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.

The Things We Take For Granted

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

In his free ebook The Top 200 Secrets of Success and the Pillars of Self-Mastery, motivational writer Robin Sharma advises us to do 100 sit-ups everyday. He says doing 100 sit-ups helps tone up our stomach muscles, leading to improvement in the quality of our lives. Mmmmh, that sounds interesting, doesn't it?

As for me, I came to discover that stretching with rollers is more effective in toning up our stomach muscles than doing sit-ups. I have therefore been stretching with rollers 12 times everyday for the past five years. Judging from the pain I used to feel when I first began using rollers daily, I reckon stretching with rollers 12 times must be the equivalent of doing 100 sit-ups.

Yes, I used to feel excruciating pain in my stomach muscles when I first began stretching with rollers everyday in 2017. Whenever I jumped, my stomach muscles would ache - the kind of pain that would force many people to quit stretching with rollers. But I didn't quit. I persisted.

Guess what! As I continued with my stretching exercises, the pain in my stomach muscles gradually subsided. I can happily report that I have been stretching with rollers effortlessly 12 times each passing day for the past five years. And I'd have been stretching more times had my eldest brother Joe Kagigite not warned me that over-exertion with rollers can cause severe back-pains.

Early last week, something odd happened to my body. I started feeling searing pain in my stomach muscles - the same kind of pain I used to feel five years ago when I began stretching with rollers everyday. My stomach muscles have been aching not only when stretching with rollers but also when jumping, laughing and sneezing.

The ache in my stomach muscles has made me dread the time I habitually stretch with rollers. Whereas before I would stretch without thinking about it, I have in the last thirteen days been in pain whenever I have done a single stretch with rollers.

Honestly speaking, I don't know what caused the pain to reappear in my stomach muscles. I hadn't stopped stretching with rollers for some time. Neither had I stretched more than 12 times on any single day. The cause of the pain remains mysterious to me.

Last week when the pain was most intense, I prayed that it was only a passing ache of my abdominal muscles and not a developing problem in any of the vital organs in the stomach region (liver, kidneys, pancreas, intestines or the stomach bag itself). I even picked a biro and scribbled this on my tummy: "God, heal my abdominal muscles!"

God seemed to have listened to my prayers because for the past three days, the ache in my stomach muscles has lessened. I firmly believe the pain will completely go away just like it did five years ago and sooner than later, I will gradually resume stretching with rollers smoothly.

Believe you me, I had come to take for granted my ability to stretch with rollers effortlessly everyday. But last week when I began feeling searing pain in my stomach muscles every time I did a single stretch with rollers, I realized what a big blessing it was to stretch with rollers easily. And that has made me reflect on other little blessings that I have been taking for granted such as:
  • climbing stairs
  • going for walks
  • swallowing food
  • having hair on my head
  • having appetite for food
  • having pain-free white teeth
  • thinking clearly and creatively
  • feeling joy and peace in the soul
  • having joints that bend effortlessly
  • breathing so easily that I don't even notice it
  • having the strength to queue up in a supermarket
Those blessings have appeared simple and normal to me but I am beginning to realize they are big gifts from God. Trust me, there are people in this world wishing they could have such little blessings; people such as COVID-19 patients who are assisted to breathe by machines and cancer patients who have to wear wigs to hide their hair loss caused by chemotherapy.

Realizing how richly blessed I am to have those blessings I have listed above has made me resolve to appreciate and enjoy them. I will no longer take them for granted. As someone once said, those little blessings will one day appear big to me. Why not value them now?

My beloved reader, I urge you to also pause once in a while and ponder on the things you take for granted - plain, everyday things - and appreciate them before it's too late. Perhaps that might help you rise above the petty worries, conflicts, jealousies and resentments that litter our everyday living. Happy Easter holidays!

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 "Hear Me, O Lord". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the hymn.


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Loving My Brother Bob

This is my brother Bob Njinju during his days in Kenya's military. More about him in the story below.

