Positive Quote For Today

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."— Maya Angelou

How to Criticize Constructively

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With permission, I have extracted this picture-quote from Azquotes.com. All rights reserved worldwide.

As I narrated a few months ago on this blog, there is this valet named Jeremiah who my brothers hired to be looking after our aging Dad. He is a very dutiful man, always rising at the crack of dawn to do his work. And he cooks very delicious meals for us.

Jeremiah's strong work ethic made me like him during his first days here at home. But as the weeks rolled by, I began to notice a weakness in his character. He could be discourteous to me, like he did one night when he shouted at me impolitely for putting a bunch of spinach leaves in the fridge.

I felt insulted to hear him shout at me impolitely. Later on, I regretted why I hadn't faced him squarely in the eyes and instructed him to address me respectfully.

Perhaps encouraged by my timidity, Jeremiah began to talk back to me. Whenever I asked him whether there was any rice for cooking, he would snap back in Swahili, "Go look in the cabinet!"

It hurt me to hear him speak discourteously to me yet he has always been polite to Dad. And I think he was discourteous to me because I look like I am half his age.

After Jeremiah failed to read the signs of my displeasure with him, I erupted into fury one morning and said some things to him that I can't remember. I really was furious.

Although he changed a bit after my angry outburst, something about him made me dislike him once in a while. Maybe it's due to the way he has been fond of giving me the silent treatment whenever I request him to do something for us.

Yesternight when I beseeched him to cook chapatis which we haven't eaten in a while, he just kept quiet. I was about to go to my room to feast on my supper when an inner voice told me I had to stop this silent treatment of his. So I turned on my heel and went back to the kitchen.

I informed Jeremiah in the kindest manner possible that I didn't like the way he has been fond of staying silent whenever I request him to do something for us. (Mark you, I always request him to do something, not command.)

Even though I tried to be kind, my voice was full of emotion. I spoke with such a feeling that Dad sensed something was amiss. When he inquired what was wrong, I just dismissed the issue by saying I was sorting out some things with Jeremiah.

Then I entered my room, my mind heavy with thoughts. I wondered whether I had offended anyone. As I always do whenever my heart is troubled, I approached God in prayer and asked Him to fill me with peace.

Despite my emotional reaction, I became convinced that I had done the right thing by letting Jeremiah know he was hurting me with his silent treatment. At last, I had applied some wisdom I gleaned from a certain magazine I came across at the Kenya National Library in Nairobi back in 2011.

According to that magazine, when we notice a problem with someone we are working or staying with, most of us initially don't say anything about it. We just bottle up resentment until we explode all of a sudden.

In our anger, we say hurtful remarks like, "You make me sick! You always put me off! You never listen to what I say!"

Such hurtful remarks not only damage our relationship with the person we are criticizing, they also leave us feeling bad about ourselves. Our feelings of discontent intensify or remain the same.

I learnt from that magazine that there is a constructive way of criticizing someone. The magazine called it the criticism sandwich. We basically say the good sides of the person we are criticizing and then utter the bad side in between the compliments. For instance, you might criticize me this way:
Thuita, you are an exceptionally intelligent young man and I am proud to be your friend. But I think you'd even be a greater person if you realized it's not proper to share such information as this. I know it's most unlike you to get things wrong. You are so dependable and I want you to know how much I value you.
That kind of criticism reveals that you've thought deeply about my problem and care about my feelings. It will inspire me to change without making me resent you. And it will improve the quality of our friendship.

In my talk with Jeremiah yesternight, I did some good by letting him know he was hurting me with his silent treatment. The only thing I didn't do was sandwich my criticism in between compliments of how dutiful he is and how great he is at cooking.

Next time I have a problem with someone I am working or staying with, I will strive to apply the criticism sandwich in its entirety when resolving the problem. Not an unwise course of action for you to take as well, my beloved reader!

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on how to criticize constructively, you might also enjoy another one titled "Part 1: Handling Criticism" which I wrote a couple of years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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What a Day It Was!

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With permission, I have extracted this picture-quote from a website called Superanoov. All rights reserved worldwide.

Last Thursday, I was scheduled to record a hymn at the music studio of my friend Sylvester Otieno who is based in Nairobi. So after having my breakfast, I left home at around 7:45 a.m., feeling bright and cheerful. The sun was rising in the East and the sky was pleasantly blue, as if to signal that a wonderful day lay ahead of me.

When I reached my hometown of Kiserian, I boarded a matatu whose tout informed me that the fare to Nairobi City was KSh 150. I handed him a KSh 500 note. After he delayed giving me back my change, I hoped against hope that he wouldn't forget about it.

As we were in a town called Ong'ata Rongai, the tout told me the matatu would not reach Nairobi. He asked me if I had KSh 50. I apprised him that I had it and then dug into my wallet for the money, my mind preoccupied with the change he owed me.

