My Answered Prayers in 2018
Wow! It seems like it was just the other day I was ushering 2018 with a prayer. And now as I write this story, the year will end in less than two weeks' time. How time flies!
This year, I developed a policy of taking God into working partnership in all my problems and activities. Today, let me share with you, my dear reader, the prayers God answered for me this year. In so doing, I hope to encourage or inspire you to commit your plans to God as well as cast your cares on Him.
Well, God has answered numerous prayers of mine since the dawn of 2018. I would have loved to tell you about them all but because time wasting is a vice, let me cut the chit-chat and tell you only about two which He answered concerning this lovely blog of mine. Only two.
As you might probably have discerned, this blog is my notebook where I record my thoughts. It's also a blackboard where I share what I learn with the world. Before the year 2016, I used to run another blog I called "Polly". The problem with that blog was that it had stories full of lies, exaggeration and plagiarism. It also didn't generate any income.
When I re-branded the blog in early 2016 with the intention of posting in it stories that are original, I tried to create a pop-up form for collecting feedback from readers like you. But oh my! That turned out to be stressful. For several days, I tried and tried to make a pop-up form that would send messages to my email address to no success. And when I turned for help in internet forums, nobody came through to my aid and several people complained I was a nuisance in the forums. Eventually, I gave up on the idea of creating a pop-up form.
This year, I decided to again give creating a pop-up form a try. Before embarking on the venture, I asked God for guidance through prayer. Then I turned to Google which directed me to a website where someone had taken the trouble to show how pop-up forms are implemented. And wa! I learnt from that website that creating pop-up forms isn't as easy as I had thought. It needs a lot of advanced coding.
Thankfully, the owner of that website had sample pop-up forms which were available for anyone to use for free. All I had to do was download the pop-up form files and then upload them to my blog. As simple as that.
But life has a way of throwing unexpected challenges at us. And that's what happened when I uploaded the files to my blog directory because they disorganized my web-pages. After three days of poring over the uploaded files which had esoteric code, I managed to trace and diagnose the sections that were causing the problem. And presto! My blog finally had a fully-functioning pop-up form. I urge you to visit the feedback page of this blog and click the blue button that asks for your feedback to see the pop-up form I am telling you about.
When I reflect on that success in having a pop-up form in my blog, I am led to strongly believe that it was God's guidance in my wanderings through the internet that made it possible. Ha! That reminds me of the following verse of one of my favourite hymns:
The other prayer God answered this year concerning this blog is having adverts in it. Back in 2016 when I rebranded the blog to what it looks like now, I tried to win advertisers to no avail. Like I sent proposal letters to several Fortune 500 companies but they went unanswered. Then when I applied for Google ads for like five times, my requests kept on getting rejected on grounds that my blog had too many photos and little meaningful content. Eventually, I gave up on Google ads.
Be my strength in hours of weakness,
In my wanderings be my guide,
Through endeavour, failure , danger,
Father be thou at my side.
In June this year, I decided to once more apply for Google ads. But before doing so, I got rid of all stories in the blog that were too short; I retained only the long ones. Then I turned to God for blessings. And when I applied for Google ads, I kept on praying for success.
At first, the Google Adsense team seemed to be taking forever to process my request. But after about six days of waiting, I was elated to receive an email from Google Adsense team that began, "Congratulations! Your account is now fully approved." How exciting! That was really God at work.
I have read testimonials of some people who have quit their jobs after putting Google ads on their websites. Some have even hired several employees with the revenue earned from the ads. Such testimonials have filled me with hope that I could also become self-reliant from earnings of the ads you are seeing in this lovely blog of mine. As I hope to make big money from those Google ads, all I am now telling God are the words of David in Psalm 90:17:
Enough about me, my dear reader. How about you? How has your year been? And in what ways has God been helpful to you? Over to you!
Lord, my God, be kind to me.
Make everything I do successful.
Yes, make it successful.
If you've enjoyed this story of mine on my prayers that God answered in 2018, you might also enjoy another one I wrote at the beginning of the year on "My Prayer for 2018". Just click on that link in blue to dive into the story.
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In his book, How to Develop Self-confidence & Influence People by Public-speaking, Dale Carnegie tells a story of a banker in his public-speaking class who had been assigned a task of giving a speech before the class. When the day arrived for the banker to deliver the speech, he found out he had nothing to talk about. He hastily bought a Forbes magazine and saw an article in it titled "You Have Only Ten Years to Succeed". On the way to class, he read it, not because he was interested in the article but because he wanted to have something to say during his turn to speak.
When the time for him to speak came, he stood up and attempted to talk convincingly and interestingly on the contents of the article. Poor man! He had not digested and had not assimilated what he was trying to say. Consequently, there was no real message in him seeking an outlet, and his whole manner and tone revealed it unmistakeably. There was a surfeit of Forbes magazine in the speech but regrettably, little of him. This is because he had superficially gleaned his facts from the magazine. So his speech sounded dry, disconnected and undigested. He had not thought over his subject adequately. It had not elicited his enthusiasm. He did not feel what he was saying deeply enough and make it worthwhile expressing. His speech was flat, flavourless and unprofitable.
After reflecting on that attempt by the banker to give a speech as Dale Carnegie told it in his enlightening book, I have discovered it bears resemblance with the kind of learning that most of us undergo in school. As in, we don't learnt with the intention of understanding ourselves and the world around us better. Instead, we just fill our minds with facts for the sole purpose of passing exams and then forget what we have crammed a few weeks after sitting for the exams. That's not true learning.
True learning, the kind that makes us wise, creative and knowledgeable, should be intellectually and emotionally arousing. I just like the way Albert Einstein, the greatest genius who ever lived, described the process of learning in a letter to his son. He wrote:
That is the way to learn most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don't notice that the time passes.When I reflect on my life so far, I am of the opinion that I first began practising true learning when I started enjoying Biology during my high school years. To tell you the truth, I didn't like the subject that much when I was in Form One in 2002 because all we studied that year was how to classify living things. But as my high school years rolled on, I came to like Biology so much that by the time I was in Form Four, it had evolved into my favourite subject. I remember feeling high on several occasions after revising Biology during night preps. Little wonder that I scored an 'A' in the subject in my KCSE exams.
I also practised some true learning when I was in Starehe Institute where I first learnt how to navigate through the Windows Operating System. During one night in my first days in the institute in 2006, I became so excited as I learnt how to create a slide-show presentation using Microsoft Power-point. And later on in my time in the institute, I came to enjoy creating computer programs using Visual Basic. I used to find it exhilarating every time I coded a program and it worked.
Besides computer-programming, the other learnings I came to enjoy during my time in Starehe Institute were reading quotable quotes. One night prep in early 2007 while navigating through folders in a computer of the institute, I found a document of quotes someone had downloaded. I became very absorbed in reading the quotes which I found inspiring; my only regret is that I didn't bother to save the document somewhere in the internet for future reading. Oh, how I would love to reconnect with that document of quotes!
Unfortunately, I was unable to replicate such kind of joy in learning in the Electronics & Computer Engineering degree I chose to pursue when I matriculated at JKUAT in May 2007. As I have pointed out before in this lovely blog of mine, the engineering course turned out to be Greek to me. From that experience, I would advise youngsters out there about to enter university not to choose a course because it is marketable but because they have a passion for it. That's all I am saying.