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:
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Andrea signed Colin and Brandon up for baseball this summer. She thought it would be a good idea and I agreed. I couldn't go to the memorial service for her mother Saturday, and this parent meeting was on the schedule, so I took them. I felt proud that I was remembering. I even found the meeting place without her help.

We walked into a middle school cafeteria filled with numbered tables. The sheets listing each team with corresponding numbers were near the entrance. I found their names and we made it to our designated table. Again, I was so proud. Competent.

I wanted to meet the coach and tell him about Colin's diabetes and explain our situation. I wanted to make sure this was a person who would teach our kids well and take care of them. When the time arrived, the group before us dispersed, leaving Colin, Brandon, and me sitting alone. I leafed through a stack of pages in front of me and noticed names of the players (there were only 6) and the rules and regulations. There was no coach listed at the top of the page.

That's when I knew I was in trouble. When the organizer began, she mentioned that we should not worry if there isn't a coach listed. "Someone at your table will no doubt volunteer to be the coach." Colin and Brandon looked at me and smiled.

I don't have the time to do this, and I don't have the energy, and I don't have the knowledge of how to coach baseball. However, something sparked in me when the organizer said, "The coach gets to pick when and where you'll practice." Seemed like a good perk to me, but not enough to push me over the edge.

One other dad who has a child on our team stopped by. He had volunteered to coach the T-ball team for his 6 year old. He seemed just as shocked as I was that he was being asked to be a coach.

"What do you do?" I said.

"I work in corrections. Over at the prison."

I have seen the massive prison south of I-10. "In what area?"

"I'm in education. I help the inmates get their GED. You should see some of these guys. One didn't finish the 7th grade and here he is getting his GED. Their faces just light up."

"It must be very rewarding," I said, looking down at the empty yellow sheet that said, "Name of Coach." Then I looked at my two inmates and back at the blank page. I signed my name at the top and handed in the paperwork.

It feels good to know that the coach will take an interest in my sons. After all, we make up all of the management and 1/3 of the entire team.

It's going to be an interesting summer.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
I had a flash of understanding last night. These come at the strangest times and when I'm not really looking for them.

Brandon, almost 8 now, has a small mp3 player he carries everywhere. Most of the songs are either Brandon Heath or High School Musical. The others are from his older siblings. He plays Nerf baskeball with the earphones in. He listens in the car, on his scooter, and at the breakfast table.

Last night as I passed him in the living room, he had the music on and he was dancing, singing along silently, as if he were on a big stage. He looked up at me and instead of doing what he usually does when I catch him at this, which is stop, he leaned into the performance. Eyes closed, matchstick legs prancing, his head cocked to one side and then another, his exaggerated lyrics coming through.

The only problem was, he was the only one who could hear the music. I couldn't understand the words because I couldn't hear the song that was making him dance. I could only see the effects of the music, and to be honest, it didn't make much sense to me. He was cute, yes. And I counted myself fortunate to have such a wonderful, buzz-cut son, but in order for me to really get into the performance, I had to hear the music.

There are times when Brandon will hear something that strikes him as funny or makes him want to dance and he'll take out an earphone and hold it up to me or one of his siblings. "Listen to this."

It makes all the difference. When the music is shared, it makes the movements and mouthing understandable. Without the music, it's just motion. The viewer remains disconnected from the source of the motion.

Hmm. I could write my application of this, but it seems too obvious. A writer friend of mine says, "Resist the urge to explain." So I will. But I hope it hits you like it did me.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Here are my picks for best captions for the sappy looking picture of me.

"Oleander! Hmmm, sounds like a good name for my next book!!!"

"To Twitter or Not to Twitter?"

"Do these flowers make me look fat????"

"Hmm...I wonder if I tilt my head just a little bit more if people will think I'm pondering the meaning of life . ."

"Guide me Oh Lord . . . I have forgotten where I parked the car."

