Wednesday, November 2, 2016

"Attitude with Sock Appeal"

Attitude is the single biggest factor in how happy you are.
While you can certainly change your attitude toward life and become happier, it is not as simple as just repeating, "I am happy. Life is good. I am happy." Positive affirmations have a role to play in creating a happier life, but they are woefully inadequate by themselves - to the point of deserving the ridicule some have heaped upon positive affirmations. Actions to become happier in life
    1. Begin Today. Take a step toward your Life Goal today
    2. Persevere - Have Commitment.
    Happy people don't give up or waver. You may choose to change your goals. You may choose to change your tactics for reaching your goals. But persevere and stay committed.
    3. Hold your Intent (also called Intention).
    There is power in affirming, "It will be thus." There is power in speaking your Intent to the Universe. Trust and affirm your Intent for the future. Speak your Intent (or prayer) with gratitude for something that certainly will happen rather than hope that something might happen.

Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice.
~ Wayne Dyer

Wear attitude like a pair of socks. In a little time they will smell; wear them too long and they will stink. You can throw them away or wash and make them fresh with a little 'sock appeal.' After a while, the stink is sure to follow.
~Redd Sonja, The Vibrant Woman @H3

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I Ain't Afraid of No Troll

“A wise woman wishes to be no one's enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone's victim.” Maya Angelou

Comedian and Actress Leslie Jones has received enormous publicity lately and not for her comedic talents. Ms. Jones became the target of racial terrorism and social bullying. The fact is that it doesn’t matter how great, fabulous, beautiful or funny you are to be a target. So don't look now, but lurking behind you is a mobile app of popularity or success in life is a troll. From a child in grade school or a student attending high school or even a comedian at the peak of your career; no matter the age, you can be subject to be confrontation by a troll. And at any age or circumstance, how you handle the matter is predicated on what you chose to tell yourself.

Trolls and bullies are one in the same only with different methods of harassing behaviors. They pounce on opportunities to deliver malicious rumors and catapulting insults like a pie throwing contest in an arena that appears safety and comfort of fingertips at a keyboard and ass possible on a toilet while dropping terms like putrid feces from a rotten gut. Yes; these are disgusting beings clinging to a life void of attention; namely yours. Unfortunately, for some who find success in the workplace or a career, they are more subjected to random or a sudden barrage of attacks. The goal is to shatter your foundation of belief. First thing to re-anchor yourself in a solid belief system; repeat a series of statements or read a chapter from your favorite motivational book that helped you to achieve the success you have today. Be mindful and still to stabilize yourself from these attacks. You must be aware of why you became the target. The hurtful comments are simply mirroring the attackers’ ignorance, jealousies and inferiorities.

How do you handle an orchestrated campaign of attack by trolls? ‘What do you chose to tell the word and what do you chose to tell yourself?’ Here are a few statements by some famous people who at some point in their careers dealt with trolls.

Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
If there's something strange in you twitter feed Who you gonna call?
Troll Busters
If there's something weird And it don't look good
Who you gonna call?
Troll Busters
I ain't afraid of no Troll
You Go Gurl!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Got Talent? Use It or Lose It!

Out of clutter, find simplicity. Albert Einstein

You’ve heard it before. Cherishing and holding on to something and never using it is a milder form of hoarding. You can be a functional hoarder accompanied by a host of disorders associated with OCD and a variety of fears and emotional anxieties. So here're the tests:
Ask yourself: “Do I have ... Cluttered spaces that I plan to organize one day? Items unused visible, hidden or somewhere collecting dust? Piles upon piles of clothing in closets, floors, in boxes? Overstock of beauty and make-up items that you seldom use? Items you’ve been saving for a rainy day for more than two years? An ‘I’m going to get to it’ to-do-list, and nothing gets checked off as completed? What about obsessing over ‘something for special occasions’ year after year, yet that special occasion never happens?

And the list goes on. If you recognize any subtleties, then you are secretly suffering from a mild to extreme case of hoarding. What’s the point or purpose? YOLO.
So it became clear to me, the other morning I was rushing to get dressed for a meeting when I accidentally bumped into a tri-fold sundry travel case that has been hanging from my bathroom cabinet over three years. It has become a fixture and contains some of the same items since I hung it there. The bag contained some precious perfume samples and other items that I had been saving for a special occasion that I had completely forgotten about. I unintentionally bumped into the bag, and all the glass bottles fell on to the tile and broke releasing the most delightful and pleasant aroma. It frustrated me, because I never got a chance to use it for that special occasion. All I have now is the beautiful aroma each time I enter my bed and bathroom all over the bathroom.

A switch went off. This experience came to me as a reminder that we too often and unsuspectingly slip into the hoarding zone that is not restricted to material possessions. We also become hoarders of gifts that get smoldered over time by fears, work, kids, and more excuses. What a waste! Clean out the closets, dump that crap you’ve been holding on to forever or use it; like the signature purple plates you listed on your first wedding registry. So what, you’re not married any longer, use it or get rid of it.

