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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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Friday, December 9, 2011
On our program of 12/9, I gave some thoughts about going home at Christmas as a Christian.

1. You were created by God as a unique human being. Don’t try to be Billy Graham, Ravi Zacharias, Josh McDowell, Erwin Lutzer or any other famous apologist.
2. You aren’t going to argue people into heaven.
3. Relax. It’s not all up to you. We each need to do our part, but ultimately the results are in God’s hands
4. GOING BACK AT CHRISTMAS IS AN ACT OF FAITH
5. Don’t be afraid to have fun at Christmas. Rejoice. Let your friends and family see that you have a life worth living.
6. You don’t have to be the holy spirit to your friends and family.
7. Questions are always better than statements.
8. Listen. Maybe this is the Christmas you really listen.
9. Jesus came into the mess of life. Don’t be afraid to go into the mess of your family.
10. Pray pray pray. What could happen to your gathering if you prayed for those individuals?
11. If someone makes a snide comment about your faith, don’t make it a big deal. Jesus said they would hate you because of him. Take it in stride and don’t make this about you.
12. What does love look like here?

On the night of his birth, love looked like a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

When he was 12, love looked like submission to his mother and father.

When he was 30, love looked like being baptized and being in submission to the father.

Love sometimes drives out money changers.

It also touches lepers.

Love sometimes looks like weeping with others, as he did at Lazarus’ tomb.

Love sometimes looks like standing up to the religious zealots of the day who want to shackle people with their rules and regulations.

Love sometimes looks like forgiveness…for as they drove the nails in his feet and hands, he was forgiving them.

How will you be Jesus to those around you this Christmas?

But remember this: The success or failure of your trip back cannot be judged on the response of the people you’re trying to reach. Look at what happened to Jesus. In the limited perspective of humans, it looked like he failed many times. People ran him out of town, threw him out of the synagogue for his teaching. Crucified him. From the human standpoint people would consider that utter failure, but in God's economy, it was perfection. Jesus perfectly fulfilled God's plans--and when you follow his lead, it won't always seem like success.

Well, I’m praying you’ll have a Nicodemus moment with a friend or family member. But if you don’t have one, don’t be discouraged. Be faithful in what God asks you to do. And LEAVE the results up to him.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
I don’t see a demon behind every rock or bush. But I am aware that we are living behind enemy lines. And the enemy does not want a message of hope and freedom to gain any traction.

Tuesday, after the program, I wasn’t feeling well and decided to take a nap. About six hours later I finally got up because I HAD TO GET UP, if you know what I mean. A flu bug, food poisoning—I don’t know, but I had little strength to get out of bed and go to work.

Which caused me to think of how fragile we really are. As Rich Mullins sang, we are not as strong as we think we are. Bacteria can fell us. We are weak, vulnerable creatures at best.

Others in the family faced trials. Last night, Andrea despaired. She’s worked so hard and feels like there’s very little to show for all that work.
That’s when I put things together. Despair can sometimes signal an attack. It makes you want to stop, retreat, or just give up. But an attack means you’re on to something good. An attack means you’re beating back the enemy of our souls.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been talking about marriage and trying to give hope to those who have little. Yesterday, I spoke with Janet Parshall about the book, A Marriage Carol, and a woman named Chris called in tears, her marriage in tatters. She can’t trust her husband any longer because of a Facebook romance. How does she move forward?

I’m not sure I gave a good answer, but I spoke from the heart. I tried to point her to the one who is in the restoration business. The one who calls the dead back to life. Pray for Chris and her husband. Pray for those around you who are struggling with their marriages, especially church leaders. They are surely under attack.

I’m still not at full strength. Haven’t eaten anything in two days and have no desire to eat anything for the rest of my life. But I probably will because I know I need my strength to do whatever God calls me to do. May he give us the grace to live behind enemy lines today.
Monday, November 21, 2011
What’s the best Christmas present you can give your kids this year? In iPad? An e-reader?

The other day in the car, Colin asked if we could get a bigger Christmas tree. The one we chose is puny, evidently. I think he wants more room for presents.

That caused me to think about what I really want to give them. I love giving toys, trinkets, gadgets, and giz. I love giving books and gift cards and musical instruments. I love the feeling of watching them open a present and seeing the recognition on their faces that someone knows them, sees inside their souls well enough to get that DVD or pair of woolen socks.

But the truth is, the greatest gift I can give my children can’t be placed under a tree, no matter how big it is. The greatest gift I can give my family is a commitment to my marriage and the fortitude to work on that relationship no matter what.

On the cover of the book, A Marriage Carol, there is a Christmas wreath. And below that, the door knocker is in the shape of an engagement ring. These circles represent something that will last, something that has no end. The contents of the book, we hope, will encourage couples to continue the struggle, continue to fight for their marriage even if things seem bleak.

If your relationship is frosty, cold, or almost dead, all the trinkets, toys, and gadgets in the world will not make your kids happy. Their real happiness comes in the security they feel with two parents who are committed enough to each other not to quit, but to humble themselves and go to work.

If you’re married, give the gift that will keep giving to your children, your friends, everyone around you, and also yourself. Give the gift of commitment.

No wrapping paper or bow needed.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Here are the books we talked about on the program 11/18. These are books mentioned by listeners and me we have been given over the years that made a difference:

The Baxter Family Series by Karen Kingsbury
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
Jesus Loved Them
Strength for the Journey by Joseph Stowell
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby
Love must be tough by James Dobson
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.
Facedown by Matt Redman
This Present Darkness/Piercing the Darkness Frank Peretti
Trusting God Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges.
The power of a praying wife by Stormie Omartian
The Fight, John White
The Effective Father by Gordon MacDonald
When Daddies Go to Heaven
Roget’s Thesaurus
Authentic Beauty by Leslie Ludy
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I was writing the story I’ve been given today, rolling along, mining the relationship of two different characters, when a memory that is not my own flew past and I followed.

He thought of the handful of times his family had even taken a vacation when he was little. He vowed that would change when he was married and had a family, but it hadn’t. What was learned early on stuck.

I wasn’t satisfied with his memory and I didn’t want to use something from my own experience. I wanted something fresh. Which took me back to Fripp Island in the summer of 1994, I think. Walking the beach, looking for Pat Conroy, and finding a sand dollar. I kept it as a memento of that stroll.


A memory of his brother at the beach flashed through his mind. The boy laughing at him for thinking he could spend a sand dollar at the local grocery.

That feels real to me. An older brother capturing a snapshot of naivety and laughing. Innocence, pure and unhindered by commerce and the rules of finance, bartering the heart and being crushed.

If I had that sand dollar today, I would not save it in a Zip-lock bag. I would invest it, spend it on something that will last.

Maybe that’s why the thought sparked. We all have sand dollars to invest, things unmade by human ingenuity, worthless rocks or wood or clay, but priceless still. Memories waiting to break through the laughter and tears and pain.

A rabbit trail from where I was going with the story, but a good one.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Some of you know I write fiction and nonfiction in addition to my radio/voice work. I’m expanding my horizons and have begun secretly collaborating with a certain computer company to come up with new technology that will aid marriages.

Specifically, this device will help in the following cases:

1. I’ve fallen out of love with my spouse.

2. My spouse does things that irritate me and I can’t stand it anymore.

3. My spouse is sick.

4. My spouse is not the same person I married.

5. I’m not happy in my marriage and I want to be happy.

6. I love my spouse, but I’ve met someone else I love more.

7. Marriage is too hard, I want to quit.

8. I wasn't prepared for all the pain and hardship.

9. I have no hope for my marriage.

The program is fully functional and available in a beta version. Our hopes are that married people who are experiencing any of the nine situations above will be able to move forward together rather than splitting up.

The new device will be called…


Drum roll, flashing lights, music up…


** ** ** The iDo. ** ** **


Smaller than all of the other “i” devices, actually invisible, the iDo, with the patented “iCommit” operating system, will help an individual stay with their current marital situation so that true happiness might be achieved in the long-run.

Patterned after painstaking integrated systems software research, the iDo uses the experience of couples who have been married for decades who have said it was worth the struggle to stay together and work through differences rather than running from the marriage.

The iDo is the most innovative technological breakthrough in history and is being offered FREE for a limited time. Simply use the voice activation program at your marriage ceremony and mean it. And when you experience any of the nine situations above, reboot the iDo through verbal or non-verbal recommitment to the original voice command. (For maximum effectiveness, use the iCommit program with God prior to using the iDo with your spouse.)

The new iDo. Good for your marriage. Good for your heart. And it takes no space on your hard drive.

(For a fictional look at this technology in action, read A Marriage Carol , a Christmas story for anyone who's ever fallen out of love.)
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
I woke up this morning thinking about success because my life FEELS so far from it. When I compare, I always lose, whether I pick a person who seems more or less successful than me because...well, they're not me.

Here's my new definition:

Success is becoming who you were created to be. It's not measured by externals, income, home size, newness of cars, awards or praise from others. It's not measured by my happiness or ease of life in the current situation. If I am allowing God to change and conform me every day into the image of his Son, then I am moving tward becoming who he created me to be. That is success.

My marriage, parenting, my work, play--all of it will be enhanced by this exercise of allowing God to change and mold me.

