The Fabry Family

Connect with Me

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

Featured Books

Featured Books
Latest Release!

Blog Archive

Personal Stuff

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

Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I've been waiting to hear from our mortgage company. I haven't missed a mortgage payment EVER, until this past November. Then, after getting a nasty letter from them (and why wouldn't I?), I called the number on the sheet. They began asking questions they'd never asked before. The first time I called and explained the situation I was told there was nothing that could be done to "freeze" the mortgage until we figured out what to do with the house.

After answering questions, I was sent a list of about 10 things I needed to provide the mortgage company, including recent tests to the home proving it was contaminated. Boy did I have recent tests. I sent the material and waited. And waited.

Today, while sitting in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, eating a coney dog (I had a coupon), the mortgage company representative called and informed me that they were indeed "freezing" our payments for 3 months, retroactive, and would re-evaluate at the end of January. Our credit would not be trashed during this time as I had feared. I nearly cried. This gives us room to breathe and figure out what to do without that huge debt hanging over us.

A great way to end 2008, I think.

And the coney dog wasn't half bad either.
Monday, December 29, 2008
I usually try to put a nice spin on things, looking at the positive rather than the negative, but Christmas week was not what I had hoped. Arizona was warm, until it began to snow, and the lemon tree in the back yard of the home where we stayed was an added perk I hadn't planned on. Still, this whole experience is weighing on us, and now Andrea is in AZ with five of the kids and I'm in Colorado trying to tie up loose ends and get some work done. We're thinking I may join her there, but things change so rapidly I don't even want to speculate.

Andrea began the "boot camp" as she calls it yesterday. I'll paste some of her thoughts below. This is a mix of home schooling and detox from the mold exposure.

I haven't heard from our mortgage company about the future of the house and whether they will give us relief. I haven't heard from the legal minds about our case. I did hear from the company that can clean the equipment and get it back to working order, but that will take at least a week. I'm discouraged by all of this, and yet I know that I'm not in control of any of it and just ask for the strength to get through today, which is about all any of us can hope for. If everything goes as planned, I'll do CFLive from Focus on the Family this week.

Thanks for your prayers. Here are some thoughts from Andrea.

Recovery day 1

I’ve been picturing this morning’s breakfast for more than a month. Really I’ve been picturing it for more than 18 months I just didn’t know it. Our four youngest children woke up today to a nebulizer, supplements, nasal sprays, hot breakfast and a swim.

We reached Oro Valley a few days before Christmas. The journey here was by far the most difficult, pain-filled season of life I could ever have imagined. It began in May of 2007 when I pulled up carpet in my daughter’s room. An innocent discovery led to a spiral of tragic and mysterious events which I will post later. In short, all 9 of my children became ill from toxic mold. The symptoms varied greatly but let me mention a few. Vertigo, migraines, seizures, type one diabetes, skin rashes, ringing in the ears, depression, short-term memory loss (this is my biggest and most debilitating symptom), abdominal pain, chronic colds, and balance disturbance. Again, these are just a few.

Three months ago we were advised by two leading mold experts to vacate our 5500 square foot home filled with clothes, furniture, baby books, and memories. We left on October 4th with the clothes on our backs and quickly disposed of those. After an outpouring of love and support from our amazing community we began a new life in a rented home close by all 4 schools. I honestly believed the experts were wrong. We would not have long term medical issues. My kids would do fine in their respective schools and not struggle with multiple chemical sensitivities as was suggested. We wouldn’t need medical testing to determine damage to our systems. Life would be better, I thought, because we were out of the house.

13 days after we moved out we rushed our 8 year-old to the emergency room with an “exploding head” and “pounding chest”. This was a common occurrence with Colin so I assumed it was nothing and life would , in fact, soon return to the normal I once knew. Our 12 year-old continued to appear ill and spoke of the chronic dizziness that had plagued him for the last year. I still couldn’t wake him up in the morning without numerous shakes and prods. The rashes that had plagued my 7 year-old were still there and my 10 year-old daughter still complained of headaches and motion sickness.

Still, I reasoned, my rash disappeared within days of our move as did my black tongue. Colin’s rashes on his hands slowly moved from the backs of his hands to his knuckles and finally his finger tips. Surely, things are getting better I thought. But deep down I knew. We needed medical help. I had been laying the groundwork to get insurance to cover a trip to Arizona to see Dr. Michael Gray. The toxicologist, Dr. Jack Thrasher ,continued to recommend him. Dr. Gray had talked with us at length the day after we moved out of our home and I was stunned at his knowledge. I trusted him.