Got talent? Your gifts and talents are more important that the crap collecting dust in under your bed or the miserable job; where you've been stagnated. Get rid of the crap that blocks you from being you or fulfilling your divine purpose. Make a drastic change now. Go full force. Clean out the cobwebs. Often, hoarding is just another way to avoid finding happiness. It allows you to stay stuck in a state of unhappiness. Don't waste time. Stop making excuses, do something about it today. Dare to initiate change. Be fearless. Have a brave heart. Use it or lose it.

Sonja Brooks, H3

Sunday, April 10, 2016

SPIRIT HOP #1. Serendipity - ST. Augustine Episcopal Church, Oakland, CA

The day I first visited St. Augustine was November 8, fall of 2015. I drove past this church for several years with a bit of curiosity or a flashing thought about how rough the area appeared.  The church is located on the corner of Telegraph Avenue and 29th Street; which happens to be just down the street from a homeless encampment under the 980 highway. For the past eight years, I have driven by with a negative and short-sighted opinion about the area and location, not knowing anything about the church or its people and never paid much attention until this day. The banner that hung outside caught my attention that read Jazz Sundays, so I decided to check it out.

The church building itself is small yet inside it is very beautiful with a deep red wood throughout.  It is a historical landmark that was built in 1890. There are about 130 members, and a choir made up of approximately eight or nine persons. There are two services 8am and 10:30am, which comfortably accommodated members and new guests. As usual, I arrived at the last minute. Congregation had already begun, and the choir was signing the opening hymn ‘We Gather Together.’ You know the church is small when you open the door and a flood of sunlight spills in when you enter, and everyone looks up at you; new and arriving at the last minute. Ok - Awkward! I quickly scampered in and grabbed a seat to the rear and closest to the door. 

From my seated position, I could really see how small and very beautifully the church was preserved. It was fall harvest. The center aisle was decorated with dried large bamboo leaves and plastic flowers that arched and connected the pews on each side to commemorate the festivities. The quaint environment was charming and intimate with the décor. It reminded me of being in a Tiki lounge, except without the flaming cocktail with an umbrella hanging from the side of the glass. Tiki would not be far from appropriate since Tiki is Polynesian mythology of the first man or a carved figure of a deity.  I soon discover that the Jazz is held on the 4th Sundays, so I missed it.

The minister is a quite handsome elder with mingling of grey and black curly hair; Dr. Rev. Kwazi Thornell. His voice is forceful and his demeanor smooth. He greets everyone and instructs us for the first reading: Ruth 3:2-5; Psalms 127, Hebrews 9:24-28. We kneel and pray; kneel and pray; kneel and pray; a practice very similar to Catholicism. They congregation sings ‘I’ve Decided to Make Jesus My Choice,' and I ab-lib.  The congregation is multi-culture and multi-ethnic with Anglo, African-American, Latin, Caribbean, African and they are extremely hospitable and friendly. After the sermon, the church hosts a reception of food and drinks in the community hall behind the main building. I attended and met more of the members; most of whom have been in the community for a very long time. I was certain to return again, and I did in February 2016.

It was February 21, 2016-second Sunday in Lent. I normally avoid First Sundays as a visitor because I am never comfortable with unknown customs of other church communions. Nonetheless, communion is practiced here on the second Sunday, so I rise and get into line following the couple sitting on the left of me in the pew when instructed by the usher. While in line, I join the choir in the song ‘What A Friend We Have,’ with the customary ab-libing and making my way to the front as communion began.

When I arrived at the alter, I followed suit with everyone and kneeled down. At this time, my stomach is growling very loud when the assistant pastor handed me the wafer. I placed it on my tongue. My stomach growls again, and my only thought is what am I going to eat once this is over. Here comes the grape juice. The brass goblin is placed before my lips. I sip and discovered it was wine! Wow, cool! However, I was hungry as hell.  So on this occasion immediately following service, I proceeded directly to the community hall to eat and fellowship with the members.  

I was overwhelmed by their hospitality.  They gave me flowers, a visitor package.  They provided tea, coffee, various sweets and cakes, including baked and fried chicken and salads.  I even received a gift coffee cup with a picture of the historic church.  My belly was full, I received an outpouring of love and hospitality.  I am sure to return soon if they will tolerate my ab-libbing of songs.   Thank you St. Augustine's Episcopal Church of Oakland, whose motto is 'Going Forward In Faith.' 

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Five Minute Fool

He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever."
~ Chinese proverb

I just could not wait to post in April, therefore this is a pre-April's fool blog.  About a month ago, I received a friend request from an unknown person on social media. I noticed that they had about four or five friends in common and only one was actually a true friend. So I made a decision to accept the friend request from a male individual born in the United Kingdom living abroad, who claimed his profession to be a chemical engineer working offshore who had lost his wife in recent years and is now a single parent. Let's call this gentleman Simon Muniz.

