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

Death of an Uncle

Picture related to the title of the story
On the left side in this photo is my Dad posing for a photo with his brother (my uncle) Julius Gatonga during a certain funeral ceremony in 2003. Uncle Julius, as I will narrate in the story below, passed away last Thursday.

At around 1.20pm last Thursday, my Dad received a phone call. As he went to pick it, I silently hoped that he wouldn't hear any bad news. But alas! When I heard him repeatedly say "Oh, sorry!" in Swahili to whoever he was talking to, I instinctively sensed something tragic had happened. And it was probably about his brother Julius Gatonga.

My instincts turned out to be right because soon after Dad finished his phone conversation, I overheard him inform Mum that his brother was dead. He had breathed his last at 4.00am on Thursday morning.

I was a tad too shocked when I heard of the death of Uncle Julius. But I had seen it coming. Over the past one year, I would hear that he urgently needed money for dialysis and chemotherapy. Apparently, he had cancer and kidney problems.

Although I never bothered to find out which type of cancer Uncle Julius suffered from, I had asked God not to call him home soon since I feared his death might interrupt the disciplined daily routine I have been subjecting myself to. Too bad that God didn't answer that prayer.

After I learnt of Uncle Julius's demise on Thursday afternoon, I processed the bad news while seated at my desk. I wondered how my Dad was feeling for losing a brother he grew up with. Was he sorrowful? Did he feel like bursting into tears?

Surprisingly, I didn't note any change in Dad's mood as the Thursday afternoon wore on. He calmly continued with his work in his home office, while occasionally making calls to his other relatives to relay news of his brother's death. How stoic and worldly-wise my Dad is!

Uncle Julius was the only blood brother of my Dad. He was a humble and soft-spoken man who used to work as a primary school teacher before he reached retirement age. His immediate family must be devastated to lose him.

As for me, I will miss Uncle Julius: his presence, his humility and his wisdom. I will also miss his encouraging voice. Back in 1999 when I was in primary school, he exhorted me to work hard in my studies so that I could excel in academics like my immediate elder brother Paddy.

Besides his encouraging voice, the other thing I liked about Uncle Julius was the way he turned up for our family affairs. He attended the wedding ceremonies of my brothers Paddy and Bob Njinju in November 2012 and April 2014 respectively.

At the end of Paddy's wedding in November 2012, my eldest brother Joe Kagigite offered Dad, Uncle Julius and I a lift in his car. Joe was grumpy that day. He refused to drive us all the way home. Instead, he dropped us in a town called Ngong. As we walked in that town, Uncle Julius kept asking Dad where we were.

Then on the day of Bob Njinju's wedding in April 2014, I travelled with Uncle Julius to and from the wedding venue. Uncle Julius was quite slow on the uptake that day, probably because he wasn't used to travelling in a busy city. I had to guide him to our destinations.

Uncle Julius last visited us in 2016 when he came home to fetch some important documents he needed from Dad. He looked much older than Dad even though he was younger than Dad. And I noted he still had that passion for reading newspapers that is characteristic of men of his age.

In December last year, I heard one of his sons was graduating from a local university called Rongo. The Sunday before the graduation ceremony, Uncle Julius phoned Dad to beg for money for travelling to Rongo University. Dad came through to his aid. And that marked the last time I heard him converse with Dad. His health went downhill afterwards.

I will miss Uncle Julius for shizzle. And his death has inspired me to pursue my passions with greater zeal while I still have breath in my nostrils because in the grave where we are all headed, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Till we meet again, fare thee well Uncle Julius Gatonga!

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story about the death of my Uncle Julius Gatonga, you might also enjoy another one on "Bidding a Friend Farewell" that I wrote more than four years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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Cracking Clean Jokes

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

Let's be honest: jokes make life interesting. Don't you love being around people who are funny? I guess you do because funny people brighten our lives and make us forget the troubles that prey on our minds. And I guess you also desire to be hilarious in your interactions with people because of the good feeling that lingers in our souls long after we have told a rib-cracking joke.

As for me, I must admit that I haven't been as humorous as I would have wished to be. I attribute that short-coming to the way I had a suppressed childhood, a childhood that was characterized by constant beatings and criticism. Due to that suppression, I grew up as a shy, timid and confused teenager.

Even when I was at Starehe Boys' Centre, a prestigious institution in Nairobi where I had my high school and college education, I wasn't that outgoing. Imagine during my more than five years at Starehe, I remember cracking only three jokes. Only three. Let me tell you about one.

Back in 2005 when we were sitting for Music practical exams during our final year in high school, there was a metal plate placed outside the building where we were having the exams. On the metal plate was an instruction that read as follows:
Of course the calligrapher who wrote that instruction on the metal plate intended to warn passers-by not to trespass into the building where we were having our Music practical exams. But I interpreted the instruction to mean that we, the students sitting for the practical exams, should not pass the examinations.

I shared with Mr. Matthew Brooks, a talented white man from England who was then volunteering as a Music teacher at Starehe, my interpretation of the instruction while pointing at the metal plate on which it was written. Mr. Brooks burst out laughing. For me having tickled a white man, that joke remains one of my proudest high school achievements.

Although I had a suppressed childhood, I was brought up as a disciplined and morally-upright boy thanks to the teachings I received in church as well as the beatings I endured at home and in school. I therefore never cracked off-color jokes in my teenage years. None of the three jokes I remember punning during my years at Starehe were dirty.

It wasn't until I was a young adult at the university in JKUAT in 2008 that I started telling dirty jokes in my endeavor to be humurous. And the first dirty joke I recall cracking was when I was admitted at Thika Nursing Home after I was apprehended following my errant behavior at JKUAT.

Well, there was this lady who worked at the nursing home but wore a uniform that was different from that of other nurses. I could tell from her physique that she was about 55 years of age. Curious to know her role in the nursing home, I asked her at one time what her duties were but she didn't answer me for a reason I am unable to remember.

When I persisted in asking the lady what her duties in the nursing home were, she finally replied, "Just observe what I am doing. Watch where I am going and how I am doing my duties."

After she paused to see whether I had understood her reply, I inquired, "Even when you go to the toilet?"

My weird question made her go quiet in a manner that clearly showed she was like, "What's wrong with this young man?"

Over the years since I was discharged from Thika Nursing Home, I have cracked even dirtier jokes which go contrary to biblical principles. And I had the temerity to share some of those dirty jokes with the choristers I used to sing and worship with at All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi during my university days.

Some of the choristers who read my coarse jokes may have thought I was brought up as a spoilt kid. But, as I have said, I was morally-upright during my teenage years. The warped mind I seemed to have by sharing coarse jokes was a recent change in my behaviour in my endeavor to be humorous.

My experiences with endeavoring to be humorous have taught me that dirty jokes are very tempting to crack, for they seem to elicit the most laughter. Now that I have matured in my Christian faith, I have had to resist the urge to pun dirty jokes in the past four years. These days, I only crack clean jokes that don't offend anyone, both in my interactions with people and in the stories I share on this blog.

In his best-selling book The Secret of Happiness, evangelist Billy Graham wrote that off-color jokes shouldn't be uttered by believers. So, my beloved reader, I encourage you to avoid coarse jokes. Don't let your desire to be funny overshadow your responsibility to reflect God's character to the world. Be hilarious but for heaven's sake, crack only clean jokes. That's all I am saying.

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 hymn titled "Fulfill the Desires of My Heart". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the hymn.


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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)