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


Leaving Revenge to God

Picture related to the title of the story
This is the Princeton Review SAT revision book (2008 edition). I bought a copy of that book in 2007 when I was applying to four top American Colleges for the second time. Apart from the picture of the beautiful lass on the cover page, the other thing I loved in the book was a passage that gave me a good idea of what précis writing entails. And yes, I am not confused; I will use a lesson I learnt from the SAT exam to advise you to always leave revenge to God.

"That SAT exam," I confidently told my friend Kevin [not his real name] back in 2006, "I will score over 2100 in it."

"I also thought so," replied Kevin, "but I only managed to score an 1880."

Kevin and I were both applying to MIT back then in 2006 and he happened to have sat for the SAT exam before me. Even though he insinuated it was impossible for me to get a high score in the exam, I still believed every word I said when I made it known to him my goal of scoring over 2100 in my first attempt of the SAT.

And everything about the exam tended to make me believe more that I could accomplish that goal. Its questions were multiple-choice, the kind we used to have in primary school. Then the maths section of the exam tested what I had learnt in junior high school - yes junior, not senior!

The critical reading part of the exam appeared to be the only section that stood to give me trouble because it involved reading through boring and stilted passages. It also required that I absorb a huge number of college-level vocabularies.

The troublesome critical reading section notwithstanding, I stayed focussed on my goal of scoring over 2100 in the SAT exam- the kind of marks that most admitted students to top American colleges score.

Then the SAT exam day reached. Although I had already toured the testing centre to familiarize myself with the venue beforehand, I didn't feel as clear-headed that day as I would have loved. Perhaps for that reason, I messed up in the exam by filling the answers of section 4 of the exam on the part reserved for Section 5 in the answer booklet.

No sooner had I realized that big blunder than I got into a panic, so much that I wet my pants. The invigilator was kind enough to allow me to rub my section 4 answers from the answer booklet and transfer them to the relevant section. But that of course worked against me as time is a determining factor in acing the exam.

Wetting my pants was a pleasant feeling but afterwards, I was filled with a gloomy foreboding that I would score low marks in that first take of the SAT exam. That meant I had hurt my chances of getting into the selective colleges I was applying for admission.

Sure, I did score low marks in the exam - 1770, if my memory serves me right. Mark you, I was the same guy who had confidently boasted to Kevin that I would score over 2100 in the exam.

Soon after I received the SAT results online, I began to cajole my father to pay for me another registration of the exam. But he confided in me that he was too cash-strapped to afford another Ksh. 4,900 - the amount required for the registration of the exam at that time.

Luckily, my mother came through to my aid by selling one or two sheep we reared at home. And finally after registering for the SAT exam for the second time, I began to study for it more earnestly. Once bitten, twice shy.

Although I was sanguine I would make a significant improvement in my second take of the exam, I have to confess the critical reading section of the SAT still worried me. Revising for the section made me realize I had memory like a sieve because I would strive to understand the meaning of a college-level vocabulary and then forget it soon afterwards. It was like the vocabularies were getting into my head through one ear and out in the other, leaving an empty mind inside my fearfully and wonderfully made brain.

The good news is: I did make a significant improvement in my second taking by scoring 1880 marks. But the bad news was: the score was still not good enough to get into MIT, Cornell, Dartmouth and Stanford - the colleges I was applying for admission.

Well, I did put in great effort in submitting a strong application by even mailing samples of an educational website I had created with my classmates at Starehe Institute and cassette recordings of me playing the piano but the effort did nothing to save me from getting rejected by the colleges. They all denied me admission.

By the way, as you might deduce from the caption of the Princeton Review SAT revision book's cover-page photo above, I did apply to another set of top American colleges for two more years. In the process, I retook the SAT exam two more times. I would really have loved to tell you what transpired in my third and fourth attempt of the exam but I am afraid I could bore you with too many details. So let me reserve that story for another day, God-willing.

As for today, let me tell you the lessons I learnt from the SAT exam. First, I learnt the exam tests more of your reasoning skills than on your amount of knowledge. That's why it's possible for some 'C' students to outscore some 'A' students in the SAT exams.

Then I learnt that the critical reading section of the exam favours those with a high lexicon density. Or in more human terms, it favours those with a strong word power - a vital factor in having a fulfilling career.

Perhaps even more important, I learnt never to revenge from an irony in the exam. You see, the SAT test-makers gave you very boring and stilted passages to read in the critical reading section of the exam. And they then asked you to give them a very interesting essay to read in the writing section of the exam. (They even advised you to write in a plain, natural style.)

