The Fabry Family

Connect with Me

Connect with Chris on Facebook Follow Chris on Twitter Watch Chris on YouTube

Featured Books

Featured Books
Coming in January!

<b></b>
Latest Release!

Personal Stuff

My Photo
Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
View my complete profile

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.

Search This Blog

Visitor Count

Visitor Count:
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Stories are a big part of my vagabond life. We moved from our home in Colorado to the desert of Arizona and don't have a permanent home. We're due to move again in a month (after we find another rental).

I wrote my latest novel, June Bug, in my old office (wearing a full chemical splash suit), at another house in Colorado, and in the pull along trailer parked outside our old house. It was an interesting exercise to work through the pain and setbacks. And it was in that transient atmosphere that I think I've done my best work. You'll understand more when you read it. (Go to ChrisFabry.com for more.)

Perhaps the ability to tell my stories wherever I am comes from my strong sense of "home" in West Virginia. Below is a picture taken in late June of my boyhood home. My parents still live there. In the foreground, the flat portion was a racetrack and a baseball field. We used to ride go-karts and mini-bikes there. I seined minnows in the creek that wound by the field. You can imagine what those trees look like in the fall. They explode with brilliant color. This truly is "Dogwood" to me, and the house where Will grew up.


My father and I planted pine saplings that now dwarf the house. The barn above the house is gone. The ground has changed from how I remember it. This was a great area to sled but it seems to have settled and flattened a bit. Behind the house is a hill where we camped out and sent model rockets into space.

This is where my stories began. It's the strongest sense of place I have for my characters. It is the place where I draw from memory's well and make sense of life. I only have to close my eyes to hear the crickets and smell the fecund aroma of fertile earth. That green of the hills shows there is vibrant life. No matter where I am, no matter how many times we have to move, this is the place where I return. It is a good place for the stories I want to tell. It is a good place to remember. When I think of it, I don't feel like a vagabond. I feel grounded.
Friday, June 26, 2009
This weekend is my 30th High School Reunion. I am not with my friends and I know I am missing out. It's not because I don't want to be there. It's not really about finances. Life just intervened. Life has a way of doing that.

I had so many people I wanted to talk with. So many events I wanted to get perspective on from this side of my West Virginia education. Like the 9th grade election of President of the National Honor Society. Why did I come in 3rd place out of 3? What was it that prompted the first and only girl I ever danced with in Junior High School to ask me...no, drag me onto the dance floor? What about the demise of our high school into a conglomerate? Where have all my friends gone? What have they done with their lives? How many children have they had? (I'm close to being the winner in that category.) I'm looking forward to seeing pictures.

I wish you all lots of smiles, a few tears, and joy down those country roads. May you all have safe travels, spirited conversations, and happy memories. I'll be there in 2010...or whenever you decide to have the next one!

Go Groundhogs! I mean, Greyhounds.
(That's another memory. I was announcing a basketball game and called the team the Groundhogs by mistake. Sort of. Okay, it wasn't by mistake and they never asked me to announce another game. But I'm sorry. Really.)

Then there was that talent show I hosted in the velvet tux and sang a song about a Possum. My career went downhill from that moment. That was the peak.

Wait, there's more....aaarrrgggghhhh. Wish I was near the Mud River this weekend.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
This is from Dr. Michael Easley from the program today, 6/25/09.

What Would Happen If I Lost My Integrity?

Establish my footsteps in Your word and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me. Psalm 119:133

1. I would have lied, sinned and offended God.
2. I would wreck my marriage.
3. I would lose all ability to minister.
4. I would butcher my credibility with ______________ Church
5. I would ruin my alumni relationship with ___________________________.
6. I would disgrace ________________________, and all who have trusted me.
7. I would spoil my relationship with people of influence.
8. I would damage every relationship I have.
9. I would lose (my husband’s / wife’s) ________________ love and support.
10. I would lose my husband’s / wife’s trust for the rest of our lives.
11. I would scar (my kids) ___________________ for the rest of their lives.
12. I would never replace the relationship I enjoy with (my husband / wife) ________________.
13. I would deeply disgrace and insult my in-laws.
14. I would deeply disgrace and insult my parents.
15. I would ruin any credibility with all the counseling I have ever done.
16. I would never escape the guilt and regret.
17. I would lose my “job.”
18. I would negate any ministry or testimony I have had to the divorced & remarried.
19. I would offend, hurt, betray and cheapen my dearest friendships with __________________ and many others.
20. I would never want to face anyone from (former churches, Christian ministries…) _____________________.
21. I would have betrayed the trust of all the staff from (churches I’ve worked with) _______________________.
22. I would have betrayed a trust given to me by the elders of (churches).
23. I would find it impossible to remove the mar in my relationship with the Father.
24. I would forever look back & regret the stupidity of my decision to sin.
25. I would never find “fulfillment” in anything.
26. I would fuel the fire of “nay-sayers” and unbelievers.
27. I would have scorned the high-call/high-privilege that has been entrusted to me.
28. I would insult the credibility of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Andrea and I are going to be on Midday Connection today talking about our journey with mold, the illnesses we've been through, and whatever else Anita and Melinda want to talk about. Our hope and our goal through all of this is to help someone facing some giants in their life, whether it's mold or something else.

