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Bliss. Strength. Love. Peace.

This is me playing on my Yamaha piano keyboard Lord of all Hopefulness, Lord of all Joy, one of my favourite hymns I learnt from the Starehe Boys' hymnal. More on that hymn in the story of mine below.


For the last five years or so when I was asked by my friends how I had been doing, my reply went invariably like this, "I have been hivi hivi!" By hivi hivi, I meant that my life had been a roller-coaster: active and creative on some days while inactive and dull in others. I borrowed those two Swahili words (hivi hivi) from the late Mr. Joseph Gikubu, one of the three founders of Starehe Boys' Centre, who I heard use them in his speeches though I am not quite sure what he meant in his case.

And for sure, my life had always been hivi hivi in the past five years. But I am gratefully glad to report I am now taking control of my life. Let me narrate to you how I have done it and how I plan to improve even more.

To be honest, it has always been my wish to be an early-riser since I was at the university in JKUAT ten years ago. But you know what? I would set a resolution to rise early, get myself psyched up for it with a positive mental attitude and tell myself I could do it. But after a few days of early-rising, I would fizzle out and lapse back to indolence-mode by sleeping for as long as my body wished or as circumstances demanded of me. And, believe it or not, I had gotten stuck in that cycle for close to ten years.

Last October, I resolved I had to change, nipende nisipende[1]. Surely, there was no way I was going to continue wasting this precious life of mine living in defeat. So do you know what I did?

Okay, I decided to claim victory over myself one step at a time. Don't they say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?

First, I told myself no matter what time I woke up, I had to make my bed, say the Lord's Prayer, clean my room, take a shower and jog to Kiserian Town which is about two kilometres from my home. It didn't matter whether I woke up at 6.20am or 2.15pm; what mattered was to do all those tasks in that order.

I kept that resolution for several weeks including on one Sunday when I didn't note what time I woke up. It just caught me by surprise that I was about to jog to Kiserian Town at around 5.00pm.

After successfully keeping up with that resolution for more than a month, I decided to up my game. This time round, I told myself I had to get up at 5.30am with the help of my phone alarm, make my bed, say the Lord's Prayer, clean my room, take a shower and read. And do you know which tune I set for the alarm sound? The Kenya national anthem whose second verse begins like this, "Let one and all arise..."

But I told myself I was free to either jog to Kiserian Town or go back to bed depending on how I felt emotionally. The important task was just to rise at 5.30am and stay awake till after 7.00am.

You know what? I again successfully kept that resolution for more than a month probably because I wasn't hard on myself. What was encouraging to note was that the days I jogged to Kiserian Town were more than the days I chose to go back to bed after 7.00am. As a result, I lost the excess weight that used to make me sick with shame.

Then as 2018 began about two months ago, I set an even higher goal of waking up a bit earlier at 5.00am. And in the last three weeks, I have told myself I have to jog to Kiserian Town after breakfast no matter how I feel emotionally. For as a fantastic book titled Glencoe Health: A Guide to Wellness put its, physical exercises reduce fatigue and increase energy as well as improve mood and outlook. I have successfully kept those two resolutions so far. That's why I was gratefully glad to let you know I am now taking control of my life.

My new challenge, or rather goal, is to make each day count. I desire to be spending my days productively and enjoyably as I sang in one of the songs in the videos' section of this website. (You can listen to it if you wish by clicking on the "video" link in the menu at the top of this website.) So far, I have identified reading, writing and playing the piano as my preferred ways of spending my days.

Like I desire to be regularly posting an enlightening, entertaining and inspiring story in this lovely website of mine. And do you know why I have mentioned reading as one of my other preferred way of spending my days? Because, as all great authors can testify, to be a skilful writer you have to be an avid reader as well.

I am asking God to connect me to at least one destiny-builder who will believe in what I will be writing so much that he will hook me up to the executives of a global firm who will want to advertise their products or services in this website. And once I start earning, I will include travelling, public-speaking, movie-watching and song-production as my other preferred ways of spending my days.

