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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Sunday, August 31, 2008
For those who have read Dogwood--and for those who have yet to visit this wild, wonderful, West Virginia town, I want to give a peek into the writing process. I'm not a big fan of the term "writer's block," but there was a time when I was stuck in Dogwood. Here's what happened.

I had the characters, the setting, and most of the plot. I had great conflict within the characters and without. The whole thing felt like a movie to me as I wrote. There was a love storiy of a father and son, as well as the pursuit of one farm boy for the love of his life. However, that love story was the place of the most conflict for me. Here's a young woman, married to a pastor, three children, lots of responsibility, lots of expectations, and into her life comes this past love. How do you reconcile that?

I won't give away any more of the plot than that, but this was the point where I was stuck. I was about halfway through the book and the decision I made at this point would affect the whole thing. I'm a perfectionist and I hate hitting a rabbit trail and having to go back and start over.

Keep in mind, no one other than my wife and Kathy, my friend and agent, knew I was writing this book. No one cared. I wasn't being paid a dime for it. I had no guarantees that I would be paid a dime for it. I've written other adult novels before, but thankfully, none of them have been published. Kathy was adamant that because I had never published in the "adult fiction" category that I should complete the entire manuscript before I submitted it to any publisher. I agreed and set off to continue the writing in the midst of other projects, hoping that at the end I would have something worthy of someone's time and money.

I talked with Jerry Jenkins, my friend and writing mentor. We had written more than 50 children's books together by then. He's written about 200 books, many novels, and is a lot further down the writing road than I am. I didn't explain the plot much, as I recall, I just told him what was going on with the process.

He thought a moment. Usually, it doesn't take him long to figure out what answer he wants to give, but this seemed to be taking longer than usual. I think he had been where I was. Or maybe he hadn't. I don't know.

"Let your subconscious do the work," he said.

"What do you mean?"

"The next step of the story is there, it's just hiding. Relax. Don't force it. Let your mind play with the story and tell you where to go."

That's not an exact quote, but it's what I remember. So I relaxed. I made some notes. I looked over the first half of the story I had written. I liked most of what I saw. It moved me. If it took a couple of weeks to get ramped up again, that was okay. I let my mind wander about possibilities, about ways I could twist this story. I let my mind have free reign. I asked, "What if?" If I had to go back and start over, that was okay. The point was to have the best story possible. I was committed to the process anew.

It was a Sunday morning. Sundays are low pressure days. As a rule, I don't write on Sundays, even though most writers say you have to keep up the momentum and write every day. I figure if God can't get me from Saturday to Monday, it wasn't worth writing in the first place. (This is not to say I haven't written on Sundays, but that's my goal.)

The sun was just coming up over the hill to our east. The front range of mountains is to our west and in my mind I could see the orange glow on the pine trees as a stream of sunlight lit the shades. Andrea, my wife of nearly 26 years now, was asleep beside me. Face turned toward the ceiling. I watched her breathing, the gentle rise and fall of her chest. The human body is an amazing thing, blood pumping through us, coursing through our veins. I looked from her to the window again, yawned, and put my head on the pillow, relaxing.

That's when it hit me. Like a sledge hammer. Like some mental tsunami. I wasn't thinking about the story at all. I was thinking about the kids and church and when the dog needed to go out and wondering about the bank account and whether I had enough money for the withdrawal of our mortgage payment and a thousand other things. It was like lightning on the brain.

What if...

I sat up on one elbow and looked at nothing in particular because I could see Karin and Will and Ruthie, the three main characters, their interaction, the conflicts all three had. I saw Danny Boyd, the young boy whose sisters are dead. It all made sense. It was what I was writing toward all this time. It was what my mind was doing as a subtext and I didn't even know it. And not only did the pieces fit in the puzzle of a story, it perfectly illustrated a theological point about each of us, that we are dead in our trespasses and sins. We can't respond to God without his movement in our lives. We have to be touched by the truth in order to respond to it because none of us seeks after God.

I lay propped up like that a few moments, mouth agape, going through all the permutations of the story, gasping, I guess. Andrea had no idea what had just happened. She was still asleep. The dog didn't care. He just wanted to go outside. The kids slept peacefully in their rooms. Everything was quiet in the house. But I felt like screaming, "Yes! That's it! That's it!!!"