You can listen live at 1:00 Eastern or hear the podcast/stream of the program on the Internet. Here's the link for Midday Connection.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Saturday was my first baseball game as coach. I intended for it to be my last. We only had five players and one of them is five years old. You can’t play a season with five kids, especially with vacations, sickness, etc. My intention was, after the first game of the year, to hang up my “Coach” shirt and call it a lesson learned. I am not a quitter but I am a realist.

But something happened on the way to the game. A memory sparked from long ago. I don’t know why it’s there, it just is. I was in elementary school. It was the fifth grade, or maybe fourth, or sixth, that part I can’t remember. It was the last day of school and the whole class walked down the street to a church campground, right next to the cemetery where my grandfather is buried. I can't tell you the year, it could have been anywhere from 1970-1973, but I can tell you the strongest memory of that day.

We are in the field by the picnic tables. The teachers and mothers are working with the food, keeping the flies away, making sure the kids don’t choke on hot dogs. The girls giggle and run in packs, playing tag or talking or doing whatever girls do. And I am in the field holding a plastic bat. My friends are both behind me and scattered in the field. And there is a man in work clothes on the impromptu pitcher's mound. He is holding a Wiffle ball. It is my father. He must be on evenings or midnight shift because he is there at one in the afternoon.

When a smaller child or a girl comes up to bat, he throws underhanded. When I come up to bat he puts something on it, overhanded, and I whack the ball as hard as I can and run to first, which is someone’s discarded shirt. He is laughing. We are all laughing and sweating and swatting at flies and mosquitoes. All of us want our team to win. And we all think it is the best thing in the world to have a dad playing baseball with us. My dad. It is the best memory.

For some reason, that’s what I thought about when I drove to the game Saturday. Just that image of my father standing so tall before us and tossing the ball.

We had five players for our team. The other team had 12. I walked over to the other coach and explained the situation.

He grimaced. “We only had six until we got six more last week.” He rubbed his chin. “It’s okay, we’ll have some of our guys play for you. This is all about the kids. We want them to have a good time and learn something about the game.”

This is all about the kids. He said that several times.

We were up first. Colin actually hit the ball and ran to first, just getting out by a stride or two. The next three or four batters got on base. They scored. It was wonderful.

In the bottom of the first, the bases loaded, one Red Sox player hit a screaming line drive to first. Colin caught it on the fly for the third out.

I went in to catch in the bottom of the second. Angel pitched. The umpire let us move him forward so he could get the ball over the plate.

“Coach, tell your pitcher to move back,” one of the parents from the opposing team said behind me.

“Talk to the umpire,” I said. “The pitcher is five.”

“He’s five?” she said in wonder.

Brandon was playing shortstop, his knees locked. “Bend your knees,” I called. “Get ready for the grounder, remember to catch the bunny low when it comes to you.”

He put his glove down in the dirt and waited, perfect position.

Final inning. A couple of Red Sox runners on. Colin pitching. Another line drive, this one at Alex at second base. He puts his glove up, the ball goes in with a smack, he looks at it, then looks to the dugout like he has found the missing clue in a thousand year old mystery. He can’t believe he caught it.

I looked at one of the dads. “Think we ought to try one more game?”

He smiled and nodded. “All we need are maybe four more players.”

We slapped hands with the opposing team. Good game. Good game. At the end of the line was a Red Sox player who seemed a bit bewildered. He turned and looked at me, his hair unruly and covering his eyes. It is our nature as men to keep score. To try and figure out who is better, who can spit farther, who can be the best.

“But what was the score?” he said. “Who won?”

“We all did,” I said.

And somewhere in the distance, in a place where children’s hearts are stirred, my father laughed and I heard the sound of a Wiffle ball passing.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I try not to let external things dictate what type of day I have. I believe there’s an inner peace and joy that can transcend any circumstance in your life. To have someone or some thing make you happy or sad or irritated enough to ruin your day is not the way I want to live.