The better word for this, of course, is "faithful." Am I being faithful to the call of God on my life--to walk where he says to walk, to run when he bids me to follow. Will I have the kind of faith that shows God I really want him more than I want "things" or "an easy life?"

Success is not something I achieve, it's something I submit to.

Success is not having to know the plan and allowing God to work however he wants to work.

Success is realizing I don't have a better plan.

Success is surrender.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Today the third brother will be laid to rest in the fertile West Virginia soil he loved. We commit him to this rich, loamy harbor, meant for pumpkins seeds and cantaloupe that grew under his tender care. He is no stranger here.

The three brothers knew that death would come, that in the cycle of life there is this cold season when leaves turn and fall and trees become barren sentinels on hillsides. This is the way of the earth, the way of every farm. They did not know it would come for the three of them within the span of one year. Death does not give notice.

Unless the seed falls and dies, there is no life. Grass withers and flowers fade. This is the way of it. They knew that and lived in light of it.

These three did not seem old to us, those of us who watched them grow. Though hearing and eyesight and teeth failed, though joints ached and hearts slowed and blood pressure rose, they seemed able to spring from each setback, delay each fading moment that told us the end was near, or at least coming.

My memories of Uncle Johnny are vivid and encompass bowling lanes, foreign to me in childhood. I would never have learned to score a game had it not been for his instruction. He was more excited than I when I broke 100. I remember long, rubber boots up to the hip, and his tall, lanky body wading deep in the creek, into dark crevasses I would never go for fear of snakes or creatures that might lurk within those shadows. But he with seine in hand captured minnows and crawdads, wriggling and fighting as he brought them into the light, and in the capture provided bait for a day of fishing at the pond. Life for life, taking from one tributary to give to another.

I remember his voice at the front door in the evening, his unannounced arrival. I recall his delight at the offer from my mother of a piece of cake or pie, and long, humorous games of Rook. Uncle Johnny would instruct me, oh so carefully and subtly in the presence of my parents, our competitors, not to play a particular card in my hand if I happened to possess it. A wink and a nod and a smile could be interpreted many ways, however, and I was not always adept to his guidance. He taught me through his laughter that games are not always to be won. And that we learn more through losing, at times, than we do through winning.

There is one scene, a harrowing and fearful affair, when Uncle Johnny climbed aboard a mini-bike and took it for a ride, and in the end, it took him for one because he did not comprehend the brake/gas schema of the vehicle. He roared toward us, picking up speed as he raced downhill, toward the hickory nut tree and those gathered to watch. At first I thought it was funny, that look on his face, that white-knuckled fear and the way he bounced over the uneven terrain. Then, when he laid the bike down in the grass so hard the handles broke, the fear was mine, he had transferred it to me as he stood and smiled and walked away unscathed.

Of course he was not unscathed by life or loss. He had known hardship in his youth with his mother’s death. He had lived through lean days without much food and watched the Depression kick into full gear until it roared at him over the uneven terrain of his own life. I never connected any of this with his casual demeanor. He was simply Uncle Johnny. A tight-lipped character ambling through the story of our lives, smiling and enjoying the scenery.

And now the three of them are gone, John, Robert, and William Fabry. All three are planted firmly in the fertile soil of the hearts and memories of those who love them. They are not strangers here.
Friday, September 23, 2011
I’m struck anew by how simple the Christian life is, how simple God makes it for us, but how complex it feels. From the first response we have to God’s call, to the offer of freedom and love, we have to choose whether or not to believe. Does he mean it? Will he do what he says? Will I trust him?

Faith is not a blind leap. Faith is resting in what is true no matter what. No matter the feeling or experience. In the day-to-day series of mountains we climb, with all of the uncertainties and financial/relational/spiritual pressures, we have to choose again and again. Will I trust God? Will I believe in his faithfulness? Will I rely on myself? Will I find something/someone else to trust that makes me feel better?

Without faith it’s impossible to please God. With faith, placed correctly, it’s impossible not to please him. Whatever is on my horizon that presses me toward unbelief and worry is actually a potential opportunity to please the one who made me. And the bigger uncertainty, the more reliance on him I can have.

When I come to the end of myself I catch a glimpse of the beginning of God at work. Today I choose to believe not in myself, but in him.
Monday, September 19, 2011
I met a writer last Friday, Ann Voskamp, who has a very successful book, One Thousand Gifts. There is a reason it is successful, and I don’t think it’s because someone has branded her or she has a Facebook account or that the cover of the book is elegant. God honors content. He shows himself best in the simple beauty of truth told well.

Here is what she told me that most encouraged me. During the interview she related that her husband doesn’t read much other than the local farm newspaper and his Bible. But he built her a cabin on the edge of a cornfield. It’s a 10X10 space where she comes empty each evening and pours out her heart on the page.

I’m encouraged by that because the space where I do what I do is small, on the edge of the desert, at the back of the home we’re renting, in a place that is not holy or glitzy or glamorous. It’s plain and mean and hot when the sun beats against the outer wall.

Yet, in this space, I ask God to inhabit every day. And he does, because he has made his dwelling in me. Unbelievable. That God would become a man, the infinite in a small space. That God himself would suffer for me, all powerful Creator, bearing my guilt on two crossed beams.

I think God delights in using our small spaces. Small tasks. Small minds. When God looks our way he does not see how small the space, he only sees the possibility of what might happen in that space. The little boy’s lunch that fed a few thousand people. That’s what I have at my disposal every day.

So I’m trying, again, not to look at the small space I have been given, but at the big God who wants to inhabit it.

May Jesus inhabit the small spaces of your life today.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
My mind is a cavern waiting to be mined, with treasures in darkness.

My mind is my friend, but once it is stirred, it waits like a specter and will not relent.

I’m working on a new story. In the middle of the night I awaken, as I have these past few months, put on my hat with the flashlight duct-taped to it, and wander to the kitchen and retrieve the instruments I will use to call forth blood from my son to see where his blood sugars stand. If a test is all I have to do, I can wander back to bed and perhaps fall asleep. But more often than not, my mind begins to whir as I fumble for a needle and the insulin that will stabilize him. Or a spoonful of organic honey to raise him in his sleep, as happened today.

And it was in that single dot of light coming from my hat that helped me make the connection between my grandfather and my own life today. My grandfather was ten years old when D.L. Moody died. He was born in the old country, in what was then Austria-Hungary, where the seeds of world conflict were first sown.

When he came to America, to avoid that conflict, he worked his way south and wound up in the hills of West Virginia, or better described, inside the hills. He was a coal miner. My father was born in a little town called Omar, WV in 1920. His father was 31 at the time. I can imagine, with a newborn baby, what life might have been like to awaken on some cold, West Virginia morning and strap on his headlamp and walk to the mine and descend and dig in the darkness of the earth for coal. Digging in darkness and paid pennies for the company.

My grandfather was too smart to remain a coal miner. He saw what it could do to a man, to a family, the hardscrabble life wed to the company and the store. So he traveled north and settled in the town where I would eventually be born when my father was 41.

And that is where my own seeds were sown. Every man has a conflict, a retinue of discord that he must grasp and use each day to propel himself forward. This is the momentum of life, a gift and yet a curse. Some weathered tool he uses to strike the earth and pull stones and gems and ballast. My grandfather worked hard in the earth. I do not toil as he did, but I work at a different mine.

***

I’ve been working on a new story for more than a week. Usually the first
fourteen days are easy and fun. Daunting at first and filled with doubt that I can keep all the plot plates spinning, I dive in, propelled by the hook of the beginning, that twist of life that I believe will grab readers and pull them into the mine of the story. This beginning process propels me for at least 100 pages. And then the fun stops and the hard work of Act 2 begins. The weather gets colder. It starts to rain and the leaves fall and bones ache early in the morning. This is where the resolve is tested. It’s where you learn the most about your characters and the depth of your story. The light begins to shine on your own soul here.

I tried going back to bed at 2:45. I really did. I thought, if my grandfather had the chance to crawl back to bed instead of trudging through mud into that mine, he would have. But my mind wouldn’t still. So I prayed. I thanked God that I was not a miner, that I did not work in a job that physically taxed me. I thanked him for giving me meaningful work each day that made sense to me and perhaps encourages others. And then I prayed for my family and friends who are going through difficulty. I thought this would allow me to sleep, but it did not.

So I turned on the computer and walked the few steps to the mineshaft that is my office, a long, cramped room filled with books and radio equipment and towels and covers hanging that knock down the noise. I came here to meet my characters again, to find out what will happen on page 60. To hear their voices and smell the musty air they breathe driving in an old truck through the desert, hoping the man who is hunting them will not find them. These are people without defined faces and pasts who I am trying to call forth from the darkness, and I will not find them or paint them if I am not with them. This is a good story, perhaps my best, and I am praying their tale will make readers squirm and laugh and cry and want to run into the arms of God.

My mind is a cavern waiting to be mined, with treasures in darkness.

My mind is my friend, but once it is stirred, it waits like a specter and will not relent.

And I am grateful for the one who calls me from sleep to help my son, and in doing so, help myself.
Friday, August 19, 2011
As reported on Chris Fabry Live today, 8/19, Brandon Fabry ran for President of his fifth grade class. We waited all day with anxious anticipation to hear the voting results.

