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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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Monday, March 30, 2009
Here is an e-mail I received from Dan who lives in Alaska.

Chris, Saturday was a beautiful. Blue skies, cloudless, sunny day. Even warm. In the 40's. About 3:45 PM I walked out front of the medical clinic to view the current status of Mt. Redoubt to see that it had just erupted 10 minutes earlier. We are located 35 miles directly east of the mountain. The winds were blowing northeast. The ash cloud billowed up to a modest 35,000 feet this time. Its been erupting the last several weeks. Has previously been to 50 to 60,000 ft.

Within a half hour, the ash clouds reached our location here in Soldotna. We were on the south edge of the clouds and had relatively no ash fall out here. The ash fall out in Anchorage, northeast of our location was described by some to be like a solar eclipse. Sunny this morning. Had several inches of spring snow fall last night. Night time dipping down to the upper 20's. Day time in the 30 and 40's. The snow and ice of winter are fading and the day light hours are certainly longer each day. The rivers ice is starting to break up and we'll be fishing soon.

Dan in Soldotna, Alaska

Friday, March 27, 2009
The other day I was at one of those warehouse places where you get the carts that will hold a small village. They're huge. My wife was pushing it around and the kids were all gathered beside her and since there was fighting and bickering I took them back to the car to wait.

It was like a duck going to water with all those ducklings behind. A few minutes later my wife called my cell phone and said she was exiting the building, so I plled up to the front, got out, unlocked the back, and like any good American Male I told her, you get in, I’ll care for this.

I unloaded the cart. And it would have been so easy just to leave the cart there by the building, but because of my penchant for putting carts where they belong, I could not do that. I scanned the parking lot for the nearest corral, walked to it and pushed it in. Just as I turned back to the car, I noticed an older gentleman coming toward me from the other way. He had on a nice, striped shirt and polyester pants and a pair of white tennis shoes that I’d seen inside the store, and they looked like he’d just put them on. He had those big Harry Caray-like sunglasses that you can put over your glasses that aren’t the best fashion statement, but they work. And I could tell by the lines in his face and the shuffling of his feet that he had pushed a bunch of carts in his day. He was pushing the cart with his left hand and he was tugging on a cane with his right, the kind with the four rubber feet on the bottom of it. And he was moving slowly.

Now this fellow was maybe 5 car lengths from me, the other direction from my car, and for a split second, I turned to go back to my car because I knew there was imminent nuclear war inside there if I didn’t get back. But something drew me, something turned me around to face this older gentlemen. And I took a few steps toward him, no more than 4 or 5, and I held out my hands and said, “I’ll take that for you.”

Now, I didn’t want to insult him because he was perfectly capable of getting that cart back into its place. But I thought, this might just save him a few steps, and it’s only a little thing, but I’ll help him out.

And the look on his face when I did that…was worth the price of admission. His mouth broke into this gap toothed smile and with one hand he gave the cart a little push and I grabbed the front of it and backed toward the corral. And he lifted his hand, a wrinkled, arthritis ridden hand, glanced up at my Ohio State baseball cap, gave me wave, and said, “Thanks, Buckeye.”

Just two words passed from him to me, but that was all I needed.

I pushed the carts together neatly and went back to the car. And as I pulled out of the parking lot and looked back, he was still walking with that cane. And I had this warm feeling that I had in some small way helped, but that even more than that, he had helped me.

I don’t know what had happened in his life. If he had served our country in the military…I wouldn’t doubt it. I don’t know if his wife was back in the car, if he had opened the door for her and closed it behind her. Or maybe he was traveling alone. I don’t know the hurts and the disappointments of his life. I don’t know if he had children. I don’t know if he went to church. I don’t know anything about him except that he recognized the Block O on my hat and that he was even more committed to the shopping cart return than I was, because if there was anyone on the planet who didn’t need to return a shopping cart to its corral, if there was ever anyone with a good excuse NOT to return the cart to its resting place, it was this gentleman. But there he was. And there I was.

