Aroma Of God . . .


A few weeks ago I started thinking about the
Aroma of God. Often it is hard for me to think of a smell being anything more than an odor, but this time it gave me comfort. After only being back in Bangkok for a week without Jana, I suddenly realized the uniqueness of Jana’s aroma on her pillow. Before going to sleep the first night back without Jana, I rolled over on her side of the bed, and grabbed her pillow.

The scent of Jana’s pillow filled my nostrils and gave me comfort; much in the way a child is comforted by the fragrance of a mother.  As I reflected on this concept, I started realizing the importance of aroma and our relationship with God.  I think about how often I cry out to God and just the hint of his aroma brings comfort to my soul.  The fragrance of God is everywhere, if we would only take time to smell it.

“But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and who makes known through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place”

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It has now been several days since Jana left and her pillow is starting to lose its fragrance. Unfortunately the pillow is losing its fragrance because she has been gone for so long. I think the same is true in regards to our relationship with God. I believe many of us no longer smell his presence because we are simply not spending time with him. I often miss God’s fragrance because I am not close enough to Him to smell it.

If we are too busy to “stop and smell God” then we should not be upset when his comforting fragrance is absent from our life. Jana’s pillow would be absent of her comforting fragrance if she never slept in the same bed as me. We cannot be upset when we cannot smell the aroma of God if we never have the time to spend with Him.

Take a few moments this week to seek God’s aroma. I truly believe if we invite the presence of God into our daily lives, then His aroma will always be with us throughout our struggles and victories . . .

Jack Barr is a award winning author of his debut book, “Failing At Fatherhood: a book for the imperfect father.”


(click book to buy on Amazon)

I Need Your Vote Readers & Friends. . .

Hello Friends, Readers, and Welcome New Visitors,

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CHRISTIAN SMALL PUBLISHER BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2015 . .

 


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I’m very excited to announce that my book, Failing At Fatherhood, A book for the imperfect father, is up for a Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award!

Voting has just started, and I could use your help with a Vote.
It would mean so much to me and for my book so I can continue sharing my message of hope to other parents who can benefit from reading my personal story. Winning can also help me continue advocating & helping other families who are also raising children with Down Syndrome.


NONFICTION – RELATIONSHIPS / FAMILY
Failing at Fatherhood: a book for the imperfect father
Jack Barr;
Trinity Grace Press;

It is easy to go vote by using this link: http://www.christianpublishers.net/15votes/
Just fill out the short voting form, then scroll down to “Non-Fiction – Relationships/Family” until you see my book cover, vote and submit! It’s just that Simple.

I appreciate your vote and support as I continue my efforts to raise awareness and hopefully help many parents through my book. Here is a little about CPSA . . .

Christian Small Publishers Association is a member only based, and very helpful publishing resource for small publishers and self-published authors. They have fantastic benefits for both to help educate and help with many area’s of publishing and book promoting. They are a professional organization. Here are just a few benefits you’ll gain through becoming a member if your a publisher or author:

Educational / Networking Benefits, Marketing / Advertising Benefits, Book Distribution Benefits, Financial / Legal Benefits and much more.

So while your there to vote, check out all the member benefits if you’re a small publisher or self-published author!
Thanks friends for your votes and help elevate my book to farther to reach more parents and families.
Again, the link to vote is: http://www.christianpublishers.net/15votes/  . . .

God Bless,
Jack Barr
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father/dp/B00OSSQDGA

My Guest Article Written For, “My Big Jesus” ~ A Place For Spiritual Inspiration.

Hello Friends, Readers, and New Visitors,

It’s not everyday I get invited to be a guest writer on many websites. But my friends at “My Big Jesus” have given me a platform, and invitation to share about my new book and advocate a little about
Down Syndrome from a personal and family perspective of raising a child with downs, and to share hope with other families doing so as well. So I thought I would also share it here on my blog with all of you, my friends and supporters.