"That episode of Star Trek, where Spock was going through Pon Farr, and acting all weird and stuff, and then they got to Vulcan and Spock killed Kirk, except McCoy gave him that drug that made him come back to life, and Spock said: "You may find that having is not so nearly pleasing a thing as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true," and then got all emotional and stuff when he saw Kirk was okay. Man, that was a good one."

"Maybe if I keep smiling like this, that javelina with the big teeth won't attack."

"Was there cell phone reception in the hills of West Virginia in 1992?"

"It’s always a good day when my muse begins to sing."

"Hmmm…wonder where I put that pizza coupon?"

"That movie The Notebook was sooo good."

"My territory is expanding."

"What could the Cubs offer KC to land Zack Greinke?"


And the winner is:

"Giving myself permission to care."
Monday, May 25, 2009

A wonderful listener believes it is time to have a contest with the flattering photo above taken by my daughter, Kristen. I was at a friend's house in Tucson, standing beside some oleander (I am told), when I said, "Kristen, take a candid photo of me that I can put on my blog." She did and here is the outcome.

Now, here's where you come in. E-mail me your best caption for this photograph. The winner will receive an all-expense paid trip to Dogwood, meaning I will send you an autographed copy in the mail. You can be as obtuse as you would like and the winner will probably be the one who makes me laugh the hardest.

Email me at Chrisfabry@comcast.net. I'll keep this going for a few days and let you know when we have a winner. Happy captioning!

cf
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Here's a picture of Mimi, Erin, and Andrea in our house in Colorado. It's weird seeing the house again after being out of it since October. It's wonderful remembering Mimi's visits (along with George). She loved Pippen and Frodo and how they would crawl into the kennel together. It's still a shock for us that she is no longer with us. This week a birthday card arrived for Shannon she sent, as well as a graduation card for Ryan. She mailed them Saturday, had the stroke Sunday, and passed away early Thursday morning.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
My precious mother passed away peacefully shortly after midnight last night. Her greatest fear in life was to be disabled after a stroke. She told me that two weeks ago. She told me that two months ago. It was something that haunted her. My dad and brother and I have been united each step of the way and are grateful this morning that she is free from all pain. She was my biggest cheerleader these last two years. I will miss her terribly.
It’s raining in Tucson today, maybe the second time since January. It feels appropriate because Mimi/Babs died last night.

Babs would laugh at the fact that you’re reading a blog about her. She had a great laugh that sent her head back and arm out to touch you. Her eyes twinkled. She was an elegant woman and beautiful, but her laugh was the best.

Several images come to mind but the one that sticks is her at the checker table across from one of our kids, playing with them for what seemed like hours. Just the two of them, hovered over this scratched-up table. Talking. Laughing. Sometimes just sitting. Always engaged with the kids and asking questions. Pippen and Frodo in the floor nearby listening. The dogs loved Babs.

She used the word “adorable” liberally. It was a favorite. “Isn’t that dog adorable? Aren’t those older people adorable? You have adorable children.” She saw the adorable in everyone.
Even in me.

I know she thought her daughter could have done better, and to be honest I agree with her wholeheartedly. (She would laugh at that line.) She never said this to me, of course, but I could tell she was a bit skeptical of the young West Virginian who had captured her daughter’s heart. Those were the early days, before we were married. I think the moment she changed her mind about me was when we said our vows. I think she knew I really meant what I said. And that was enough for her.

She was one of the most inquisitive people on the planet. She read books I’ll never hope to read. She not only knew about the latest news, she had opinions and questions about why things were the way they were. She would come into my office in Colorado and look at the computers and the radio hookup and the books and marvel. She was interested in how the publishing process worked and how my voice got to her radio in Florida. She was proud of me, proud of any little accomplishment along the way, and she read my books. A writer can’t ask for much more than that.

It seems trite to try and sum up a life that meant so much. How do you tell of the struggle and the loss and triumph that was her life? I could write pages and pages and still only scratch the surface.

So I will focus on the small things. Her smile. Her laugh. The twinkle. Her sense of humor.

