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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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Wednesday, September 30, 2009
If I had a dime for every time someone said to me, “I don’t read fiction, I only read stuff that’s true,” I’d be a dimeionnaire. Some folks look at “stories” as kid stuff. What good could come from a story?

Don’t get me wrong, I love non-fiction. I love biographies. Those fuel the creative fire for me as well. But real change can come from fictional stories told well that elicit an emotional response from the reader. I’ll give some examples of that from my own life on Prime Time America on Thursday afternoon at 4:30 Central. Plus, I'll tie in some Old Testament Scripture. Can you guess which story I'll give?

I used to do a morning show with Greg Wheatley so my goal is to make him guffaw at least once during our time together, even though the subject is serious. You can hear the segment on the Prime Time America website if you’re reading this afterward.

Whether or not you like to read fiction, I think it’s a worthy pursuit to talk about the changes a good story can make in our lives. I’m working on one right now that has me coming back to the computer screen each day, wondering what new things I’ll discover about the characters.

If you’ve read some good stories over the years, let me know which ones have “connected” with you the most. I’d love to hear about them.
cf
Monday, September 28, 2009
I received an e-mail from Jimmie in Davenport, IA last week. I asked if I could post a picture of his here and he agreed. Here's a little of his story. A year ago Jimmie and one of his children flew to Arizona to backpack the Grand Canyon. The last day they hiked 15 miles and on the climb he took out his little point and shoot camera.

This just shows that when you're photographing something "big," you don't have to have the best equipment.


When he returned, he had the photo enlarged and framed for a dying friend. At that time his friend wasn't responding much to God, the Bible, or Jesus. He added a caption that said, "On this trail, which is life, we sometimes are forced to take a path that we must hike alone. Know that in this time there are many of us with you in prayer."

That friend is losing the battle with death. But from what Jimmie says, he has now conquered it through the power of Christ. Jimmie wrote, "I listen most everyday as I go about my seemingly mindless job of painting. You are a bright spot in my afternoon. I really just wanted to show you some of the beauty that is kinda/sorta in your neck of the woods. But in light of your program on Tuesday, I thought you might enjoy my friend's story as well."

Actually, it's the other way around. Jimmie is the bright spot. I'm just tagging along for the view.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I've never much liked the word, "withdrawn." It sounds elusive, exclusive, and is used to describe someone who is not social. But yesterday I came to love the word.

I was driving with my son, Reagan. The cell phone rang. It was the lawyer I had hired to respond to the landlord's termination of lease letter. They had given us 30 days to vacate the home where we're living.

"Bottom line," he said after explaining the arguments the landlord's lawyer had written, "they have withdrawn their termination letter. You get to stay."

Withdrawn. I like the sound of that. I think our landlord will realize we are good tenants who leave properties in as good if not better condition than when we moved in. And I look forward to being in one place for a few months rather than moving so often.

Thanks to those of you who prayed for wisdom for us!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
On 9/22 I talked about our latest struggle on Chris Fabry Live. Our landlord sent us a lease termination letter. I don’t think this is legal. I've tried to be nice and sent them a letter explaining why we needed the mold test, but they say if I don't sign a lien, we're out. So we’re taking a different approach.

I was struck this morning anew by something in Psalm 34. In verse 9 David writes, “Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.”

I don’t see a demon behind every cactus. I never have. But with the way things are going, Andrea and I believe we are up against more than mold, a negligent builder in Colorado, and a bad insurance company. We are not fighting against flesh and blood. At every turn we have seen trouble and discouragement. After leaving our house last October and everything we owned, we focused on the mold and what it was doing to our family. We found medical help. Now, we are in a place where we know almost no one, where we can count our possessions, and where at times it seems as if an unseen world has been unleashed.

We both feel the plot points of our story have been designed to discourage, demoralize, and make us want to give up. Stay quiet. Cower.

We will not.

And the reason we won’t is because we see this battle isn’t about us anymore. It’s not about the realty company and the owner. It’s not about the builder in Colorado or the remediation company that botched the job. This is about something much bigger, much darker, and more important.