As predicted by this pollster, demographics torpedoed the candidacy of the Brandon/Max ticket. The new president is Kara along with VP Jadyn. They were in a dead heat with Molly and Peter. With a predominantly female class make-up, I told Brandon that he had an uphill climb.

"Girls will always vote for girls, unless you're extraordinarly cute," I said. I suggested he consider wearing a Justin Bieber mask but he decided against it.

Brandon reports that he will fully support the new administration and do everything he can to make the president's job easier. Such is the nature of the political world. It is a harsh, cruel profession. But I say the victor is the one who participates and never gives up, as long as his platform is to make the vinegar in the classroom smell better.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I told some family members that I would write down what I said about my father on the day of the funeral. This is close, without the emotion. I hope it encourages you. Sorry it is a bit long, but it's from the heart.


You know what my father would say about this gathering?

Horse collar. Shoodley-poot. Poodledog and apple butter. Let’s get this show on the road.

These are some of his Fabryisms. We would ask him, “How you doin’, Daddy?” He would respond, “I’m no problem.”

He would say about my mother today, “She’s prettier than a speckled pup.”

My brothers elected me to speak today and told me if I didn’t, they’d beat me up. I’ve been pushed from the porch too many times not to believe them. But it’s dangerous to give me an open microphone, an audience, and not give me a time limit.

In the obituary we put together for my father, we highlighted three things that seemed to form the structure of his life. Farming, Family, and Faith.


And my father was probably the most “integrated” man I ever knew. Integrated in the sense that he was the same person he was on the back of the tractor as he was sitting in the pew. He was the same wherever he went, whoever he met. I long to be that type of person.

My family was not able to be here but my children wrote some things they’ll never forget about their Pawpaw.

The joy he found in his garden.
Playing croquet with him.
Feeding us grapefruit.
When he talked and thought no one was listening he would start talking to the wall.
Mommadee Mommadee Murder Buck—hitting us on the back while he said those words.
He always showed me his garden and taught me to identify the trees.

I remember how he used to come home from work, eat a bite of dinner, and go out and work on the farm in the field or with the cattle. It seemed to give him energy to work, to mow, to plow, to be up on the hill. But in the evening, as the sun slipped behind the hill, he would join me in the front yard and put on his old glove and we’d toss the ball back and forth, ball in hand, throwing, ball in glove, ball in hand and back again. It was how he said he loved me, other than when he said, “Love every bone in your body.” We’d listen to the Cincinnati Reds together on the radio and watch the lightning bugs ascend. He’d smoke his pipe. Those are the tender memories of my childhood.

Some people have a problem with viewing God as their father because theirs was abusive or stern or vindictive and mean. I’ve never had that problem. I’ll be in Bible studies with other men who will talk about their fathers as drunken men who knocked them around the house. I sympathize with them, but I cannot relate.

Tell me God is loving. I believe. Tell me he is kind and compassionate. I understand. Tell me God has my best interests at heart. I’ve seen that in action.

When Jesus taught his followers to speak to God as “Abba,” their heavenly “Daddy,” he was talking about a radical concept. No one had ever approached God this way. But that’s what I’ve experienced.

One of the great triumphs of my life came in answering the phone as a child. We had one phone that hung on the kitchen wall like an anvil. When it rang, I usually got there first and answered. “Hello?”

Until about the age of 13, I invariably got this response. “Kat?” Or, “Kathryn?”

“No,” I would say dejectedly. “This is Chris.”

“Oh Chris, I’m sorry.”

But then the day came when the phone rang, I ran, and answered.
“Robert?”

That was a good day. To be mistaken for my father’s voice was a triumph.

My father was a tactile, hands on person. I’m convinced his love language was physical touch. You couldn’t be around him without him touching your shoulder or giving you a hug. I remember early on holding his hand as we went to the feed store.

“Who you got with you today, Robert?” the man at the counter would say.

“This is my helper.”

It felt good to be a helper, though as it turned out, I wasn’t much of a help around the farm because I was different than my father. I did not have the closeness to the ground that he had. I tried, I really tried. In fact, I almost shot my foot off going squirrel hunting with him once. And I think he knew, intuitively, that I was not meant for the farm.

When Johnny came along and he went into the military, my dad was proud. He loved his country and to have a son serve made him beam.

Then Dave came along and studied chemistry and worked in a lab with petroleum. Having worked at a chemical plant for 30+ years, he could grasp that. And he was proud.

And then I came along a few years later. I was not a farmer. I was not military. I couldn’t understand chemistry and calculus. I could barely understand consumer math. Instead, I wrote songs, talked on the CB radio, dressup our dog and took pictures (canine pornography), and memorized lines from Marx Brothers movies. I was the three-headed monstrosity. I was foreign to him. But even though he couldn’t understand me, even though I was so different, he loved me.

I remember we used to watch TV programs together and he would cry at the Star Spangled Banner and schmaltzy commercials that touched him. One episode of The Walton’s sticks out. The father was away at Christmas and all the kids were nervous about whether they would get presents. Finally, the father shows up and for his eldest, he gives him a writing tablet. It’s the gift that finally tells the son it’s okay to be a writer, it’s okay to be who he was.

There’s a scripture often quoted from Proverbs. Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. Some take that to mean that you need to guide a child in the path you think he should take. But my father knew better. Though he didn’t understand the path, he trained in the way I should go. And I’ll always be grateful.

On Sunday mornings, if he wasn’t working at the plant, he would wake me early and ask if I wanted to go for a walk on the hill. This was partly our alone time and partly his way of helping me lose weight. I was 15 before I knew Little Debbie wasn’t related to us. He would unleash Shep, our old collie, grab his walking stick, and up the hill we’d go. Along the way he would show plants, trees, flora and fauna, just like my children said.
That easy walk is what I compare his faith to. There was a time when he dutifully served God, where he went to church and did things FOR God, to make God pleased with him, happy with his efforts.

Then came an awakening to the grace and mercy of God. I can still remember him getting an NIV Bible—we found it the other day. From Ephesians on it’s totally gone, just worn out. And I remember him devouring Knowing God by J.I. Packer. My father encountered the truth that we don’t earn heaven or favor, but God’s grace is received. Forgiveness is not merited, it is offered freely to all who ask. Righteousness is not earned or worked for like a well-tilled garden, it is imputed. By His stripes we are healed.
So there became this long, easy gait of a man forgiven and made new because of the work of Jesus on his behalf. And every day was a walk with God. Every seed planted, every row hoed, every ear shucked, every cow fed, every boy’s hair cut.

I remember the haircuts. I dreaded it like Sunday evening church. This was the late 60s, early 70s when crew cuts were anathema. I wanted long, flowing hair. He would drag us down to the basement and sit us on that red, rickety chair and proceed to lop off every bit of hair we had. In later years, he switched from the crew cut or buzz to a little longer style, and I remember him using his hands instead of a comb to get my hair to stand up straight. His hand going back on my head felt like a blessing.

(I also remember when Dave and Johnny told me about the jugular vein and how, if it were cut, you would die within minutes. And my father nicked my ear one day and I saw blood and ran screaming from the basement to say goodbye to my mother, thinking my jugular had been cut.)

My father’s life, his work, his devotion to God all came from a heart of thanksgiving—not out of obligation. And my dad’s faith grew deeper as the incline increased. The steep, uphill struggle yielded a deeper life for him.

A week or so before he died, one of his care-givers asked, “Mr. Fabry, if you could have anything on this earth, anything at all, what would you want?”

According to my mother, he paused and looked off, contemplating the question, struggling to process the information. Finally he answered, “Jesus, my Savior.”

Those were the last words he spoke. The next few days were spent being loved well by his wife of 61 years, who was committed to helping the love of her life spend his last days in the house he had built with his own hands. His daughter-in-law was there to administer the complicated mix of medicine that would keep him pain free and stay up with him and comfort him and speak so kindly to him even though he didn’t respond. And David was there in the bed beside him, watching, waiting, grieving, and trying to make his last days more comfortable.

I like to think that last Thursday, my father got up early, before any of us could tell him to stay in bed. And he said to himself, “Let’s get this show on the road!” He grabbed his walking stick, but realized he didn’t need it. His knee that had given him such problems felt better than it had ever felt before.

And he headed alone for his final walk. He walked all the way to the back fence on the hill and it felt like he could walk forever. And he can.
He’s not coming back. And we love him too much to ask him to. But we will meet again. This is our sure hope in Christ.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
On today's Chris Fabry Live, Hour 2, I'm going to pay tribute to my father and I'm hoping many will be encouraged by his life and struggles. People at the funeral said they never knew what he went through and that his story was similar to their family's journey.

If you would like to see the video my sister-in-law, Kim, put together of his life and the beautiful job the funeral home did, click here. You'll see photos of my brothers and me and two old love birds, married more than 61 years.

Here's a photo of my brothers and me with my mother, Kathryn (center), and his surviving sister, Elizabeth.

Monday, August 1, 2011
Death seems like such a formidable foe. Big and scary and final. It feels very much like the end in so many ways.

But it's not. I know that from what God has revealed to us. I know it in my heart. But knowing that in your head is the problem because what we see isn't the total truth. Yes, death is an end. It's separation. It's painful.

But it's also a beginning.

