Cherished Moments . . .


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Yesterday afternoon we said goodbye as our family split up for the first time. Our whimsical autumn trip in the States came to an end as I said farewell to my two girls. Now, I am flying over Japan on a fourteen-hour flight to Taiwan. After spending a few hours in Taiwan, I will take another three-hour flight to my final destination, Bangkok.

For the first time in thirteen years, my wife & my daughter are not traveling with me. They are staying in the States because our daughter needs additional speech therapy that is not available in Thailand. Our world has been turned upside down since her initial diagnosis this summer, and for the first time in many years, our future is uncertain. But, for this blog post, I want to focus on the cherished moments Jana and I shared the night before our tearful goodbye.

Rarely do I think about it, when I am living my fast paced day-to-day life in Bangkok. It never enters my mind that I might not see my family again every morning when I ride my scooter to work. Jana & I assume that we will be faithful servants for the day and be reunited again for dinner. But, when an unchangeable event forces you to sacrifice a significant amount of time apart, the dark thoughts of never seeing each other again creeps into your mind. (Hey turbulence just hit, someone must have a sense of humor). And unfortunately when these dark thoughts overcome me, I instantly occupy my mind with busy chores. Instead of embracing the pain of the separation, I launch into packing, cleaning, reading or surfing the Internet.  But thankfully, the evening before I left, Jana forced me to sit down and focus on her.

The tears, laughter, intimacy, and conversation we shared that last night together was a breath of fresh air during this troubling time.  We talked about the ‘what ifs’, we contemplated the ‘maybes’, we cried over the ‘separation’, and we loved each other with a ‘passion’ of saying goodbye. Of course we did not want to embrace the “unthinkable,”  but sharing those cherished moments that last night prepared for us for the possibility of never seeing each other again in this life.

It was refreshing to take the time and truly enjoy one another. I truly embraced my wife with a passionate love that had been buried in busyness the past few months.  Praise God that Jana forced us to turn off the distractions and spend time as a humble couple hurting before God.  If the unthinkable happens and I do not see Jana again, I am thankful that we spent our final night together cherishing one another instead of “just surviving”.

“How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful! Your eyes are like doves.”  ~ Cherished Moments . . .

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A Special Share Of My Book, Failing At Fatherhood. . .

Hello Friends, Readers, and Welcome New Friends,

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

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Excerpt From Failing at Fatherhood

Marley, today I came home from work, and I heard you yelling when I pulled up on my scooter. From the street I could hear your innocent voice calling out to me—“Da-ddy, Da-ddy.” As I walked up the steps towards our sliding glass front door, I saw you standing there with your arms up in the air waiting for a hug. Only God knows how long you would stand there waiting for me so you could give me you’re welcome home hug. As I bend down and hug your little toddler body, I can barely hold back the tears of shame that I now carry in my daily life, the shame I have of abandoning you mentally and emotionally for the first year of your life. How I long to go back then and know what I know today as I hug you so tight that you begin to giggle. You have shaped my life for the better and taught me about a love I could never truly understand before your birth.

When I wrote the CNN article, I read comments about the hatred you would feel towards me one day. How could I share the darkest thoughts of my soul about my own daughter? Many parents were sure to point out that one day you would not only hate me, but also refuse to love me because of how I treated you during your first year. As I finish this book, I accept that you may abandon me the same way I abandoned you that first year. If that fate comes, I will fully accept it, because that would only be a fair response to my failures as a father to you. The day is coming that you will not see me as the hero hugging you now, but before that day comes, I want you to understand that I believe true healing comes through honesty.

This book is because of you, and the change in my life would never have occurred without you. Today, I have a love for you that I could have never imagined or comprehended before the words Down syndrome entered our family’s life. My love for you and the journey of our lives need to be shared because many fathers out there are receiving news that will forever change them. You are a beautiful blessing who has taught me many things these first few years. It started out difficult for me, but I promise you I will be right here loving and caring for you until we meet our father in heaven. When you were born, I was scared. Even before I knew about your extra chromosome, I was scared. The idea of having another person in my life to care for worried me day and night. I never really told Mommy, but I was fearful of being a terrible father. From the moment you were born, I was anxious about you and your health. The only things I could think about were the problems that you might have instead of enjoying the beautiful person you are.

