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

Refraining From Exaggerating

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

About five years ago, I came across in our home library an old Newsweek magazine written for teenagers and young adults. The magazine offered advice on how to find mentors and what college applicants should do and not do while applying to American colleges. Unfortunately, I have forgotten much of what I read in the magazine. The little I remember is the magazine advising college applicants not to exaggerate their achievements.

That piece of advice had me reflecting on the applications I made to several top American colleges in the years 2006, 2007 and 2009. For today, I will focus on the applications I submitted in 2007 because that was the year I was properly prepared and motivated to apply to American colleges.

The colleges I applied for admission in 2007 were MIT, Yale, Harvard and Stanford. Applying to those colleges was a rigorous process that entailed filling out forms, writing several essays, sitting for the SAT exams, and getting recommendation letters from three of my high school teachers.

While I avoided plagiarizing other people's writings when I was applying to those American colleges in 2007, I must confess that I did a lot of lying and exaggerating in the materials I submitted for review. Okay, let me tell you more.

In the application forms, I lied that I won a Physics award in senior high school. I told that lie to impress the admission officers that I was excellent in Physics, the subject I wanted to pursue at one of the colleges. And to create the impression that I had potential for leadership, I lied that I had been the chairman of Music and Wildlife clubs in high school.

In the recommendation letters I got from three of my high school teachers, I had one of them mention that I was among the few outstanding students she had ever taught in her long teaching career. If today you asked that teacher who Thuita was, she would most likely not remember me at all. And that goes to tell how her recommendation information was an exaggeration.

Perhaps the parts of my application materials that I told the most lies and exaggerations were the essays I wrote to the colleges. In one long essay, I narrated how I grew up in a remote village in Kenya called Ole Murkuku where I grazed my father's cattle, how I constructed small huts from wild grass while grazing the cattle, and how such creative ventures improved my aptitude for Physics.

The truth is, there is no village in Kenya called Ole Murkuku. Ole Murkuku is just the name of a Maasai man who owns huge tracts of land next to a primary school I attended. And while it is true that I did graze my father's cattle when I was a boy, I never constructed huts from wild grass; it was my immediate elder brother Paddy who did the construction. I just lied and exaggerated the details in the essay.

In another optional long essay, I narrated how, as a small boy in primary school, I would overhear older schoolmates discuss about MIT, Yale, Harvard and Stanford while on our way home from school, and that from the way they spoke highly of those colleges, they made it sound to me like the colleges were havens for geniuses. Then I added in the essay that "little did I know I would one day apply to those colleges for undergraduate admission".

The truth is, yes, I used to overhear older schoolmates discuss interesting stuff while on our way home from school. But never at any one time did I hear them speak of MIT, Yale, Harvard and Stanford. In fact, with the exception of Harvard, I never got to know of those American colleges till I was in high school at Starehe Boys' Centre.

Come to think of it, I don't know why I had to embellish my application materials to American colleges with lies and exaggerations while I had a number of high school achievements under my belt. Achievements such as giving speeches, playing volleyball, going for hikes, accompanying the whole school on the piano, tutoring hymns to my house choir, winning awards in the Kenya Music Festival and volunteering to work at the Attorney General's Chambers in Nairobi.

Those high school achievements would have been impressive enough to land me at MIT, Yale, Harvard or Stanford if only I had the eloquence of diction and poetry of imagination to express them in a captivating manner. Surely, there was no need for me to lie and exaggerate in my applications to those elite colleges.

If you are a teenager applying to top-flight colleges in America, I encourage you not to exaggerate your accomplishments because most of the admission officers of the colleges don't suffer fools gladly. They can sense a phony after reviewing several of a student's application materials.

Stanford in particular advises its applicants to resist the urge to sound like a Stanford student since no two Stanford students are the same. They are all different in their abilities and backgrounds. Basically, what Stanford tries to inform its applicants is not to exaggerate anything, a lesson we can all apply in our lives regardless of our age or profession. Adieu!

NEW! NEW! NEW! If you missed my social media update two days ago, let me take this opportunity to inform you that I have produced a new hymn titled "Not Ashamed". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the hymn and listen to it.