Having said that, I was having a bad day yesterday. Maybe it was the letdown of Brandon’s birthday being over. We had counted down the days and now I miss him saying, "Thirty five more days, Dad!" Maybe the struggles we are going through and the toll that has taken physically, emotionally, financially, and relationally had something to do with it. Or the fact that we need to move in about a month. Or that my daughter, Shannon, was driving back to Colorado and I was concerned. It could have been about the reunion planned for my defunct high school in West Virginia. It’s been 30 years since I graduated and some of my classmates are getting together next week and I know I won’t be able to attend. Bummer. My drive through construction into Tucson didn’t help my mood. I had to drive 30 miles to retrieve our jerseys and equipment for the first baseball game Saturday.

All of these thoughts put me in a sour mood. I could have focused on the good things, but I was not doing that.

Then my cell phone rang. It was my editor from Tyndale. She calls to find out how I’m doing, how the family is, what’s up with my writing, and to give reports on current projects.

My excitement level about the new novel, June Bug, is pretty high, but there’s an angst level too. How will people receive it? Will they “get it?” Will all that hard work done during the most troubling time of our lives be “worth it?”

I’ve received some really good response to the pre-release of June Bug. But after reading a comment on Amazon the other day about Dogwood, I wondered if this story will hit the mark.

Karen said, “I have some good news.”

“I need some good news.”

“We just saw the Publisher’s Weekly review of June Bug. Do you want me to read it to you?”

She did. I was blown away. Publisher’s Weekly doesn’t determine how many copies of a book is sold, but those in the book industry look to it to help them decide whether or not to stock the book. It’s too expensive for me to have a subscription, and to be honest, when I read it I wind up thinking too much about marketing and comparing my work with others. But when Karen read me the following, I was truly encouraged.

June Bug Chris Fabry. Tyndale, $13.99 paper (350p) ISBN 978-1-4143-1956-8

Chris Fabry (Dogwood)—evangelical fiction author of more than 60 titles and coauthor of Left Behind: The Kid series—offers a lovely, moving, present-day account of sacrifice linking to the famed novel Les Misérables. It all begins in a nondescript Wal-Mart parking lot where nine-year-old June Bug sees an artist's rendition of herself on a missing child poster in the store where they've parked their broken-down RV trailer. With questions galore, June Bug starts pestering her “dad” about their RV vagabond life and where they're headed next. Johnson, little June Bug's father, is obliged to face his past in short order as a series of unexpected media events force his hand and reroute his life. Afraid and emotionally battered, Johnson returns to the “scene of the crime” and discovers what he thought was lost forever. Fabry's retelling of the world-renowned Victor Hugo tale is a stunning success, and readers will find themselves responding with enthusiastic inner applause. (Aug.)

That kept me going the rest of the day. The reviewer "got it." Bigtime. I hope others will, too.

If you would like to pre-order a copy, you can click on the link to your right. Or, go to my website, chrisfabry.com and in a few days you will be able to order an autographed copy. June Bug should be in stores in late July or early August.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Check out the NEW WEBSITE. It's not open yet, but you can hear a greeting from me and see the general direction of where we're going.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
We had a really good day with Brandon yesterday. He went to pick up his sister at the airport, then went to breakfast and was doted on by the server. Then off to Blockbuster to rent two movies. The kids don't watch much TV so watching a movie is a luxury. After my show, I took him and three siblings to bowl. Kristen is in a bowling class and she's doing really well. Broke 100 yesterday. I broke 100 too, but I was using the bumpers with Brandon. :)
After bowling it was back to watch another movie, have dinner, get his picture taken (along with the entire family) and then open presents.

Seems like he had a really good day and he was up early to put together his new Lego toy he received from friends back in Colorado.

This is Brandon, in low light, showing off his recently lost front teeth. And his muscles, of course.

Sunday, June 14, 2009
Some of my best friends are books. I was just looking at this photo of me taken a few years ago (I don't sit around looking at pictures of myself, by the way) and I was struck by how many good friends I have lost. If you enlarge the photo below, you will see some of my tastes in reading. Over my left shoulder is The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook. My mother bought that for me when I was a tadpole. On the right is a copy of John Grisham's The Firm along with The Imitation of Christ and The Cross of Christ by John Stott. That's the definition of "eclectic," I think. Down to the left, if this picture were in a better resolution, you'd be able to see my VHS copy of Matewan. Man, I miss going into my office and just staring at the books and videos.