You might think I jumped up and wrote the idea down quickly. I didn't. I'm a believer that if you have a really good idea it will stick with you. I do write down bits of dialog I hear, just to get the flavor of conversations, but with these types of ideas, if I can forget them, they're probably not really that good in the first place.

I put my head on the pillow and watched the sun some more. I don't think I've ever had a moment of that type of clarity in the writing process. It was a breakthrough that catapulted me back to the computer the next day and it was as if I were writing downhill. The whole thing made sense. The whole thing fit perfectly with very little change to the first half of the book. And it made the ending, what I call "the reveal" that you're waiting for in every book, much more shocking, jarring, and satisfying. Others may not agree. Some have criticized what happens. Others see the beauty of it, the wonderful, terrible beauty.

Was it simply my mind, or did God have something to do with that moment? I think he did, though I wouldn't go so far as to say, "God gave me that idea." That's a bit presumptuous, I believe. I don't want to blame God for something that's not up to par. He made my mind. He gave me a desire to flail away at words. He gave the perseverence to start and slog through to the finish. And I will give him the honor and glory for any accomplishment I achieve, certainly. That he would show up on a Sunday morning and speak something true and creative is within his power and purview. I did feel the hair on my neck raise when the thought came.

I guess I'll let you decide the answer to that question after you've paid a visit to Dogwood.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Another picture from a listener of a beautiful butterfly has come to us.

Martha writes, "I saw the butterfly picture on your blog and thought I would share mine with you.

This picture was made a few days ago in front of my house in Cottondale, Alabama."

Enjoy this handiwork of God!

This is the note from John Boy about his picture:

Hello all! I wanted to take a moment to share this story with y'all. This past Saturday afternoon on my front porch I was leisurely finishing a ham and swiss sandwich I made myself for lunch when I noticed this beautiful butterfly busily working its way through all of the zenias in my front flower bed. It made me pause and marvel at the amazing creativity of God. I took some pics so I would remember this wonderful moment. Truly, how glorious is our Lord. Amen. I pray that each of you would take time in your busy lives to salee the fingerprints of God all around us. Serving with gladness (Ps. 100),
John Boy
Friday, August 22, 2008
I have to get this out of my system.

Last Thursday I was in my office, working on the upcoming program, or playing minesweeper--I can't remember which, and only a few feet from my desk were about 60 women with coffee mugs in hand, talking about the kids getting back to school. Cars lined the street outside the house. Smiling women, laughing women, crying women, hungry women, they were all gathered at our home.

It was the first day of school and Andrea had sent a few emails out to some friends who show up each year at this time. I took a recorder out and placed it on the kitchen table. I dare you to listen to more than 30 seconds without citing Geneva Convention rules of engagement. The noise is unbelievable.

Ironically, a friend of mine from down the street called in the middle of this event and I sat in my office listening to the din coming from the kitchen window. "Chris, what are all those cars doing outside your house? Did somebody die?"

Jim is from Arkansas and still talks with the hint of a twang. He can turn it off if he wants to, but when we're speaking, he feels free, probably because he knows I'm from WV. "No, it's just Andrea's back to school coffee thing."

"You ought to go out there and sell books!" he said, and for the first time I realized I was missing a marketing opportunity.

However, Andrea does not include any kinds of sales in these get-togethers. The people who come know they're not going to be bombarded by jewelry, candles, Tupperware, or cosmetics. This is a get-to-know-you kind of event. There are no strings attached.

"What are you doing today, buddy?" Jim asked.

I told him. "What are you doing?"

He told me. "Hey, I went fishing Saturday at 11-mile canyon. I caught the most beautiful rainbow trout you've ever seen."

"What kind of fly did you use?"

He told me.

"Did he taste good?"

"Naw, that's a catch and release area. I just kissed him and let him go. You ought to go up there with me. It's the most beautiful spot in Colorado. We'll take the kids up there and let them get a line wet."

We talked for maybe 8 minutes. I went back to the kitchen and found the same women standing around the table, still talking after 20 minutes. I shut the recorder off, thinking about the differences between the my conversation with Jim and the conversations going on in there. I felt smug in my belief that my conversation with Jim was vastly superior to the chit-chat going on in the rest of the house.

That was, until I spoke with my wife. "There were so many who met someone new. And there were so many conversations about how hard it is to let go of the kids and women crying about the struggles they're having getting older and watching their kids move to high school."