And even if I tried, I don’t think I could get his smile out of my mind.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Life is more beautiful with friends. The trouble is easier, the heights are more enjoyable, and the valleys seem not as low. That's me on the left with my Ohio State hat. Andrea is sporting a new "short" hairdo which I think is loverly. And the other two friends are Dan and Sherry. They've been helpful from a long distance, but with a trip through our neck of the cactus, they stopped by and got a first-hand look at the inflatable studio and the detox center. Look at those nice white walls. Look at those smiling faces. Life is more beautiful with friends, even if our couch is made with camping chairs.
Saturday, March 21, 2009

Soon after we moved to the Tucson area, I received a call from a man I'd never met before, a person who works with KFLT with Family Life Radio. He'd heard about our plight and asked if there was anything he could do to help. He and his wife have been such an encouragement to us.

The other day he called to find out how our family was doing and to invite us for a "movie night." The kids were excited because they have a huge TV. Andrea couldn't go, so I took them and we ate buttered popcorn and apples. The kids chose "The Incredibles," a movie about a superhero family. I hadn't seen the whole thing in a while and it was good to get lost in the story.

There's a part in the movie that really got to me. Dash, the young son of the family, has been told all his life that he can't use his powers, he has to hide them. He can't run like he's able to, he has to rein in the speed. When the Parr family finds themselves on an island with an evil foe, Dash's mother says he should run as fast as he can. Dash looks with wide-eyed amazement. He can't believe what he's hearing.

In a scene where Dash is being chased by the villains, he begins to run fast, faster than he's ever run before. And in his haste to make a getaway, he runs out onto the water. His legs are going so fast that he goes straight across the top, and he doesn't realize he's on water until he looks around. Then he looks down at his feet just touching the surface and he laughs this little boy laugh, just a subdued chuckle that springs up from somewhere down deep, and you didn't need any dialog to know what he was thinking. "This is so cool!"

I think that's how we're meant to live every day. Not that we have superhuman abilities, but that we have an unlimited power source available to us that we rarely tap into. The Creator of the Universe calls us his child. We can live in his "kingdom authority" as Adrian Rogers used to say. Those moments have been few for me, but I want them to be more frequent. And I'm beginning to think all I need to do is glance around and have a good laugh.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I have two superheroes who sleep in the same room with us each night. I have to tear down the studio each evening and take the mattress into our bedroom so Colin and Brandon have something to sleep on. Last night I forgot to do that and I told Brandon firmly, "Get in your bed."

He was playing with two plastic Batmen in the closet. He looked out at the bedroom and said, "I don't have a bed."

Oops. I tucked them in later and noticed they had placed their six-shooters and holsters right next to their air mattresses. They have transformed from superheroes to cowboys. I know this becuase the other day Colin said, "I don't want to be a superhero anymore, I'd rather be a cowboy."

I also know this because just before the radio program yesterday, just before Andrea instituted the mandated "quiet hour" for my program, Brandon called out, "Has anybody seen my rifle?"

This transformation has come mainly because of the movies I've watched with them. A few John Wayne movies. They loved El Dorado. Kirk Douglas in Last Train from Gun Hill. That was in a 2 volume set for $5 that included The Gunfight at the OK Corral with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. They are enamored with the way cowboys walk and talk and shoot and grab their arm when they're shot.

The last few nights they have put on plays for us. They'll arrange our camping chairs in a semicircle in the living room, cut up little pieces of paper with the word "Ticket" on them, and raid the cash drawer to give everyone .50 to get in. Then they'll proceed to their play which includes A) a trip down to the OK Corral for a gunfight, B) a pause for refreshment at the saloon, and C) another trip back to the OK Corral for more gunfighting.

Then, when all the bullets are gone, they begin wrestling on the tile floor and hitting each other. Last night Andrea thought the action was getting a little too realistic and rose to stop them. I held her back. There's nothing worse than a cowboy's mother stopping a good fight.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I love it when I get an e-mail that shows the listener writing "gets" what we're trying to do on the program, Chris Fabry Live! (Don't forget the exclamation point.) I include this not to puff up myself or the program, but to provide a little insight into the people's lives who populate the other side of the microphone. Here is one such e-mail that really encouraged me.

I have been listening to your radio program since October. I have to tell you how much I enjoy and look forward to hearing your program. I work in downtown Chicago and listen to your podcast on the train rides to and from work.