I still remember the round of golf we played together in Illinois. It was the late 80s, I think, and I had recently picked up the game. I was zealous to show her how well I could play and she had good things to say about my progress. Until, that is, I tried to reach the green in two on the fourth hole at Boughton Ridge Golf Course, a small 9-hole course. With a mighty swing I connected with the ball and watched it sail past her on the other side of the fairway and leave a rather large dent in the aluminum siding of a house nowhere near the direction of the flag.

She paused a moment as I caught up with her. She looked at the house, then back at me with a deadpan face. “Well, you certainly got all of that one,” she said. And then she laughed.

Her one fear as she grew older was that something would happen and she would become a burden to her family. But her family would have moved heaven and earth for her. I know that is true.

In the end, with her husband by her side, she left us peacefully. It was her way. And adorable. Always adorable.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Andrea and her family are having to make some difficult decisions. Thanks for praying.
cf
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Andrea and I were planning the day Sunday morning, figuring out what to do with the kids. She’d been to a treatment for Reagan and Kaitlyn in Phoenix on Saturday so it was a rare Sunday together and I was hoping we’d get to the final service at church.

The phone rang.

Not unusual. Except she went outside and seemed to be talking with someone she knew well. “I didn’t recognize the number,” she said to the person on the other end.

The kids sat down on the couch with me and we were throwing the Nerf ball around. Since I had misplaced my copy of Microsoft Office, I was excited that Best Buy had a great sale. I could save $50!

“Mom’s crying,” one of the kids said.

I stood and headed to the door, but she came in, her face contorted, tears flowing.

“Who was it?” I said. “What’s wrong?”

“She’s had a stroke. Mom had a stroke.”

My heart sank. Her mom and dad live in Naples, alone. The emotion was raw as Andrea recalled her last conversation, the plans she had for a trip there in the summer, and all of the things that flooded her memory.

We called other family and told them. The doctors didn’t hold out much hope. I called her brother who lives in Denver and caught him at the gate getting onto the plane. He’s a pilot for American Airlines and would get to Naples in the early afternoon our time.

"You prepare all your life for this and there's just no way to prepare," he said.

We searched flights from Tucson but came up empty. As the day wore on, the flight costs rose. Finally, I found one out of Phoenix that will get her there at about 9:30 local time in Fort Myers.

We drove to Phoenix late Sunday night with two of the kids and our thoughts. Barbara Kessel is a beautiful woman. She was about the same age as Andrea is now when I first met her. Tall and lean, always a good tan, dark, Italian features, and a killer smile. She was always so interested in me and anything I was doing. She had read my latest book, June Bug, and had called Andrea to tell her how much she liked it. I think she was my biggest fan.

We’ll know more from the tests run Sunday night and Monday, but things don’t look good for the long term.

When I left Andrea in Phoenix, she lingered at the side of the road there at the terminal, watching us pull away. Almost caught in two worlds. The one she knew she had to step into and the one she was leaving behind. I assured her we’d be all right until she returned. No one takes care of the children like she does. No one is quite the bulldog she is. She is so much like her mother.

And I think I'm her biggest fan.
Friday, May 15, 2009

It’s been 100 degrees here just about every day. One of the reasons we moved to AZ from Colorado a few months ago was so the kids could be outside. Exercise is part of the regimen of detoxing. Our fear was when it hit 100 that the kids would want to stay inside near a fan or the air conditioner (if I had the guts to turn it on and watch the electric bill skyrocket). So it hits 100 the first day and the kids stay inside. And they’re reading and playing and doing things kids do.

I think it was that day that Colin and Kaitlyn came to us with the idea of a lemonade stand. The kids used to do this back in CO in July. They’d go to the bottom of the driveway and bring a jug of lemonade and a few people would stop. There wasn’t much traffic. Here we live by a pretty busy street where the cars are doing at least 45, and sometimes more. I discouraged the idea.

