Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Santa: For the People

image source: https://farm3.staticflickr.com/

While out and about this weekend, we walked out of a restaurant in St. Pete and a billboard caught my eye. It read "Santa Claus: For the People".   I found this an odd message to spend a couple thousand dollars to communicate to the masses. I started asking questions. Did I miss Santa getting a bad rap? Are there individuals in our society who have begun questioning Santa's motives? Does Santa have his boot on the throat of the elves forcing them to endure the hardships of suppression, repression, and depressions? Who felt it so important to improve the fat man's reputation they were willing to part with thousands of dollars?

So I did what any red blooded first world citizen would do, I googled it. The super array of knowledgebases spun to life and quickly imparted wisdom into my quandary. The slogan "For the People" is the tagline for Morgan and Morgan, a law firm with offices in the Tampa/St. Pete area and Atlanta. Apparently, the bearded "Santa" on the billboard is John Morgan who thought it a great ad campaign for Christmas. Suffice it to say, I just think it odd.

But the odd billboard got me thinking. With all of the condescending attitudes and judgemental responses displayed by many calling themselves Christians, perhaps we should concern ourselves with the damage we have done to God's reputation. Why do the forgiven seem to think we are better than those who have yet to accept the gift of forgiveness? We are quick to judge and condemn. While we may not stand on the corner screaming, "You are going to hell!", we are quick to withhold grace, love, and forgiveness to those we deem unworthy. And by doing so while calling ourselves Christians, we have done a disservice to God himself. Maybe it is time for the church to begin embracing the lost, the outcast, the ones Jesus himself sought out - tax collectors, prostitutes, blind, lame, the least of these. Maybe we need to start paying for billboards that say "God: For the People"

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Everyone Loves to Hear a Good Story



Since the release of Shaken Awake, I have come across several writer friends that have encountered some block to writing. In the old days I remember hearing people say they had "hit the wall" or had "writer's block". As I listen to them, I hear them talking about trying to decide what their voice is and trying to decide if their writing is any good or not. The answer to both of these issues is simple - WRITE. You develop a writing voice by writing regularly and often. Your writing becomes better by writing - regularly and often. Everyone loves to hear a good story, and we all have hundreds trapped in our skulls.

I am over at Andlilit.com discussing this and more. Drop by and check it out. Read More Here!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Shaken Awake Book Giveaway

To celebrate my birthday, I am going to giveaway a free paperback copy of my new book Shaken Awake. What do you have to do to enter the giveaway? Simple! In the comment section below, tell me you would like to win a copy and that you would be willing to post an honest review on Amazon.com. How easy is that? I will select a winner on November 30th. Ready? Set? GO!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Veteran Arrested For Feeding Homeless

Maybe I am biased, but I am appalled at this story. Any government that thinks for a second that this is justice or that this is the best way to resolve homelessness is seriously misguided.

  90 year old Arnold Abbott has been serving hundreds of free meals to the homeless every week in Fort Lauderdale,  Florida for the past 24 years. He was arrested for it Tuesday. “I love the city. I live here, it’s a beautiful place and I’d like to keep it beautiful, but you cannot sweep the homeless under a rug… There is no rug large enough for that.” - via Countercurrentnews.com




http://countercurrentnews.com/2014/11/man-arrested-for-feeding-homeless-gets-arrested-again-one-day-after-first-arrest/

To contact Mayor Seiler, please call (954) 828-5003 or send an e-mail to jack.seiler@fortlauderdale.gov


Friday, November 07, 2014

Six Questions

Had a few questions about Shaken Awake and sat down to answer them at Katdish.net



Q: What inspired you to write Shaken Awake?
A: I wrote “Shaken Awake” to shine a light on homelessness and hunger in the United States and as a challenge to individuals and churches to become aware of the magnitude of these issues and their impact on families. I firmly believe that these are the people that Jesus talked about... Read the rest at Katdish.net

Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Story Behind The Story



I have had several people ask what led me to write Shaken Awake, and I admit I have wanted to ask several authors that question about many books I have enjoyed over the year. I think the story behind the story a lot of times is almost as good as the main story line, and I would be remiss if I left it untold.