If you dared make the mistake of revenging by giving them a boring and stilted essay to read, they'd probably give you a low score. And that meant you'd not get into your favourite college. Moral of the story - revenge is for suckers; leave it to God.

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RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on leaving revenge to God, you might also enjoy another one titled "Salvation is Free Folks!" which I wrote sometime back. Just click on that link in blue to jump straight into the story.

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Overcoming Gluttony

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The youngest boy clad in a black pair of trousers in the photo above is me with my friends visiting Prof. Charles Nyamiti (in a hat) at his magnificent residence in Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) in the late '90s. More on those visits in the story below.

Ever since I was a boy, I have always had a proclivity for gluttony. I vividly remember competing with my brothers (Joe, Bob, Paddy & Symo) in 1993 on who would gormandize the most number of chapattis - my favourite meal which we cooked once in a week. (By the way, I still love chapattis, especially when I take them with lentils stew.)

When we went grazing cattle, Paddy, Symo and I would beg for chapattis from our neighbour named Mrs. Memia - a kind and generous lady who has long since emigrated to Great Britain - whenever we smelled the sweet aroma of chapattis drifting from her house. And we would probably have continued begging her for chapattis had our mother not intervened by scolding us for spoiling our family's reputation.

Then I carried that kind of gluttony to Fr. Nyamiti's residence when we visited him once in a while in the late '90s. (See photo above.) Though we visited Fr. Nyamiti to listen and gain an appreciation of classical music, my best part of the visits were the self-service mid-morning tea and lunch we had at his residence. I would greedily feast on a wide variety of meals and hot-drinks with no one to stop me. Like for the mid-morning tea, I would first take instant coffee, then chocolate on my second-helping.

And then I carried that kind of gluttony to Starehe Boys' Centre where I was fortunate to be admitted in 2002 for my high school education. During my first years at Starehe, I developed the habit of "combining" food in the dining hall. ("Combining" was Starehe's code-name for eating extra food on the table.)

I would probably have continued with that "combining" had my poor eating habits not been brought to my attention by my housemates. Leon Osumba, who oriented me to the Starehe way of life when I joined the school in January 2002, was the first one to point it out by remarking to my housemates with whom we were seated with in the dining hall, "This Thuita doesn't chew his food!"

Then the school magazine raised the issue a notch higher when it named me something like "Combiner of the Year" in a 2004 edition of the magazine.

'Sir' Emmanuel Karanja, a brilliant housemate who inspired me to learn computer-programming, moved in to save my reputation by advising me during one meal in the dining hall, "Thuita, resist the urge to over-eat, especially in front of people. Wise and intelligent people don't do that. Look at a person like George Waithaka - do you ever see him eating a lot like you do?"

George Waithaka, if you wish to know, was another brilliant housemate of mine who was among the four students selected in 2003 to represent Starehe at a conference in South Africa. He emerged as the fourth best student countrywide in '04 KCSE exams. His exemplary character and brilliance must be the reasons he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a post-high school diploma at Aiglon College in Switzerland from where he was accepted at the highly-esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.

Those incidences in which my housemates brought my gluttony to my attention, embarrassing though they seem, compelled me to overcome my gluttony in the Starehe Boys' dining hall. I eventually ceased "combining" food in the dining hall during my senior years at Starehe. And that didn't affect my vigour and vitality. In fact, I grew healthier because I didn't get frequent colds and coughs in my senior years at Starehe like I used to do in my junior years. So the notion that "the more you eat, the healthier you become" is a fallacy.

Abduba Dida, a presidential candidate in 2013 Kenya's General Elections who once took me to an office in downtown Nairobi, was therefore on point when he counselled Kenyans not to stuff their stomachs with solid food and instead spare some space for water and air. He was on point for shizzle.

But you know what? Over the past few months, I have again become gluttonous by putting too much sugar in my tea and by waking up in the middle of the night to gobble on whatever meal that was left over after supper - the kind of lupine behaviour I would hate to carry into marriage life. As a result, I have gained weight.

Since I have never liked being plump, I have resolved to put my gluttony to a stop. I have therefore instructed my prefrontal cortex (PFC) - the decision-making part of the brain - to stop the bad habit I have of putting too much sugar in my tea and of waking up in the middle of the night to gobble on food. 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."

~Unknown

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)