They said, "But we want to meet people in the neighborhood and this is a good way." (They also wanted to start a dog-sitting, babysitting, yard cleaning business for the same reason.) They showed me their business plan, which included plastic cups and lemons and sugar. They decided they were going to go organic. Finally I relented. I couldn't put up with the pressure.

On the first day they made $20. There are nice people around here, I guess. Yesterday I heard two young guys with tattoos and pierced lips stopped. One said, "I haven't seen anyone doing this out here for a long time." He gave them $3 for two cups of lemonade.

I put a little sign up under theirs that said, stock tips, -.25. I was also thinking I could sell signed copies of Dogwood, and if I had any I would have put them out there.

All the while, in the background, the other kids were watching. And one came the next day and said, "If I buy some freeze pops, can I put up a stand next to theirs?"

Another said, "What if I make tea? And if we stick some water bottles in the freezer, we could sell them, too."

A week later a neighbor who lives on a farm allowed her daughter sit with them and sell eggs from the chickens. Organic again.

There has been some consternation about profits and where to put those and who gets what percentage. And with the wisdom of Kevin Leman, I backed off and said, "You guys work that out yourselves."

They did.

So every afternoon, without us telling them they need to GO OUTSIDE, my kids are out at the end of the little driveway with a card table and some folding chairs, and their scooters, and they’re sitting in the 100 degree heat, sunscreen of course, and hats, and they’re laughing and talking and meeting people who drive up and down the road. We are monitoring the situation, of course, but you wouldn’t know by looking at them that they’re sick, and every day it feels like we’re taking another step toward health.

One cup of organic lemonade at a time.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Here are snippets of emails received after the program on Carrie Prejean Tuesday.

...As a mother my heart breaks for the pressure that this young girl is under and would just like to give her a hug and talk with her at Starbucks. But I also worry about what happens to someone whose success in life is based upon physical beauty that will not last. I pray that she has some godly mentoring that can show her how precious she is to God on the inside.

..."God's Army is the only army to shoot their wounded." I am 29, and haven't always been the Christian I was raised to be. I have made some wrong decisions in my life. I've learned - the hard way - that sometimes you grow in your walk with the Lord by having your sins uncovered.

...What was missing in her speech was a statement just as clear that taking the photos was wrong in the first place. It's noteworthy that she blamed the person for letting them out to the public. I feel she missed an opportunity to talk about the long-term effect of doing something that is wrong.

...I appreciate your taking on this topic. I disagree with your guest from the radio program in Florida but I respect her opinion. I think Carrie Prejean showed her true Christian character when she had to make a choice in front of millions of people. I applaud her and am praying for her and also with her for those that have maligned her character.

...What is it Jesus said, "judge not, lest ye be judged" also, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" It is no wonder the "world" wants nothing to do with us, "Who expect perfection". While we are on the way people dress, what about all these people who show up at church in jeans, shorts, tank tops, and even flip flops, .......

...How perfect do we have to be to share the gospel using mean of radio and television. God saves us because we have sinned and he doesn't rate sin like we do. I am so proud of Carrie for standing up for what she believed regardless of what bathing suit she wore.

...Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another and not admitting it. If I had premarital sex does that mean that I cannot teach my son not to because I would be hypocritical? I don't think so. I would own my mistake and try to help others learn from it.

...The world needs REAL people like Carrie Prejean and the world needs to witness grace in action. At least for me, it’s so much easier to relate to a sinner than it is to a “been pure all my life – I got it all together witness.” My Bible is filled with sinful people who sinned against God and others and I don’t recall a “waiting time to see how they moved on in their faith” in order for God to use them.

...Christians are the ones who most often shoot our wounded, rather than nursing them back to health. Let’s celebrate holy boldness, mentor one another to maturing in faith, and determine that every word that proceeds from our mouths should bring glory to God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

...Maybe God is using this as an Esther type situation "for such a time as this". I think we as Christians need to be in prayer against the rulers and authorities that are against us as well as prayer for wisdom and protection for Carrie and her family. As far as the modesty thing... it is alarming to see where the beauty pageant has gone from implants to surgery... it isn't even real. This says to our girls that they have to change themselves and who God created them to be, into something or someone completly different to be accepted. How can they be happy with the cosmetic changes when you can't change your heart.

