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

Developing Hope & Optimism

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

When I was in Starehe Institute in the years 2006 and 2007, we used to have what we called Dean's Talk - weekly meetings between students and staff of the institute. I have fond memories of the speeches I delivered during those Dean's Talk meetings. And I remember, too, what the teachers would tell us, such as exhorting us to refrain from watching adult films in the institute computer laboratories.

A male teacher once told us, during one of those Dean's Talk meetings, of a friend of his who would think of road accidents before embarking on a journey in his car, his reasoning being that such kind of thinking would reduce his chances of getting involved in an accident. I now think the teacher's friend had a point in his way of thinking after it has dawned on me lately that most of the stuff we anticipate don't happen; it is those things that we don't expect that regularly happen. Have you also discovered that?

But come to think of it again, I don't find it wise to go around in a droopy face expecting bad things to happen. We ought to be filled with hope and optimism as St. Paul advises us in some of his epistles in the Bible; we should hope that good things are coming our way and be optimistic that all things are working out for our own good.

To be honest, it has not been easy for me to be hopeful and optimistic. There have been times I have imagined traumatic experiences happening in my life, traumatic experiences like a loved one being diagnosed with a terminal illness or there being a funeral at our home here in Kiserian. Whenever I have caught myself imagining such trauma, I have pinched myself painfully and whispered to myself, "Thuita, stop dwelling on the bad stuff that could occur; focus on all the good things that could happen."

Recently, as I lay in bed at night waiting for sleep to come, I caught myself worrying what I would do if my laptop broke down. Where would I get money to buy another laptop for listening to hymns and doing my blogging hobby? I wondered. And I don't know why the thought of my laptop breaking down entered my mind; maybe it's as a result of the way my laptop has slowed down since I upgraded its operating system about two months ago. Anyway, when I caught myself worrying about my laptop breaking down, I tweaked my left arm and said to my mind, "Thuita, think of what could go right, not what could go wrong."

I don't know about you but for me, there are quite a number of wonderful things that can happen in my life such as meeting the woman of my dreams, receiving a donation for maintaining this blog or coming up with a beautiful melody for a great hymn. Given the way I am regularly pinching myself in an effort to remind myself of all those wonderful things that could happen to me, it is now apparent to me that hope and optimism are like muscles; they have to be practised regularly for them to become stronger.

Talking of strengthening muscles, I am reminded of an experience I had in the last decade. Back in 2012, I purchased rollers for firming up my abdominal muscles. But guess what! Whenever I stretched with the rollers for three or four days, I would feel in my stomach muscles an excruciating pain that would force me to give up using rollers.

Around September 2017, I again began stretching with rollers. Like in my previous trials, I did feel pain in my belly muscles after several days of stretching but this time I persisted, for I was serious about losing weight. And wow! The pain in my belly muscles gradually disappeared as I continued exercising with rollers. I have kept doing the exercises since then. These days, I stretch with rollers 12 times daily without feeling any discomfort. And I would probably be stretching more times had my senior brother Joe Kagigite not warned me that over-exertion with rollers can cause severe back problems.

Now that stretching with rollers has become second nature to me, I do it with the ease of a fish in water. But I know if I cease using rollers for a month and then start stretching with them again, the excruciating pain will come back. That's why I am always keen to keep on using rollers each passing day.

Hope and optimism work in a similar way as the stomach muscles. They have to be practised every day if they are to become second nature. And once we have infused ourselves with hope, we still need to keep thinking optimistically because the news and challenges of everyday living can easily erode our hope. That's all I am saying.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story about developing hope and optimism, you might also enjoy another one I wrote two years ago on "Developing Courage". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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My Brilliant Brother Paddy

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This is my brother Patrick Gatonga, who I fondly call Paddy. More about him in the story below.

About two or three weeks ago, a friend of mine named Dennis Makhandia shared with me a video clip on Whatsapp. At first, I ignored it because I don't like watching videos on social media; I prefer going through information in text format. But two or three days after Makhandia shared the video clip with me, I decided to view it, albeit briefly, just so that he wouldn't think I had declined to view the video.