I'm plotting a new book now, going through the mental gyrations that will send me to the keyboard every day for a few months. I had two whole shelves of writing books that I went back to again and again, everything from plotting to dialog to character's names. I really get jazzed about writing by reading a few pages of these books. But they're gone now. Actually, they're not gone, they're just out of my reach for a while. Maybe forever. I don't know. Somehow I feel a little untethered without them, but that may be a good thing. I can't rely on Dean Koontz's How To Write Bestselling Fiction anymore or Dwight Swain's advice to get me through the next few months. I'm on my own for the first time without them.

Books are good friends, which perhaps explains why I spend so much time trying to create a good friend for others. June Bug releases in a few weeks. I can't wait until you get to read it and give feedback. I think this one is going to be a good friend to you.
cf
Friday, June 12, 2009
A friend of ours, Jim Wick, suggested we invite Jack Lousma on Chris Fabry Live. Jack is an astronaut, a fighter pilot, and a committed believer. Since the 40th anniversary of man walking on the moon is in July, I suggested we do a pre-recorded interview for July 3rd.

I spoke with Jack yesterday from his home in Michigan. I knew I liked him from the minute we began to talk because the memories of the Apollo space program were right there for him. With ease he talked about his career, the ups and downs, trusting God for his career and his sense that God was in control.

Jack Lousma was on capcom the night when the Apollo 13 astronauts made the transmission, “Houston, we have a problem.”

Jack Lousma took me through what happened when they discovered the explosion, how the astronauts had to convey the information because transmission of data was nil. It was a great crisis.

And then Lousma said something that clicked with me. He said a lot of people think that Apollo 13 was a failure. The mission was to go to the moon, do experiments, keep the space program running smoothly, etc. Jack said it was far from failure. It was NASA at its best. With the accident the mission changed. It was less about things and more about people. Saving their lives. Helping them return home. And there was no acceptance of failure as an option. Those on the ground would not stop in their dogged determination to save their friends.

And so it is with us. In our life flight, there is invariably some explosion that sends us drifting off course. There is every reason to give up. Every reason to keep drifting. We're powerless in some ways to right ourselves.

But there is someone who knows the bigger picture of our story and will stop at nothing to bring us back home. Even facing death himself.

I don't know where you are with the pain and suffering of some explosion in your life. Admit the problem. Ask for help. There's someone who wants you to come safely home.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
On Thursday's program with Joe Beam, we talked about forgiving yourself for something in your past after asking God's forgiveness. An emailer asked me to put up the prayer I suggested from that program.

We were discussing the fact that God does forgive us for our sins when we truly repent and ask his forgiveness. The problem is that we don't believe him and we doubt. So my prayer went something like this:

"Lord, I know you want to forgive me. I'm having a hard time having the faith to believe you're going to do that. Would you give me the faith to believe that you really meant what you said when you promised to forgive me?"
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I wrote about fences last weekend, nostalgic for some reason about our house. I didn’t realize why, but I do now. Today is the 9th anniversary of our move to Colorado. Each year we would have some kind of celebration, going out to eat or having a cookout. One year it snowed on June 9, believe it or not.

It was a momentous thing moving from Bolingbrook, Illinois to the promised land of Monument, Colorado. It was a shedding of the old and looking toward the new. It was open vistas, the west, a new baseball and football team to cheer for, new friends, new neighbors, a much bigger house, and the promise of good things.

Looking back, I can see the truth about it. I can see the ways the house took life from us rather than gave it to us. It wasn’t the mortgage or the upkeep that drained us, it was the poor construction hiding behind those nice walls and the resultant water damage that caused us to get sicker and sicker, slowly sapping our health.

The children were so young nine years ago. Erin was 15. Brandon wasn’t even born. They say it all goes so fast, that you’ll turn around and the kids will be grown. They are more than right. It’s a blur. Those nine years are a whirlwind of activity and school functions and plays and performances.

I received an email yesterday from a mother wondering about her house and her children who are sick. Her questions point out the struggle I had when first confronted with the mold problem. Here is some of her letter.

“Hi Chris,
My husband and I are in a house that has mold in the basement, a little in our son's closet, and we suspect there may be mold in one of the walls in the living room. My children and I are ALWAYS sick with sinus stuff. We went away for a weekend trip to MI, everyone seemed to get better, we came back and everyone was stuffy again. My biggest concern is the wall. We have absolutely no savings and I have heard it can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $8,000 to fix it. So I have no clue how we would pay for it. We do not want to go into any more debt, ya know? Then I keep thinking that if they do go into the wall and there is mold, we probably should be out of the house during that process, is that correct? I am just so overwhelmed by all of this. I am just scared that if they open up the wall and find stuff that it will cost a fortune…


I identify with the angst in her email. The first reaction I had when Andrea suggested the mold was a bigger problem than we realized was to push it away. It’s like a sweater unraveling. If you pull that thread there is no way to stop it.