...I have a 22 year old daughter, I hope and pray that she will stand up for her convictions as Carrie did. Pictures, bathing suit aside, she deserves to be applauded, let's not get side tracked with this issue. She's a brave young woman, who stood in the spotlight, and said what she believed God was leading her to say. This is the most important part of this story, don't get lost in the rest of it, wouldn't that be what Satan would want??Sincerely,Kimberly Smith

...I do admire her for her stance on the subject of marriage but my question to you is – Why does the church jump on to the band wagon so quickly. I feel that we are always running scared and need to enter into these issues right out the gate w/out really using much if any discretion in an investigation of the ALL the circumstances around the situation. Now the church is embarrassed and making excuses for her behavior when she was as teenager. We (the church) needs to wait and be patient and let God rule and over-rule.

...I am concerned that some Christians feel that their children and adults need to look at 'public people' as their example. We need to teach our children that every person you look too as someone to emulate because of a a few wonderful attributes will always disappointment us.

...Stop talking about Esther as a justification for swimsuit competitions. Esther was kidnapped and forced to sleep with (along with all the other kidnapped girls) the King. This was hardly her choice. Just, because she became the queen and the Bible gives us a happy ending, this book in the Bible is not a romance novel. Would any of us want that for our daughters?

...Let’s remember something. We’re all X something or others.

...A lot of Christian women I know have gotten implants. I can hardly believe the hard-hearted and critical comments largely given by other women about this young woman who stood up for her faith on global tv. God have mercy on the body of Christ.

...How wondeful to see a moment in time where someone who shares our faith stood by her convictions at a great price. I am the mother of two daughters. I pray for that kind of courage in my girls. I pray everyday that when difficult choices come before them that they will make Godly decisions. I believe Carrie is in the process right now of learning that her true beauty is from within. It all comes down to the fact that God is orchestrating all of this. I'm sure in all of this she has recieved more press/airtime for God than she ever would have as the winner of the Miss USA contest. .

...I believe strongly that the young lady has a lot to learn about modesty and superficiality and I think we should use the forum you have to point that out and prayerfully hope that she has people in her life that will help her think through a biblical worldview regarding what she is doing as I have not heard anyone ask her to address that. However, I also believe it is very important that we bring to light the fact that she has taken a very public and costly stand for her faith in a way that most of us will never have to. Like all of us, she is a work in progress.

...I admire Dr. Dobson's desire to use this brave young woman and her choice to stand for her convictions about same sex marriage. But, I wonder if maybe it was too hasty.

...I believe all this discussion is in keeping with Warren's message from yesterday. I'm thinking the evangelical problem is the church has lost its ability to discern spiritually, (per MacArthur), we're biblically illiterate (per Kroll), we're not in unison (probably main reason there's so many denominations). So who's in God's will here, is it Carrie who didn't waver in the end to say the truth, even if she's doing something that seems not to be the best place for a christian (to us); is it Dr Dobson and all his compadres who prayed about it and sought some counsel about airing this, is it the station manager and her compadres who prayed and sought counsel about not airing it. If in fact this was a test from God and its His will for the world to see how she took the test , isn't it possible that it would be wrong to silence her?. I think the issue here is her speaking the truth when the moment occurred when she could have gone the other way, not whether she's worthy as a role model. I think some people are getting a little out of focus.

...I’m old enough to remember O. J. Simpson early in his football career. He claimed to be a believer, and I remember how someone at our church cautioned us to be careful about putting him on a pedestal as a Christian…because it was easy for someone in the spotlight to fall and hurt his testimony. Well, we know what happened to him. So I think it’s important to remember not to set anyone up as an ideal or to be emulated. That’s the deal with Carrie…it should cause us to reconsider whether believers should ever be part of beauty contests…because of how they require revealing their bodies so much. Where are our values? I love Carrie and am not “throwing her under the bus,” but we need to have values.

