Positive Quote For Today

"The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself."— C. JoyBell C.

My Biggest High School Disappointment

Thuita's photo

In January 2002 as I commuted home after collecting my Starehe Boys' Centre admission letter, I opened the letter and was pleased to be congratulated for having been accepted at Starehe. The letter went on to inform me that Starehe was part of Roundsquare, a worldwide association of schools. I must have been elated beyond measure to hear such encouraging news about the school I was about to join.

When I enrolled at Starehe for my high school education later on in that month of January, I eventually confirmed that Starehe was indeed a member of Roundsquare. And in those days when I was in the school, Starehe was the only Kenyan institution in the Roundsquare association of schools. I also got to learn that a conference is held every year in one of the Roundsquare schools, and that three third-formers are selected to represent Starehe in the conference.

What's more, I got to understand, without being told, that the Starehe teacher responsible for coordinating Roundsquare activities was Mr. Peter Ndung'u, a no-nonsense man who used to grow long hair that he combed backwards. During my time in Starehe, Mr. Ndung'u accompanied the third-formers chosen to attend the Roundsquare conference.

In 2002 when I was a first-former, the Roundsquare conference was held in a school in Germany. My immediate elder brother Paddy, who was also in Starehe, was among the three third-formers selected to attend the conference that year. When Paddy jetted back to Kenya from the conference, I heard him speak highly of Germany and all the marvels he had seen there, such as underground railway systems. Attending the conference was a real eye-opener for him.

In 2003 when I was a second-former, the Roundsquare conference was held in a school in South Africa. Perhaps because the school was not far from Kenya, four third-formers (not three) were chosen to attend the conference. One of them was a housemate of mine called James Ebenyo who hailed from an impoverished arid area in northern Kenya.

One evening a day or two after Ebenyo came back from the conference, I happened to walk with him from the dining hall to our dormitory. While we walked, I inquired from him how the conference had been. He responded to my questions with an enthusiasm that evinced how honoured he felt to have flown to South Africa. And when I asked him where the conference would be held the following year, he replied that it had been decided it would be in the United States of America.

I recall feeling delighted to hear from Ebenyo that the 2004 Roundsquare would be in America. Because I would be in third-form that year, I began to harbour hopes of being among the three third-formers picked to attend the conference, just as my brother Paddy had been selected in 2002.

When 2004 came and I became a third-former, I kept aflame my hopes and dreams of flying to America that year. I would sometimes stare at a map of the United States that was hung on a wall in the Starehe Boys' library, and then visualize myself touring some of the states during the Roundsquare conference. Oh, how I longed to fly to America - that rich, developed land of freedom and opportunity!

As my days as a third-former wore on, I kept anticipating being summoned by Mr. Peter Ndung'u to be told I had been picked to attend the Roundsquare conference. That I can recollect dreaming in my sleep on two nights in 2004 of myself touring the United States shows how ardently I desired to attend the conference.

But then came one morning in 2004 when I overheard my deskmate Martin Wamoni mumble something about Roundsquare conference participants in a conversation he was having with my classmate Lawrence Sikuku. I didn't hear clearly what Wamoni said but from the way he looked crestfallen, I instinctively sensed that three third-formers had already been selected to attend the conference.

My instincts were right because a few days later when I asked my brother Paddy which third-formers were flying to America for the conference, he went ahead to apprise me who they were, and I was not one of them. (Paddy was then in Starehe Institute and was part of the team of senior prefects charged with the task of picking the conference participants.)

The news that I hadn't been chosen to attend the Roundsquare conference in America hit me hard like a destructive missile. For several days, I was beside myself with gloom. But I didn't share my gloomy feelings with anyone, not even with Paddy; I just bottled them up without allowing the feelings to interfere with my focus on excelling in academics. And my not being selected to attend the 2004 Roundsquare conference in the United States turned out to be my biggest high school disappointment.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story about my biggest high school disappointment, you might also enjoy another one I wrote last year on "Reacting to Setbacks". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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Lessons From a Friend

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This is my friend Joseph Mazzella who I shall talk about in the story below.

