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

Childhood Memories

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A few years ago while ransacking my father's collection of books in an old wooden house here at home, I unexpectedly came across the photo above of me holding a Yamaha piano keyboard. The photo was taken in the late '90s in my hometown Catholic church where I was tutored the rudiments of music theory by a dedicated and brilliant seminarian named Br. Peter Assenga.

Even though I was delighted to be reunited with that precious photo, I was a bit crestfallen that some mischievous termites had scratched the part of the photo showing my face. I wish the termites had left my face alone and scratched another part of the photo. All the same, I am glad that my immediate elder brother Paddy, the lad partly hidden on the right side of the photo, is visible.

Paddy was respected in my hometown Catholic church for his musical talent. Later on when he was at Starehe Boys' Centre, a high school I was also fortunate to join, I noted that an austere Canadian priest called Fr. Joseph Carreire also recognized his musical talent which compelled him to gift Paddy with an autographed copy of the Starehe Boys' hymnal.

Back in the late '90s when the photo above was captured, Paddy had grown into a fashion-conscious teenager. There was a time he scribbled the price of every piece of clothing, from the hat to belt to shoes, on the picture of a handsome hunk holding a matchbox in an advert promoting a certain brand of matchsticks that someone had glued on the wall of the room I shared with him.

So as I look at the Paddy of that time the photo above was being taken, I am of the opinion that he must have been thinking, "This younger brother of mine called Thuita is boasting of holding someone else's piano keyboard not knowing his audience is pitying his poverty revealed by the unpolished shoes he is clad on. A little fool he is!"

And all that reminds me of our childhood days. Well, our family wasn't wealthy by modern standards, for we didn't own cars, phones and computers. But we were rich in all the important aspects of life such as health and human companionship.

When I say human companionship, I am talking of our parents, our other brothers (Joe, Bob & Symo), our relatives who visited us on a regular basis as well as the wonderful neighbours and their kids that we mingled with. Boy, didn't those human companionships enliven our childhood years!

My eldest brother Joe for instance, once asked my younger brother Symo and I whether we liked God or Satan. Symo and I were then too young to understand who God and Satan are, more so in English. I don't even think Symo had began his nursery school education. One of us replied that he liked Satan.

And then I recall me claiming that I had never seen a thief. Apparently, I must have had the idea that thieves have a particular look like the way police clad in recognizable uniform.

What I didn't know back then was that a thief is anyone who takes someone else's property, however trivial, without permission. So if your son, nephew or some other small boy ever claims that he has never seen a thief, tell him he is one of them if he has ever eaten your apple or chocolate bar without your permission.

But perhaps the strangest remark I ever heard in my childhood years was on money by some schoolmates at Naru-Moru where my brothers and I had much of our primary school education. It was of a theory conceived by some curious pupils and propagated with interest that the people employed to print paper currencies do the printing while naked so that they cannot carry some of the money away.

That theory has set me imagining a group of nude employees locked in a room with sophisticated money printing machines. And then I am wondering what else the employees might be tempted to do as they shuffle past one another in the locked room. But let me stop such kind of imaginations because St. Paul implores us in Phillipians 4:8 to think only that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

Let me instead tell you of another person who was part of the human companionships we had in the '90s. That was Uncle Stephen Ndonga.

Uncle Ndonga used to live with us after he offered to work at home with regular pay by our parents. He was sometimes funny, which makes me think he was the one who glued a certain sticker in our living room. The sticker had this quote printed on it:
God made man.
Man made money.
Money made man mad.
Perhaps we can conclude from that pithy quote that the people we should be wary of stealing money are not the ones who do the actual printing but the thieves out there who engage in all sorts of larceny: the timid ones who pickpocket passengers in public service vehicles; the brave ones who break into shops; the intelligent ones who defraud banks; and the powerful ones who embezzle public funds for personal use.

Recently, I heard in the news of a new breed of thieves who dug a 150-metre tunnel into a bank in Thika Town here in Kenya and made away with 50,000,000.00/-. I have displayed that amount in digits to emphasize the huge sum of money stolen.

Now tell me, under which category would you classify that gang of thieves who dug the tunnel to commit that eye-popping theft? Was it timid, brave, intelligent or powerful? Me, I think it was all of the above.


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Developing Mental Clarity

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This is me in 2003 receiving an academic award from Prof. George Saitoti, the then Kenya's Minister of Education, when I was in Form 2 at Starehe Boys' Centre. Although Starehe was a school of opportunities and a centre of excellence in my time, the school awakened me to another vital factor to success other than the acquisition of knowledge; and that's developing mental clarity.

When my primary school headmaster handed me in late 2001 a result slip that indicated I had scored 421 marks in KCPE exams, I became electrified like an electron that had absorbed new energy. I dashed home to share the good news of my impressive KCPE marks with my family, some of whom were as elated by the marks as they were surprised by them given the mediocre marks I had scored in my Standard Eight continuous assessment tests.