...Having listened to Focus yesterday and today, I feel we as Christians need to give this young lady grace. And her side of the story needs to be heard. I have made unwise decisions in the past and had idea's about things that only time and God have changed. She is still 22 yrs. old and does not have the maturity that you or I have or the understanding of how what she is doing now can affect her future.

...As anoverweight woman who constantly struggles with body image issues, I believe all forms of body alternations are not respectful to the God who created us. Miss California is not the type of woman that I want my girls looking up to. Instead, let's esteem the 80-year-old woman, who dresses modestly, loves her husband, and has raised her children well.

...I don't get this whole thing. We finally get someone in the public eye that stands up for her beliefs, and we are worried about her past. Wow am I ever glad that God does not act like that. I mean if he waited for us to prove ourselves, would we ever succeed. This girl has made some bad decisions, but haven't all of us. She has taken her ultimate goal and thrown it in the trash in the name of morality. I have 4 daughter, and I would be proud if my girls contained even an ounce of her morals, and her understanding of sacrifice.

...Wow. Chris, I can’t help but think: who will be the “acceptable” standard-bearer for Christians thoughts and morals? We shoot ourselves in the foot as Christians when we judge each other. Carrie has done what SO many of us fail to do each and every day – she nailed her colors to the mast for Christ in a tough position.

...Carrie has found herself amidst an America in moral collapse, caused from too many lounge chair Christians who have sat by and done nothing as recent anti-moral legislation has flourished. And so here is Carrie, whom God has placed front-and-center in the news, trying to be a Christian light with fellow Christians trying to block her light. It makes me feel so sad.

...Dear Chris...I was so concerned about some of the discussion on today's broadcast. It seems so many believers today feel that there is only room at the foot of the cross for squeaky-clean christians. Have we forgotten that we are all saved by the merciful grace of our Lord Jesus Christ?? Everyone is so concerned that our girls will somehow get the wrong impression from all of this---it seems to me our girls need to learn that perfection of any kind, physical or spiritual, is impossible, and God can use any manner of broken people for his glory..because that is what we all are is broken!! Seems like Christians today are the only group that shoot their wounded!!
Friday, May 8, 2009
A few thoughts about mom on Mother’s Day. And I’m speaking specifically to moms of grown kids, but this could be for any mom.

When you were given the task of raising a child, you had no idea what that would entail. You had no idea what long hours it would take when your child became sick. You had no idea what it would do to you and your body. Even if you did have an idea from all the reading you did, it still affected your life tremendously to give birth to this little one, or two, or more.

But you did it willingly because you knew there was something good ahead. In a lot of ways you sacrificed what you could have had in the short run, for the long term. You gave up some of the dreams you had, for the dream of nurturing someone else.

And when the diapers and bottles and pacifiers and pediatrician appointments were over, there came skinned knees and little league and ballet, trips to the library, trips to school, sleepovers, countless loads of laundry, countless nights when the only thing that would comfort your little one was to sit on your lap while you rocked back and forth, not counting the cost of the sleeplessness, but counting on God to do his work through this little one.

You thought it was hard having that baby. You had no idea how hard that first parting would be, whether it was the church nursery or kindergarten or something else. And it was then that you knew that what this child had cost you was much more than money, much more than frustration or sleep, this child had cost you your heart.

Still, you forged ahead, you gave and gave some more, knowing you’d have to let this little one make some decisions you probably didn’t agree with. When it was time for high school and college, a little piece of you went with that child, a little bit more of your heart.

They say the key to winning is knowing how to lose. That may be the best description of mom I know. You’ve lost so much in these years, you’ve lost your free time to do what YOU want to do, you’ve lost your energy, you’ve lost a little bit of your figure, (of course) you’ve lost so much. But with all that losing, the flip side is that you’ve given your heart. And when you give your heart to someone else, you and they are never be the same.