But as of movie-watching, I will limit myself to one fascinating movie per week, preferably on a Sunday afternoon. I am looking forward to watching westerns, cartoons, comedies, musicals, travelogues, documentaries, war films and Biblical epics like Samson & Delilah. Given the handsome and confident young man I am growing up to be as I take control of my life, I especially think I need to watch Samson & Delilah just as a reminder of how women can ruin a man.

Yes, I desire to make each day of my life count by spending it productively and enjoyably. After all, the full use of today is the best preparation for tomorrow. And being the prayerful young man that I am, I have again asked God for help in achieving that endeavour, this time by playing for Him on the piano that wonderful old hymn Lord of all Hopefulness, Lord of all Joy (see photo above).

That hymn is made up of four verses. The first verse is of asking God for bliss in my heart as I get out of bed in the morning; the second, of strength in my heart to carry out my activities during the day; the third, of love in my heart in the evening as I meditate; and the last, of peace in my heart as I retire to bed at the end of the day.

Having known how it feels to wake up in the morning filled with bitterness over what has been done to me in past, of how demoralizing it is to be bored silly during the day and why it is important to have a good night's sleep as a preparation for a better tomorrow, I have felt every word of that hymn in my heart as I played it to God on my piano keyboard here in my parents' home. I beseech you to also pray for those four virtues - bliss, strength, love and peace - as you go about your daily life.

By the way, as I resolve to be posting new stories regularly, let me apprise you, my dear reader, that I am currently sorting out issues in my life. So I am uncertain when I will post my next story. Please be patient with me if you happen not to see any new story here in the next several days. And if the friends you have introduced to this website ask you why I am not posting new stories, tell them I am on a sabbatical in Mongolia.

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[1] nipende nisipende is a popular Swahili phrase here in Kenya which means "whether I like it or not".

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Thriving

I have extracted this photo with permission from a website called Mashable. All rights reserved worldwide.


Just as I was praying for guidance on how to begin this story of mine, a new perspective popped into my mind which forced me to interrupt my prayers to note it down on my exercise book. Of the perception, it was a revelation that I have repeatedly prayed for financial breakthroughs so that I can afford a decent car yet I haven't thought of what I will give in return for getting that blessing. That was an insightful new way of thinking. So let me think about it some more.

Let me first say I am not interested in those get-rich-quick schemes that I have come across in my Facebook and LinkedIn social media accounts. Neither am I excited about participating in those popular local promotions like "Shinda MaMilli na Safaricom". For as the Book of Proverbs counsels, whoever is eager to get rich will not go unpunished. So I want to get rich from the labour of my mind, heart and hands because, like Abe Lincoln, I now believe a dollar earned is better than a dollar found.

Because I want to prosper from the work of my hands, I have resolved to work harder in posting interesting stories and videos in this lovely blog of mine. I will strive to write a story daily, or at least regularly, unlike before when I would pen great stories in a series of several few days after which I would lapse into like nine-days indolence-mode during which I would write nothing. Yes, nothing at all. My prayer is that once I start writing regularly, as I have promised to be doing, my labour will win the respect of the executives of such global firms as Microsoft and Colgate-Palmolive who will request to advertise their companies' products on this website of mine.

Now that I have promised to be writing regularly, God-willing, I have decided to up my game by playing with four rules I have set. Let me mention them to you.

First, I will refrain from talking ill of anyone. Believe you me, there have been times I have been tempted to vent my spleen in the stories I post here on some people who have mocked or mistreated me along the way. Not any more. Like Benjamin Franklin once said, I will speak ill of no one and talk all the good I know of everybody. So if you've been at loggerheads with me in the past, don't worry - I won't say it here.

Secondly, I will strive to make my stories reasonably long. My younger brother Symo, a fan of this blog, once complained to me that my stories are too short - something a reviewer of this website mentioned when I unsuccessfully applied for Google ads some time in 2016. That's why I have resolved to write longer stories while keeping them fresh and engaging.