When the doctor told me that you had Down syndrome, I went into panic mode. I knew you were different. The problem was that I could not see past the diagnosis. You are different, just like how I am different, and how Mommy is different. You are the most beautiful person I have ever met and the sweetest girl in the world, except when you don’t nap. Now I look forward to spending time with you every day. Things I used to love to do like play basketball, watch ESPN, and listen to the Orioles all come second after you. You have made me a better husband, father, and person in this world. The bear hugs we share are some of the happiest moments of my life. Our secret kisses through the mosquito net on your crib are the final nightcap I cherish every evening before going to bed. The little things like chowing down on hamburgers together because momma refuses to eat that junk food would have been nonexistent without you. I pray to God that we are able to spend many years together, and I thank him for the great blessing that you are in my life.

As I close, I pray that you will one day forgive me for my insecurities and doubts. I am going to spend the remainder of my life teaching you, loving you, helping you, and protecting you. You are a gem in this world that some people may never choose to experience. I know there will be days that we will cry together, but there will be more days that we laugh and dance together.

The world can be a cruel place but the great news is that you will overcome it. You have a bloodline of fighters, and I already see the fight you will bring against anyone who doubts you! God is on your side, and he has a greater plan for you than he ever had for Mommy and me. The things he has done with your life these first three years are amazing. I love you, my beautiful daughter, and thank you for entering my life so I could see the beauty that only you could show me. —“Da-ddy”

www.iftheyhadavoice.org
Jack Barr, Author of Failing at Fatherhood
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father-ebook/dp/B00OSSQDGA

 

My Guest Author Interview With Peoples Internet Radio Host, Stephen Roberts of “Cancel The Cabal.”

Hello Friends and Welcome Readers & New Visitors,

 

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Failing at Fatherhood: A book for the imperfect father

I want to share a wonderful opportunity I was given to share all about my new book, Failing at Fatherhood, A book for the Imperfect Father, family life, and share about Down Syndrome with Peoples Internet Radio Host, Stephen Roberts, from the show “Cancel the Cabal.”

I want to thank him for the wonderful talk and interview. I hope you will take a little time out of your day to take a listen to my interview, and hope you learn more about Down Syndrome and my book.

There were a few internet clichés due to me being across the world in Bangkok Thailand, and we lost out signal a few time, but over all it went great. So I hope you enjoy listening to the interview and hope to learn more about our family, and our advocacy about Down Syndrome.
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Failing At Fatherhood author Jack Barr on February 27, 2015 Peoples Internet Radio.

Failing At Fatherhood author Jack Barr on February 27, 2015 Peoples Internet Radio.

March 2, 2015|Posted in: article, broadcast, Cancel The Cabal, network, News, Stephen Roberts, truth broadcast network, video

“Click And Listen”: http://www.youtube.com/embed/MATGEYHaeZ4

Failing At Fatherhood Author Jack Barr was here on Friday night, February 27,m 2015 On Peoples Internet Radio’s Cancel The Cabal Show to speak on his book.

Failing at Fatherhood ~ Award winning Author, Jack Barr’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.
A truly surprising and inspirational interview. And I thank you to everyone who tuned in to listen.

Author, Jack Barr, Jana & Marley Barr
Please connect with us on Twitter @jackjanamarley ~ Like Us On FB: https://www.facebook.com/JackBarrAuthor.FailingFatherhood

And visit our Website: http://www.iftheyhadavoice.org/
My Book is Available here on Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father/dp/B00OSSQDGA/

What Has God Taught Us? Let Me Tell You. . .