For 14 years, I lived in the Metro Atlanta area and for five of those years, I worked in midtown allowing me to see the homeless situation first hand. For the last three years, I have worked with community activist working to relieve hunger in our communities. Initially, I was shocked to discover the level of hunger in our community....Read the rest in my guest post at Bookwi.se

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Shaken Awake!

available now at 

Community Advocate Allen Madding 
Releases Thought Provoking Novella, Shaken Awake

When a homeless man freezes to death on the steps of an Atlanta church, the church is forced to re-examine its mission


Community Advocate, Author, and blogger Allen Madding releases his debut novella “Shaken Awake!” the story of a church in downtown Atlanta, Georgia faced with a dwindling and aging congregation that has been forced to shut down the majority of their building and dismissed much of its staff. With limited funds, they shutter all of their ministries and programs leaving only a couple adult Sunday School classes and a Sunday morning worship service. When a homeless man freezes to death on the steps of their sanctuary, the church begins to re-examine their mission and priorities.

"This is the perfect story to get people motivated to make a difference in the live of others. Easy, quick book with a solid purpose." Jeannette Ringeisen, Director Feed St. Pete
"I am not ashamed to admit some wet eyelids as I read the story. But wet eyelids ain’t worth squat if they don’t lead to action. I plan to investigate what is and can be done here. And you?"
Bill Grandi, 
billgrandi.ovcf.org

"A thought provoking book written by a man with a passion for others." - Dawn Lott

"Reading Allen’s book made me ask myself 'is that enough, what else can we do – what else can I do?' I encourage you to get a copy and answer questions for yourself." 
- Steven Vore, 
steven.vorefamily.net

"This is just the kind of wake up call that the modern church needs." - Rick Waters

"I enjoyed this book; it really makes you think about how we walk around blindly in our daily lives."
-Ann Rice

Monday, October 06, 2014

Launch!


I need your help. If you know me, you know that was difficult to type. But I admit it. I really do. We are approaching the release of my first book, Shaken Awake. For those of you who regularly visit my blog and enjoy my writing, I greatly appreciate your support over the years. Now,  I need your help in getting the word out about this book.

So what is the book about? Funny you should ask! A church in downtown Atlanta, Georgia faced with a dwindling and aging congregation has been forced to shutdown the majority of their building and dismissed much of its staff. Their budget barely pays the pastor's salary and the utilities. With limited funds, they shutter all of their ministries and programs leaving only a couple adult Sunday School classes and a Sunday morning worship service. When a homeless man freezes to death on the steps of their sanctuary, the church begins to re-examine their mission and priorities.

As a launch team member, you will received a free electronic copy of the book before it is released to the public. In return, as the launch date approaches, I will ask your help by sharing about the book on Facebook and Twitter, as well as posting a review on your blog, Amazon, Barnes and NobleGoodReads, and any other site you might like. But do not worry, we will provide you with helpful information and ideas on ways to help.


Friday, October 03, 2014

Standard Procedure

The other day as a couple co-workers and I were heading for coffee, we met our boss as he was walking into the data center where we have been working for the last few weeks. One of my co-workers mentioned he had requested a trash can for our area in the data center. Suddenly the conversation spirals into how the trash will get emptied since the cleaning crew does not have access to the data center, transporting the whole trash can verses just the bagged trash to prevent leaks, etc. We stood in amazement waiting for the detailed discussion for handling trash to wind down so we could get coffee.

Once we got our hands on our caffeine replenishment, we returned to work. I quickly set to work crafting a defined procedure for handling trash so that we might merit a trash can. I shared my well crafted document with several colleagues. One suggested submitting it to ANSI  for adoption as a national standard, while others suggested sharing it via social media and of course my blog. So, with our further ado, here is my submission...





Waste Receptacle Processing Procedure

1.       Background/Purpose

The purpose of this document is to define the procedural steps followed by the Taking Care of Business (TCB) team for proper disposal and removal of waste from the data center in order to ensure consistency, quality, and pride.