However, in my response to her, I gave advice that is much easier said than done. I told her knowing the truth is always best. Yes, it may cost thousands of dollars to fix. It may mean you must abandon the house in the process. It may mean you have to give the house up altogether. I wrote her back and said:

I totally understand what you are saying. You don't know how many times I tried to wish away our problem. The key is, no matter what your financial situation, no matter what has to be done to the house, find out the truth. Here's what you know. You're sick when you're in the house. When you get out you feel better. That's a huge heads up and your children's health could be compromised if you stay.

Andrea recently wrote on her blog what to do if you suspect mold. You can go to http://moldrecovery.blogspot.com/ to find out more.

Last night we walked Colin down to a neighbor’s house where he pulled weeds. He made $6 and you would have thought he had won the lottery. Kaitlyn and Brandon caught a horned frog and made a terrarium out of an old box. I can't remember what they named him, but they were out there until after dark watching him. It felt like a normal night, watching Kaitlyn run back and forth in jeans we just bought that she is outgrowing. Kids doing kid things.

As we walked back home, Andrea looked at me and her voice cracked. “This is the first time in so long that I actually went a whole day feeling good. I had energy and didn’t have to take a nap in the middle of the day. It lets me know how bad I was feeling.”

We’ve only been out of the house since October. We’ve been going through an intense detox that does weird things to our bodies. The toxins are leaving. We are getting better. Slowly, yes, but we are getting better.

Andrea leafed through a couple of books from the library after we got home. A few minutes later she looked at me with eyes betraying some kind of exposure. Just looking through a book that has had some mold or chemical exposure brings a reaction. She had to go to bed.

I wish we had connected the dots long before this. But we did connect them. It took almost nine years, but we finally discovered the truth. That's something to celebrate.
Friday, June 5, 2009
I’ve been thinking about fences lately. It’s one of the things I miss about our house in Colorado. Here’s a picture taken by our neighbor, Brandi, who is quite a photographer for her young age. I asked her to take a few shots of the fence that kept Pippen and Frodo in. Most of the time it did, except when somebody left the gate open.

This gate was nearly my undoing. When the contractor came over to move the fence about six inches (I am not kidding) because we were into the easement on our neighbor’s yard, he left me with these words about the gate. “That’ll be a good little weekend project for you.”

“Yeah,” I said. I just stared at that stupid gate. He said I should reinforce it with some doohickey and then mix some concrete and blah blah blah—I was like the dog in that Far Side comic who hears his name when his owner talks but every other word is gibberish. I had no idea how to fix that crooked, hanging gate.

The kids always had a problem with it, which was why Pippen and Frodo would get out. You had to slide a pin over from the gate to get it to latch, but in order to do that, you had to lift the gate up with your toe so the pin would slide correctly. I worked on it for weeks and thought I had it fixed, then it would break. I finally put a new hinge on it, securing it with huge, black screws. It worked, and from the angle this picture is taken, it looks like it's still there, though still leaning downhill.

There are memories that run the length of fences. Overgrown echoes of the past that sprout like weeds around our lives. Some are split rail memories we can easily see through. Some are made of bricks and can't be penetrated. Some memories are built to keep things in. Others try to keep things out.
I used to stand by our fence and talk with neighbors, just sharing life with a certain ease. No hurry. Kind of like what we try to do with the radio program.
I had no idea what was coming toward us as I stood by the fence of my life. I couldn't see that far. Sometimes fences make good vantage points. Sometimes they block the view.

The last time I was in the back yard, Ebony, our neighbor's big, black dog barked. There was a plaintive nature to her voice, as if she knew something had happened. Dogs have an instinct about such things, I think. Maybe fences do, too.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
If you'd like to contribute to the new website we're developing, we'd love to have you participate. Find a fence--in your back yard, your neighborhood, or on someone else's property, and take a picture of you and perhaps your family BEHIND the fence. What we'll do is take those images and add them to the banner of the forthcoming Chrisfabry.com.

Send your picture to this email address: chrisfabry@comcast.net. Join the fun, join the backyard conversation. And thanks for your support.

Just a reminder, June Bug, my second novel for adults, comes out in July/August. If all goes well you should be able to buy a signed copy at the new website.