A few minutes after giving him a KSh 50 note, I asked the tout what the fare from Kiserian to Ong'ata Rongai was, now that the matatu was not going to Nairobi. When he informed me it was KSh 50, I requested for my change. The tout replied that he had given me back a KSh 500 note.

And wa! That got me worried as I couldn't recall him giving me any money. After I disagreed with him, he claimed that everybody in the matatu had seen him hand me the KSh 500 note.

I must have thought I was about to be swindled out of my money before I suddenly remembered putting a KSh 500 note in my wallet. And that made me agree with the tout that he was indeed right. It was a humbling experience to realize that in spite of the avid reading I have been doing, the tout had a better memory than me.

Upon alighting from the matatu in Ong'ata Rongai, I got into a bus bound for Nairobi City. And alas! When it was nearing the city, the bus took a different route that forced me to get off about two kilometres from the bus stop where I was to catch another bus to Sylvester's studio.

Walking to the bus stop was frustrating. But then I remembered a quote by Beverly LaHaye which says, "The true test of walking in the Spirit will not be the way we act but the way we react to the daily frustrations of life." That quote cheered me up a little bit.

Guess what! Just when I was reaching the bus stop, I forgot the name of the place where Sylvester's studio is situated. I hopped on a bus that was heading to a township called Mlolongo.

As the bus followed the road to Mlolongo, I tried sharing a past blog story on my social media platforms. And yikes! Instead of showing the title and photo of the story, Facebook and LinkedIn displayed a "Bot Verification" notice.

You see, it's like some people don't want this blog of mine to succeed. They have been attacking it, forcing my web hosting company to put up an annoying bot verification feature that has been affecting the display of ads from which I earn some money for the work I do on this blog.

Bot verification feature aside, the conductor called out to me when the bus reached Mlolongo. In my rush to hear what he was going to say, I lost the bookmark I was using to mark the pages I was reading in my Bible.

The conductor informed me that we had reached the place I wanted to alight at. Observing it was not the same place I stepped off before, I phoned Sylvester who told me his studio is in Utawala, not Mlolongo. That mix-up made me get on a motorbike, then in a matatu and then in another matatu.

As I sat in one of the matatus, I thought of telling Sylvester when I arrived that it was the guy who coaxed me into boarding a bus to Mlolongo that was to blame for my lateness because he should have informed me the place I wanted to alight at was not on the bus route.

But on second thought, I decided to take responsibility for my lateness. I should have been smart enough to phone Sylvester when I forgot the name of the place where his studio is located. My foolishness made me waste time and money. And money has been hard for me to come by. Trust me, earning a dollar from blogging has not been easy.

Despite all those series of unfortunate happenings, I reached Sylvester's studio in a good frame of mind, a proof that I am getting better at dealing with the curveballs life throws at me. We recorded my hymn successfully, and when I shared the link to the hymn's video on social media yesterday, my brother Bob Njinju commented that I was looking good on the video.

Just as the pleasant weather in Kiserian had signalled to me on the morning of last Thursday, the day turned out to be wonderful for me in spite of the setbacks that came my way. I will strive to create more such days in the future. So help me God.

NEW! NEW! NEW! If you missed my social media updates yesterday, let me take this opportunity to inform you that I have produced a new hymn titled "Peace in Christ". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the hymn.


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Latest Stories

How to Criticize Constructively
on July 20, 2024

What a Day It Was!
on July 15, 2024

Book Review: "The 48 Laws of Power"
on July 10, 2024

Bible Quote

"Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice! Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do... Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand."

~Phillipians 4:4-7 (TLB)

About the Author

Name: Thuita J. Maina
Nationality: Kenyan
Lives in: Kiserian, Rift Valley, Kenya
Mission: To inspire the world to godly living, one person at a time.

Just For Laughs

There was this drunkard named Azoge who loved drinking at Josiah's Bar. On being told a certain Hon. Nanga was flying to America to be conferred a law degree so that he could be admitted to the bar, Azoge replied, "Why fly all the way to America to be admitted to the bar while you can get into Josiah's Bar any time?"

The 7 Deadly Sins

  1. Pride
  2. Envy
  3. Gluttony
  4. Lust
  5. Anger
  6. Greed
  7. Sloth

Author's Note

I am learning to treat life as a journey, not a destination. So I am trying to enjoy each day as I anticipate to fulfill my dreams especially meeting my soulmate and traveling abroad. Tomorrow may never be mine.

Fun Facts

  1. The fear of having no cell-phone service, running out of battery, or losing sight of your phone is called Nomophobia, reportedly affecting 66% of people.
  2. A single Google search needs more computing power than it took to send Apollo 11 to the moon. The Apollo computer was less equipped than a modern toaster.
  3. Besides being some of the biggest names in the tech industry, HP, Apple, Google and Microsoft share another commonality. They all started in garages.
~Extracted from Codingforums.com

Health Tip

So many of us take for granted the wonderful construction of the human body and the workings of its various parts. Some of us even expect it to function efficiently with less than the minimum care and attention. Learn the much you can about your body and how the care of it can help to give you that greatest blessing of all - good health.