I didn't have the heart to tell her about the rainbow trout. Nor could I tell her that my conversation with Jim lasted only a few minutes and we covered just about every base on the field of our relationship. I thought we had really gone deep. I couldn't wait to take her and the kids to 11-mile canyon. She was in a canyon of her own, with the waters of friends still rippling around her, her wading boots on, her heart open.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Here are three emails that represent the views of a lot of other emailers from recent days:

Hi Chris,
First of all I thank God for your program and your faith in Christ Jesus!
Next, I am a Pro-Life Christian who agrees with John McCain; however, I also agree with the caller who talked about his protesting at an abortion clinic and said tha KEY is the Gospel of Jesus to convert the person's belief in order to "solve" the murders of innocent children.
Yes, I believe that God Almighty is going to "judge" America and the judges who legalized abortion! But while we are the Body of Christ, if we look at the early Christians who eventually overpowered the Roman government with God's mighty assistance, He is in control and if we concentrate on sharing the gospel of God's saving Grace we can prevent abortion one case at a time. Our local Crisis Pregnacy Center now called the Women's Resource Center is doing wonders with the assistance of the ultra-sound maching provided by Focus on the Family.
So if Obama is our next president, we are praying that he will have a major "conversion" and will go against the democratic platform and not appoint liberal judges.
Indiana listener


Chris,
I have to say my heart is grieved over this election. It doesn't matter which presidential candidate is white or black, republican or democrat, we as Christians should vote for what the bible tells us is right. I somewhat believe this is a test. Just as the Israelites were tested to see if they would do what was right in God's eyes and trust Him for the rest, He is now testing American Christians. Will we stand for the unborn or sacrifice them on the altar of convince? God destroyed many countries for killing their babies. Can we trust God to supply our needs or are we looking for a President that really has less power than the Congress to meet our needs?
Georgia Listener

ANONYMOUS
I would like to comment on my beliefs about the election. It is more a matter of the lesser of two evils. I am a right to life Christian and I know we are supposed to vote for our right to life candidates, but proven by history they have done little to end abortion. It continues to increase. Most pro life candidates are Republican and what the pro life candidates have done is a direct attack on the family structure of this country. The republican party increases unemployment and ruins the economy. From my research I have found that with the proportional increase of unemployment and economic downturn you have a proportional increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce, desertion of the family, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, crime and more. All of these factors have an immediate and devastating affect. If abortion is going to be stopped it will have to happen from the family level. Our pro life candidates seem to cater to the very wealthy and abuse the working class and the poor. The Republican agenda is to give all concessions to the wealthy and put the burden on the working class and the poor. In my opinion I see Senator McCain continuing the Bush agenda which will further damage the family structure of this country. I believe the most valuable resource of any country is it's youth and between theRepublican agenda and the Gay agenda the youth are in danger. What Christians have to be concerned with is preserving the family structure of our country. I will clarify my concerns with this passage which identifies the hearts of the republican party: 1Ti 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I'm happy to say that The Winners Manual, a book I worked on with Ohio State Football coach Jim Tressel, has been in the top 10 of the NY Times bestsellers for four weeks. It's kind of like Will Perdue saying, "Michael Jordan and I scored 60 last night," but I'll take it. I received an email from a teacher in California who said he is using the material here to teach kids about the principles covered inside.

The other exciting publishing event came August 1 when Dogwood, my first novel for adults showed up in stores. It's a love story, a story of redemption and sacrifice, of renewal, and, like a West Virginia country road, has many twists and turns. I'm hoping many will read it and talk about it with friends. If you want to read the first chapter, send me an email at chrisfabry@comcast.net. If you have read it and enjoyed it, I'd love to hear from you.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
If you saw the Obama/McCain interview by Rick Warren and have a comment, I would love to hear about it. Please post a comment below--we'll be tackling the issue on the 8/18 Chris Fabry Live!
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Monday, August 11, 2008
Dear Senators Obama and McCain,

Hi there. My name is Chris Fabry. I’m a radio host clinging to my faith and my RE-20 microphone. (I hope I can afford a Neumann one day.) I am not going to be watching much of the upcoming conventions because I think I know what’s going to happen. I’ll be tucking my kids in bed, reading them a story, and trying to figure out how to pay for the next day’s worth of gasoline.