We're going through that with my father now. At 91, his mind and body are failing. It could be days. It could be weeks. But the end is near. And it hurts. Death seems to be all around us. I have a feeling that's not going to change. The illusion is that life just continues as it is and as it has been, but we're smacked with reality from time to time.

I was searching for some encouragement and received this email from a listener. I thought it might encourage you. If you're going through grief and trying to understand, this parent's perspective says it all.


Chris,

My son, CPL Frank R. Gross, was killed in action in Afghanistan July 16. The Humvee he was riding in hit an IED. While it has been difficult for this family, I am thankful to God for the 25 years that we enjoyed with our son. He fulfilled all of the qualifications of a good son, and he did that well.

Last night, I struggled with some differing thoughts...I have friends who believe that my son's life was cut short, that the enemy took his life....however, I opened my Bible....the place I turn to for words of truth...a place where God reveals Himself to me and draws me to Him...and read these precious words: Ps 139:13 "For You created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother's womb.......16 All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.", and then I turned to Ps 31:14-15 "But I trust in You, O Lord, I say, "You are my God" 15 My times are in Your hands...".

I believe in and trust in the sovereignty of God, I have hope and faith that I will one day join my son and all those who have gone on before me who trusted their lives to God.

I enjoy listening to your program on 91.1 Tampa Bay, FL.

Toni Gross

The attached photo above (lone soldier) is of Frank as he graduated from basic training, Ft. Benning, GA, July 2010. My daughter and I picked that one.


The other(the final mission) is one that my son created just before he died. All of his artwork up until this piece had been gloomy, but this was the first and last one that he did that wasn't....perhaps he knew in his spirit that he would be going home soon?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I spoke today with the wife of a military member in Georgia whose husband is in big trouble. Their military housing, they believe, is moldy. They have symptoms consistent with mold exposure. But his superior officer has ordered him to keep quiet about the mold and move his family back into the housing unit.

I won't go into more detail than that, but you can see the pickle this military man is in. He's sworn to obey his commanding officer and serve his country. But when his family's health is at risk when given that order, what does he do?

On Thursday, there will be a court proceeding. Would you pray for wisdom and clarity and that the truth of this situation would come out?
All three puppies came home tired at the end of the day, but made it through the entire day at school. There was some consternation about not having the right supply list, but that was remedied last night. Colin's blood sugar ran higher all day, hopefully because of the excitement and stress and not any chemical reactions from the new environment. Today his numbers were much better.

Andrea drove away alone today with them and she had her laptop with her. I'm hoping she'll get some alone time and some tea. That type of morning has been non-existent for a few years.

Thanks for keeping up with the progress of the kids!
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Monday, July 18, 2011
It’s difficult to not live in the past. It’s tough to just look at today and not put a template of fear over your life.

My mind is spinning with memories from years ago when the first day of School was in August and fall was in the air in Colorado. Andrea would draw apples with chalk on our front porch, symbolizing the kids going back to school. Those were exciting days filled with new clothes and backpacks and anticipation of the year ahead. In 2008 those days came crashing to a close.

Today, July 18, 2011, the kids go back to school for the first time since 2008. They’ve been taught at home in our safe environment for the past two years. Safe in the sense of toxins, chemicals, and odors from the outside world. We created as perfect a bubble as we could.

Last night, Andrea drew three apples on the front porch. These are desert apples. It’s not even close to fall. It was above 100 degrees yesterday. But the feeling of anticipation and excitement is the same. The kids were up before 6 AM, getting ready, putting on their new clothes. Getting backpacks prepared.

I do not know if this will last. They may come home this afternoon with bloody noses. We’ve had an air purifier in the classrooms over the weekend and have done everything humanly possible to prepare the teachers and administration. Now we take a step into the unknown again.

There’s something about the 18th that feels right. Andrea and I were engaged on the 18th. We broke up on the 18th. We were married on the 18th. None of our children have been born on the 18th, but I think that’s an anomaly. Through our dating and married years, pivotal things happen on the 18th. An offer on a house. A book contract signed. Some milestone with the children. The 18th has held a special place for us, and it does so today.

At the same time I look at this beginning, this step of faith, I think of my father and a childhood friend who are slipping from our lives. There is no talk of going back to school for my friend, Mike, who is now in hospice. There is only talk of a pain-free life, that he is resting comfortably. How can life go on when his family is in such pain? And my father has come out of another hospitalization, confused, unsure of where home is.

Perhaps there are apples in each of our lives, drawn with chalk on the front porch of our lives, signaling something new, something good that feels terribly wrong. Seeing those drawings takes faith. Stepping across them takes will-power.

I don’t think we’re stepping across them alone.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
It’s time to give you a final update on Almost Heaven. Many of you prayed for this book as it was being released. I wanted to let you know some good news. First, some anecdotal evidence that the book is having an impact. Here is a little from an e-mail I received yesterday, 7/11.

Dear Chris,

This is my last day of our family vacation. I took your book, Almost Heaven, with me. I thought it would be a fun read. In some ways it was, but more importantly, God used it in his process of healing my soul, which took me by surprise.

As I was reading the chapters of Billy's last weekend with his mom before going to the nursing home, I'm at the pool weeping and drying my eyes with my beach towel. I could relate to so many of his feelings. I loved when the puppy barfed on his mom and you wrote, "perfect end to a perfect day." I was grieving my parents' failing health along with Billy.

Then, towards the end you bring up Billy's past issue and his need for counseling. God was speaking to me about how, as painful as (our trials) have been, they are part of a healing process that he is doing in me. I don't understand the process, Chris. I don't understand the role of tears and pain and grief in soul healing. Somehow God uses it and he used your book this week in that mysterious process.

That letter did a lot to encourage me, and it confirms my suspicion that there was more in those pages than just me trying to tell a story. When I first suggested the plot of Almost Heaven to my editor, Karen Watson, she took a deep breath. She said she trusted me with the subject and that it would come out redemptive and healing, even though it was about an obscure man and the angel who watches him. I think she was right, and those who prayed and read were part of that process.

If you didn’t hear, Almost Heaven won best fiction for the past year by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. And last night, it won the Christy Award for Stand Alone novel. I’m excited for Billy, that a little of his heart has been told. I’m excited that you were part of this. Thank you.

Chris Fabry

P.S. I have a novella coming out this Christmas with Dr. Gary Chapman titled “A Marriage Carol.” My prayer for that book is that the story will help save a marriage. And in February, my next big novel, the one I think will capture a lot of attention, will be released. It’s called “Not in the Heart.” More about that in the coming months.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Brandon Fabry shows perfect form in the bean bag toss. Chris Fabry stands behind the target, watching in anxious anticipation, bedecked with his favorite Ohio State hat he bought at Walmart for $5. Andrea Fabry, who blew away the competition, reacts to the action with one arm akimbo, the other in a clear signal to her partner, illegal in most states. Not pictured, Colin Fabry, blocked by Chris Fabry.
Background courtesy of Southern Arizona and the Lindsey family farm. Cow pies optional.
Friday, July 1, 2011
1. Failure is frightening, success can be terrifying. Both will try to stop you from doing what you were called to do.

2. Love is patient, love is kind, but it’s also messy and really hard. A good man will let it change him.

3. A free phone, a free month, and a free horse are never free.

4. It doesn’t take much to encourage someone. And it takes even less to discourage them.

5. It’s a mistake to base what you do on your worst critic, your biggest fan, or a focus group. Be who you were made to be, not who someone thinks you should be.

6. There are three things that are too wonderful for me, four that I do not understand: A good dog, a loving wife, children who obey, and an honest mechanic.

7. The goal of my life is not perfection, it’s participation.

8. Love means never having to admit that your wife was wrong.

9. Those who suck on the straw of life get a lot more out of it than those who blow into it.

10. Sometimes the worst thing I could have is to get what I want.

11. If you have to buy the protection plan, don’t buy it.

12. Drive the speed limit and you’ll never worry about how much the speeding ticket is going to cost.

13. Struggle is not the sign of illness or death, it’s a sign of life.

14. Left to itself, the human heart will always settle for something less than that which will truly satisfy.

15. There is no problem, no diagnosis, no hurt or pain or mountain that is bigger than God.

16. Invest your time, don’t just spend it. Saying no to something will allow you to say yes to something later.

17. Faith is not understanding everything God is doing. Faith is trusting that what he is doing is good and will result in glory to him.

18. Love is a lot like living in the desert. There will be times of rain and cool. But most of the time it’s hot and your garbage stinks.

19. Life is not about reaching my dreams and goals, it’s about discovering God’s plan and purpose.

20. Time with your children is never wasted.

21. Loss and pain force you to choose between bitter and better.

22. When I work to control my life, I get further behind in following Jesus.

23. The key to the abundant life is forgiveness. It’s a choice to make every day.

24. It’s a good thing to cry. It shows you’re human and connected.

25. It’s okay to let people down, make mistakes, and fail because it proves you’re trying. Life is not about getting everything right.

26. Loving someone doesn’t always mean you make them happy. And being loved doesn’t always mean that you’re happy.

27. God doesn’t need my ability. He desires availability. My greatest mission is submission to him.

28. God doesn’t want to resurface my life and make it smoother. He wants to dig it up, make it new, and change directions.