Wonders of the Modern World

  1. The Simplon Tunnel
  2. The Sky-scrapers of New York
  3. The Boulder Dam of Colorado
  4. The Panama Canal
  5. The Golden Gate Bridge
  6. The Taj Mahal at Agra in India
  7. The North Sea Oil Drilling Rigs

Great Example for Politicians

"My life in politics was a joy. I loved campaigns and I loved governing. I always tried to keep things moving in the right direction, to give more people a chance to live their dreams, to lift people's spirits, and to bring them together. That's the way I kept score."

~Bill Clinton

Scientific Marvels

  1. Space travel
  2. Heart surgery
  3. Fibre-optics communication
  4. Concorde
  5. Computers & Radios
  6. Anesthetics
  7. The atom bomb

My Supreme Desire

Although I'd like to be rich and famous, my supreme desire is to be radiant: to radiate health, cheerfulness, calm courage and goodwill. I wish to live without hate, guilt, worry, jealousy, cynicism and envy. I wish to be honest, natural, confident, clean in mind and body - ready to say "I do not know" if it be so and to treat all men with kindness - to meet any loss, failure, criticism and rejection unabashed and unafraid.

Greatest American Presidents

  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. George Washington
  3. Thomas Jefferson
  4. Franklin Roosevelt
  5. Theodore Roosevelt
  6. Woodrow Wilson
  7. Andrew Jackson

Making Peace With the Past

"Dwell not on your past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now in this instant of time. From this moment onwards you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed."

~Eileen Caddy

Toughest Colleges to Get Into

  1. MIT
  2. Princeton
  3. Harvard
  4. Yale
  5. Stanford
  6. Brown
  7. Columbia

Why You Should Trust God

"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities and pour out peace."

~Ezra Taft Benson

The 7 Greatest Scientists

  1. Albert Einstein
  2. Isaac Newton
  3. Galileo Galilei
  4. Nikola Tesla
  5. Aristotle
  6. Archimedes
  7. Charles Darwin

You Matter

"Always be yourself. Never try to hide who you are. The only shame is to have shame. Always stand up for what you believe in. Always question what other people tell you. Never regret the past; it's a waste of time. There's a reason for everything. Every mistake, every moment of weakness, every terrible thing that has happened to you, grow from it. The only way you can ever get the respect of others is when you show them that you respect yourself and most importantly, do your thing and never apologize for being you."


The Most Industrialized Nations

  1. The United States
  2. Japan
  3. Germany
  4. France
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Italy
  7. Canada

Keys to Success

"...in his effort to withstand temptation, to economize, to exercise thrift, to disregard the superficial for the real - the shadow for the substance; to be great yet small, in his effort to be patient in the laying of a firm foundation; to so grow in skill and knowledge that he shall place his services in demand by reason of his intrinsic and superior worth. This is the key that unlocks every door of opportunity, and all others fail."

~Booker T. Washington

The 7 Social Sins

  1. Politics without principle
  2. Wealth without work
  3. Pleasure without conscience
  4. Knowledge without character
  5. Commerce without morality
  6. Worship without sacrifice
  7. Science without humanity

Cherish What You Love

"Cherish your visions, cherish your ideals, cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts - for out of them will grow all heavenly environment, of these if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built."~James Allen

The World's Largest Cities

  1. London in England
  2. New York in the United States
  3. Tokyo in Japan
  4. Berlin in Germany
  5. Chicago in the United States
  6. Shanghai in China
  7. Paris in France

Benefits of Optimism

"In terms of success, optimistic people out perform their pessimistic colleagues. Research shows that they are consistently promoted higher and make more money while working fewer hours than those who think pessimistically. Optimists also contribute more significantly to social progress. It is the optimists who start and run successful companies, who win elections and carry out reforms, and who make breakthroughs in the realms of science and technology."

~Pepe Minambo

The World's Greatest Lakes

  1. Caspian Sea in the Commonwealth of Independent States, C.I.S. (formerly U.S.S.R)
  2. Lake Superior in North America
  3. Victoria Nyanza in Central Africa
  4. Aral Sea in C.I.S.
  5. Lake Huron in North America
  6. Lake Michigan in North America

Demonstrating His Love

"Take your communication for instance - the way you address others. It ought to be with loving, gracious and edifying words. Never talk people down. Never use words that hurt and demean people. Communicate excellently with others without destroying their self-image or making them feel sorry for themselves. Talk to people in a way that they never forget the excellence of your words, the love and grace of Christ that you communicated. It's how God wants us to love."

~Dr. Chris Oyakhilome

World's Longest Rivers

  1. Missouri-Mississipi (U.S.)
  2. Amazon (Brazil)
  3. Nile (Egypt)
  4. Yangtse (China)
  5. Lena (Russia)
  6. Zaire (Central Africa)
  7. Niger (West Africa)