2.    General

It is imperative that any waste generated by the consumption of liquids and solids by carbon based individuals should be properly disposed in a safe and efficient manner and such waste must be removed from waste collection units on a daily basis in order to ensure consistency, quality, and pride.



3.   Procedure

a)      Imaging Lead will wear gloves when handling waste receptacles and will properly wash his or her hands after handling waste receptacles utilizing hot water and soap to prevent any possible contamination from handling waste.
b)      Imaging Lead will retrieve a waste receptacle at the beginning of the day and transport it to the data center via a cart or hand truck. Imaging Lead should exercise due regard in transporting the waste receptacle to ensure proper lifting techniques are utilized to prevent any possible physical injuries. At no time should a waste receptacle be carried by hand whether empty or full. All waste receptacles should be transported via a cart or hand truck.
c)       Imaging Lead will ensure that the waste receptacle has a proper waste receptacle liner installed to prevent any possible leaks of waste liquids and/or solids.
d)      All carbon based individuals will utilize the waste receptacle to dispose of any waste generated by consuming liquids and/or solids during the course of the business day. No waste items should be left on the data center floor or on table surfaces.
e)      At the end of the day, the Imaging Lead will transport the waste receptacle out of the data center utilizing gloves and a cart or hand truck. Imaging Lead should exercise due regard in transporting the waste receptacle to ensure proper lifting techniques are utilized to prevent any possible physical injuries. At no time should a waste receptacle be carried by hand whether empty or full. All waste receptacles should be transported via a cart or hand truck. Additionally, the Imaging Lead will exercise due regard to prevent any possible leaks of waste liquids and/or solids.
f)       Imaging Lead will employ additional carbon based individuals to escort the transportation of the waste receptacle to ensure that no other carbon based individual comes in contact with the waste receptacle that is not wearing proper gloves. Additional carbon based individuals will hold doors open to allow the efficient transportation of the waste receptacle from the data center, through the loading/receiving room, and onto the rear loading dock.
g)      Once the Imaging Lead has safely transported the waste receptacle to the loading dock, the Imaging Lead should exercise due regard to ensure that all carbon based individuals utilize proper lifting techniques to prevent any possible physical injuries.  Additionally the Imaging Lead will exercise due regard to ensure there are no leaks of liquid or solid waste during the transportation of the waste receptacle to the loading dock.
h)      Imaging Lead will provide instruction in properly sealing the waste receptacle liner by utilizing the four corners of the liner and tying it in a double square knot. Other knots may be approved after proper testing and inspection processes have been secured.
i)        Once the waste receptacle liner has been properly sealed, the Imaging Lead will instruct the additional carbon based individuals in lifting the waste receptacle liner into the compactor. The Imaging Lead will instruct the carbon based individuals to lift on a count of three. Three shall be the count and the counting shall be three. The counting will not continue to four nor shall the counting stop at two unless immediately proceeding to three. Three shall be the count and the counting shall be three.
j)        Once the waste receptacle liner has been placed inside the compactor, all carbon based individuals will in unison proclaim a shout of acclimation, “YAY!”
k)      The Imaging Lead will then lead all carbon based individuals in proper disposal of gloves and hand washing techniques.
l)        The Imaging Lead will store the waste receptacle outside the data center doors with a fresh waste receptacle liner before removing his or her gloves and engaging in proper hand washing techniques.












Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Guest Post: Thunder Dog by Kramer James Madding

The Author - Kramer James Madding (photo credit: Allen, you know the guy that lives here)
Allen has been really busy lately with a new job, working with an editor to get his first book ready for publishing, and his infernal need to leave me and Sadie to fend for ourselves while he and mama go traipsing off to the beach. So I got my paws on his login and managed to reach the laptop and figured this was as good a chance as any to try my paws at a little writing. I have laid in that pillowy thing next to his chair and watched him do it for long enough. I figure how hard can it be. I lie around here on the back of the love seat all day looking out the window at the squirrels eating seed out of the bird feeder thinking about all the great stories I have to tell, so why not?