Hello Friends, Readers, and Welcome New Friends,

As many parents who care for a child with down syndrome or any disability, it can be a challenge.
But Jana and I keep close to our faith to help us through each day. So I thought today I would share with you what God has taught us so far on this journey we all call life. No matter what lies ahead for our future, we know when we keep our love and faith in God, we can make it through even the hardest storms that come our way. . .
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Nine years ago we made the decision to leave everything that was familiar to us and move to the other side of the world. One night while we were still living in Tennessee, Jana came home from teaching gymnastics, and asked whom I was talking with on the phone. I told her I was interviewing for a job at an International Christian School, in Bangkok Thailand.  She gave me a look that was intended to be profanity, but since we were good little Christians, she did not openly yell at me. I knew immediately it would not go well after I finished my phone conversation with ICS.  Once I hung up the phone, I quickly told her that I was offered a job, and the good news was they had an open elementary position.

What happened next was not the yelling attack I expected, but instead she smiled, and we started searching for Thailand on a map.  As I reflect back on this life changing decision, I think it would be good to share some things we have learned while serving in BKK.  I also want to encourage you this week to contemplate what God has taught you these past few years.  Too often in life, we don’t take the time to see what God has done in our lives.

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Jack – I have realized the true definition of depression.  I spent an entire year depressed after Marley was born.  I believe it was the hardest year of my life and I was worthless as a father during that time.  God taught me the value of a dedicated wife, and the healing we can receive through talking with people who have been there. The greatest part of that year was realizing my relationship with God was not where I thought it was, and my need for daily faith.

Jana – God’s creativity runs deep and wide. We have met so many different and interesting people while living in Thailand. Through each of these encounters and relationships, God has revealed Himself to us in different ways. It is through and because of these relationships that my relationship with the Creator has grown.

Jack – The enormous responsibility we have to mentor the next generation. God has opened my eyes to the struggles of our students at ICS.  The time we spend talking and caring for these students is a necessity.  Numerous young men and women have told us thank you for just taking the time to build a relationship with them outside of school.  We believe that is our greatest ministry at ICS.

Jana – God has been teaching me about humility for years and years. He has used so many of the years here in Bangkok to show me how little control I have in my own life, AND how much greater His plan is for me than what I have planned for myself.

Jack – There are days I love being a father and days I hate being a father.  I love the sweet smiles and hugs Marley gives me constantly throughout the day.  But I also hurt when I see people look at her differently, or when she struggles to complete tasks that are easier for others.  My own father dying at an early age inspired me to change my life, but I wish I could sit down with him now, and tell him I finally understand the love he had for me.

Jana – Unreached people groups are hiding within our own communities. We must pray for God to open our eyes to those people in need. We were never aware of the great need for families with special needs children until God made us aware. I think some of the raw emotions that we experienced as God showed/catapulted us into awareness is a taste of the deep love that God has for those who are hurting and lost.

Marley – I would say that she has learned that life is going to be fun sometimes and hard sometimes.  There will be times that Daddy/Mommy will let her splash in the rain puddles, eat a French fry, and wrestle the cat into submission.  Unfortunately, there will also be times that she will not get what she wants just because of who she is.  Pulling the cat’s ears, throwing her food, and biting will be followed by disciplinary actions.

Learn more about Jack and his book at http://www.iftheyhadavoice.org/
Follow Us on Twitter @jackjanamarley
Follow & Like Us on FB: https://www.facebook.com/JackBarrAuthor.FailingFatherhood/
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God Bless Friends,
~Jack, Jana and Marley~
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father/dp/B00OSSQDGA

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

Hello & Welcome to my New Book Blog for “Failing At Fatherhood, A book for the Imperfect Father’.

Hello and Welcome Friends, Readers, and New Visitors

What is this blog all about?

I will share my story, my new book, interact, and engage with you about Down Syndrome. With now 6,000 babies diagnosed each year in the US, raising awareness & sharing hope to other parents is one of my life missions. Now I have started a personal blog to share how my book is helping others, giving kids a voice, and most importantly engaging with many who share the same experiences with their children. I hope to connect with other bloggers and parents by sharing their stories, as I share my story.  Also this is a place to share about me my new book titled, ‘Failing At Fatherhood’, A book for the Imperfect Father. . . Available on Amazon 

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Now I would like to introduce the big reason behind my book. Please meet my daughter, Marley Barr, who is my sweet vibrant little girl. My book is about my first reaction to the news about her diagnosis. Even with faith, I was not prepared to hear that my daughter would be different.