A little about me. My grandfather on my father’s side came from Europe before WWI because he saw what was happening in his country and wanted freedom from that. He came here not knowing a word of English, except what he probably picked up on the boat to Ellis Island. He worked in the mines and tried to forge a life for his wife & children, but when one of his children died in an influenza outbreak and then his wife died, it nearly did him in. But he was a farmer and did what he had to and finally bought a little farm in WV and lived there until a few years after I came along. He loved America. He loved the opportunity of this land for his children.

I mention my grandfather because I keep coming back to him in days of confusion and worry. When people talk about the president and electing one of you, I get the feeling that many are looking for salvation from something. Relief from high gas prices. Lower interest rates. A job. An education. Health care. The list goes on. But my grandfather didn’t look to government for any of these things. If someone were to walk up to him on the street and say, “Here, this is a check from the government to help you feed your children,” he would have walked right past them. His kids would have cashed that check in a second because, from what I hear, they were hungry a lot of the time and Christmas to them was an orange and maybe a peppermint stick. How I wished someone from the government had given my grandfather a check. Then I wouldn’t have grown up with the story about the harmonica…the silly 5 cent Hohner harmonica that my dad wanted in grade school. All they had to do was bring a nickel to school and you could get this harmonica and learn how to play it.

When I heard that story for the first time, I wanted to run to my piggy bank and bring back the nickel for my dad so he could get the harmonica. It broke my heart. But his mother said they couldn’t afford a nickel for a harmonica. This was in the 1920s. They couldn’t afford 5 measly cents. My dad could have been Buddy Greene for all I know. He could have turned out to be some great blues harmonica player, but they couldn’t afford a nickel.

Why am I saying this to you, Senators? Because I think someone has to stand up and say something unpopular to the American people. We don’t need anything free from the government because WE are the government. And we don’t need either of you making promises about paying for our education or our health care or giving us a chicken in every pot. WE are the ones who are going to have to work and learn and pay for our house and our cars and the insurance and textbooks. WE are the ones who will have to shoulder the burden. And all we ask, all we really need, is for GOVERNMENT to not get in our way and make it harder for us. We’ll pay our taxes that go to roads and schools and libraries. We’ll shell out money for toll roads and improvements. We don’t have a problem paying our fair share. Those who are considered rich don’t have a problem paying their taxes. A lot was made about Exxon Mobile’s profits in the past few weeks. Someone said they made almost $1,500 a second. What that report didn’t tell you was that they also paid more than $4,000 in taxes every second.

Here’s what I’m tired of. I’m tired of people looking to the president for EVERYTHING. We want the president to get us a job. We want the president to help with our health care. We want the president to raise the minimum wage. We want the president to trim our toenails.

In my opinion, the president is in office to protect us. To uphold the constitution and make sure, as much as is within him or her, to make sure that no nefarious people who hate our country will harm us. I’ve had a lot of problems with certain things our current president has done, but I have to admit that he has done everything in his power to protect us. To keep us safe from those who want to destroy us. To appoint Supreme Court justices who believe that the constitution is a document to be respected and not tampered with lightly.

My housing price is not your job. Don’t worry about it. My income stream is not your job. Take that off your list. I don’t want you trying to provide my health care. Just do the job of running the country and I’ll be happy.

And a note about faith, which I don’t cling to, by the way, it clings to me. In order for you to be a person I’ll vote for, you don’t have to agree with me on every jot and tittle of theology. You don’t even have to be a Christian, for that matter. We are a melting pot and there are a lot of faiths out there and a lot of moral people who believe in Judeo/Christian values. What I need is for you to be honest with me. If you believe Jesus is the only way to God and that salvation is through him alone, great. That’s what I believe, not because I discovered it and am so proud of myself, but because that’s what Jesus said and I believe it. However, don’t say, yes I believe Jesus is the only way for ME. But there are other options out there.

That would be like me saying, “Yes, the IRS is the way YOU pay your taxes, but I believe in another way.” If I were to say that to the IRS, and not pay each April, I would be writing this from my prison cell. No, if you don’t think Jesus is the only way, then tell me that and say you’re part of some other religion, but don’t call it Christian, because that’s not a part of a Chrsitian’s belief system.