29. Money and possessions are like weeds in life’s garden. Give as much away as you can.

30. Sometimes progress looks like death.

31. Humility and self-deprecation are miles apart.

32. If Jesus never hurried, I don’t have to.

33. Making your kids do what is right is not parenting. Training them to choose what is right is.

34. Doctors don’t know everything and neither do I.

35. I have no relatives in England or Africa who have died and left me money.

36. Beware of these three words, spoken to you on the street, after dark. “Excuse me, sir?”

37. Invest in people not things.

38. A coward uses his wife as the reason for making a decision.

39. Monogamy is the most sexy thing you can do.

40. A good marriage can look like a bad marriage for awhile.

41. The people who wound are wounded themselves.

42. The end of the chapter does not determine the end of the book.

43. There will be no homeowner’s association in heaven.

44. I cannot live my life for another’s agenda. My greatest test will be to discern God’s agenda from my own.

45. When I feel blue in my soul, it’s because I have not understood that prayer is the breath of the Christian.

46. If you live by fear, you will never rest. But if you live in freedom, you’ll have constant rest and your worries will pass.

47. You will never appreciate real peace until you’ve gone through a big storm.

48. Real men do dishes.

49. Ninety percent of getting anything worthwhile done is showing up.

50. It’s hard to hang onto a smooth rope. God puts knots in our cord so we can have a place to hold on.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I did something yesterday, said goodbye to something that I hadn't planned. It's a divorce, in a lot of ways. I think it's a sign of health because I haven't been able to even consider doing this in the last two years. There were just too many things bigger than car insurance.

However, over the weekend things came to a head. Perhaps it was the cost of the new 6 month premium I finally got the nerve to open. Or it could have been the phone call I received from a young man at the insurance agency, the one with such boyish excitement in his voice.

"Mr. Fabry, I think I've found a way to save you a TON of money." He emphasized the TON part. Twice. Like it was GINORMOUS. I would be able to buy a boat, a new sleep number bed, or perhaps fill my gas tank.

"Really?" I said. "Tell me about it."

We went over my policies, my 5 cars, the cash cow that is my life. Insurance companies salivate when they see me driving down the street. I get mail from them every day. President Palmer from 24, the little Gecco, the lady in the nurse outfit, they all come to my door like Jehovah's Witnesses.

"Looks like we can save you $250 if you buy a new life insurance policy. It's a new program in the last year."

Really? I need to buy something else in order to save a TON? Something seemed GINORMOUSLY wrong with that picture. And why was I just getting the call now? I've been with this insurance company a long time. I started buying insurance from them in 1982, if I'm not mistaken. That's 28+ years. Does anybody stay with a company that long?

This company followed us from West Virginia to Illinois to Colorado to Arizona. But in actuality, I followed them. It was easier to stay with them because they had our records in their system. Call it lazy. I usually shop around, but I liked their commercials on TV, the color of the logo, the catchphrase, and the ease of writing their name on my check.

In the last 28+ years we've never had an accident. At least not one they covered. I backed into my daughter's car in our driveway and smashed the door. That was on me they said. My son dinged another man's car at Walmart. "You'd be a lot better off taking care of that yourself," my agent said. "Your premium would just go up."

I think we actually got a windshield or two in 28 years. And more than a couple of tows. But when we had our house problem in Colorado, the little one where we lost everything because of toxic mold, when we really needed answers, we found the insurance company didn't have any. Or money. Zero. It was a pat on the back, "Sorry that happened," and new premiums in the mail. My agent in Colorado, a man who attended a mega-church in town, said the equivalent of, "Be warmed and filled." He spoke with compassion but said mold was excluded on the policy. There was actually $5,000 worth of coverage but because it was a "slow leak," we were denied.

Sigh. I don't blame him. The industry got smart to mold about the same time we began having the problem. We had a contract and the contract excluded our problem. But I couldn't help feeling troubled by hearing platitudes. I wonder if I would have handled it any differently if I sold insurance? I wonder if I've said the same thing in other ways?

I don't for a second think this new company will be any better. It'll just be cheaper. And have a new logo. And for now, not ask me to buy a life insurance policy to reduce my auto insurance. And pay about 1/3 of what I was paying for 28+ years to my long-term friends.

I've tried hard to keep bitterness from this divorce. I've waited a long time to make a rational and not a hasty decision. A decision based on clear-headed thinking that protects the ones I love and helps me be a good steward of the funds entrusted to me. It's a healthy move. And I have a TON of hope about the future.

On this first day of summer, I'm not bitter. I'm just enthusiastic.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
I'm going to be on Nancy Turner's program this Friday, if everything works out, and I had some thoughts about my own father. Nancy asked a few people to think of three things:

A memory of Dad
Advice to other Dads
Scripture about Dad

MEMORY
My father was a hard worker. He was employed at Union Carbide and worked full time there, plus he ran the farm. We had cattle and he cut hay and planted several gardens. I was SOOOO different than my dad. He was a hands in the earth kinda guy and I was writing songs and poems and stories and dressing up my dog and taking pictures.

My strongest memory of us together is what I wrote about in Dogwood. Throwing the ball back and forth at twilight, listening to the Cincinnati Reds games on the radio. Back and forth, from my hand to his glove to his hand to my glove…we didn’t say anything. We didn’t have to.

ADVICE
I heard some really good advice from John Fuller the other day—he has a new book called First Time Dad. John said that you don’t have to be the fun dad all the time. You don’t have to take your kids to a movie or the arcade or the amusement park every weekend. Take them to the hardware store to pick up light bulbs. Take them with you when you run errands. The quality time will come out in the quantity time. Driving to school can be a great time to connect or just be with each other. You don't have to be "fun" to give your kids something that lasts.

Another memory--when my dad would go to the feed store in town the guy behind the counter would always say, "Who you got with you today, Robert?"

"That's my helper," he would say.

It was such a good feeling to be a helper, even if I couldn't do anything to really help.

SCRIPTURE
Col 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

My father lived that verse, whether it was fixing the tractor, mowing the yard, butchering cattle. There was just this free-wheeling joy of work that permeated his life, and to him, sweating was living. The hay dust…I would hate getting hay dust on my sweaty neck and down my back. He loved jumping into something and just doing it.

I am different. But I caught his passion in doing everything for God's glory and in a lot of ways it permeates what I do now.
Friday, June 3, 2011
I described a picture of Charlie Brown and Snoopy on the radio this week. Both of them sitting by a lake and being pals. A listener sent me this photo of her and her dog. Peaceful and full of joy.
That's a good way to end this week. Hope you have someone you can share a good moment with today.
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Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys, etc.
Aldrich, Thomas Bailey. The Story of a Bad Boy.
Andersen, Hans Christian. Andersen’s Fairy Tales.
Avi. The True Confessions of Charlotte Coyle.
Babbit, Natalie. Tuck Everlasting.
Barrie, James. Peter Pan.
Burnett, Francis Hodgsen. The Secret Garden, A Little Princess.
Carroll, Lewis. Alice in Wonderland.
Cleary, Beverly. Dear Mr. Henshaw.
Cooper, Susan. The Grey King.
Cummings, J. Golden Legends.
Cummings, e.e.
Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc.
De Jong. Meindert. The Wheel on the Schoolhouse, The House of Sixty Fathers, etc.
De Saint Exupery, Antoine. The Little Prince.
Dickens, Charles. David Copperfield, etc.
Dickinson and Dickinson, eds. Children’s Second Book of Patriotic Stories.
Dodge, M. Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates
Doyle, Sir Arthur. Sherlock Holmes, etc.
Durrell, Gerald. My Family and Other Animals.
Enright, Elizabeth. Gone-Away Lake, Thinkable Summer, etc.
Estes, Eleanor. Ginger Pye, The Moffatts, etc.
Grahame, Kenneth. The Golden Age, The Wind in the Willows.
Grimm. Fairy Tales.
Haggard, Rider H. King Solomon’s Mines.
Hesse, Karen. Out of the Dust
Hinton, Susan. The Outsiders (teenagers)
Hunt, Irene. Across Five Aprils.
Johnston, Annie Fellows. The Little Colonel. (a series of books…may be out of print)
Juster, Norton. The Phantom Tollbooth.
Kingsley, Charles. Water Babies.
Kipling, Rudyard. Stories and Poems.
Konigsburg, E.L. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
L’Engle, Madeline. A Wrinkle in Time, etc.
Lewis, C.S. The Chronicles of Narnia.
Lindren. Pippi Longstocking.
Lowery, Lois. The Giver, Number the Stars, etc.
MacDonald, George. Gifts of the Child Christ, The Princess and Curdie, The Golden Key, The Princess and the Goblin,. The Lost Princess (sometimes called The Wise Woman)—great fiction for parenting
Magorian, Michelle. Good Night, Mr. Tom
McCloskey, Robert. Make Way For Ducklings.
McKinky, Robin. Beauty, The Outlaws of Sherwood, The Blue Sword, The Hero and the Crown.
Merrill, Jean. The Pushcart War, The Toothpaste Millionaire.
Milne, A.A. Winnie the Pooh.
Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables.
Moody, Ralph. Little Britches.
Mowat, Farley. The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be.
Mulloch, Dinah Maria. The Adventures of a Brownie, The Little Lame Prince.
Neville, Emily. It’s Like This C
O’Brien, Robert C. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh.
O’Neill, Mary. Hailstones and Halibut Bones.(teaches the poetry of color)
Orczy, Baroness. The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Patersen, Katherine. Bridge to Terabithia, Jacob Have I Loved, The Great Gilly Hopkins.
Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet. ( a boy learns to survive in the wilderness)
Polacco, Patricia. Thank you, Mr. Falker,Pink and Say,Chicken Sunday, The Butterfly
Potter, Beatrix. The Tale of Peter Rabbit, etc.
Raskin, Ellen. The Westing Game.
Ruskin, John. The King of the Golden River.
Sachar, Louis. Holes
Seredy, Kate. The Good Master, The Singing Tree, The White Stag, etc.
Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty.
Sidney, Margaret. The Five Little Peppers (series)
Silverstein, Shell. The Giving Tree
Smith, Dodie. I Capture the Castle
Spyri, Johanna. The Heidi Series
St. John, Patricia. Treasures of the Snow, etc. (wonderful Christian writer)
Steinbeck, John. The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island, etc.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Trilogy, The Hobbit
Twain, Mark. Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, etc.
Voigt, Cynthia. The Tillerman Cycle (7 books), Jackaroo, On Fortune’s Wheel, The Wings of a Falcon, Solitary Blue.
White, E.B. Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan.
White, John. The Tower of Geburah.
White, T.H. The Once and Future King.
Wiggin, Kate Douglas. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.
Wilde, Oscar. Fairy Tales and Poems in Prose, etc.
Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Little House on the Prairie
Williams, Marguerite. The Velveteen Rabbit
Zindel, Paul. The Pigman (teenagers).