There will probably be a bunch of people who will look at you this Sunday and say Happy Mother’s Day. But I hope there is at least one person who will acknowledge the loss and the time and effort and the heart that went into all that it means to be a mother. And that you’ve had this great loss, not to lament before the world, but to celebrate. Because being a mom means loving with everything in you. And losing is part of the plan.

Just ask your own mother.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I resist "forced" events, feeling that many of them are artificial. Special days on the calendar when you are supposed to "do" something. However, I think the National Day of Prayer is a worthy date on the calendar. Prayer really is the strength of the body, and probably why we have such weakness in our churches and in ourselves.

Here are a few quotes to spur you to prayer today:

"Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work."
Oswald Chambers.

"...True prayer is measured by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length."
C. H. Spurgeon

"Satan trembles when he sees the weakest Christian on his knees."
William Cowper
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Here's a really great letter from a listener in Alaska, and a handsome picture of Jackson, who has been listening to the program since he was in utero.

Chris,
Thank you so much for your show. I try to catch it every day and always find it to be something encouraging and thoughtful and uplifting. I think one of my favorite shows was the one where you were talking about name meanings. It was in the winter some time and I was very pregnant with our son and listening to your program while painting the mural in our girls bedroom. We had just moved into a new house and I got it in my head to paint this ridiculous painting in the girls room though I was about 8 months along - you kept me company a lot during that time. :) With that particular show, it was really fun to listen to people talking about what their names meant when I knew we were having the honor to name our son after one of my heroes' and spiritual mentor's - My grandpa Jack. I think he recognizes your voice since he heard it so much when I was pregnant. :)
God Bless you!
The truth is, I didn’t want to do a daily talk show. I even told the folks at Moody that I just didn’t feel like God was “calling” me back into a semi-full-time position in radio by doing that. I already had a daily show in Love Worth Finding I was doing. I had other radio things, like Reaching Your World with Luis Palau and I was recording audio books. Plus, I felt my writing was just taking off with the sale of my first novel for adults, Dogwood.

I remember the feeling of writing that e-mail and telling them no. It was difficult because it was flattering, to say the least, that they had confidence that I could do a good job at this type of endeavor. I hadn’t really done anything like this solo before—I’d hosted Open Line, but that was more guest-driven. This new program, whatever we would call it, would spring more from me and be built around the hosts interests. I suggested a few other people and then went my merry way.

But something happened in me over the next few weeks. A thought kept nagging at me when I’d get up early and start writing. “What if…” I’d push the thought away. The world does not need another talk show, I assured myself. I wasn’t being humble, I really thought that.

My mind is fuzzy about the timing of this, but I believe I made the decision, after talking a lot with Andrea, at a stoplight in Monument, Colorado. I was thinking a lot about our friend, Bill, who had fixed things around our house, built my office in the garage, and who had died a few weeks earlier. I spoke at his funeral and it was one of the most difficult and most joyous things I’d done. I vowed to God when Bill died that if he ever gave me a chance to speak to another “Bill,” someone who felt very on the outside of the church, someone who had “issues,” I would do it.

At the stoplight, turning left onto Hwy 105, came a flatbed Ford and a guy with the window rolled down. It was chilly that day, so his window should not have been rolled down. I never saw his face, just a tattooed arm and a dog in the back seat. He had a workman’s hat on, I remember that, and he drank from an old coffee cup. The radio was set to a country station and it was loud, drowning out whatever pain was in this old boy’s life.

That’s when it clicked. This was a “Bill.” I felt this overwhelming sense that God wanted me to speak into his life in some way, but I didn’t have any idea how. Follow the guy down the road? The light turned green and we pulled out, then separated as he went toward the Interstate and I went into a subdivision.

And then I thought, What if that guy is flipping channels because he doesn’t like Shania Twain (which is probably not possible) and I had the chance to talk to him? I rolled that around in my head a few minutes and came to the conclusion that God was giving me an opportunity to do just that. After letting it sit a couple of days, I wrote Doug Hastings at Moody and asked if they had found anyone to host the program. I believe it had been at least a few weeks, maybe a month since I had told them no. Doug said they had talked to several people but were just waiting on the person God wanted.

