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

Some Bad Days I Once Had

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With permission, I have extracted this picture-quote from a website called Love Image Collections. All rights reserved worldwide.

In his book The Lost World of the Kalahari, Laurens van der Post recollects clearly asking his father once, "Why do [these plains and hills] always look so sad?" His father replied with unexpected feeling, "The sadness is not in the plains and hills but in ourselves."

I think the same can be said of the bad days that we all experience once in a while: that the badness is not in the days but in ourselves.

Yes, we all experience bad days as we journey through this crazy journey called life. I mean those days when we just don't feel like getting out of bed in the morning, become irritable or deadly bored during the day or just lacking in our usual energy and zeal. You must have had such bad days, haven't you?

Don't worry, you are not alone. Even people in high places do have bad days as former U.S. President Bill Clinton made clear in his bestselling memoir. Okay, let me tell you more on that.

In the year 2000 when Bill Clinton was finishing his second term as president and his wife Hillary was commencing her campaign for a senate seat, they went looking for a house to live in after their days in the White House were over. Bill Clinton chose one in Chappaque, New York. And when Hillary asked him why he loved that house in Chappaque, he replied, "Because you're about to start a hard campaign. There'll be some bad days. This beautiful room is bathed in light. You'll wake up every morning in a good humour."

Personally, I have also had my own share of bad days. I narrated the other day on this lovely blog of mine of how miserable I felt when I got rejected by MIT in March 2007, didn't I? Well, I also got rejected by Cornell, Stanford and Dartmouth, the other colleges I had applied for admission in that 2006/07 application round. And that triggered some bad days in my life.

But guess what! I still could not dismiss from my mind my desire to study in America, the so-called land of opportunities, where I could study alongside students of other races and under a renowned faculty consisting of Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winning authors.

So when I matriculated at a local university called JKUAT in May 2007 to pursue an engineering degree, I began making plans on how I'd reapply to top American colleges. As I prepared to work on my college applications, I tried improving my word power in an effort to perform better on the SAT 1 exam which the colleges I was planning to apply for admission require applicants to take.

The colleges I finally decided to apply for were MIT, Yale, Harvard and Stanford. But unlike in the previous round when I really wanted to attend MIT, this time, Harvard was my first choice.

My father didn't approve of me applying to those colleges. Claiming that they were too competitive, he urged me to concentrate on finishing my engineering course at JKUAT. Had it not been for a loan I was receiving for my JKUAT education, I wonder who would have financed the SAT exams I retook in December 2007.

Thanks to the physics, chemistry and calculus that I was learning at JKUAT, I managed to make a great improvement in the SAT 2 exam that I resat in November 2007. But I only improved by a small margin in SAT 1 when I retook it a month later in December. That small improvement in SAT 1 got me worried for a few days but I soon rebounded with hope that I could still get into Harvard if I submitted compelling stuff in other parts of the application.

When we broke for a four-month holiday at JKUAT in December 2007 after my first year was over, I was sanguine that I would never return to the local university but would instead fly to America for my undergraduate studies as it had been my dream.

Quite sure that I'd make it to Harvard, I didn't touch any engineering book during that four-month holiday. Instead, I read books about America probably to learn more about the land of opportunity where I hoped to acquire my undergraduate degree.

Of the few books I read on America during that long holiday, the one I enjoyed most was a collection of essays on the life of Thomas Jefferson, the gifted third president of the United States. The book was titled Thomas Jefferson: The Man... His World... His Influence.

But then came the night of March 15th, 2008. My hopes were dashed when I logged into my MIT account only to find out I had been rejected again. The rejection made me feel miserable.

Somehow though, I felt elated and clear-headed when I turned up for church at All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi the following morning. I guess that resurgence in my vitality sprang from a hope that I could still get accepted at Stanford where several of my schoolmates in high school had been admitted in the previous years. And for the next two or so weeks as I eagerly waited to hear from the other remaining three colleges, I hang on to that hope as a drowning man clinches on a twig in a mighty river.

Then my eagerly awaited Yale, Harvard & Stanford decisions finally arrived online in early April 2008. I viewed them all in one browsing session at a cyber-cafe in downtown Nairobi. And wa! On learning that I had also not been accepted into any of those colleges, I became emotionally sick.

Imagine I became so emotionally sick that I had trouble getting out of bed the following day. And the gloominess spread over the next few days to an extent that I didn't turn up for church at All Saints' Cathedral as it was my habit. To this day, I don't think I have ever experienced such a series of bad days like I did when I got rejected by Yale, Harvard and Stanford in April 2008.


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Tips on How to Leave a Legacy

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This is my younger brother Symo, who I shall mention in the story below, back in the late '90s when he was in his pre-teen years. He now works for KPMG as an audit associate.

Fresh concrete has a way of attracting young "artists" who like to leave their mark for posterity. I recall, for instance, one evening in 2000 when my younger brother Symo [pictured above] scribbled his full name "Simon Noru" on newly cemented floor of a verandah at home after he came back from school.

This desire to leave a mark for posterity seems to be present in most people because other folks do it in other ways. Some scribble their names on walls of buildings in schools, hospitals and other public institutions. Just visit a public toilet here in Kenya and you might see a writing on the urinal that reads "Kamau was here". I am sure that also happens in America and other developed parts of the world.

Then there are those in power, especially here in Africa, who love naming prominent places and streets after themselves. They also love having plaques bearing their names erected in their honour. At the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, for example, you will find one that reads:
Come to think of it, if young kids like my younger brother Symo can scribble their names on fresh concrete when they are too young to understand life in detail, then this desire to leave a mark for posterity seems to be wired in every human by God. Or how else can you explain that everyone from children to presidents do it all the time?

Yes, we all wish to be remembered after we die. So I thought it wise to share today a few ways in which each of us can leave a legacy, hoping to inspire you to carve a niche in whatever career you are engaged.

The first way I will suggest is by capitalizing on your wealth if you are a rich person. You can start a scholarship fund and name it after yourself the way Cecil Rhodes did when he started the coveted Rhodes scholarship that is awarded every year to students across the world to study a masters' degree at Oxford University. Or you can offer financial assistance to a school constructing a library and recommend the library be named in your honour.

Once you become rich, I think leaving such kind of legacy by capitalizing on your wealth is one of the easiest ways to leave a mark for posterity because money talks. But since not many of us have the ability to become rich, the other way of leaving a mark for posterity I can suggest for those of us who aren't rich is to capitalize on our talents.

I believe we all have talents. And talents come in a variety of packages. You may have a knack for reading, writing, or speaking. You may have a gift for being creative, being a fast learner, or being accepting of others. You may have organizational, music or leadership skills. Or you may be excellent at chess, drama, butterfly collecting or just being nice.

My suggestion to you is to identify your talent, develop it in all the ways you can and who knows, you could end up leaving a rich legacy like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart did. Mozart became interested in music at a young age. He developed that interest into a talent and went on to compose some of the greatest classical music that is still listened today by millions across the world.

Then there is Thomas Edison who, despite his little formal schooling, left his mark for posterity by following his passion for tinkering with things. That passion led him to invent many things such as the light bulb and the movie camera. He is now regarded as America's greatest inventor.

And then there is Mother Teresa, now recognised as a saint, who left her mark for posterity by capitalizing on her talent of just being nice. She became famous for helping the poor in Calcutta, India. I just like the piece of advice she left: "Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be a living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."

There you have them, my dear reader: that is, my few tips on how you too can leave a mark for posterity. So live, laugh, love, learn and leave a legacy!


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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)