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Becoming an Entrepreneur

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This is me during my days at Starehe Institute where I pursued a transformative diploma in information technology. I was carrying a voluminous computer programming book in the white polythene bag.

Starehe Institute has always held a special place in my own memory. It was during my time there in the years 2006 and 2007 that I learnt how to use a computer efficiently. I became so adept at using computers that I could navigate through the Windows operating system without using a mouse.

It was also at Starehe Institute that I started developing a sense of who I am and what I believe in. I attribute that improved self-awareness to the inspiring quotes and motivational books I devoured while in the institute. Boy, didn't I enjoy reading quotes by prominent figures in history!

But my Starehe Institute experience that I treasure most was the entrepreneurial initiative I embarked on with my classmates Stephen Mutevu and Kennedy Munene. The three of us, after learning how to design websites, banded together to create an educational website we called Gskool.com. Our mission was to offer on the website quality lessons in such subjects as biology, physics, chemistry and geography.

Soon after we set up the educational Gskool website, Mutevu and Munene applied for Google ads. Their application was approved, and sooner than later, we had on Gskool.com a number of Google ads that could earn us money depending on the number of visitors clicking the ads.

Now, Google states clearly that website admins are not meant to click Google ads on their websites. They are not even supposed to test if the ads are working. Ad clicking is a preserve of website visitors, not admins. Mutevu, Munene and I didn't get to know that back in 2006.

So when we had Google ads on Gskool.com, Mutevu and Munene began clicking them in earnest. And their excitement mounted as they checked Google ads account for Gskool and saw their earnings rise. They must have thought they were destined to become rich while still teenagers in Starehe Institute.

But alas! A few days into their ad clicking venture, they received a bombshell from Google that the ads account for Gskool.com had been disabled because the ads' clicks were coming from the same location, what Google refers to as invalid clicks. Mutevu and Munene, clever as they were, just couldn't outfox Google's software engineers.

To be honest, I was actually happy to hear that the Google ads account for Gskool.com had been disabled since both Mutevu and Munene had denied me access to the Gskool admin portal in spite of me having contributed a substantial amount of content for Gskool. Much of the stuff in the physics section of the website had been my own work.

But my efforts in founding Gksool.com were not in vain because when I was applying to MIT, Cornell, Stanford and Dartmouth in 2006, I sent CD-copies of the Gskool website to those top American colleges. I did that so as to impress the admission officers.

Even when I went for my MIT interview, which was conducted in Nairobi by an MIT graduate named Eston Kimani, I mentioned my work in creating Gskool.com. A week or so after the interview, Eston phoned me to inquire if I was the one who had created Gskool.com. He seemed impressed by the website. Unfortunately, I wasn't accepted at MIT or in any of the other three American colleges I applied for admission in 2006.

Our entrepreneurial initiative in founding Gskool.com left a lasting impression on me. Later on in 2011 when I was dropping out of the University of Nairobi, I wanted to set up an educational website similar to Gskool.com. I envisioned it to contain engaging content in the school subjects I was knowledgeable in: maths, biology, physics, chemistry, geography and economics.

With time, it crystallized in my mind that what people need is stories. I therefore eventually changed my plans and created a blog for sharing human-interest stories. Since hymn-singing is one of my passions, I added on the blog a videos' section for sharing the hymns that I produce. I also created a pop-up window for inspiring my blog visitors with the quotes that invigorate me.

Setting up this blog has been a challenging but exhilarating experience. I have encountered so many technical hiccups as well as rejection and criticism from people. But thanks in part to the transformative education I received at Starehe Institute, I have weathered the storm and created a blog with such original content that Google approved my application for displaying its ads on the blog.

Now that the blog is running smoothly and attracting visitors from around the world, I have faith that it shall flourish like flying termites after an evening rain. Or to borrow the immortal words of King David in Psalm 27:13, I am confident that "I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living". Hooray, I am an entrepreneur at last!

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story about me becoming an entrepreneur, you might also enjoy another one on "Blooming Where Planted" that I wrote several years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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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)