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Monday, February 28, 2005

Hire and Fire

As we've been looking to hire someone at church, I'm still convinced of my theory on hiring and firing which I began developing during my days at Nebraska Wesleyan University while being shaped by Rich Patrick... still one of my favorite professors ever.

Simply stated: You should never need to fire someone that you hire.

More completely stated: If you do your part and diligently interview, hire and then manage your new employee correctly, you should never have to fire them. If you do have to fire them it is not because of the employee's lack of knowledge, skills or abilities. Instead, it is because of your failure to accurately assess these failures before you made the decision to hire them. Or because you are unable to correctly motivate and challenge them so that they continue to perform for you while feeling completely satisfied by the job they were hired to do.

Most people think my theory is wrong at first, but after thinking about it for a while they agree. What do you say?

Deepest Darkest Secrets

My oldest son Jacob had his birthday party Friday night. He turned 7 and had 3 friends over to eat pizza, go bowling, open presents, hot tub and sleep over. Seems innocent enough and what could really go bad with 4 seven year olds anyway?

Well, everything was going great until... In the hot tub my son says, let's go over to this corner and tell our deepest darkest secrets. Holy Crap! You're seven I'm thinking. Deann, who is in the hot tub with them is about to crawl out and scream. Fortuantely she kept her cool. Until they begin to tell about who they have crushes on. We have known for years that Jacob has a secret crush on Kaylee Peterson, this cute little blonde girl in his class. So no big suprises there. His friend however says "I used to like this girl, we were dating... Until I found out she was 2 timing me. She liked her other boyfriend better than me, so we broke up."

At what point did I become old? When did 7 year olds begin talking about 2 timing? More importantly, when did 7 year olds start 2 timing?

Ok - next year, it's Chuck E Cheese, cute party hats and a Disney movie. All the kids are home by 7 and no one ever talks about deepest darkest secrets again.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Ministry HR is screwed up

6 years of business. Undergrad focussed on HR (Human Resources) MBA focusses on HR. Love management, love HR, love employment law, love collective bargaining. HATE stupidity.

I've always thought that the church is way behind the secular times when it comes to hiring, firing, promoting and especially recruiting. After reading Andrew Zirschky's Blog and great discussion, I am reminded of the horrible job churches do. Read the posting here.

My opinions on hiring and recruiting is this.
  1. Churches are too closed doored on who they hire. Most churches hire people they know or come highly reccommended by friends. Recommendations are essential, but if you never expand your circle of where recommendations come from, you never expand your potential to hire better employees. Churches rarely expand their circles.
  2. Churches can't overcome their fear of hiring people they don't know. This is understandable because most churches on their first attmept to hire someone that hasn't been raised up in the church, gone off to a college affiliated with the denomination, and is the child of a board member usually get burned. As a result they don't push past their mistake and learn. Instead they become phobic to the idea of hiring anyone outside the circle. While it is understandable, it is unacceptable.
  3. Churches are inept at determining if the candidate is a potential good hire. I've been part of many interviews for secular and christian jobs. Most interviews for secular jobs do a great job of finding out if you are a good match for the company and they aren't afraid to tell you if you aren't. Most churches / religious organizations aren't. On one particular interview, I was never asked a question. They just kept telling me about the job until the only question was "So, do you want the job?"

I have lots of other opinions about this, but I've found that if I post more than a few paragraphs no one reads it. (I know I don't)

So - Point is - We're hiring a worship director and I'm tired of waiting for "traditional" methods currently being employed and am trying to speed up the process. If you - or anyone you know want a fair shot at this position, let me know. Great church, Great boss, Great benefits, Huge potential. I can give more details when you ask.

Email me here mbbarrett@gmail.com or here pastor.matt@fcoc.net or post comments.

Friday, February 25, 2005

7 Years

A lot can happen in 7 years. You can overcome the bad luck of breaking a mirror, or you can go from childless to 2 kids, a house and a dog. Fortunately we didn't break any mirrors.

7 years ago today at 12:12AM, we brought into this world Jacob Alexander Barrett.
Life sure is different. Tonight he is having 3 friends come over for pizza, then going to the bowling alley, then coming home to hot tub and then spend the night.

Here's the birthday boy as a baby.

I'll put some pics up of the party after tonight.

Yikes. What ever happened to the days of picking up and going when ever and where ever you wanted? I'm not sure where they went, but I am sure that they've been replaced with much better days.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

What's your name?

I know these are kind of lame, but i still love to do them, so here's how to figure out what your name would be in about every situation you would need in life.
Mine are in orange... what's yours?

