graciously but firmly and convinced, stated that in all her years of educating at a master degree level nationally and internationally, she had never heard such a complain. She explained to us all, that in order to be competitive in an ever growing globalized community, only those with a wide variety of competences and up to the task of overcoming challenges with wisdom and an attitude to learn will succeed. She explained that only those people, would be the leaders in any organization that will guide the boat to safe harbor.

This makes me remember a professor I had last period who recently attended a worldwide seminar about H.R. management in Brazil and gave us an assignment to read and write a paper, which was in Portuguese. We were all in shock, but we all took the challenge. Some googled it and found the document and used the Altavista tool to translate it to Spanish and in doing this,not only learned the lessons but learned to learn. I personally found it interesting that after spending a season in Italy and learning the language, it shared similarities to the Portuguese and Spanish which made it less difficult to do that one assignment.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Overcoming Monotony and Clearing up Some Stuffs

Albert Einstein's quote about monotony is definitely not applicative to me. It reads "The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind. " Personally, I find this completely untrue. Doing the same set of things over and over again, week after week and month after month and now recently year after year, becomes like a poison that kills my already undeveloped creative mind.

For this reason, I am thankful for having shared such a great weekend in the company of some old friends and a new bunch lovely people, young people with a bunch of imperfections, but young people with a common goal, namely, learn to serving God and leading others to Him.

We spent three days and three nights away from the job, studies, family, responsibilities and others important things semi-locked in a hotel in the always colorful and peaceful town of El Valle de Anton out in the countryside. It was a time to be quite and learn from someone who has been where most of us are and with a willing heart to teach and mentor us. It was a time of refreshing the same basic principles of character, attitude and a heart that pleases God, like the one modeled by King David a few thousands of years ago. Those same principles that for different reasons we keep forgetting and neglecting and yet we keep on preaching to those following our lead.

One particular experience stands above the other great lessons and experiences I now keep in my heart and memories. Part of the training we went thru, included serving the people in the community, by means of hosting children parties, working with the disabled kids, hanging out with the elders at the local nursing home, giving away cloth and food to the kids in the far away little towns deep into the mountains and even giving speeches to a group of junior, sophomore and senior school students about self-esteem and motivational speech.

I had to prepare a speech with all needed material, prior to travelling, and was told I would have to talk to a group of teenagers, children of the local town people, who barely finish school and who most never go to college to achieve a higher education. I took the challenge, prepared the needed material, I used every single trick and tool learned recently on my ongoing studies of human resources administration and though I was so nervous at the beginning, the flow of the one hour speech went smooth and I felt I had the undivided attention of the whole seventy-something students listening to this perfect stranger talking to them in the room. I have this great satisfaction in my heart that a seed was seeded and someone else will water it and eventually someone else will harvest it. I knew it, almost instantly, that this is something I want to do either for a living or as a volunteer, whichever the case may be, but I feel this is something I can be good at, and can make a difference in our society by teaching christian values to young people who will be our society's future for good or for bad.

Today, back into my real life and all it includes, I went to class and got to speak with my mentor, professor Hania E., expert psychologist who has spent over two decades teaching and working with people in big and small companies, and involved in changing organizations mindset in order to convert them into successful and profitable companies and businesses and who runs her own Human Resources Consultant Office. I felt so satisfied and joyful in telling her, how meaningful her advises were and how all those hours of sleep and party times sacrificed were so much worth-ed. I remember vividly, for it is still fresh, how I many times got to think how hard her classes were and how demanding but at the same time loving and comprehensive she was and still is, for I am taking yet another course with her this my last period at college. She was a happy mother and mentor hearing to her former and current student behave like a child while telling her the details of the whole experience.