I want to thank the good people at, My Big Jesus for this wonderful opportunity to do so. Please go by and give their website a visit here: http://www.mybigjesus.com/, as I know you will be inspired after you have. Here is a little about them.
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My Big Jesus:

Your Jesus is too small. The idea that Jesus is King has cosmic implications for the way those who follow him see the world. Jesus not only wants to reconcile all people, created in his image, to himself; but he is also at work in and through his image bearers reconciling all things to himself. Meaning, Jesus redeems both people and all of culture: film, parenting, marriage, education, justice and mercy efforts, intellection endeavors, academics, finances, vocation, Christian identity, friendship, leisure – every area of life and culture. MyBigJesus.com will be a landing-place to find the voices that reflect this truth.
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Evangelical Presbyterian Church
Chris Lawson
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Founder of MyBigJesus.com, husband to Merri, father to Adam, Ellie, and Zachary, disdainer of Lucy (the dog), and executive pastor @reynoldachurch. Lives to make Jesus famous. He enjoys watching the Atlanta Braves and UNC basketball, as well as demeaning and insulting whatever sports teams you root for. He knows a disturbing amount about television and movies.

My Guest Article on My Big Jesus
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by Jack Barr

“The day my daughter Marley was born, I went straight to the nursery and held her for well over two hours. I just held her and cried because I had never experienced such a love for anyone or anything in my life.  I think the nurses thought I was crazy because eventually they told me I needed to go be with my wife. Three days later, before we left the hospital, the pediatric doctor told us she thought Marley might have Down syndrome”.

I immediately had a panic attack and was taken to the emergency room. Thoughts were racing through my mind: How could my perfect daughter have Down syndrome? How could they not know for sure? How could the general ultrasound, which said we had a 1-in-18,000 chance of having a child with Down syndrome, be wrong? Why was God punishing me? How could I live with a daughter that was going to be rejected by everyone … including myself?

I entered into a deep depression for the first year of Marley’s life. My wife became concerned about me, so I started taking antidepressants and seeing a counselor. I contemplated leaving my wife and suicide. I would lie awake at night thinking about my future, and searching for a reason to live. I believed all the negative things the world told me about Down syndrome, and viewed it as a curse on my family. The entire time, I couldn’t stop thinking about how this would change my life! Finally, one Saturday morning, when Marley was about 2 months old, I got up and told my wife I was going for a walk. I had no intention of coming back.

After I left, I started having second thoughts, and that’s when I remembered that my wife had signed up for an online support group.  I opened an email and phoned a father in India that I had never met. He had a 2-year-old son with Down syndrome and we talked for hours.  He was the first person since Marley’s birth that spoke truth into my life about Down syndrome. After that conversation I had the strength to go home and face another day.

Year ago, my father said to me, “If you want to fix a problem, then do something about it”.

I followed his advice. First, I tried to gain as much knowledge as I could about raising a child with Down syndrome. Next, I started calling every family I could find that had a child with Down syndrome. I also started interacting with my daughter. She was desperate for me to start loving her, and she continued loving me until I broke down and did the same. I was scared to accept my daughter because that would mean accepting her disability. But the reality was the only thing keeping me from loving my daughter was my own ignorance. I slowly began to see the beautiful girl that would change my life forever.

And finally, for the first time since my conversion in college, I talked to God. I talked to Him just like He was sitting in a chair beside me because that was the true barrier in my life. I was honest with God throughout the entire process, and that is when I started finding peace. Healing was a slow process and a long journey, but I am thankful for the life-changing transformation Marley brought to my faith.

It is true, there are difficult times having a daughter with Down syndrome. But it also true that she is very much like any other child. Marley smiles, laughs, plays, makes mistakes, and, most importantly, completes our family. The medical community focuses on so many of the challenges associated with Down syndrome that we develop an unnecessary fear — but these are only differences. The truth is I am a better person today because of my daughter, my daughter who has Down syndrome. I am grateful for a wife that was willing to push me to change, and support me when I struggled.