1. YOUR PORN STAR NAME: (Name of first pet / Street you grew up on): Rusty Timber
2. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (Name of your favorite snack food / Grandfather's first name): Oreo Dick
3. YOUR FASHION DESIGNER NAME: (First word you see on your left / Favorite restaurant): Cindy Outback
4. EXOTIC FOREIGNER ALIAS: (Favorite Spice / Last Foreign Vacation Spot): Garlic CanCun
5. SOCIALITE ALIAS: (Silliest Childhood Nickname / Town Where You First Partied): Carrot Lincoln
6. "FLY Boy" ALIAS (a la J. Lo): (First Initial / First Two or Three Letters of your Last Name): M. Bar
7. ICON ALIAS: (Something Sweet Within Sight / Any Liquid in Your Kitchen): Grape Dawn
8. DETECTIVE ALIAS: (Favorite Baby Animal / Where You Went to High School): Puppy Lewis
9. BARFLY ALIAS: (Last Snack Food You Ate / Your Favorite Alcoholic Drink): Oreo Virgin
10. SOAP OPERA ALIAS: (Middle Name / Street Where You First Lived): Benjamen Timber
11. ROCK STAR ALIAS: (Favorite Candy / Last Name Of Favorite Musician): Chocolate Tyler

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


After reading the last couple of posts by Scott and his mice troubles, I suddenly remembered this article I came across last week and had to share. (link) Maybe there is something to this musophobia.

Reminds me of the time when I was working nights and my wife calls me in a panic. She hates mice and one made it into our house. I told her to relax, get a broom and sweep the mouse out of the house. She thought I was insane, worried that the mouse would rather run up her pajama leg than out of the house. So, being the kind harted husband I am I told her to go put my cowboy boots on and then do it. I still crack up at the thought of her chasing a mouse through the house with a broom wearing her pj's and my boots.

Just goes to show you that fear is common, yet unrational. Just ask Scott (rubberband man) Hodge.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Wow - what a weekend

I had a fantastic weekend. To celebrate Valentines day, we went to the Quad-Cities to see Josh Groban in concert. If you aren't familiar with who that is... Hi, my name is Matt and it's February... 2005! Hello - You can click his name and listen to some of his music.

I knew he was good, but after seeing his concert on PBS, I kind of wondered if his concert would begin to sound like the same song in a different language after a while. Well, I'll save that for later, because opening for Josh was Chris Botti. Chris has had the number one selling jazz album for quite a while and was just recently knocked the top of the chart. He's a cool - mellow Miles Davis sort of trumpet player. After I tapped my leg, Deann's leg and the floor to the point Deann was ready to kill me, I went out, bought his CD (a thousand kisses deep) and had the opportunity to have him sign it. His signature kind of shows in this pic.

Then, Josh Groban came out. Wow way better than PBS made him out to be. Of course he can sing, and he's not quite a David Lee Roth on stage, but still, for opera he was good. And talent beyond his voice. He was great on the piano and drums too. As a drummer, that got him some major respect points with me. All in all, a great evening.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Big Brother, Spouse, Friend or Boss

We all know we are growing closer to the Big Brother scenario where our every move and thought will soon be monitored by somone. We are now moving a step closer to that.

Globe Telecom ,a Philippine company, has introduced it's new feature for cel phones where subscribers can track the physical location of other subscribers. Ever want to know where your husband is? Is he really stuck in traffic or did he stop off for some friendly activities after work without you? Is your kid really at school, or did they ditch school and go to the mall? Sounds great... or does it?

Read about the details here.

Thanks Kong-Chu for the post.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Wanna get wasted?

If you just have nothing to do and want to get wasted.... er, waste some time that is, you have to - I mean HAVE TO check out this site.

The ESP Game

It's a game, simple and relatively stupid, but WOW - there is this super addictive quality of the game. It works like this... You log in and start playing when you are paired up with a another player somewhere else in the world. Then you are both simultaneously shown a picture of an image randomly gathered from the internet. You both begin typing words to describe the image. When you both type the same word, you get points and get another image. The goal is to see how many images you can match words on in a timed period.

Like I said, sounds simple and stupid, but it is in some sort of stupid way fun.

Thanks to my sister Elizabeth and her husband Brian for the link.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Hotmail sucks

Okay, I did it, I took the big plunge and switched my email account over from Hotmail to Gmail. I know I should have probably have done it quite some time ago, but I had this loyalty to my first web based email account. I've had the same addy since 1996. Come on, nobody has the same email address for that long do they?

Anyway, I tolerated the spam and the junk and the problems, but this morning, when I went to "reply all" to about 30 people which all received the same message containing a virus and it wouldn't let me because I had reached my limit of people I could send a message to in a 24-hour period, I went over the edge. STUPID PIECE OF JUNK, @$#*%, @$*#&$<> ARRGH

So if you want to reach me, mbbarrett@gmail.com is the way now.