I once read in a certain yoga book that all people experience moments of happiness during which they wish others the very best in life. But such moments of ineffable joy and goodwill are rare and fleeting for most people. Only a few people in the world have mastered the art of feeling happy and benevolent much of the time. And one such person is my friend Joseph Mazzella, an American who hails from the beautiful U.S. state of West Virginia. Allow me to tell you how I got to know Mazzella and how we became friends.

Back in 2013 when I launched this blog, I searched the internet for inspiring stories that I could plagiarize and post on the blog. To my delight, Google directed me to a certain website with feel-good stories, the kind that I wanted. In the website, I instantly liked stories authored by one Joseph Mazzella. His stories were about love, kindness and compassion; they covered such diverse topics as sharing smiles, crying at times and taking delight in nature.

Mazzella encouraged his readers to share smiles, pointing out that smiles are a spreader of joy, messengers of peace and prelude to laughter. He further said that we not only smile because we are happy but we also feel happy because we smile. Understanding that life can be tough as well, Mazzella exhorted his readers to cry once in a while as crying cleanses our souls to pave the way for the peace of God.

On his observations of nature, Mazzella wrote several stories about butterflies, sunrises, sunsets and rainbows. He wrote about how seeing a lovely butterfly hover over a meadow gives him glimpses of heaven. Then he added that it is not only butterflies that give him an idea of heaven but also a hug, an uplifting song and an encouraging word.

Mazzella wrote of how sunrises are gentle reminders of how God loves us. In one of his inspiring stories, he penned in vivid prose of the exhilaration he derives in seeing the sun set in his home-area, and then concluded the story by saying that after the sun has set, he has this calm assurance that it will rise again the following day to give him another chance to spread love.

Perhaps the Mazzella's story that touched me most was one on how he had read somewhere when he was a child that there is a pot of gold where a rainbow touches the ground. As you can imagine, he believed it. So one evening during his childhood years when he spotted a rainbow curving majestically across the sky, he ran towards the point where the rainbow seemed to be touching the ground. But alas! However fast he ran, he didn't reach the place because the rainbow would keep on shifting.

Mazzella said that that wasn't the last time he had chased after elusive treasure. Over the years, he has gone after fame, money, and even relationships that he thought would bring him lasting happiness but none ever did. He concluded in the story that he has finally found the true treasure that never fades. And that treasure is the love of God which is free for all. Mazzella has accepted that treasure in his heart and he is endeavoring to share it with others. Quite an inspiring story.

So inspiring did I find Mazzella's stories to be that I plagiarized them and posted them on my blog. Some of my readers commented on how motivating the stories were. I just thank God that they never got to know where I had extracted them from.

Later on in 2014 after getting hold of Mazzella's email address, I sent him an email in which I commended him for his exemplary stories. He replied to the email and asked me if he could include me in his mailing list. I gladly accepted to be part of the list. Since then, he has been emailing me a story every week without fail. And that, my dear reader, is how Mazzella and I became friends.

Sometime in 2015 when I let Mazzella know that I run a blog, he discovered, to his utter surprise, that I used to plagiarize his stories. He warned me, in the kindest manner possible, that plagiarism is wrong. Being the wise young man that I am, I heeded his warning, for as the Book of Proverbs counsels, "he who hates correction is stupid". I can now proudly declare that since I rebranded this blog in 2016 to what it looks like now, all the stories I have been sharing here are products of my own genuine effort.

Besides warning me on what I was doing wrong, Mazzella has encouraged me to keep on writing and sharing my stories with the world. And he always wishes me joy every time he emails me. That's why I have said at the beginning of this story that Mazzella is one of the few people in the world who have mastered the art of feeling joyful and benevolent. And would you believe me if I told you that he has two sons with autism? Well, he does. And that teaches us life doesn't have to be perfect for us to be happy.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on lessons I learnt from a friend, you might also enjoy another one on "Bidding a Friend Farewell" which I wrote two 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)