Fast forward to July, I think, of last year. We’d begun the program on May 5, 2008. I’m minding my own business, doing a show—I can’t even remember the subject. And a man’s name pops up from the Midwest. He says he’s tired of living the way he’s living. That he and his wife don’t have a good relationship. It seems to me he feels on the outside of his church family. And then he says, “I go to work, go to my second job, come home, drink two beers to help me fall asleep and then get up and do it all over again.” He says, “I’m tired of that and I want to change.”

That’s not verbatim because I can’t pinpoint the date of that call. But when I heard that, I shoved a NASCAR loving fist into the air, pumped it a couple of times in celebration, and thanked God. This could have been the fellow in the truck beside me seven months earlier.

In the intervening months we’ve gotten emails from men and women who feel left out and overlooked. Bruised and broken. Some are homosexual and don’t feel they have a place in the church. Some were abandoned. One fellow called us after losing $2,000 at a casino. He was on his way back home and said he was tired of the addiction. A lot of hurting moms have tuned in, I think. Moms and dads who grieve the choices of their children and grandchildren. I had no idea how much a part of this group I would feel until October of last year when we vacated our home.

It has been a privilege to be part of this program. I look forward every day to what we’re going to tackle and pray God will give me good questions and a listening heart. Thanks for tuning in as often as you do.
Monday, May 4, 2009
In 2007 we discovered mold in a downstairs bedroom. It was in May, the day before Mother's Day.

In 2008 we discovered mold in our 2nd floor bedroom under the upstairs shower. It was in May, a couple of days before Mother's Day.

It is 2009. Dare we go for a threepeat? In the house we are renting we discovered a hole in the tile right next to the water knob. We're still having weird symptoms but we don't know if it is this house or the pesticides outside, our reactions to each other, or, dare we think it, mold? There's no way it could happen three years in a row, right?

So we tested. We sent the dishes to the lab. The doctor's assistant called Andrea. Then she called me.

Drumroll.

The laundry room had something like 2 spores, and both bathrooms had only a couple of spores of common mold.

Sigh.

This is the type of thing you fear, that there is something lurking around the corner that is going to zap you. But we've dodged the mold bullet for the first time in three years. And I'm glad, no, really glad we don't have to move soon.
Friday, May 1, 2009
I thought I was going to die last night. Scenes from my uncle’s last moments flashed through my mind. He died in his early 60s. Heart attack. I heard he was sitting in a lawn chair out by the pump house. The paramedics couldn’t save him. I can still see his gnarled hands, the smashed fingernails from years of working construction and carpentry. He was a gentle soul that no animal could resist. The meanest dog in the world would run to him with tail wagging.

The pain in my chest was so great I couldn’t do much but think about it. Standing didn’t help. Sitting made it worse. We drove to a park and watched the kids whiz by on their scooters. I know the symptoms of a heart attack and though this seemed close, I could tell it was more a stomach issue. I was in charge of the main course for dinner last night.

Enough said.

I woke up at four this morning with the strange sensation of my rear on the tile floor and my head above me on a hill. I thought I was dreaming, then realized something was amiss with the air mattress. I had used the pump to raise it to a comfortable level before we collapsed, but something happened in the night. It was tipped up like the Titanic's last moments.

Andrea rolled over and looked at me in the dark. It’s cold at night and she wraps herself in the covers like a corn dog in batter. I don’t have a chance at the top sheet or the cover, but I don’t mind. I like the night chill.

“What happened?”

“Air leak,” I said.

“It feels like I’m sleeping on concrete,” she whispered, trying not to wake the others.

“Wait till you see what it feels like when I get up,” I said.

My girth had given her at least a little buoyancy.

It’s like that in life. Even when the air has gone out of your life’s mattress, it’s helpful to have somebody with more mass. Someone who’s bigger than you are.