By the way, I got like 50 invites to use if anyone wants a gmail account, let me know.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Rose Colored Glasses

At church, we're in the middle of a series of marriage improvement sermons.
We've themed the year, "The year of the family" so marriage is where we've started. This Sunday's message is going to be about seeing your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend as God sees them, not as you do with all the barriers built by insecurities. We came up with what I think is a pretty cool illustration.

God sees us through the eyes of Jesus. Not for the screwed up people we really are, but the righteous people Jesus made us. The comparison is that God sees us through rose colored glasses. Each person on Sunday gets a pair of red glasses like these pictured below.

Then when the time comes, everyone puts on their glasses and as the message continues, points are put up on screens PowerPoint style. But, the fill in the blanks for their notes they get are like this picture below.

For example: The only request for people reading my blog is to ___(above image would appear here)____.

I know you all don't have red glasses in your purse or desk drawer, so go get a red transparency or report cover, hold it up to the screen and you can see what my only request for people reading my blog has ever been.

(if anyone wants the Photoshop file I made that lets you make your own secret messages, email me)

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy V-Day

If your interested, here's the history of Valentines Day.

Nutshell version:
  1. The pagan Lupercalia festival of fertility was popular among the Romans of 3rd century.
  2. People did some freaky stuff like slap women with blood soaked strips of goat hide, then hold a lottery to match up men and women for a year. They often married after this.
  3. Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as St. Valentines day around 498 AD in an attempt to weaken the pagan festival.
  4. 1700's people began exchanging small tokens of affection and handwritten love notes.
  5. 1840's Ester Howland sold the first mass produced Valentine Day card in America.
  6. Mid 1900's Halmark made my life hell by making sure I never had a reason to forget getting a card, though I still forget.
  7. Today 1 billion cards are sent. That's second only to Christmas, where 2.6 billion cards are sent.

Happy Valentines day to you all, but especially to my valentine. The woman who puts up with my stupid quarky traits, loves me despite of them and still makes my heart skip a beat. Love you honey. Will you be my valentine?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

More on Martha

If you like TV shows that are quaint and proper mixed with the flair and vigor of reality TV, go no further. Martha Stewart, upon being assigned to her Parole Officer is undertaking NBC's next spin off series. The Apprentice.

Martha will assume the role of the Donald and search for the next up and commer to win the prize.

Read the story here

You can even go so far as to apply to be on the show from the link. But before you do, stop and think about it. Do you think Martha will allow her self to go to jail again? I don't. When the heat comes down again, I suspect she'll find an appropriate scape goat... like an apprentice to take the fall. So don't say I didn't warn you.

Well Rounded

In an ever growing attempt to be a well rounded person, I turned off the TV after supper tonight and picked up the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Go ahead, I'll give you a moment to catch your self. Better? Okay, I'll continue.

I've actually been skimming it for the past couple of months, buthave just been able to accept myself for who I am and announce to the world that I read it. I found facinating this article about pasta. The origins of it, the making of it, even the history of it.

link to article here for the full article, you'll have to pick up the latest copy at the news stand.

I absolutely love Italian food. I'm a complete sucker for Tortellini. Mmmm I'm getting hungry again. Thanks Martha, not only are you helping me keep my intellect well rounded, but my gut well rounded too.

Tomorrow, more on Martha and her post-prison projects.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

2 People I Hate the Most

Highschool didn't never teach me much that I needed in life. (obviously)

However, God bless Mr. Padilla, my phys. ed / health class teacher. His lessons are still ringing true in my ears. He used to say that there are 2 people he hates more than anything - a thief and a liar.

I wish more people would have heard Mr. Padilla's lectures, especially those people I'm trying to rent our most recently purchased rent house to.

One guy told me he'd been in the same place for 4 years and gave my his landlord's number as a reference to call. Thank God for iowacourts online which showed me he had been eviced from 2 places in the last 3 years. Then thank God for Google which showed me his "landlord's" phone number was actually his dear old mom. Hmmm, when confronted with this information, he suddenly lost connection on his cel phone and I haven't heard from him since. DON'T LIE TO ME.

So we decided to rent to another, more honest couple. Or so we thought. They were very up front about some problems they've had and their stories check out, but not so up front about everything. After keeping the utilities in our name for 3 weeks after they moved in, we disconnected them Monday. They couldn't get it in their names because of past bills, so we shut them off. Nice couple - hope things work out for them - but DON'T STEAL FROM ME.