I am still saddened that Marley has Down syndrome, but I am beginning to realize that God can bless us regardless of our circumstances. I will never be able to fully understand why Marley has Down syndrome, but I do know she has made a difference in my life, my wife’s life, and in the lives of so many in our community.

May God Bless You and Yours,
Jack Barr, Author
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father-ebook/dp/B00OSSQDGA

A Personal Guest Writer Interview By Andi Cumbo-Floyd At AndiLit.

Hello and Welcome Readers,

Hello and welcome to my new Book Blog! December was a pretty busy month for my book and myself. So I thought I would start the New Year off with sharing a wonderful ‘Guest Author Interview’ by Andi Cumbo-Floyd that was done and shared on her fantastic and helpful website here:

 

She is a writer, editor, and author herself, and she enjoys learning through interviewing other authors about their books and writing process. She was kind enough to do a wonderful interview about my book.
Here first is a little about Andi Cumbo-Floyd, and what she does to help other authors and writers.

About Andi Cumbo-Floyd:

I’m a writer, a teacher, an editor, and a reader.  Sometimes more of one of those than the other.

Recently, I published a book called The Slaves Have NamesThe book tells the stories of the people who were enslaved on the plantation where I was raised and shares my journey of getting to know them.  I self-published the book, a decision a vacillate between loving and loathing, depending on the moment and the predominance of solar flares.

I write mainly creative nonfiction and sometimes get something published. Most often I just get rejection letters that I dutifully file because some day I’ll be able to make my own recycled paper house from crushed up and hardened rejection slips. Additionally, I teach writing and edit manuscripts for other writers. I hold an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Literature, and I’ve taught at several colleges and universities all around the country including George Mason University, Cecil College, Stevenson University, Santa Clara University, and Solano College. For more about Andi, please visit here website  www.andilit.com . . .
Especially if you’re a writer.
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My Interview About ‘Failing At Fatherhood, A book for the imperfect father’

Write to Serve Others – A Writers Write Interview with Jack Barr

When a friend writes me and says, Would you interview my friend? I do everything I can to say yes.  So this interview is a result of that request from my college friend Manny.  If you have ever struggled with the path your life has taken, if you love someone who has Down Syndrome, if you doubt the reasons you life has come the way it has, I think you’ll appreciate the words of Jack Barr.

Failing at Fatherhood by Jack Barr

1. Tell me about your latest project.

I have recently written my first book, Failing at Fatherhood.  It was released this past November.  A publisher contacted me about two years ago after he read my article about our family on CNN.  He encouraged me to write a book and share my story with a broader community. That led me to writing Failing at Fatherhood.

2. What role, if any, did books, writing, and reading play in your childhood?

I was not an avid reader growing up.  My parents encouraged me to read, but I was more interested in outside activities.  After I became a Christian in college, reading became more important to me.  One author that encouraged me in my journey was Tony Campolo.  His book, Carpe Diem, opened my eyes to our calling as Christians and the needs of others
around us.

3. What is your writing practice, your writing routine?

Since I have finished my book, I occasionally blog.  Usually I blog when something in the news or my life strikes me as an interesting story to share with others.  Recently I wrote about Brittany Maynard and Lauren Hill.  I shared my own thoughts about their stories and my personal experience of watching my father die of cancer when I was eighteen years old.

4. Who are you reading now?

I have three authors that I follow on a regular basis: Michael Connelly, John Grisham, & Ken Follett.  I enjoy “getting lost” in their stories and taking a break from my other responsibilities.  I also read various Christian authors when I find a topic interesting to me.  Right now I am working through a devotional book entitled, Conversations, by Brian Rice.

5. What are three of your all-time favorite books? Why do you love those?

Tony Campolo – Carpe Diem – It was the first Christian book I read that embraced difficult questions about Christian beliefs.  Tony gives you honest insight into what it means to be a Christian and follow that calling.

John Grisham – A Time to Kill – I grew up in the South, so many issues in this book I saw in my own community.  This is the first book I read by Grisham, and I have been reading his books ever since.  The book gives us a true glimpse into racism and makes us question our beliefs about justified murders.