As the days wore on and I continued to see the lack of progress I knew I had to take a risk. I could no longer wait for insurance to come beside me. I made appointments for Colin and Reagan on December 2 and 3. we packed our bags and Colin experienced his first plane ride ever to see a doctor in Benson Arizona. Dr. Gray’s office was not what I expected. A small adobe building overcrowded with patients in the middle of the desert. I questioned my decision to come with each hour we sat waiting to see him.

Then I saw something I have never seen. Dr. Gray came out into the waiting room and assured each of us our waiting was not in vain. When we did get to see him I felt a deep sense of anxiety. It took all of 3 minutes to know without a doubt he was the help we were seeking. He diagnosed Reagan with labyrinthitis…an inflammatory ear condition…he talked about his bone conduction and air conduction remaining as he has little hearing remaining in his left ear. He took a UV light and found numerous fungal colonies embedded in his skin. I never felt rushed and he answered all of my questions. In fact,we went to dinner with him and another family suffering from mold exposure. After months of deep struggle I was getting answers and things began to make sense.
The treatment protocol prescribed by Dr. Gray was extensive and daunting. It took 2 weeks to get all that I needed to begin but the reality of combining the regimen with “normal” life began to sink in. I felt so overwhelmed I could barely function. I knew that all of my kids would need to be treated as well as myself. I wondered about Chris and his office and unseen effects. I needed to take more kids to see him before I began the treatment. The holidays were approaching and the snow was keeping us indoors. I was losing what little bit of sanity I had left.

That's where her first entry ended, but you can sense a bit of the hope as well as the despair mixed in. Thanks again for your prayer support for us. We really appreciate it.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
On the Christmas Day edition of CFLive, we welcome our friends from behind the glass. Pictured below are Eric, Elizabeth, Shannon, and Tricia. Not pictured, Siri. And Ryan wasn't able to make the party. I hope you enjoy (enjoyed) our conversation.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Leah called in on the Christmas Eve program and talked about a dress she had made. Here are some pics she sent us. Merry Christmas to you and yours from all of us at CFLive!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008
My friend, Sherry, asked about the drive from Colorado to Tucson. It took 13 hours with Ryan, Reagan and me. We stopped exactly two times for gas and one time for food. YES! The rest was pedal to the metal and hammer down and woooo hooooo! I love driving like a trucker.

Andrea was going to stay at a nice hotel in Sierra Vista, but she found a rental online and it even has a pool, which, if you have young ones, you know they will stay all day in the water. Unfortunately, today it is raining. How often does that happen in the desert? I'm not sure, but I hope it goes away soon. Plus, we're in the Oro Valley, which is where the radio station is where I'm broadcasting. It's literally about 10 minutes away. (And if Tucson is any indication of the economy, we're going to be okay this year as far as Christmas sales. Traffic galore!)

Thanks for all your prayers for us as we try to figure out our lives and move forward. The chirren seem to be getting better already. Their skin rashes that came back are dissipating with fungal treatments, shampoos, and meds. Brandon showed me his arm yesterday and the things was as smooth as his bottom when he came into this world. It's been a long time since his upper arm hasn't had some kind of weird rash going on.

Merry Christmas from the Fabry family. Two of us are not here, but we're thinking of them and of you. May you have a wonderful Christmas celebration this year!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The home we had hoped to stay in while in Arizona didn't work out, but we're looking for alternatives. Two daughters, Megan and Kristen, set off today, Saturday, and made the trek. It's about a 12 hour drive. On Sunday morning, Ryan, Reagan, and I will make the trip together and we are planning a man-drive. None of this stopping to pee stuff. We are pointing the car south and we aren't stopping until the gas light turns yellow. Plus, we are going to tell jokes and laugh and make funny noises and spit out the window. And we might even buy some beef jerky and drink Mountain Dew.

You can tell it's close to Christmas, can't you.

It looks like all but two of our chirren will be with us in Arizona, and the little ones are a 'pinin for their father to come throw them in the hotel pool. I can't wait to see them and relieve their mother from her duties. Plus, we haven't had our anniversary dinner yet! I'm hoping she gest me some flowers, of course.

Thanks for all of your prayers for our family. We see some hope in this situation and are looking for the pony in the barnyard, if you know what I mean.

One of my daughters said yesterday, "Well, this will be a lot better Christmas than last year."

I had to stop and think. How could being out of our home, out of my office, unable to retreive anything, going to see a doctor in another state and staying away from our rented home, no Christmas tree, etc., etc., how could that be better than last year.