I’ve been praying the past few days for the owner of this house and for the realty company owner and her workers. I honestly feel sorry for them because I see them as people who have no hope. I prayed not just that they would relent in this action, but that they would come to know God who loves them and wants them to be in a relationship with Him. Perhaps He has put our family in their lives to help.

But the larger hope is that the story of our lives reaches beyond our family, friends, and those we come in contact with here in Arizona. From the reaction we’ve gotten when we tell our story, I know there are other people who are struggling. Mold is like sin. It cripples and debilitates. It invades every part of your soul. And if you don’t do something about it, it leads to death. Someone wants that truth suppressed.

It’s interesting that this would happen right now. Today, 9/23/09, a film crew and reporter from CBN are in Tucson to shoot a report about our story. Interesting timing. I’m also working on a book that details our journey and the things we’re learning. Writing it has been the most difficult assignment of my life. I’m not being paid as I write it, but I have a strong urge to complete it. Sometimes we are called to do things that aren’t easy.

So I would like to ask you to pray for us. I know many of you have been doing that and we really feel your support. Pray that we would tell our story well, that we would make good decisions about the legal matters before us, and that most importantly, as we put on the armor for warfare, we would be faithful in the battle. That we would not cower or back down. That we would be strong, though we feel very weak. And that we would fear God and Him alone.

What is your battle? Some thing, someone? Finances? A relationship? Perhaps your battle is not really about you or that other person/situation. Perhaps there is something bigger God is doing in and through your life. Don’t cower. Don’t be discouraged. God will be victorious in the end. Be faithful to tell the truth and never back down from it.

I don't know where the story arc will take us from here, but I am confident we will have all we need. Thank you for standing with us.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
We received the news about the new house, the elevated mold levels, and whether we will have to vacate this present home….

…cue drumroll…

Have you heard about June Bug? (This is the place they always put the commercials on TV, so I thought it might work for me.)

When you get an air test, well, first you pay a lot of money. But second, the technician measures the mold outside the house to get a base line score. What you want is less mold inside than outside and none of the icky, yucky, stinky bad mold at all.

The outside mold registered high for this area of the country. 1,787 was counted outdoors. We tested five separate areas inside the house. The highest level inside was 187, about 10% of the outside count.

We had 0 icky, yucky, stinky bad mold.

“I can’t imagine your house being any cleaner,” the technician said. “Ten percent is awesome. This is good news for you guys.”

Now we have peace of mind that we’re not going to get sicker because of this environment. We don’t have to move. We don’t have to throw away the things we have acquired since our last move. We can relax and continue our treatment.

I’m reminded of our impromptu prayer meeting last week. We asked God for peace and a sound mind. I think he answered today.

Ain’t a that good news?
Monday, September 14, 2009
In our last thrilling installment of the Fabry Mold Mystery, we learned that the Fabrys were in mortal danger, spiraling downward toward another home disaster, sure that they were again hounded by the evil Mold Monster!

That’s how those old movies went. Just when you thought the hero would never be able to escape certain death, he pulled out a specially made weapon and zapped the villain.

We don’t have a specially made weapon.

We only have the truth.

So, believing the truth would set us free, we called a mold inspector to do a test on the house we’re renting. It’s not cheap, but it’s what we tell people who ask us, “What can I do?” He came and conducted the air tests and inspected the house visually.

“Wow, this shower pan is really nice,” he said. “I tried to pour one a couple of years ago and I couldn’t do it this well.”

He looked the house over, up and down, and sideways while his machine was going. “If this place has mold in it, I will really be surprised.”

That was great news to us. We don’t have the tests back yet, but they will either confirm or deny the previous test.

Some people would say we’re crazy to spend hundreds of dollars on such a thing. They haven’t lived what we have. They haven’t carried their child to the bathroom because he was unable to walk. They haven’t gone to 30 different doctors over various symptoms. So while I can understand their incredulity, I’ll say it again, the truth sets us free. Free from the trauma of wondering if this house is contaminated. Free from the fear of what may come next.