But then, the $64,000 question that began to trouble us was: would I be admitted to Starehe Boys' Centre? I had failed to appear among the list of top 100 pupils in my province that had been published in local dailies a few days earlier after KCPE results were released by the Minister of Education. And we were worried about my chances of getting into Starehe because my family was undergoing hard financial times. My mother was particularly worried that they would be unable to put me through in a decent high school if I failed to get into Starehe where I had applied for sponsorship.

We were greatly relieved when news got through to us a few days later that I had been admitted to Starehe. And to tell you the truth, that's the most miraculous event in my life so far. I had beaten odds of being labelled as dull and dumb to join the then Kenya's top-ranked high school - an encouragement to anyone going through hard times that things are never over till God's final calling to afterlife.

I reported to Starehe on the afternoon of Thursday, 17th January 2002. And in my first months in the school, I felt proud to be part of the school whose unique uniform of red and blue was a national emblem of discipline and intelligence. When we broke for my first half-term holiday as a Starehian, I craved to be seen clad in that uniform of red and blue by everyone on my way home as well as in my hometown of Kiserian.

But as my months as a Starehian rolled on, I began to feel disturbed by the way some schoolmates were commenting on how confused I looked. Even Mrs. Margaret Shivembe, one of my music teachers in the school, became concerned about my confusion and suggested during one lesson that it resulted from having too much knowledge in my head.

All along, I have heard other people get described as confused but they don't ever seem to be as bothered about it as I was. The "confusion" label really bothered me to a degree that bordered on disease. I would at times scribble the word "confusion" on a piece of paper and look up its meaning in the dictionary. And sometimes when the word "confusion" was mentioned in class, I would suddenly think that my classmates were having me in mind.

The interesting side of the story is that I was neither conscious of the confusion people saw in me nor did I understand its root cause. That's why it persisted well into the university where a peace-loving roommate of mine named Mikhail Mbelase remarked to a friend that I was always mentally mixed up.

I vividly recall that afternoon Mikhail Mbelase uttered that remark because of the way it revived my old fears I had harboured at Starehe. Fears that I never discussed with anyone. I just bottled them up in myself but fortunately, I never exploded into some sort of rebellion or imploded into depression.

Of course I was overly worried by the "confusion" label since everybody wants to be appreciated as Abraham Maslow pointed out in his widely quoted hierarchy of needs. Think about it for a minute - would you wish to be known as someone confused? I am sure as death that you've always desired to be recognized as bright and brilliant, or some other virtuous trait that is of interest to you.

As for me, I have always wanted to be known as bright and brilliant. And that's precisely why the "confusion" label bothered me to a degree that bordered on disease.

Over the last ten years, I have put in a lot effort to overcome the negative programming that turned me into a confused teenager. I have tried all sorts of remedies for attaining mental clarity - some of which now appear to me as weird.

Sometime in 2015 for example, I moved my eyeballs sideways with my eyes wide open while staring at myself in the mirror, only to discover the eyeballs would remain stationary when I focused on my reflection in the mirror. That's a weird remedy for attaining mental clarity, isn't it?

And I don't really know how I devised that remedy. Or maybe I must have known instinctively that the eyes are some sorts of windows to the mind. If your mind is confused, people see it in the eyes.

I am now a clear thinker though I am not quite sure which of the remedies I have done has solved the "confusion" enigma. But I largely attribute my clear-thinkimg to the writing I have been doing persistently for the last couple of years, for Stephen R. Covey highlighted in his internationally acclaimed bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, that "writing is another powerful way to sharpen the mental saw; keeping a journal of our thoughts, experiences and learnings promotes mental clarity, exactness and context".

But I give all glory and honour to God because He is always seeming to fix everything in my life perfectly, sometimes in ways I didn't expect. And when I talk of God and of the "confusion" label that bitterly bothered me for years, I am reminded of the following lines in "Forty Years On", one of the two school songs of Starehe Boys' Centre:
...God gives us duty for us to discharge it,
Problems to face, struggle with and overcome,
Service to render and glory to covet...
Those lines have made me realize that everyone gets their own share of problems to struggle with. You might, for instance, find that for some of the kids born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths, their first hot potato is handling setbacks; they can get overly depressed for weeks when they encounter their first setback such as receiving a rejection letter from Harvard or losing of a loved one.

My hot potato was confusion for shizzle. That's why I have been feeling triumphant of late now that I have attained mental clarity, at least most of the time. And mental clarity is a wonderful possession, for as the great Roman historian named Sallust pointed out many many years ago, "the renown that riches and beauty confer is fleeting and frail; mental excellence [and clarity] is a splendid and a lasting possession". Adieu!


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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)