And then I remembered last year. Reagan was so sick he could hardly stand. He had constant vertigo. He was just a mess, physically. This year, at least we are all ambulatory! And we have much to give thanks for. Part of that is you and your concern to read these rambling words. Thank you. And a Merry Christmas to you.
Friday, December 19, 2008
I know you folks like to see pictures of our guests and since I'm in Colorado and the guests are usually in Chicago, I don't get my picture taken with them. Usually Eric or Tricia or both are standing with them. Take a look. The one above is of Carolyn McCulley and Collin Lambert.

This is Greg Stielstra with Tricia and Eric.

Here is our Christmas crew, Eric, Elizabeth, Shannon, and Tricia. Don't they look festive!!!

Last, but not least, is Screwtape himself, Max Mclean.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Hello All,

Let me ramble, as I often do. Monday we tested my office for mold spores. A dear listener actually sent the funds to do this testing and we are grateful. I wear a chemical splash suit every day I walk in there. I had thought that I was okay working in the office because there are
no common vents from the house.

As usual, I was wrong.

Evidently with me, the kids, Andrea, and our dogs coming in and out of the room, we brought in a significant number of spores. The culprit this time is penicillium aspergillius. About 650,000 spores per gram. There were 2.9 million spores in the room and pen asp should be no more than 1-2% of the spores. I'm not good at math, but 650K is more than 2%. Our dr. in AZ said, "Don't go in that room without scuba gear on." It's hard doing a show in scuba gear.

The good news is that the spores aren't stachybotrys. With pen asp, you can clean the electronics, hepa them, test them, and be pretty certain that the equipment is okay. But I don't know how long it will take to have someone clean them. And then I need to find a new place to broadcast.

My plan is to broadcast from Focus on the Family today and tomorrow. They have been such good friends over the years and they are opening their doors to the likes of me. I'm grateful. Then I'm hoping to drive to AZ with the other kids and get to Andrea near Tucson. Hey, it's our anniversary today!!! Yippee! What a world.

Andrea spent the night with Erin, our oldest, in the ER in Tucson. Something about her heart. Shannon stayed with the little kids at the hotel. All have tested positive for fungal growths after our massive exposure to toxins. It will take years to reverse this, and even then there may be permanent damage.

Merry Christmas from the Fabrys and I hope your year was just as good as ours. :)

I just sent an email to our mortgage company asking for relief and including test results, possible legal action, etc. I'm hoping for some relief from them.

Something really bad is going on here. This doesn't feel like the normal vicissitudes of life. And where bad things happen, God usually shows up, and we've seen that in a big way. I can't tell you, well I could, but I would just weep through the whole thing, of all the people, known and anonymous, who have helped out. Our church has been great. The teachers at school, those poor, penniless teachers raised $$ for us. Boy Scouts and neighbors. A guy at Focus gave me all of his old dress shirts, and they weren't that old. His wife said, "My husband has lost weight and we thought you could wear these." Dr. Gary Chapman has been unbelievably kind to us, and so have many others.

I now have more dress shirts than I've ever owned in my life but no house and no office.

The good news is that in the testing, we also had the house we're currently renting evaluated and it is fine, thank God. We thought we'd cross-contaminated, but that one is okay.

I'm fully expecting Satan to rise from the desert and try to smite us as we drive to Arizona. But greater is he who is in me than he who controls the mold. That's a rough paraphrase of the New Fabry International Version.

Thanks for your prayers. We are going to come out on the other side of this much stronger, I think. We realize how little control we have over any of this and are just taking small steps each day to keep going. This is going to be a Christmas to remember because I know we will never forget it. And I hope we never forget the kindness, the many people praying, and the wonderful friends we have who are going through this with us. I know we are not alone.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008
My brother was part of a ceremony last weekend where he and other classmates from the U.S. Military Academy class of 1974 laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I found it very moving and thought you might like to see it. The video is hand-held and a bit grainy, but worth the few minutes it takes to watch. Click VIDEO to watch.
Friday, December 12, 2008
I am going to tell you something that shocked me, not because it was outlandish in and of itself, but because it was spoken by the wife of my youth and I NEVER expected her to say this. Our anniversary is this Thursday, and for the first time in 26 years it looks like we will be apart on that day.

Now, she did not utter a profanity, though I have pushed her to that a few times before in our marriage. It was not some scandalous thing she said about someone. She did not lie. She did not say, "I am leaving you!"