POETRY
De La Mare, Walter. Songs of Childhood.
Knapp, John. A Pillar of Pepper and Other Bible Nursery Rhymes.
Koch, Kenneth. Rose, Rose, Where Did You Get Your Red?
Silverstein, Shel. Where the Sidewalk Ends.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. A Child’s Garden of Verses
Utermeyer, Louis. Has many collections.

READING LIST: JR. HIGH AND HIGH SCHOOL ( some adult level)
(you’ll have to pace your child—some may do better than others with these)
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre (demanding reading)
Chesterton, G.K. Adventures of Father Brown (mystery), The Man Who Was Thursday.
Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage (history, adventure-- Civil War story)
Defoe, Daniel. Ronbinson Crusoe (adventure—wonderful study in the sovereignty of God) Somewhat demanding.
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
Dumas, Alexander. Count of Monte Cristo.
Flemming, Ian. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (addventure)
Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain (adventure, history).
Gilbreth, Frank and Ernestine Carey. Cheaper by the Dozen (wonderful true story about a family with 12 children)
Hilton, James. Good-by Mr. Chips.
Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables (spine-tingling drama)
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird (wonderful-teaches integrity and the evil of racism)
Lewis, C.S. Science Fiction trilogy,
Meader, Stephen. Shadow in the Pines (mystery).
Murphey, Robert. The Pond.
Potok, Chaim. The Chosen, The Promise (stories about friendship in the Hasidic Jewish community).
Rawlings, Marjorie. The Yearling (the movie is wonderful too).
Thurber, James. The Thirteen Clocks (humor).
Tolkiein, J.R.R. The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring ( 4 volumes--fantasy)
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer (funny, adventure, sad).
Zindel, Paul. The Pigman

BIBLIOGRAPHIES AND BOOKS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF READING
Guroian, Vigen. Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination. (superlative look the the issues.)
Hunt, Gladys. Honey For a Child’s Heart.
Russell, William. Classics to Read Aloud to Your Children.
Tralease, Jim. The Read Aloud Handbook.
Wilson, Elizabeth. Books Children Love.
Wise, Jesse and Susan Wise Bauer. The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home

YOUNGER CHILDREN’S LITERATURE BIBLIOGRAPHY
Ackerman, Karen. Song and Dance Man.
Blos, Joan W. Old Henry.
Blume, Judy. The Pain and the Great One.
Bourgeoois, Paullette. Franklin Fibs.
Douglass, Barabar. Good As New.
Dragonwagon, Crescent. Home Place.
Graham, Amanda. Who Wants Arthur?
Hall, Donald. Ox-Cart Man.
Hoban, Russell. Bedtime For Frances.
Hoffman, Mary. Amazing Grace.
Houston, Gloria. My Great-Aunt Arizona.
Howard, Jane R. When I’m Sleepy.
Jukes, Mavis. Like Jake and Me.
Keats, Ezra Jack. Goggles, Pet Show, Whistle for Willie.
MacLachlin, Patricia. Through Grandpa’s Eyes.
Martin, Rafe. The Rough-Face Girl.
McCloskey, Robert. Blueberrries for Sal.
McCully, Emily Arnold. Mirette on the High Wire.
McLerran, Alice. Roxaboxen.
Paterson, Katherine. The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks.
Rylant, Cynthia. The Relatives Came, When I Was Young in the Mountains.
Say, Allen. The Bicycle Man.
Sebestyen, Ouida. Words by Heart. (beautiful, painful story of a black family)
Waber, Bernard. Ira Sleeps Over.
Williams, Vera B. A Chair For My Mother.

GUIDE TO TEACHING CHILDREN IN THE CHURCH/TEACHING GUIDES
Dunlop, Cheryl. Follow Me As I Follow Christ.
Wise, Jesse and Susan Wise Bauer. The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Andy and I went out to a local coffee shop tonight after our men's meeting. We've never done this without our wives before. (Actually, we've only gone out for cofee with them once.) We talked about...well, it doesn't matter what we talked about, really. His bathroom rehab. My family's health. Nothing about the NBA or baseball. Andy is a soccer fan--he would say the real kind of football.

There were others in the place. Single people with laptops. Married people with friends. Young people with hope. Everyone with some shade of caffeine in their hands.

And there was Andy in the corner speaking with an English accent, and me speaking without my southern twang. In big chairs that felt comfortable. Just ordinary guys.

It strikes me every time our group gets together how frighteningly ordinary we are. We all have problems. Hangups. Disappointments. Longings.

So did 12 men a couple thousand years ago. But Jesus chose them to follow him and through them he changed the world.

Think of it. 12 ordinary guys. This was the plan? No Facebook account? No Twitter? Good grief, at least get a blog, right? There was no marketing plan. No advertising budget. Just 12 ordinary men being changed by the power of God, the moving of the Spirit on them and through them.

If God can change the world through them, can't he do the same through you and me? And through Andy?

Yes, he can. But before they changed the world, those 12 ordinary men had to be changed. And Jesus was patient with them. And he spent time with them. And he poured himself out for them.

I want to change the world, too. But I suppose the best thing I can do to help in the process is allow myself to be changed one day, one attitude at a time. Small steps. Depth rather than width. Don't worry about the numbers, don't worry about the results. Just allow God to use what is weak to prove he is strong.

God loves ordinary men. And women. He loves to change them and the world.
Monday, May 23, 2011
This is exactly how I remember Jim Warren.
A phone to his ear, a newspaper in his hand, a big calendar behind him, and his Bible open. Jim knew that just covering news wasn't enough. Other outlets could do that well and had more staff. What they weren't airing was a Christian perspective of news events. So every day he took us to places and into people's lives who were on the front lines--and around the world.

Jim had a heart for people going through difficulty. He had a heart for people who were struggling. He loved music. He loved to laugh. In fact, he actually played ME singing a song I had written specifically for April 15th called, When My Taxes Are All Done. I sang as "Johnny OutaCash" and Jim howled.

Today Jim entered heaven. No more radio programs, no more pain. I'm sure he's already seen many friends he interviewed over the years. Francis Schaeffer. Jerry Falwell. He and Brandt Gustavson are probably telling some Moody stories. In fact, he's probably met D.L. already.

We mourn with Jean and the rest of the family. But we also rejoice in his homegoing. He's been promoted. While we still look through the glass darkly, Jim now sees his Savior face to face. That is our blessed hope.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
A radio friend, Wayne Shepherd, called yesterday and mentioned a name you may remember. Jim Warren. Jim was the host of Prime Time America on Moody Radio for many years. Jim and I worked together—he on Prime Time, me on a program called Open Line. He was the most hard-working host I've ever encountered in my radio years. He loved doing what he did.

Jim's health has not been that great the past few years. He's been in the hospital for much of the past year. I won’t go into all of his problems, but Jim made a difficult decision in the past couple of days about his health, and with his family around him, it sounds like in a short while he will be free of the pain he's been through.

That’s up to God, of course. But I wanted you to know about Jim and I would like you to pray for him, for his wife Jean who has been by his side faithfully for so many years. Pray for their children who are also walking through this valley. This is not the easy part. This is the tough part. But if Jim could speak on my program, I think he would say that God’s grace has been evident even through these difficult days. And we can trust him. And lean on him. And cast every care upon him because he knows what we need.