I want you to know that I am deeply touched by your honesty and sharing of your family's current challenges. Please don't feel you have to apologize when you share the latest events. I, too, have had many years of such unforeseen difficulties in raising three children as a single parent. When I share some of our experiences (which have for years seemed to come upon us like ocean waves), I sometimes hesitate to tell my friends the latest event in our lives. It is almost like I can hear them say "not again." But I also know that by sharing our lives' challenges, it helps me cope with what sometimes has been overwhelming. After time passes, I can always look back and see God's hand all over us. I have come to trust in his wisdom completely.

God bless you and your family, Chris. Know that you will all be closer to God and have more depth in your souls because of the trials that have come your way. You are giving to your listeners more than you can know.

I picture this person walking to the train, enjoying the late spring and fall weather, sweating in the summer, freezing in the winter. Someone who is just going about life, trying to make sense of the pain and the problems. Trying to be faithful in whatever calling God has. Putting one foot in front of the other. And if I can be part of that step-by-step process in one person's life, I'm so grateful.

At the risk of making this too long, let me include a portion of another email from another area of the country. This one is from Florida, and I've heard this sentiment, that listeners really didn't like their routine changed when I first came on the air.

Dear Chris, my brother in Christ,

I'd like you to know that I've been listening to your program since its beginning. At risk of being completely honest, I'd like to say that at first, I was not impressed. I'll even go as far to say that I was a little "torked" about the change in my Moody afternoon schedule. I remember thinking, "Who is this guy? Can anyone get a radio show these days?" LOL

In the beginning, I would even change the station, occasionally feeling frustrated and not happy with the "talk show gig". I mean, I enjoyed the preaching on Moody, but this new program didn't seem to have an angle! What was it's purpose? Ultimately, I would find myself drawn to listen in just a tad each day before I'd hit the scan button on my radio. Finally, one day...not sure when...I could not stop listening and now I never want to! :)

Although I've wanted to write in many, many times, this is the first chance I've taken. I can't possibly express all the thanks that my spirit has for you and your program. I LOVE the Friday sigh...it's the best and I LOVE it when you spell your name! (I'm a teacher!) But I think the thing I LOVE most is the friendship...fellowship. You have a powerful tool in your program. I can be feeling very alone and the program allows me to feel surrounded by FRIENDS! You have created something so real. There are no gimmicks, no tricks...it's just the daily walk/talk of the Christian life. Thank you.

At the end of the e-mail the listener asks me to pray for a spouse who is awaiting a transplant. We may do a program based on this situation because I know there are many in their position awaiting a chance at a new life. But I can't help thinking there are others who need the transplant of another sort. That's what keeps me going, really. To be able to talk about the love of God for us, and how we don't have to perform for him in order to get him to like us. And to try and make sense of the pain and the longing and the difficult times we're all facing.

Thanks for your feedback over the past few months. It's really shown that many of you "get" the new program.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
The other day I asked a question, "What was the best thing you've seen today?" One listener sent a video. It seemed pretty innocuous at first, but the more I watched these two otters float around, the more enamored with it I became. And the ending is so understated, but so incredible to me. I hope this brings a tear to your eye.

video
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I gauge my spiritual health by what I allow to overwhelm me. Whether it's financial or relational or some work deadline imposed (or that I impose), whatever causes me to doubt and fear and tremble shows who I'm trusting in. It shows whether I'm looking down or up.

Yesterday I trembled. I was upset. Ticked off at the insurance company. Even though I pay them a lot each month, our HMO has continued to deny coverage for our family here in Arizona. (In fairness, they have paid a lot for us in the past few years.) We'll appeal again, of course, but this is not what I need to spend my time doing.

I have blood test bills, doctors bills, hospital bills, and the stack is getting bigger. The money we've spent on nebulizers and charcoal and creams and shampoos and Vitamin E and Fish Oil and all of the other bottles in our kitchen is just unbelievable.

But we push forward, keep doing the treatments, keep eating well and drinking mud, and after all of our striving I still have children with nosebleeds and unexplained rashes and chemical sensitivities. That overwhelms me. Their future overwhelms me. Whether we can help them or not overwhelms me. Where we will go if we find our current environment is not good for us overwhelms me.