Thirdly, I will now be more original. Back in 2016 when I became interested in copyright laws, I happened to read the fourth page of my NIV Bible where the publisher's name and other nitty-gritty details are listed. From that page, I learnt that anyone is free to quote any verse from the NIV Bible without permission from the publisher provided the quoted verses don't constitute more than 25% of the written work.

And from that notice in my Bible, I have decided that at least 75% of the contents in the stories I will write must be my own words. That means if I will have to quote any book (in which case I will always link my audience to the Amazon page from where they can purchase the book), I will not let the quoted text account for more than 25% of my story.

And lastly as pertains to my new set of writing rules, I will strive to add humour to my stories. I have always been interested in developing a sense of humour ever since I first applied to top American colleges in 2006. The colleges, I noted, were not only interested in academic excellence and extra-curricular involvement but also in such qualities as maturity, integrity, creativity, self-confidence, sense of humour, warmth of personality, concern for others and reaction to setbacks.

Having had a suppressed childhood, I must admit I haven't been as humorous as I would have wished. Like during my entire close-to six years stay at Starehe Boys' Centre where I had my high school as well as college education, I only remember cracking three jokes. Only three. Let me tell you one of them.

Back in 2005 when I was sitting for a major practicals Music exam in Fourth Form, there was a metal plate placed outside the Music Centre with an instruction that read as follows:
EXAMINATIONS:
DO NOT PASS
Of course the calligrapher who wrote that instruction on the metal plate meant to warn passers-by not to tress-pass into the Music Centre because of examinations taking place. But I interpreted it to mean that we, the students taking the practicals Music exam, should not pass the examinations.

I pointed out to Mr. Matthew Brooks, a talented young man from England who was volunteering as a Music teacher at Starehe Boys' Centre, about my interpretation of the instruction - obviously while pointing at the metal plate - and he burst into a big laughter. For me having tickled a mzungu[1], that joke remains one of my proudest high school achievements.

Later on in 2008 when I went astray at JKUAT, other than the confidence and courage I mentioned in my previous story in this website, I also desired to acquire a sense of humour - something I have repeatedly given a shot in the last seven years since I took up writing as a hobby. It has dawned on me that in my attempt to be humorous, I at times resorted to perversity and vulgar language. Like I cracked several dirty jokes in emails to my circle of friends a few years ago which I hope my Christian buddies forgave me because it goes against the teachings of the Bible. Ordinarily, you'd expect me to be feeling guilty about it but am not. Why? Because I now know those are part of mistakes we all make when we attempt something new.

Even though I had a suppressed childhood, I was brought up as a disciplined and morally-upright boy thanks to the teachings I had in church as well as the beatings I endured at home and in school, especially at Noru-Moru where I had much of my primary school education. So I never cracked dirty jokes in my teenage years including the three that I have told you I punned during my stay at Starehe Boys' Centre. My first dirty joke I recall was when I was admitted at Thika Nursing Home after I was apprehended when I went astray at JKUAT.

Well, there was this lady who worked in the nursing home but wore a different uniform from that of other nurses. From her physique, I could tell she was 50 years or so. I became curious to know her role in the nursing home, something I asked her at one time but she didn't answer me for a reason I am unable to remember.

When I asked her the second time, she replied, "Just observe what I am doing. Watch where I am going and how I am doing my work."

After she paused to see if I had understood her point, I inquired, "Even when you go to the toilet?"

She turned to look at me closely with a facial expression that showed she was like, "What's wrong with this young man?"

But as I have said, I have cracked even dirtier jokes since then. So as I strive to be humorous in the stories I will be posting here, my jokes shall have to remain clean and witty.

Yes, I will strive to be humorous. I beseech you to join me in this journey of cultivating cheerfulness. Lighten up! We live in a world where people take themselves and their decisions seriously: I have good news for you - nothing is that important. Honestly!

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[1] Mzungu is a Swahili term for a white man.

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