And wow! The video clip turned out to be about my immediate elder brother Paddy. It spoke of his prowess in playing the piano and how he graduated from the University of Nairobi with three degrees: a BSc. in Anatomy in 2008, an MBChB in Medicine & Surgery in 2011 and an MBA, also in 2011. As the narrator of the video clip continued waxing lyrical about Paddy's exemplary achievements, she said, "At only 34 years of age, [Paddy] is now the CEO of Jubilee Health Insurance."

I felt proud of Paddy to see him being spoken highly of in a video clip that was making rounds on social media. And later on, I couldn't help reflecting on Paddy's life and the humble beginnings he has had to overcome.

Paddy and I grew up in a modest home where we were expected to help in cooking and farming activities. We used to graze cattle together, till our farm with hoes and machetes, plant maize and beans whenever it began to rain, fetch for firewood and prepare meals in a sooty kitchen. And we shared the same room at home; a room that had a pot-holed floor, wooden walls and a corrrugated-iron roof that would amplify the patter of rain.

I remember one time in 1999, a plague of safari ants invaded our room in the dead of the night. The safari ants climbed onto our beds and began to bite us mercilessly, jolting us out of our slumber. We sprang out of bed, switched on the lights and warded them off. Despite the interruption of our sleep, we woke up in time to attend school the following morning. Such are the kind of humble beginnings that Paddy has had to overcome in his journey to becoming one of Kenya's youngest CEOs.

On analyzing Paddy's life, I have been able to discern that he owes his success not only to his brilliance of mind but also to his character. He has always believed in hard work, not entitlement; in self-reliance, not self-indulgence. Not once did Paddy ever beg for pocket money from our parents when he was pursuing his degrees at the University of Nairobi. Instead, he used to earn his upkeep from the part-time jobs that he did as a side hustle.

There was an afternoon in 2006 when I paid Paddy a visit in his room at the University of Nairobi and found that he possessed a desktop computer as well as a piano keyboard. He must have sensed that I envied his possessions given the way he was swift to inform me that all he had was as a result of hard work.

When I matriculated at JKUAT university in May 2007 to pursue a degree in electronic & computer engineering, I tried to emulate Paddy by moonlighting as a piano teacher at a music school where he had taught a few months before. But you know what? Three or four months later, I gave up doing the part-time job. Unlike Paddy, I lacked the intellectual stamina to juggle work and studies at the same time.

What amazes me most about Paddy was how he paid his way to getting an MBA while he was still a medical student at the University of Nairobi. Imagine when I matriculated at the University of Nairobi in September 2010 to pursue a degree in political science & economics (I dropped out of JKUAT in 2009), I found myself in a quagmire of where to get fees for the degree. I approached several people for financial help but none came through to my aid. And there was Paddy studying for an MBA at the same university without seeming to worry about money. What a contrast!

After he graduated from the University of Nairobi with three degrees, Paddy kept on working diligently so that he could become the self-reliant gentleman he has always aspired to be. And he has encouraged me on several occasions to also strive to be independent.

During a family get-together on Christmas Day in 2014 for instance, I mentioned to Paddy that I was scouting for a donation for publishing a book I had authored. In a tone of disapproval, Paddy strongly advised me against begging for donations and asked me to earn the money for publishing the book. His disapproving comments must have made me quickly regret why I had mentioned my plans to him.

Then on another evening in 2015 when I phoned Paddy and told him that I wanted our Dad to apportion me land for building my own home, he suggested that I work for money and pay Dad for the land I craved to get from him. This time, I took his comments in my stride.

Truly, Paddy believes in hard work, not entitlement; in self-reliance, not self-indulgence. Is it any wonder, then, that he has quickly risen through the ranks to become the CEO of one of Kenya's biggest insurance firms?

NEW! NEW! NEW! If you missed my social media update three days ago, let me take this opportunity to inform you that I have produced a new song that is available in the videos' section of this blog. Just click on the "videos" link on the menu at the top of this blog to access the song.


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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)