God is clearly, little by little clearing up my panorama and putting all the pieces of the puzzle together into a big picture. My cosmovision is getting clear even more and more and I have come to a few conclusions that are leading me to taking yet some other decisions for the rest of the days I may have left on earth.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Leap of Faith

After a long period of not knowing what would be the outcome of my current job post, I was advised that would be transferred to a proyect where I would have to work afternoon shift from monday till saturday the first 4 weeks and then the off day could be any day of the week per availability.
I should not forget that God has been good and have used different people within the company to keep my position secured and the pay checks flowing amid all these job instability.
However, the new schedule goes against every other activity I take part in, such as classes in college, church services and activities. I started to weight the cons and pros of it. After thinking a bit, I decided that I could put aside the studies for a while, after all, without a job how would I pay the monthly fees, but then, when it comes to not been able to attend church and the discipleship meetings and quality time with my friends, for who knows how long, it struck to me, that it was to high the price to pay. So I have been praying and listening to God and I had to take a choice, not an easy one.
So often I had pray to be able to serve God with my time and abilities and it is what I cherish the most and to throw that away because of a job, well , I had to take one side. I decided to honor God and trust in Him that he would provide a better job, more stable, better paid and one in which I would not have work on sundays and possibly on saturdays either so that I can continue to be part of the things He is doing these days through His church. I chose to believe in God the Provider, who is willing to grant and fullfill his children needs like a job for example.
On friday I spoke with the HR Mgr. and explained to him the circumstances, he understood and wished he had another schedule available. He was pleased to see that I was advising him upfront so that he could allocate my position to someone else who could take it. I am convinced I took the right decision. The hard part I feel though, is to explain this to some people who would be disappointed. My family understood and is fully supporting my decision in prayers and economically.
Right after taking the decision, I got two job offers and as a write this, another one came in. I am in awe and tears come to my eyes when I think how good God is. Knowing God thru mere knowledge is very important, but nothing compares to experiment God's power in ones' own life. This God that provides and makes miracles and honors those who honor Him I have met several times in my life and family's, but everytime around is such a wonderful experience. The deep night just before the light of the morning comes up, the fresh air of life taken in, after a long period underwater, boy, this can only be experience thru overcoming hardships and suffering in God's hand. A few days back I read that God is really dishonored when we do not believe He can make it happen, even more than when an atheist claims there is no God. I know He will provide, I feel it, I have rest my faith on the One.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Woman to Admire - Mom

Through the ages, many have attempted to describe with eloquent words and poetry the balance of determination, grace and fragility all wrapped up in what we call "Mom".
I remember as a child been told several times the story of a woman who grew up in a very humble home, youngest one to four children who set her mind to reach the stars. One particular story always left an impression on me, and it was the fact that her dreams were to become a physician, a doctor, but boy, was it expensive and at the time, out of her family's financial possibility. However her passion to help people was stronger than her limitation, so she opted for an close career and graduated as a Lab Technician and Biology Teacher. However her youth dream was alive and it passed onto Ana my sister who embraced it since even before high school, and she made well sure to nourish it.
It was not an easy task, my sister, a smart girl who graduated with honors in school, soon came to discover first-hand the tough reality of med-school and countless were the times when she would give up just out of the pressure, stress and hardships. But there was mom, who would see to it that her daughter would find every possible mean to succeed. Mom would pray against the odds of the unknown, against the spirits of failure that would pass by from time to time and many were the miracles provided as answers to the woman's prayer. We saw during these last five years, God moving His hand in favor for Ana, against adverse forecasts, we saw God honor my mom's prayer.
Today, I can not describe how ecstatic and joyful I myself feel and not to mention Mom, after watching her daughter, take her diploma all dressed up in front of a couple of thousands of people. She did it, she was the one who studied and learned a profession, but it wouldn't be possible without God's intervention as a direct consequence of my mother's intense and non-stopping prayer life and support. Everyone in our family had to sacrify something for her to be able to study an expensive career, but Mom was the one who sacrified the most during these past five years and she did it with so much love, the kind of love only a mother can spare to their children, the kind of love which the Bible describe as un-interested and we all are bound to learn that, not only toward those who we love but those who are not so close to us as well.
Thanks Mom, your example is so powerful and have left an impression on me for the rest of my life. You have taught me, not to give up just because it is not easy or there seems no way around it. There is always a way and your faith in God have prove it again and again.