So if you would pray for Jim and the family—I would appreciate it. And if you would like to send a card to him and his family, here's the address:

Jim and Jean Warren
4732 Doug Dr.
Whitehall, MI 49461

Also, we'll be conducting a tribute program for Jim on Friday, 5/20, Hour 2 of Chris Fabry Live! If you would like to say something to Jim, tell him what he has meant to you, call 1 866-953-2279 and leave a message. You can start the call with, "Hi Jim..."
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
We had a caller to today's Chris Fabry Live broadcast that didn't get on the air, but we told her we would ask listeners to pray. This is a heavy duty request, but God is in the business of heavy duty living.

Anonymous – I have been praying for my husband who is now living a gay lifestyle. Nothing is changing or getting through. Please join me in praying for my husband.

Father, you know the hurt of this relationship, and you know exactly what Anonymous is going through. Walk with her through this struggle. And call her husband. Show her each step to take to love him, but at the same time protect herself from harm. Cause him to turn his heart back toward his wife and get the help only you can provide.
Amen.
We were interviewing Jim, of HomeWord, for a future Building Relationships program. I wrote down these two things:

A four year old laughs 400 times a day.
The average adult laughs 14 times a day.

If the devil can't make you bad, he'll make you busy.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
I went to the Farmer's Market this morning with Shannon because Andrea wasn't feeling well. Cabbage, carrots, onions, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, and 10 dozen eggs.

$240. This is what we eat. This is our life.

Before heading home, I was intrigued by a new vendor. Actually an old vendor with a Shriner's hat and a wrinkled face. He was selling Vidalia onions. Straight from Georgia.

"They brought them by 18-wheeler," he said with a cute accent.

Pat Conroy has a great story about Vidalia onions, how they taste, how people fawn over the first crop each year. I have had Vidalia's before, but this seemed a purer crop to me, closer to the ground than the grocery. I forked over the $10 for 10 pounds and the man smiled.

Saturday is cleaning day at our house. Andrea and the girls/boys work hard to vacuum and launder the whole house. I help out, but my major task today was my office.

At 2 PM I started getting hungry for lunch. What do have?

I found the biggest Vidalia onion and cut it up. I threw it in a skillet with some oil, then cut up some cabbage. What should I put in there to help it out?

Pondering that question, I picked a sliver of onion from the spatula as I turned the concoction. Someone had put sugar in the pan. I was sure of it. I tried another sliver. Sweet. Like honey.

Wait. There was no sugar in the pan, that was the onion.

I cracked two eggs and spread them over the skillet, simmered and turned it, then mixed in a little butter/salt/pepper.

Even though they were carried on the back of a truck all the way to Arizona, I feel like I'm in a field in Georgia, among the first at the harvest.

I've always thought of the forbidden fruit as an apple. Perhaps the Garden of Eden was somewhere in Toombs County.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
God, I don’t understand the mystery of it all. I can’t comprehend why you would care enough for me to send Jesus Christ to pay the penalty of my sins. But with all my lack of understanding, I am willing to yield to you completely. I trust in Jesus’ death for me, and I believe he rose to give us new life. I accept the promise you made in John 3:16, which tells us, “Everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

I do believe, Lord, and I accept all that you have for me: your forgiveness, your leadership, and your help through life’s ups and downs. I want to become your child. I am yours—body, mind, and soul—and I know that you are mine. Thank you for forgiving my sins and, even now, starting to guide me into this new life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
So much of writing a story is having the confidence to keep going even though voices in your head tell you to stop. No one will read this. No one will care. Who are you to write anything? Move on to something else.

Those voices were strong when I began writing Almost Heaven. After all, the main character is not a celebrity. He’s a loner. An almost invisible guy you wouldn’t be able to pick out of his high school reunion picture. He lived his whole life in West Virginia. In a holler. Unknown by most of the world.

Except there was something compelling about Billy Allman. From the moment I heard his story and began to piece together the plot of his life, I was captivated. Every day I went to my closet (literally) to find out what was going on in his life. Billy was a real man who died two years ago. His story forms the backbone of the book.

The other compelling angle the story took was the perspective of the angel sent to aid Billy and watch his every move. I don’t believe everyone has a guardian angel. At least, I’m not sure everyone has one. But I do know that God uses the angelic realm in our realm, and to be able to pull back the curtain a bit also brought me to the computer and encouraged me about my own life.

Yesterday I heard that the book won an award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. The other novels nominated were fantastic. There are no “losers” on that list. But when I heard Almost Heaven was chosen, my first thought was, “Yay Billy.” And my second thought was, “Thank you, God.” He delights in choosing simple, humble things. He has a plan and purpose for every story, yours and mine included.

Maybe you feel like Billy today. I’m not sure if he ever won any award in school or in life. Was he patrol of the year? Did he win at the spelling bee? I don’t know. But I do know that because of his relationship to God through Jesus, he was guided and sometimes dragged for God’s glory. And that makes a compelling story for any life.

Yay for Billy. Thanks to God.


To view the complete list of 2011 Christian Book Award winners and finalists, click here.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
A listener emailed to tell me about the loss of her beloved pet after 16 1/2 years of companionship. Here's her tribute to Mister Kitty.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Even after we left the home, they wouldn’t dare paint over our basketball wall.
Friday, April 1, 2011

My wife, Andrea, was asked last year to be part of a devotional project and I’m excited that the book is available now. There are many great authors/writers/thinkers included, but I am partial to her one-page devotional on “Illusions.”

Andrea and I talked about this topic on the 3/29 Chris Fabry Live! program. If you missed it, click here to listen to the podcast or stream.

Check out the resource and begin your own 90-day Tending of the Soul!
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Here are a few responses we received to yesterday's Chris Fabry Live! conversation about admitting infidelity.

I am still dumbfounded about your program today... nothing there convinces me one should “confess” their infidelity after 10 years... It is cruel!!!

That last caller made me upset to say that it's terrible to let your wife know about the adultery. It’s a selfish act in and of itself and then on top of that to not confess your sin is horrendous. You cannot have a relationship built on lies and deceit.

I was there 35 years ago. Some overzealous Christian told my husband to tell me. Thanks a lot!! Now it became also my problem?! We had come through a hard time and had solved all that and were doing well. I forgave him and we continued but even now 35 years later when the question comes up it hurts my soul. LET IT BE!!

Things that are done in the dark will come out in the light. God has given John a chance to come clean on his own, if he believes the whispers of the enemy to stay quiet, and that in doing so he is protecting the so-called nice relationship he and his wife have, he is basing his reality on a lie.

I would have to say that if the person has confessed the affair to the Lord, and repented, then they should trust in God's forgiveness and not let Satan use this mistake in their life to destroy their marriage and their family. Satan is the destroyer and he will destroy as much as he can using guilt to do so. Every situation is different, but if at all possible confess to a trusted, faithful friend who can keep it confidential. We are all responsible for our own mistakes, but don't let Satan take advantage of them by doing horrible damage to your loved ones.

Didn't our Savior Himself say, "You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free?" I've been on both sides of the issue of unfaithfulness, and I believe the truth should be made known! An unfaithful mate is living a lie, and has broken vows made before God and witnesses. The best way to kill a lie is to blast its soil of secrecy away with the Light of Truth! Truth frees! Truth heals!

I enjoy your show, but sometimes wish you wouldn't tease us along with "I have a 5 word question to pose, but I'm not going to ask it yet"... After yesterday's question about the infidelity, I was determined to start listening to past programs on the internet, because I desperately want to hear how this discussion plays out.
(I apologize—the 5 word question that I never gave you is, “What does love look like?”)

As the wife of an unfaithful husband I wanted to comment on John's email. I believe his unease with keeping his affair a secret is the work of the Holy Spirit. While it would be easier on him to not confess and just move on, I don't believe the marriage can be truly healed without confession. Trying to just move on is like putting a bandaid over a dirty wound. The only way to heal a festering wound is to go thru the painful process of opening it up and cleaning it all out. It is an ugly, painful thing to go thru but it is the only path to healing.

I have been through the situation put forth in your discussion today. My opinion is that, unless the guilty person is asked or it is very likely that the incident will come out, the information should not be shared with the "innocent" spouse. I am not a weak or emotional person, nor is my walk with Christ weak. I can forgive and did that with all my heart but forgetting is another thing. I remember thinking many times, his burden and guilty feelings seem gone - they've been passed to me. I believe that telling a spouse simply passes a burden from one to the other.

I've been told that most men have thoughts of sex on a regular basis. In the New Testament, Jesus addresses that sin ("in the heart," which may be somewhat different) as unfaithfulness. Would you tell your wife every wayward thought you have? Or, would your wife tell you of hers?

I speak from personal experience. As a woman whose spouse was unfaithful years ago, I find this to be a very traumatic experience. I believe he should confess to his pastor or a spiritual friend in order to heal personally. There are days that I pray and tell God I wish I never found out about this.

Please, never discourage confession of a sin to the one who has been offended. God cannot bless a marriage where sin is kept in the dark and Satan has the authority to use it to steal, kill and destroy!

Have been listening today and I don't think you need to "hang out your dirty laundry" after so many years. What good is it going to do? Except make you feel better. What bothers me -- is if this man confessed this to our Lord--then why hasn't it been pointed out to him that Satan is the accuser. God has forgiven and "cast it into the deepest ocean and hung up a No Fishing sign."