Early on in our mold travail, when we were just out of the house a few days, I tried to cajole Andrea into looking at the bright side of things. "Come on, honey, think of it. We could live anywhere in the country! No mortgage to tie us down. (And no equity either.) We can fly!"

She looked at me with those big brown eyes of hers, saying in essence, "No way. I'm not buying it."

She made the point that the children, after going through the physical and mental trauma they've experienced, did not need to be separated from their friends. Their schools and teachers and our church were their anchors. They needed stability. They needed familiarity. We needed to give them every ounce of "normalcy" we could.

So imagine my face and my big brown eyes, though they are kind of hazel, when she called late last week and said, "You're not going to believe this, but I think we ought to move to Arizona."

Now it's Monday morning and I am staring at two plastic bins by my side where the remnants of Colin and Brandon's clothes sit. The house is quiet, which it usually is early in the morning, but it's going to stay quiet because I took Andrea and four of the children to the airport last night and put them on a plane to Arizona.

The kids were not getting better here. There is so much medicine and so many different ways to treat them, and she believes, as I do now, that being in the climate near Tucson will not only help them (instead of being inside with snow outside) but will help her learn how to treat them--because she's closer to the doctor we think can help.

This all may fall through, but even in the past week we've seen God doing some amazing things. I can't go into all of it, but we feel like God is pushing us toward a desert. It's already been a desert-like experience in a lot of ways.

So I will finish work this week and drive down there over the weekend. I'm hoping to do the radio show from Tucson early next week, but that's up in the air as well.

If you are among those who have been praying, thank you. Continue to do that because I think that's the best thing you could do right now. We feel in a lot of ways like we're being buoyed by the prayers of friends as we try to keep our heads above the fray.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Andrea and I record a program each week with Dr. Gary Chapman who wrote The Five Love Languages. He's not only a NY Times bestselling author, he's also a great speaker on the radio, and he's kind and compassionate, always asking about our situation with the house, always offering to help in tangible ways. I don't think we could have a better friend in North Carolina.

We've recorded programs through December and the first topic we're hitting in January is "Couples in Crisis." The best writing advice is "write what you know," and it's the same with radio. Talk about what you know, what you're experiencing. So we'll record with him tomorrow and talk about some of the stuff we've been through in the past 18 months.

One thing we're accustomed to at this time of year, is disappointment. Our anniversary is a week before Christmas. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Last year, we had one child just out of the hospital and several others at varying stages of illness. We got everything set and for our anniversary thought, "We'll just have one meal together, alone, at a restaurant."

About a mile from the restaurant the phone rang and we turned around and went back home. It was disappointing. But the really great thing about this whole experience has been that we haven't let the crushing weight of what has come against us rip us apart. I'm not saying we agree about everything and I'm certainly not saying we don't argue. But our main goal here is survival and helping the children get well again, and when you come together for that kind of goal, it's hard to be torn apart. Not saying it can't happen, but by God's grace, we've been unified.

Maybe your family is going through some kind of crisis this year. Maybe even having a tree in the house and twinkling lights is the last thing you could imagine at this point. Don't give up hope and don't let the circumstances rip you and those you love apart.

Laughter helps, and I'm prone to more of it and she is prone to less. But I think she'd admit that my ability to smile through the misery has helped a bit. And her ability to tenaciously hang onto information and follow procedures has helped me tremendously.

The main glue to all of this is our relationship with God. If it weren't for that, I'd have plunged over the cliff long ago. For some reason, and I believe there is a purpose behind all this, God has allowed us to walk through this valley. Most of the time we've been carried. Allowing him to carry us through crisis is the best way to come out the other side whole.

Monday, December 8, 2008
Here is the first email Robert sent, just so you can see the text of it:

Chris, I have been listening to your show the past couple of days. I think you must be a solid and caring father and husband and give kudos to you for talking about your faith-something very hard to talk about.

However, from what I have gathered from your show you seem to focus on pushing religion and steamrolling those who might not share your views such as Oprah and now "humanists."

Truthfully, I dont know what I "am". I am a baptized Catholic, but dont really have a relationship with God..I guess I am in the ambiguous searching stage. I' wouldnt call myself a "humanist" so I think my thoughts are objective.

You seem so upset that some people want to take religion out of Christmas and just want others to be "good for goodness sake". Isnt that the point of Christmas? Worshiping or honering your particualr God is not the part of Christmas that helps others and makes others feel loved and welcomed. It IS the "being good" that spreads welfare and brings others those feelings I mentioned. It is in "being good" that people feed the poor, give gifts, and act with kindness.