There’s a scripture that says we haven’t been given a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. When I know the truth, I don’t have to be afraid. I can deal with what IS rather than what might be. The truth may be hard to take, but it’s something I can bank on. I’ll sleep well the night I know the truth.

Here’s something else the truth will do. It can save you from a lifetime of hurt. I received this e-mail today.

Mr. Fabry,
Thank you so much for getting the word out about the hazards of mold! My niece and her fiance had completed the paperwork and were within days of closing a loan on a house. I had mentioned to my sister what happened to your family, and she insisted that her daughter and fiance get the house tested for mold. Sure enough, it came back positive for the stachybotrys and aspergillus. After checking your website and Andrea's blog again to confirm that these were the disastrous molds, they called their realtor and have told him they DO NOT want this house. You have saved them years of heartache. Thank you and God bless you!

The truth is a wonderful thing. Sometimes it comes at a great cost. Sometimes it’s free.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Yesterday our worst fears were realized. The mold plates we put in the new house we had lived in for less than a month have come back positive. Our doctor said there must be remediation in the home or that we should vacate. The problem is the colonies are not isolated, they’re in every room we checked.

After moving in and overcoming the fears we had about the place, we began to nest. We bought a kitchen table that we left outside to off-gas for several days before we brought it in. Andrea found a leather couch and loveseat at Lazy Boy. I made two trips in the Honda Odyssey to bring it back and Ryan helped me move them in. And we bought a TV at Target. It seemed like the horror was dissipating.

Andrea and I had met with representatives of the local school district and the younger kids had begun school in the home. A teacher, Miss Collins, came to our house and taught our sponges—for that’s what they were. They were so eager to learn.

I had cut a hole in the master bedroom wall, into the closet, and put my computers and the ISDN unit in the bedroom while I strung the cords through the wall into the closet. It cut down on the heat and the noise of the computer fans. Things actually felt like they were becoming “normal.” There were nosebleeds and sinus problems, but we had that in the other house that checked out fine. Now, with the mold diagnosis again a reality, the questions came back like a flood. Do we do more testing? Do we spend more money to find out what type of mold it is? Do we leave tonight and get to a hotel? Can we take anything with us?

A mold survivor has all of these questions constantly running through their minds. It is a post-traumatic stress reaction that comes up every time you think about another purchase or another move.

We gathered, all 11 of us, on the couch and loveseat. Andrea cried and the kids tried to comfort her. The enormity of what was happening came at me like a flood. Another change of address. Another ISDN connection. Cleaning computers and equipment. The cost. The upheaval. The loss. The mental anguish. Disconnecting the electric and water. Telling the owner of the house what’s going on. It feels like some curse is following us, some attack from a malevolent demon who cackles as he sprinkles mold on any dwelling we choose.

Erin said to Colin, “Go get everybody and have them come to the living room.”

I was at the kitchen table eating a bowl of chicken soup. When a few came in Erin said, “I think we should pray. Let’s get in a circle on the couch and hold hands and pray.”

Brandon began a halting prayer, with a few giggles around the circle. Soon, the older kids were praying, thanking God that we were all together, thanking him for their parents who were strong and loved them. Asking God to please help us find a safe place. Soon. The kids prayed about their “stuff,” tennis shoes and a foam pillow. But we all agreed that stuff is just stuff and God owns all of it.

The verse that came to me was from 2 Timothy 1. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. I thanked God that he is bigger than mold. I thanked him for bringing us together and keeping us together. I asked him to give us a sound mind about the new direction we need to take.

It was difficult to look around that circle and not weep. No, impossible. But though there is heartbreak, there are still tears of joy. We are perplexed and anguished, but we are not crushed. And we are not without hope.

Thank you for your prayers.
*************
This morning, after several phone calls to people who know more than we do, we've decided we need more information. There is a chance this is outside/inside normal mold. We won't know the severity until we have the tests done, which is exactly what we tell people who call us in crisis, wondering what to do. If we can get the testing done, we'll know the verdict next week.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
My neighbor did something I would do. In order to save money, he and his wife bought a load of bricks at a deep discount. Truckload after truckload of bricks. His back yard looks like Home Depot.