I was appalled at the various callers who "justified" the lies in their marriages regarding their infidelity by "protecting" their poor fragile spouse, or for the betterment of the marriage. There is NO scriptural basis for lies in a marriage. On the other hand there is an abundance of scripture supporting confessing sin. The notion one is protecting the spouse is nauseatingly self-serving.

It all boils down to this... you have to want to be right with God even more than you want to be right with your wife. God is able to sustain your marriage and make it even stronger after you both work through this together.

I am a Christian Marriage and Family counselor. One of my areas of focus is working with couples where there has been one or more affairs. What I heard you say was something like- if a person is only telling their spouse the truth about a past affair to ease their guilt and put it on their spouse, that this is a selfish reason and they should not do it. What I would say is that all of us develop complicated systems of rationalization around the thoughts and behaviors we have that we don't want to bring out into the light. God tells us to confess. He does not tell us to wait until our motivations are pure. The truth has a way of opening us up to the realities of what is going on inside of us. Without confession our relationships have barriers to healing and we are at risk of repeating these behaviors because we don't experience the pain of consequences nor do we shift our personal boundaries that might strengthen our marriages and our relationship with God. Pain is the greatest motivator for change. Spouses do fall apart, there is anger, and sadness, and distrust, and grief, and shame, and finally hope. It starts with the truth. I feel strongly about this because I have seen God do mighty work in relationships that have been so completely devastated by affairs.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I'm going to be appearing on Janet Parshall's program this afternoon at 4:00 Central Time. We'll talk about the radio program, my book Almost Heaven, and whatever else Janet brings up. If you've listened to Janet, you know what a grasp she has on issues and her heart for communicating truth in the marketplace of ideas. Which raises the question, "Why is she having me on?"

I guess we'll both find out, and if you don't hear it live, you can listen to the podcast or stream. We'll probably talk about Christian radio, connecting with people, writing, stories, and Almost Heaven. I believe in the power of stories. I think they can change lives. This one seems to have captured the imagination of some people who need some encouragement.

Fiction is hard to do on a talk program. There are only so many ways you can ask, "How do you come up with your stories?" But Janet is a pro. She can make reading the phone directory interesting, so I'm hoping it will encourage some listeners.

Many hearts are heavy for the people of Japan. In a strange way, Almost Heaven begins with a cataclysmic event that reminded me of their pain. The Buffalo Creek flood happened in 1972. There was no radiation leak, but many houses, cars, homes, and lives were washed away because of a breached coal slurry dam at the mouth of the hollow. It's as close to a tsunami as you get in West Virginia. The thirty-foot wall of water ran down the hollow for 17 miles leaving death and destruction. This is how Billy Allman's story began. Through it all, God was walking with him.

I wonder if there are Billy Allmans in Japan right now who feel like life is stacked against them? I wonder if there are people there who feel like giving up? My prayer for the Japanese people is that they will rise above all of the mountains that stand before them. May this tragedy lead them to an eternal relationship that can't be taken away.
Friday, March 11, 2011
I’m speaking at a men’s conference/retreat in a month. I know the message but the illustrations are hard to choose. Today some things came together and one strong memory returned.

The message is about dropping our nets and following God. The example is of our dog, Pippen. I hadn’t remembered this until the other day when we were talking about socks. Pippen, when he could still see, would go through the house and pick up our socks from the floor. I have no idea why. He just loved to pick them up and carry them in his mouth. Maybe it’s a dog thing.

I used to find socks outside where he would carry them and drop them in the yard. At first I couldn’t understand why the kids were so irresponsible. Then I watched Pippen closely and discovered his secret sock stealing. When I found him with a sock in his mouth, I would say, “Pippen, drop it.” Sheepishly, he would put his mouth to the carpet and let the sock go. Just as quickly he’d pick it up again.

When he tried to run with my socks in his mouth, dangling, he’d get tripped up. When he needed to drink or to eat, he had a hard time deciding whether to get nourishment or keep the sock. Even when Pippen went blind, he managed to find socks and carry them around. It affected his ability to follow us or come when he was called.

I’m so much like him. There are things I hold onto tightly that aren’t good for me. There are good things I hang onto that I shouldn’t. They slow me down and keep me from running, keep me from being free, keep me from following more closely to my master.
It’s not just a dog thing, I guess. It’s a people thing, too.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I hate the smell of insulin at 1:30 a.m. I hate the smell of just about anything that early, but especially insulin. It smells like something stored in an army footlocker. Maybe old combat boots. Perhaps a textbook on WWII tactical weaponry.

At 1:14 this morning Colin awakened me, his face close to mine. “I feel low.”

I hate those three words, too. Not because I have to get out of bed but because I know what it’s doing to his body. How ravenous he will be. I’ll need to act counterintuitive to that.

Okay, I won’t lie, I hate getting out of bed. It’s a long way up from the air mattress and my bones want to stay close to the ground.

So we do the pancreas dance. He trudges from the room and slumps in a chair, his jaw slack, panting. He gets out his insulin case, opens it, retrieves the poker, gets up, washes his hands, goes back, pokes, gets blood, inserts the strip into the meter, waits for it…waits for it...

I stumble into the kitchen without glasses and stare at the green numbers on the microwave.

1:14.

I hate diabetes.

“Beep.”

“58,” he says.

Normal people have a pancreas that works. Normal people take their pancreas for granted. You eat a bag of Doritos or a Snickers bar and never pray your pancreas will produce insulin. Your pancreas regulates your body’s blood glucose levels to remain steady somewhere between 80 and 120. Don’t hold me to that, it’s early. But that’s basically where you stay. Fall below 70 and you feel it. Fall below 60 and you shake. Keep going down and you’ll eventually pass out. Some people don’t feel it anymore, they can’t tell they’re getting low, but Colin can. Sometimes I think that’s God’s gift to us.

He has a spoonful of organic honey that organic bees have been spitting into organic buckets on organic bee farms somewhere in Organicville. That will bring him up a notch and take the edge off. But we’ve only begun. He has 3 little mini-peeled carrots which aren’t approved by the organic bee society, but I don’t see anybody from that organization in the kitchen at 1:40 and their 800 number isn't staffed at this hour. So he eats the three mini-peeled carrots.

I’ve been known to make a stir fry at this point, chopping onions and cabbage and mixing with an egg or two. It’s protein and will help him hang on until morning. I grab two eggs from the refrigerator in the garage and Colin meets me there, pulling out a special drawer.

“I was thinking this,” he says, holding out a Granny Smith apple. The organic kind with the orange ring around it.

I roll my eyes like it’s fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We haven’t had fruit for a long time but apples are slowly being reintroduced to the diet. I have no idea what this is going to do to his levels. His body will react wildly to the fructose. You will say, “But it’s an apple, leave the kid alone.”

Exactly. It’s just an apple. That’s why I hate diabetes. I have to dose him for a stupid apple.

I hate dosing a shaking kid who gets up in the middle of the night. I hate drawing up the insulin and handing him a needle he shoves into his skin. But if I don’t, his number will rise above 120, above 200, above 300.

So I write all this down in his book I also hate that says when he went to bed he was 111. And I see how much insulin I gave him to keep him in range overnight. We obviously overdid it, but when I compare the number from the previous night that was exactly the same, I wonder. Did he have more exercise? Did he not have something right before bed to hold his levels steady? Am I supposed to click my heels three times and say some magic incantation to keep him above 80? How does a pancreas do it?

I make the eggs, but get shell in the pan, so I have to get a spoon to scoop out the shell, but since I don’t have my glasses on I bend low to see it and I bang my head on the hood above the stove. He eats the apple and watches all this, as if it’s a Disney sitcom. I’m not thinking words they say on Disney.

I hand him the eggs and get out the insulin bottle. We have determined that there were 24 carbs in the apple. There were also a few in the honey and the mini-peeled carrots.

“How much would you have for just the apple?”

“Mom would give me 2 units.”

My wife would give this dose without thinking. She rattles carbs in her brain like a supercomputer. I am right-brained, more creative, which is wonderful if you’re writing a song or a book or an essay on civility, but if you want to keep a kid’s glucose meter from saying “HIGH” and playing Mozart’s Requiem at 1:55, you need the left hemisphere of your brain and I do not have as much as my wife does.

I can’t give him 2 units. I do not want him shaking in an hour or two. But I don’t want him to go high either. That is my conundrum at 2 a.m. Forty-five minutes ago I was under the covers. I'm beginning to think I won't be going back to bed.

I decide on 1.25 units. I feel good about that. It’s a safe dose. I hand him the needle and he puts it in his thigh. Was it enough? Probably not.

He looks in the refrigerator again, the light reflecting off his face and the robe that makes him look like Hugh Hefner’s son. He sighs, closes the door, and rubs his eyes on his way back to bed.

“Goodnight,” he says.

“Goodnight.”

“I love you,” he says.

It won’t be long before he’s doing all of this by himself. It won’t be long before he’s staring into his own refrigerator in his own house or apartment. I’ll be asleep somewhere, oblivious to all of this.

“Love you, too,” I say.

And I do.

No matter how much I hate diabetes and organic bees and sharp needles and writing down statistics of a little boy who didn't do anything to deserve this, I love him. And that’s what will keep me up until 4 when I’ll check him again.

*Addendum*
4:20 a.m. It took me five minutes to wake him, but we tested. His level is 148. Within the acceptable range. Sigh.