When we were growing up in the '90s, my elder brother Bob Njinju used to be creative and innovative in the tasks he did at home. He would decorate our compound in a unique style. And I will never forget the stable and long-lasting stool he once made from blocks of wood. Oh boy, didn't I love sitting on that stool while cooking and eating in our home's sooty kitchen!

Bob could also be as tough as shoe leather. I once heard a true story about how, as he was heading home one evening, he removed his shirt and sprinted home like a night-runner. That story cracked me up. Come to think of it, the story still makes me dissolve into laughter when I remember it.

It must be due to his creativity and toughness that Bob was selected to join Kenya's military in 2002 when he was fresh from high school. Soon after joining the military, he was taken for physical training in northern Kenya for several months. We as a family had a glimpse of how strenuous the training was from the photos Bob mailed to Dad.

While Bob was away for that training, my other brothers would joke about the way Bob would become muscular. They would say that when he came back home, he would do such extraordinary feats as milking cows with one hand while the other hand held the cows' hind legs.

Upon completing the gruelling physical training, Bob was chosen to be part of the Kenya Air Force - one of the three arms of Kenya's military. Even though his desire was to become a pilot in the Air Force, he seemed content in pursuing the course he was assigned to study: a diploma in Telecommunications Engineering.

Had Bob finished that diploma course, he would most likely have been allowed to advance to a degree level under the auspices of the military. But as it happened, he left the Kenya Air Force in 2007 to try his hand at business.

Unfortunately for Bob, his business failed miserably, leaving him as broke as a church mouse. Some days in 2007, he would come to Starehe Institute where I was pursuing my education and ask me for my ATM card in a manner that clearly showed he was desperate for cash. His brush with poverty forced him to go back to our parents' home. Previously, he had been living in a rented room on the outskirts of Nairobi City.

After I broke for a long holiday in December 2007 when I was a first-year student at the university in JKUAT, I happened to stay with Bob here at home in Kiserian. And lo! Bob and I had a frosty relationship during that time. We would quarrel over trivial matters in an impassioned way that made our parents to intervene.

Bob's business picked up in 2008. As soon as he was able to support himself, he relocated back to Nairobi. And, as you would expect of any right-thinking young man, he would occasionally come back home to visit our parents.

In December 2008 when I was at a low ebb following my diagnosis with a mental illness, Bob would command me to assist our parents in domestic chores instead of lazing around all day. I felt so helpless that I had no choice but to obey his commands.

Ever the quintessential soldier, Bob would order me to do boring tasks when he came home in the previous decade. He would, for instance, ask me to collect stones and uproot weeds for feeding his rabbits. Sometimes, his commanding nature would paralyze me with fear so much that I would run away whenever he came home.

With time, I came to gather enough courage to stand up to Bob. In 2016, I declined to do some of the work he wanted done at home. And in 2017 when he implored me to see a psychiatrist, I told him I wasn't sick and that the bad days I sometimes had were part of being human. I informed him that even successful men like Barack Obama also have bad days.

One afternoon in 2017 when Bob came home and found me in high spirits, he asked me why I was happy in a tone that suggested he was about to chastise me for laughing aloud while alone in my room. And wa! Unable to stomach Bob's commands anymore, I went ballistic and said some things that I regret.

Fortunately, Bob and I reconciled shortly after my angry outburst. And I am happy to report that we have been on friendly terms for the past four years. He has in fact been sending me money for buying a few odds and ends.

Last year, I had a dream during which I dreamt in my sleep at night that we had buried my brother Bob. It was really a bad dream, the kind that makes you glad to wake up and realize it wasn't real.

Bad though the dream was, it made me appreciate my brother Bob. I believe that was God's way of teaching me to love Bob. So these days when he comes home, I feel grateful to see him alive. And in recent months, it has dawned on me that Bob is actually a humble and hard-working brother, not the commanding man that I thought he was. Long live Bob!

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on my brother Bob, you might also enjoy another one on "How I Grew Up With My Siblings" that I wrote several years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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