Here is a little more about my book and my family…


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About Family Life:
Jack and Jana Barr are missionaries in Bangkok, Thailand.  Before their first date, they both knew God was calling them to serve overseas.  After completing their undergraduate degrees at Johnson University, and their graduate degrees (Jack M.Ed. Regent University, M.Sc. Canisius College/ Jana M.A. Lee University) they flew to Bangkok for the first time.  For the past nine years they have served God by teaching at the International Community School in Bangkok, Thailand.

“Jana and I wanted to be self-supportive and earning our graduate degrees provided us with that opportunity.  But beyond that, the graduate degrees we earned prepared us to teach and live cross culturally.  Our college courses forced us to step outside our comfortable environment of teaching first language learners and embrace second language teaching.  Most importantly, our professors prepared us for a chaotic life of change that accompanies living overseas.”

Our story has been featured on CNN, CNN Mexico, Life Action News, and The Insight Channel. I also wrote my first published book, Failing at Fatherhood, which has won a Silver Award by The Mom’s Choice Awards for adult book, and has been endorsed by Bob Russell, S.A. Bodeen, and Woodroll Kroll.  Jack & Jana had a simple plan for their future, but God has forced them to trust in HIS plan.

About My New Book:
“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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In closing I would like to share our most recent newsletter and current campaign. We started the “If They Had A Voice” awareness campaign which is dedicated to unborn children diagnosed with Down Syndrome. You can view the initial video here http://www.iftheyhadavoice.org/

News Letter:
Jack, Marley, Martha, & Mary
(December 2014)

Last week during lunch, Jana and I were discussing our holiday travel plans.  The conversation was centered on cost, travel schedule, and the overall inconvenience of bouncing around the US during Christmas.  About halfway through the conversation Marley said, “plane, plane, me, me.”  Jana told Marley that “yes”; we were flying on a plane in the next few weeks to visit family for Christmas.
The remainder of the day involved Marley reminding us that she was going to be flying on a plane and we were going home for Christmas.

For the past week, every time Marley has seen a plane in the sky she has started yelling “plane, plane, me, me”. Regardless of what she is doing, she stops and her excitement spills over at the thought of flying home for Christmas. Of course every time she yells “plane”, I think about BKK to SFO to LAS to DFW to OKC to CLT to GSO to EWR to SFO to BKK in three weeks. (Amazing how these acronyms are a constant in my life now) But, Marley does not care about the cost, travel, or the headache of sleeping in various houses. She only cares about flying home to see Pappy, Grammy, Ma Ma, Ray Ray, RF, and numerous other people she loves. Last week as I was sharing at church about the Christmas story, I realized I was already embracing the Christmas holidays with a Martha approach.

38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” 41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
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Things have to get done. There are always certain details in life that must be prepared before something can be accomplished. I do not believe Jesus is telling us to completely ignore those preparations. The main point I see Him making is to take time for what is important. Every year during the holidays, I become obsessed with my “to do” list. Is everything in place, is the schedule set, do we have enough money, which parties are we attending, and we must remember to read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve. Even the religious rituals I honor at Christmas are more about attending the event, instead of focusing on the one thing worth our attention.

We love living in Bangkok, but there is always something special about spending the holidays in the States with family. This Christmas break I am going to try to take the Marley approach. Instead of worrying about the holiday schedule, cost, or headaches, I am going to focus on spending time with my family, loving my wife and child, and truly taking time to reflect on the birth of Christ.

When flights are delayed, schedules are thrown off, and we spend too much money; I am going to stop and enjoy the moment.  Life will always move forward with needed preparations, but for this season in my life, I am going to peacefully sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him. . .

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Silver Award Adult Book ~ Mom’s Choice Award Winner for Failing At Fatherhood.

I hope you have enjoyed visiting our new blog and consider purchasing a copy of my new book through one of these outlets. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple ibook.

Author Bio: http://about.me/jack_barr Come connect with us on Twitter @jackjanamarley Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JackBarrAuthor.FailingFatherhood/ GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8843797.Jack_Barr
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