So goes the struggle of south east Iowa's Donald Trump a.k.a. Matt Barrett

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Happiness in the Modern World

Economist, Richard Layard, author of Happiness : Lessons from a New Science was interviewed on NPR's Talk of the Nation yesterday and had some interesting things to say.

Listen to his interview here. Link

His point, which isn't groundbreaking when you stop to think about it is that while the standard of living doubled in last 50 years, people aren't any happier.

His questions are:
  1. Has making more money made you happier?
  2. Do you think richer people are happier than those less well off?
  3. Should happiness be a part of public policy?

Of course #1 and #2 are pretty obvious to anyone with a modern thinking brain. However #3, Should happiness be part of public policy? Hmmm that kind of scares me. Do we want politicians deciding what makes us happy and then making laws to give us what they tell us we want? It is a natural progression I suppose. They tell us what we can and can't do. They tell us what we can and can't buy. I guess it makes sense that they'll start telling us when to and not to be happy.

Monday, February 07, 2005

I Won't Bore You

In what was probably one of the best football games in recent Super Bowl history, I was completely bored with the game. Being neither an Eagle, nor a Patriot fan, I just didnt care from the beginning. Of course that didn't stop me from eating unbelievable amounts of food. I had these little balls of fat that were so good. Actually they were seasoned sausage with some kind of cheese I think on them, then wrapped in bacon. OMG they were so good.

Because I was bored with the game, I won't bore you with a recap of every play, call or hit. Instead, I'll talk about what really is important. The commercials. My favorite by far was the Ameriquest Cat ad. I'm still laughing this morning about the guy with the knife holding the cat when his girlfriend walks in. The Go Daddy: Congress commercial was funny only because it makes fun of last years wardrobe malfunctions. The one that I hated was the McDonald's Lincoln Fry. I thought it was going to be that one commercial that got way over played all night. Fortunately they didn't play it as much as I thought they would, but it still annoyed me.

If you missed any of the ads, you can watch them all here. link
Well all accept what was probably the best ad of all, which was the Annehiser Bush thanks to the soldiers ad. Anyone who can take the humor and hype of the Super Bowl and it's commercial and make me somber like that. Wow - impressive.

Which was your favorite?
What was the dumbest?
Any of them make you want to actually buy something, or just laugh.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Close but no cigar

After 2 days of laboring in our dining room, we are almost done laying our wood flooring. We would be done, accept we ran out of glue late Tuesday night and even though we were only about 3 strips of wood left, we couldn't finish. ARRGH - I want completion.

Here's some pics of the before, during and after.

Before. Our dining room. The ceiling looks a little distorted in this picture, but is vaulted up from the crown molding to the cream band. Also, the lines are actually straight. Not sure why they look so wavy here.

Here you can see I took the carpet, carpet pad and all the stupid little staples, glue and other stuff stuck to the floor off.

Finally, where we are now. Almost done. You can see how close we are to finishing.
Just have to glue a little more, put the molding back on and clean up. You can't see it, but we got a different light too. kind of a brushed, bronze look that matches the chocolate color of the walls.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Where were your prayers?

Alright, amid my home remodel frenzy, I spent the better part of yesterday pryaing for clouds today so that Punxsutawney Phil wouldn't see his shadow today and get scared, run back in his hole and bring on 6 more weeks of winter. Obviously no one else felt the burden I did as I trevailed in prayer for spring to come quickly.

2 things to remember for next year.
  1. Market my blog to more northern residents. People in Arizona don't care about cold weather.
  2. Forget the clouds. Pray for Phil to not be afraid.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Sidetracked and Sore

After wandering the aisles of Lowe's and Menards for what seemed like an eternity, we finally decided on some paint and hardwood floors. So instead of just the bathroom and bedroom, we've now expanded the project to replacing the carpet in our dining room with wood floors. Having never laid wood floors before, but oh so confident in my Tim the Tool Man like abilities, I jumped in last night at 6:00 for a great experience. Later that night at 11:00 I fell off the experience and wanted to die. I rolled into bed and passed out, thuroughly exhausted.

Then, and this is really weird, at 2:00 I woke up drenched in sweat. Not just a little wet, like when you have too many blankets on or the heat is a little too high, but wet to the point I had to get out of bed, go the bathroom and dry myself off with a towell before going back to sleep. Nasty, gross and disgusting. Then my morning run at 6:45am came with the realization that my legs feel like someone wound a rubberband too tight and replaced my hamstrings with it.

What I wouldn't give for a good hour of tension relieving massage. The good news? I get to do it again tonight and hopefully finish, pluck the splinters from my hands and peel the glue from my arm hair. Woo Hoo!