The author and Sadie (photo credit: Allen)

I thought I would write about my biggest fear. Nope, its not the possum that was in the backyard Friday night when I went out to relieve myself before crawling up the big ramp to the big bed and snuggling down between the pillows. Nope. I was not scared of that thing a bit. It looked like a hairless cat to me, and I have plenty of experience scaring cats. A couple of times now I have walked out the back door to see some cat interloping on our deck or in our yard, and I know just what to do. I run toward them, let out a loud and deep WOOF, and then roll on the ground laughing at how fast that run and leap over the fence. So, no. My biggest fear was not that possum. He did not bother me. I did not bother him. Besides, it was late. I was tired and ready to crawl into the big bed. I peed a small pound next to Allen's grill and quietly told the possum to be gone by morning. Silly hairless cat looking thing.

And no, it is not the mailman or the trash truck that comes down our street two days a week. I lay a few bow wows on them from my perch on the back of the love seat, and they quickly move on down the street. You see, they fear me. They recognize the true terror I represent and wisely do not stick around to see me unleash my inner rottweiler.

So  what could strike fear in the heart of a 13 lb long-haired dachshund, you ask? Thunder. Yep. There it is. I admit it. Thunder drives me out of my ever loving mind. Originally as a small pup, I thought it was just me. But after joining TSMA (Thunder Scares Me Anonymous), I have met a few other guys that cannot deal with thunder as well. I cannot reveal names, but one big Marmaduke looking guy in the group says that everytime it thunders, he wets the floor. I am glad I do not have it that bad, but I can sympathize.

When I first moved in with Allen and mama after my first human mom passed away, I was afraid they might send me back to the halfway house when the first big storm came. Fortunately, they did not. I barked and growled and ran out in the rain and barked some more. When I came back in, I was soaked and felt a bit silly. They dried me off with a towel and blocked my flappy door where I could not run back out in the rain.

I kept going to TSMA meetings, but it did not seem to help much. The meetings just seemed to turn into a bunch of butt smelling and everyone wetting on things. But then one day mama showed me this package that the brown truck guy delivered. Yeah, I laid a few bow wows on him for ringing the doorbell while I was trying to sleep. What the hell dude? When she showed me the box, I got all excited. I was hoping it was some more of those pieces of cows I like to chew on, but it was not. It was some piece of cloth. I sniffed it over and said, "I can't eat that" and blew my nose in disgust.

Mama called me back over and put it on me. It was a cape with my name on it. She told me that all heroes wear capes. You know like Underdog! Here I come to save the day! I had my reservations about this whole thing, because I could not draw a real deep breath to lay a good bow wow, and I could not shake real well wearing it. So, I blew my nose in disgust. Mama said when I have it on I am Thunder Dog. I elected to contemplate on that idea a bit after a nice nap. A couple big thunderstorms moved through Atlanta after acquiring this garment of super powers and honestly there may be something to it. As Thunder Dog, I am brave and relaxed during the storms.

For some reason that I have not quite figured out, Allen and mama packed up everything and loaded me and Sadie up and moved us to Florida. It has been interesting. I kind of like it because there are all these neat lizards running around and I can scare the daylights out of them without evening laying down a single bow wow. Those silly things scatter at my mere presence. But Florida weather is a little different than Atlanta. In Atlanta a big storm came in and lasted a day or so. Here, they blow in, the thunder crashes, the lightning flashes, the rain falls and 30 minutes later the sun is shining. So mama has pulled out the cape several times since we moved, and I have gotten to prove my metal as Thunder Dog.

I am beginning to believe this writing stuff is a little harder than I thought. My paws are getting tired, and I am getting sleepy. I think I am gonna sniff Sadie over and make sure she is sleeping OK on the couch and take a nap before Allen and mama get home. If you have something you are afraid of - something that makes you scream and run around like you have lost your mind, I empathize and suggest you ask your mama to buy you a cape. Y'all take it easy.

The Author napping after writing this post (photo credit :Allen)


Thunder Dog
aka Kramer James