Over the next couple of weeks, Simon began sending friendly notes that quickly evolved into intimate instant messages throughout the day. Now, I feel odd and uncomfortable that this man is constantly sending me messages, and I am too preoccupied with time sensitive matters that impact my finance than to become interrupted with frequent and senselessly short and idle chats with someone who lives across the pond, and I haven't even had at least a two-minute phone conversation. He questioned in an instant message, "why do you respond late my messages?" I replied, "because I am launching a program and urgently seeking funding. Ah ha, an opportunity identified! Now, this Mr. Muniz makes his move and offers an unsolicited donation in the generous amount of $50,000 to help fund my project. So the fun begins!
WED 4:28AM 
[Muniz] Hi Sonja. How are you today? 
How is your fund raising project going? You know that i am still working offshore now and i don't have access to my money here. But I will email my bank to transfer some funds to you to support your project ok 
Just drop your email address and phone number, so i can forward it to the bank to contact you and make the transfer of my little donation 
Take care and hope to hear from you 
WED 12:52PM 
[Me] Hello Muniz. I've been really busy working on this 
WED 2:57PM 
[Me] I appreciate your offer to make a donation. I will send a link PayPal.Me/xxxxxxxxx 
WED 4:03PM 
[Muniz] You know that I am still working offshore now in the Atlantic and does not have access 
to my money here but I will email my bank to transfer the sum of $50,000 USD to you so you 
can boost your investment capital for now. Then when i finish my contract here and done 
with the evacuation of our working materials, I will come over to the US to meet you 
before the year runs out so we can talk one-on-one on the way forward for the business. 
I may even introduce some of my colleagues here as new investors when I come back ok. 
You don't have to worry also about the transfer because my bank is already informed. 
But you are yet to drop your mobile number for me so I can forward it to the bank 
as soon as possible.  The bank manager said he to call you to verify that they 
are dealing with the right person. 

(Below is the email that was 'allegedly' sent from Access bank of Ghana)
The bank will require you to give us the following details: 

  ACCOUNT NUMBER:               [……………………………………] 
  ACCOUNT-HOLDER NAME:    [……………………………………] 
  BANK NAME AND ADDRESS: [……………………………………] 
  BANK TRANSIT NUMBER        [……………………………………] 

A copy of your passport ID and the sum of $500 for the account to be activated. We would greatly appreciate your executing this request as soon as possible so that the transfer can be done quickly. 

Thank you for patronizing Access Bank and entrusting our bank with your family financial needs. We understand that there are many banks vying for your business, so at Access Bank, we are committed to doing more for our customers and we appreciate the opportunity to show it. 

(notice no signature, name nor title in the closing)
At 6am the next morning I received a call from a number with a 23323 prefix.  It was a male voice.  His English was inaudible and African accent so thick that I could only make out a few words, "Did you see the email?"  He repeated and then said, "I'll call back"  and hung up.   There was so much background noise, I was certain that they were calling from a public place.  I quickly Googled the number and discovered the call was from Ghana. 

FRI 6:14AM 
I wrote to Muniz:
[Me] I am not comfortable accepting such a large amount. This email did not come from a corporation. This is not how legitimate international transfers are done. My lawyer from Sierra Leone advises against any method other than Paypal. Thank you and best regards. 

[Muniz] Please Sonja don't insult my person. I don't like that mindset. The bank manager just email me that you were asking him to provide his company name and all that. Is that true? I hope you have no intention to discredit my person? Is this all i get in return?
[Me] tell you what my dear no disrespect to you or your Banker have your Banker forward a smaller increments through PayPal $9,999 and let that go through first
[Muniz] Is that the way you want it?
[Me] I tell you what you have my number why don't you give me a call
[Muniz] We don't call from here my dear. We are only connected to the internet through the ship radar
Why should i call you? When we are chatting
[Me] No worries. Need to hear your voice.
[Muniz] What for? Talk to the bank
[Me] You want to give me the information, and I will contact them.
[Muniz] You never said that all this while. You are not truthful

In the end and although I had choice words for Muniz, I parted with words that were much too kind, "Good luck my dear."   The moral to this story is that it is better to be a fool for five minutes and use your sixth sense and snap the hell out of it in the sixth minute.  I am thankful and more wiser for this experience!
Sonja Brooks
Reflections on Adinkra , contributed by Nanna "Adinkrahene" Abban.

“I wish I knew a year ago what I know now.” You will never know today what it will take life experience over the next year to learn, but you can always increase the rate at which you learn things by getting out of your comfort zone, trying new things, and growing from the process. Every new experience you have, every mistake you make, and every challenge you face will provide you with a valuable learning opportunity. Every skill you develop as a result of these life experiences can then be used to deal with and overcome additional challenges you face. If you want to be better prepared for what life has in store for you, never stop learning, never stop challenging yourself, never stop trying to broaden your perspective, and never stop exercising your body or your mind. Like everything, they deteriorate from lack of use. Take a direct and active role in what you learn in life and where you go as a result. Wisdom, strength, power, and understanding don’t come from your comfort zone. You have the awesome ability to upgrade your body and your mind at any moment. It’s a shame to waste that by living a life wishing you knew then what you know now. Life is meant to be a surprise. Live, learn something new, and make a difference with it.  Ad infinitum as you continue to smile at the person in the mirror.

"Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers."    ~ Voltaire

You don't need a reason to be happy just a choice. It's a beautiful world, enjoy it. Dream. Explore. Discover. Happy Days. Good morning 😇  Adinkrahene
Graphic credit Sonja Brooks aka Redd Sonja