I'm not whining here, and I'm not trying to get you to send a check. Many have done that, by the way. Many we don't even know, and we are grateful. I don't know what we would have done without those gifts. I thank God for people who have shown such great care and compassion.

However, as wonderful as those gifts are, my hope can't be in the generosity of friends. My hope is not in an insurance company. My hope is not in medication or supplements. My hope is not even in my children's health. Or my own. Or my wife's.

My hope, my trust, my future is wrapped up in the One who is much bigger than a stack of bills, much bigger than our illness, much bigger than a corporation, much bigger than my fears.

I know that in my head, but when I walk into our bedroom where six people are sleeping and trying to recover from the physical and emotional toll this has taken, I'm overwhelmed. And it's hard to watch. It's painful to walk through. Just writing about the reality of it helps frame the picture anew for me.

There's a verse I recall from the King James. It's in 1 Corinthians 4. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory..."

I'm pretty sure Paul wasn't talking about insurance companies and medical bills. I guess all of that fits with the category "light affliction." One day we will be able to look back on this event as something that happened that we wouldn't trade. It will do something to us and for us that we can't see from this valley filled with cactus and scrub brush. It may even be something that draws people to God.

I know all of this is true. I know this is His story, not ours. But if I am honest, I have to admit that I'm still overwhelmed.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Yesterday was our first round of reports on critters that live in the desert. Kaitlyn gave an excellent presentation on Scorpions and the dangers they pose. Brandon focused on tarantulas and all the fascinating aspects of this big, hairy spider. Colin tackled Wolf Spiders, Black Widows, the Brown Recluse, and various others that made those in the audience nervous. Everyone looked around their chairs and in the corners.

We have yet to hear about the rattlesnake and javelinas, but we should be getting to those next week. The reports weren't due until Monday, but the little kids couldn't wait. A neighbor even came over with her coffee to watch.

When Colin headed for his tent at the end of the day he was crying. I called him over and asked what was wrong. He said one word.

"Pippen."

I gathered him in and patted his back and listened. Pippen was with us for ten good years. Colin called him his "diabetic buddy." He told me how he would come home from school and take Pippen to his room and talk to him because he felt Pippen was the only one who could understand.

"I want him back and he's not coming back," Colin said, the tears streaming. "I just want him back."

On the day that I took Pippen and Frodo for their final car ride, I knew this would come. Probably in waves. There have been hard times with the older kids dealing with this loss, among all of the other losses, but there's something about a little boy talking to his dog that gets me.
And there's something pure about an animal lending help at a vulnerable moment.

There are many things I would change about my life if I could rewind the clock. Some big decisions, some small. Pippen and Frodo would be close to the top of that list. Colin and I both want him back.
Thursday, March 5, 2009

A listener asked where I lived now and sent me this picture. Pretty representative of our view north. Desolate. Prickly. Creepy crawly. Lonely. Reparative. Restorative. Hot.
There is an axiom that I’ve heard Dr. Gary Chapman talk about for a long time. Many call or write and ask how they can change their spouse. You can’t, of course, change someone else. But changing your own life forces others to adjust and move. If you want a deeper relationship with your spouse, moving toward that person in love will force them to respond. It may not work out like you want, but they do have to respond.

I’ve known that in my head, but I just realized the truth of it from moving to Arizona. In this area, they don’t change their clocks when Daylight Savings Time rolls around. I’ve thought for a long time that clocks should just stay the same and not switch back and forth. But these people are actually doing that. “Great,” I thought. “I get to stay the same while everyone else changes! Na na na na boo boo!”

Then, yesterday, Andrea said something about the time of my Chris Fabry Live program changing. I scowled and said, “No, our time doesn’t change.”

“Yes, but Chicago time does. You’ll have to do your show at noon instead of 1 pm.”

Ouch. That hadn’t occurred to me. Even though I stay the same, when someone else changes, it affects me. I have to change.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The kids can't go to a regular school because of their chemical sensitivities. They can't even go to the local mall without reacting to something. So to find a place where we don't have skin breaking out and nosebleeds is a blessing (though Brandon had one the other night and Colin's abdominal pain was back last night).