Mitch Albom – Tuesdays with Morrie – This book prompted me to become a teacher and the purpose of my life.  The topics discussed in this memoir should be topics discussed between every pupil and teacher.

6. How do you balance “building a writing platform” and the actual writing to set on that platform?

I didn’t really follow a traditional writing process.  I just wrote my story. It was easy for me to write because it was a story I wanted to share.  After battling depression for a year, I knew I wanted to help other fathers.  The publisher contacted me before the book, so I was writing with the idea that my book would be published. Since writing the book, I have learned that promoting a book might be the hardest aspect of being an author.

7. What is a typical day like for you?

First we live in Bangkok, and I am a teacher at an international school.  I start each day at 7am at teacher devotions.  From 7am till 3pm, I am teaching or overseeing the athletic program at our school.  Usually from 3pm till 5pm, I am coaching a sports team after school.  At 5pm, I journey home to spend time with my wife and daughter.  My daughter goes to bed around 8pm, and I read for an hour before going to bed around 9pm.

8. Describe your dream writing space?

Somewhere quiet.  Does not really matter the location.  As long as my three-year-old daughter is not running around my feet, then it will work for me.

9. What is the hardest writing critique you ever received? How did you respond?

That was probably some of the comments from readers about my CNN article. I wrote about my journey in raising a daughter with Down syndrome.  I never realized that people could be extremely mean and hurtful.  I am not a traditional writer so when people critique my writing, I accept that with a willingness to improve.  But when people attack my beliefs, personal choices, and my own daughter for being different, I realized that the world could be a hurtful place.  How did I respond?  I cried.

10. What is the best wisdom you have to share with other writers?

Marley and Jack BarrWrite about what you care about.  I never wrote to be famous or to earn income.  I wrote because I cared about the topic and my future readers.  If you write to serve others, then you will always be happy with the finished product.

Jack and Jana Barr are missionaries in Bangkok, Thailand. Three years ago, Jack and Jana did not know God would use their daughter Marley, to forever alter their life plan.  Marley was born with Down syndrome and that event sent Jack crashing into a sea of depression. They started, If They Had A Voice, an awareness campaign that focuses on Down syndrome abortions.   Jack also wrote his first book, Failing at Fatherhood. . .

I want to Thank Andi for this in-depth interview she kindly did and shared on here website. I hope those of you who read this interview have a little more insight about my book, and my writing process. As this being my first book, I’ve had many doors open to share my book and message about Down Syndrome. I was also honored in December with a Silver Adult Book Award by The Mom’s Choice Awards, and also a live interview on Blog Talk Radio about my book as well.  So yes December was a busy month for me.

I thank you all who have come to visit, and have followed my new blog. I and my  family appreciate the support!
I hope you will support us by purchasing your copy of my book today on Amazon Books here: http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father/dp/1940145309/
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Product Details

Failing at Fatherhood: A book for the imperfect father

About My Book:

Winner Mom’s Choice Award

“Why do I fear her so much? Marley is my own flesh and blood, yet I lie here silently as a new father wondering if I will be here in the morning.”

When Jack Barr and his wife, Jana, had their first child, they were overcome with joy and excitement. Three days later, as they prepared to leave the hospital, two doctors entered their room debating whether newborn baby Marley, had Down syndrome. Mixed in with the confusion of whether or not their daughter was chromosomally different, Jack and Jana knew their lives would be changed forever.

Failing at Fatherhood embraces Jack’s honest struggles as a father, after receiving his child’s diagnosis of Down syndrome three weeks after her birth. He excavates the past, examines the present, and explores his future life in a sincere attempt to understand his personal failures as a father during his first year of parenthood. Throughout the book, Jack wrestles with the decision of divorce, suicide, and the existence of God. However, with His ultimate direction, Jack is able to understand the significance of fathers being committed to their children.
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My Book Is Now A Mom’s Choice Silver Award Winner.

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May God Bless You,
Jack Barr, Author