So, as I said, I will probably not watch much of the conventions because on both sides, that’s pretty much for SHOW. It’s a week-long commercial, which is fine, I understand the need to have it and what’s behind it, but I don’t find it compelling. What I do find compelling is a person who will tell me straight out what they’re going to do. What will you fight for? Do you think we already pay enough in taxes? DO you think we should pay more? What are you going to do to keep our country secure—and that has to do with the borders and the wars we’re involved in overseas. You both seem committed to the theory of Global Warming as a result of our collective carbon, so I’m not even going to go there with either of you. Is there a battle to win against our enemies or do we simply appease? Because I want a president who is willing to identify evil and go after it when necessary—not to start a fight, but to end one.

Speaking for my family and me, we want to make a difference in people’s lives through our church, through missions, through our local charities. We want to worship God, work at our jobs, attend our schools and learn as much as we can so that we can be productive members of this society, contributing as much as we can. We want to reach out to people who don’t have as much as we do, down the street and across the ocean. And we want leaders who will recognize that the best part of America is not represented in movie stars and athletes or even people holding governmental office. The BEST part of America is right here, in this community, where people band together to help each other when a flood hits, or a tornado rips through a town…or when a young mom dies and there are people who flock to bring food and share grief and try to nurture young children. The BEST part of America is a dad who gets up every day, and though it’s not the most scintillating thing he’d love to do, he goes to work and he does his job well and his employer is happy with what he does, and when he comes home for dinner around the table, there are kids who love him and wife who at least tolerates him.

The BEST part of America is NOT the government telling me how tall my grass can be or telling us to use less water so that when the bill comes the next month it’s more expensive to buy water because when consumption falls the price goes up.
The BEST part of America is freedom. And if you are a candidate who wants to free us up to be all we can be, if you want less governmental control and more opportunities, if you think the separation of church and state was put there to protect the church from governmental intrusion and not the other way around, then I will vote for you.

I don’t need the talking points anymore. I don’t even need debates per se. I just want you to tell me what you really think about what I’ve just said, and then I can make my decision.

Sincerely,
Chris Fabry
(And if one of you would hold up a copy of my new novel at your convention, I would watch.)
Friday, August 8, 2008
Here's a picture of the young man we've talked about for the past couple of weeks. His name is Timothy, but he goes by Timo. From the initial reports passed along, his prospects didn't look good, but look at that smile. The only problem is the LSU shirt he's wearing. :)

Below see some of the correspondence about his current condition from a visitor to his hospital:

"We arrived in South Africa and for part of the past three days we have been able to visit with the Simoneaux family. On Tuesday, we found them still in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. We were so relieved to see the progress made in less than a week's time since their arrival in South Africa. We were able to go in and have prayer with our little friend, Timo. He was still having trouble with his throat and it pained him to talk.

Today, we went again about noon and found the family in the coffee shop. Timothy ate a plain hamburger patty which was a big victory since he just hadn't been eating much at all, and then had to finish up his meal with an iced coffee smoothie.

Here is what is expected to happen in the next few days. Timothy will remain on the intravenous antibiotic treatment until probably Monday and hopefully by Tuesday he will be released from the Garden City Clinic. They will then spend another week in Johannesburg giving them all a chance to rest from the ordeal and to give Timothy time to continue to gain strength for their trip back to the USA. They will then leave for the USA."
Thursday, August 7, 2008
We had a great time in the studio with Brandon Heath Wednesday, 8/6. Because it was my daughter, Megan, who suggested him, I'm including a photo of her (holding the guitar), Brandon, Kristen, and Kaitlyn (wide-eyed).

After the show, Brandon did a peronal concert for them (1 song Megan told me to ask him to play that I forgot). Anybody who goes out of their way to be nice to your children is okay in my book. I appreciated his heart for music, lyrics, and God. I hope you did, too.

I did not know that he was in an accident just north of us the night before the program. Evidently Brandon had some hydroplaning trouble and smacked into a guardrail on I-25. Thankfully he's okay.

Check out his new CD that comes out August 19. It's titled "What If We."
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Friday, August 1, 2008
1. The Dream stays with you. You can’t shake it no matter what happens in your life.

2. The Dream comes from something natural within you, some gift, some bent, some concern.

3. The Dream can change over time and morph and grow.

4. The Dream will not conflict with God’s call on your life. In fact, it will energize you and those around you and bring them along with you.

5. The results of the Dream are not up to you. You only need to be faithful to work toward the fulfillment of the dream and leave the rest to God.

6. The Dream will be confirmed by people who know you and love God.

7. The Dream will take a lot of work.