Although the regimen of pills, nebulizing, exercise, eating well, more pills, more nebulizing, drinking mud, etc., is exhausting, Andrea has found time to get them into a school groove. They have responded enthusiastically. Well, most of them have.

She made a list of desert critters for the kids to research and they've been on the computer constantly. I finally got my printer hooked up and they've kept it hot ever since. Colin finished his last night and it's not due until Monday. His report is about "Spiders." He researched the Wolf Spider, the Black Widow, the Brown Recluse, and he's been searching for one ever since. Brandon's report is on Tarantulas. He's been spouting stats and figures about them, telling us how they eat and other interesting facts. Kaitlyn's report is on scorpions. We'll also hear about javelinas (sounds like an olympic event), rattlesnakes, and coyotes. That's the nice thing about having a lot of kids, you can cover a whole spectrum of the animal kingdom with one assignment.

I was on the phone last night after dark and walked outside and spotted something crawling across the sidewalk. I quickly called the kids out for their first look at a rather large spider. Colin swore it was a wolf spider. Brandon contended it was a tarantula. Kaitlyn cowered behind us.

"They can jump at you and shoot venom," Colin said.

"Let me hold the light," Brandon said.

Kaitlyn whimpered.

It's just getting warm enough for these to start coming out and joining us in the desert. I wonder what's going through their minds as they watch this family move in and struggle. Maybe they're looking up at us and saying, "Stay away from the big one with the large shoes."
Sunday, March 1, 2009
It's Sunday night and it's been another whirlwind of a weekend. We went to church together this morning--took about 30 minutes to get there, but the people were friendly, the sermon was biblical, and communion was an adventure.

I've always wondered how old you have to be in order to take communion. When we attended a Presbyterian church, there was a class the kids went through, a catechism of sorts, making sure they knew what they were doing when they partook. But in cases like this morning, you have to think quickly. No time for in-depth classes.

Brandon, 7, was sitting next to me. He's the one who called me on the phone to tell me he'd prayed to become a Christian a few months ago. "I am with the Father," he said. So I couldn't see a good reason not to let him take communion. I leaned over and tried to explain as the pastor talked about what we were doing. "The bread is the body of Jesus and the wine represents his blood given for us."

He nodded and watched as the communion plate passed. Both the bread and the wine (wafers and grape juice) were in there and he took one of each. He watched me, then copied my actions. Then he licked the communion cup. Like a dog that can't get enough of the peanut butter, he just licked and licked. I knew I had a foolproof test for when a kid is too young to take communion. Now, I have always WANTED to lick the communion cup, but I have never done something so gauche.

He looked up at me, with all seriousness, and said, "What's the cranberry juice supposed to be?"

***

I've set up my office for the show tomorrow. Another setback--the man who owns the house right next to ours gave me a can't miss deal on renting it month-to-month. It's the same size as the one we're in, three bedrooms. I thought it would be perfect for my office, a peaceful escape where I could do the show and write, but there's something they put on the carpets to clean it and when I go inside my eyes begin to water. Andrea couldn't stay even a few minutes. We tried airing it out but we'll just have to deal with what we have.

I think God is teaching us how little we really need. For the past few weeks my briefcase has been a plastic bag from the local grocery store, Frys. I just put the stuff I need in there and toss it in the car and go. I bought two new shirts at Walmart, both white Dickeys shirts, and I found an Ohio State hat for $5. I think I'm ready for Spring.

Saturday I took three boys to watch the Rockies play the Dodgers. Except it wasn't the real Rockies and Dodgers. These were the single A teams with a few players sprinkled in. It was still fun. Except it was 91 degrees and we were right in the middle of the hot sun and there were all kinds of college-age kids around us drinking many bottles of Coors and letting fly with the language. It's sad to hear and after a few innings we left, partly because of the heat and partly because I was tired of the language, and mostly because we were in the Dodger section and they were leading by 4 runs.

I don't even need regular season games to make me happy. There's something about doing without all the bells and whistles that makes you hunger for what really satisfies. Makes you want to lick the communion cup a little longer.