Why so many bricks? For a wall. Why build a wall? To keep the critters away. And there are many critters. And there are many walls in this area. Just about everyone has one.

So I watched with interest the past couple of weeks to see the big square pallets of bricks unloaded and put in the back yard. Some were stacked on top of each other on the uneven ground. Others were left in single piles.

A few days ago dark clouds formed over the nearby mountain and there was pelting rain and lightning and thunder. The monsoon was intense. The water began to rush in the wash behind us, surging through new channels it cut between the cactus.

The next day I looked at the bricks, arranged in squares around the back yard, and noticed something strange. One pallet had fallen to the ground and lay in a heap. Bricks lay broken and scattered on the hard ground. Useless. They will have to be thrown away.

Then I looked at the brick walls around us and the many bricks that were still intact after the storm. What was the difference? One brick was strong and doing its job. Another brick was in pieces on the ground.

The difference is that the first brick was placed side-by-side with other bricks, fitted perfectly and with cement around it (or whatever they use to seal bricks these days). The wall is only a single brick thick, but fitted together with others, it forms something stronger than itself.

Bricks don’t have feelings, of course, but if they did, it probably wouldn’t be comfortable for them to go through the process of being made into a wall. It is hard work for the laborers. But the end result is something not only pleasing to the eye, but also useful.

I know God has placed us where we are for a reason. The storms of life are still raging. This process is not easy, but I believe we are going to come out of this much stronger than we were. I believe something good is going to happen.

I don’t know where you are in this process. Maybe your life feels like a pile of bricks on the ground. Man may discard the broken pieces, but God can use them for our own good and for his glory. If the ground underneath you feels uneven and shaky, a solid foundation is available. You were made for the wall.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
It was the last thing I thought my friend would pray. I was in Denver at a convention. A man I had never met heard our story. He walked out with me and up an escalator, put his hand on my shoulder, and prayed. One of the things he prayed was, “Give them laughter.”

Laughter seems the furthest thing from my mind at times. We just bought a new kitchen table for $174, half price at World Market. We’ve been eating around a card table, so it’s a huge step up for us. However, the table has formaldehyde in it and a funky smell of some kind of third world lacquer that we can’t abide. It’s been outside for two days now. Still has the funky smell.

It’s stuff like this that steals my joy. And sick kids who have nosebleeds or can’t sleep or have migraines. In the midst of a difficult day, I walked into the kitchen. Andrea was helping Kaitlyn make “energy bars” without gluten or high fructose corn syrup. I spotted an egg on the counter and thought I would do my duty and put it in the fridge. I put it in the door and closed it, then thought better of it because someone might not know it’s there and then we’d have gnashing of teeth during the cleanup. So I opened the door again and bent over just as Andrea was coming by.

When the door is opened, no one gets by easily. But with me bending over, looking inside for the egg carton, trying to figure out if I can get one more egg in there, not even an ant could pass.

I sensed someone behind me. I knew it was Andrea, patiently waiting. I bent over a little more and began singing. I can’t recall the tune or even the words, except for one phrase at the end, “…get by my fat rear.” Only I didn’t say “rear.” I used the word we do not let our children say for that part of the anatomy. The donkey word. And I kind of danced back and forth in front of the fridge while I sang.

At the time, Andrea did not really react to the song. When I stood up, she moved past me with a hint of a smile. I kept singing, making up verses 2 and 3. Saying all manner of things that could not get past my fat rear.

The day wore on and we made it through dinner around the card table, looking longingly at the one outside. At 10:30 Andrea and I crawled into bed and after a few still moments I felt the air mattress shake. Sometimes in the night I can feel the same thing—and she is crying. I reached a hand over and said, “What’s wrong?”

She turned, her face red, her mouth turned up in that Kessel smile of hers. “I can’t get that song out of my head.” She giggled and chuckled and shook the bed some more. “It was an awful day, but that made me laugh.”

I read in Ecclesiastes today that there is a time for everything. “…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” And there is a time to block your wife in front of the fridge, a time to shake your fat rear, sing a silly song, and call it an answer to prayer.