Jesus did stand for these attributes of kindness and giving, but so do other people-regardless of religion. Does that mean humanists or athiests for that matter are perfect? Of course not, we all have faults. However, dont you think that being good just "because" is better than being good because of a reward one would get from God?

I guess my point is that religion can spark other people to do good-if religion is interpreted in a responsible way, which often it is not. Doing good just "because" is more noteworthy because then you are acting upon your conscience and not because of a book. Religion teaches us to do good, but the bible also has bad things which many so called Christians have performed. It is not humanists or athiests that have started wars and fights, but the overly zealous religious.

Remember, religions have some noble, brave, and kind individuals as members. Athiests abd humanists also have members with these attributes. Both groups have members that hurt others and have morals that don’t fit in with the common good of our society.

Finally, your guest compared Hitler to humanists or athiests. Hitler was insane and did not have normal values. Values that athiests are pushing this Christmas season like just being good for Humanaties' healthy for our society.

Religion is not the answer to making the world a better place, kindness is. We ALL need to work on it.
Best of luck in your career and endeavors, take care!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I didn't do Chris Fabry Live today. For the first time since May 5, other than holidays, I had Collin Lambert fill in for me. My unbroken string was snapped because of several events that made the perfect storm.

My wife, Andrea, took two of our sons, Colin and Reagan, to see a doctor in Arizona to see if he can help us with their recovery from problems stemming from a toxic mold exposure. She was supposed to return Wednesday, but because of extra testing, had to change the flight to Thursday.

Brandon, who is in the second grade, was counting on his mother to be in the audience for this performance of King Bidgood's in the Bathtub. It's an award-winning book for children about a King who won't get out of the bathtub and the people of the kingdom try to figure out how to get him out. Music goes along with the telling of the story. (Don't worry, I won't spoil the ending.)

It was just the 2nd grade class and a few parents in the music room. It only lasted about 15 minutes or so. It wasn't really a big deal.

Except to Brandon.

And part of what we've been trying to do with the kids since we've moved out of our house is keep things "normal." So today, on the 2 month anniversary of the day we left our home, I decided not to ask one of his older siblings to sit in for one of us, I decided that I'm the one who needed to be there and watch him perform.

And it was a big deal.

To me.

Because I got to see him do something he just loved doing. I got to enter his world for a few minutes and listen to his music teacher--who is fantastic, by the way. And I was able to stop all the important stuff, all the things that I think are special, and do something that will really last. A memory of the king in the bathtub, the courtiers who wanted him to come out, and a little boy playing a cymbal and smiling at his dad.

So if you were wondering where I was today, that's the story. In a sense, I was in the bathtub with the king and my son. It was a good day.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I hesitate to write this before I get to talk with Andrea in-depth, but I wanted to give a preliminary update on the trip to Arizona. Andrea took Reagan and Colin to see a doctor there we believe might be able to help them.

One of the first things he did with Reagan was to determine that his hearing loss may not be permanent. That's going to be huge for him because right now he only needs half of an i-pod. He's like George Bailey without the Hee Haw. That's good news.

Andrea is with the doctor still. This evening she and the boys and another family who have gone through much the same as we have are having dinner with him to ask questions and hopefully get direction. If what I think is true, this may be a wholesale change in the way their treatment goes.

Bottom line, I heard a lot of hope in her voice. She kept saying, "I'm so glad we came. I'm so glad we came."

Thanks for your prayers.
Monday, December 1, 2008
I took Andrea and two of the boys to the Denver airport Monday. I-25 was inching along and the road was still icy. I could barely see out the windshield and couldn't see a thing behind us because of the grime on the back window.

Colin was scared to fly in the plane. He was up late Sunday night complaining that he didn't want to go. I told him there was very little chance of the plane going down and in the event of a water landing, there was always his seat cushion. I don't think that helped.

We hugged and kissed everyone, then I drove away. A few minutes later Andrea called in tears. We were wondering if she'd have trouble with the insulin and needles she had to bring, but it turns out there was something wrong with the tickets and there was more than concern in her voice. I told her if anyone can get on a plane, it's her.

Tonight my cell phone rang. It was Colin. "Hi Dad. We're in this rented car in Arizona and it's really cool." He proceeded to tell me how there are chairs in the car and that they swivel and are really cool.

"How did you like the plane ride?"

"It was awesome," he said. All of the fear from the night before was gone. He said he was even getting along with his brother "pretty good."

Their doctor's appointment is Tuesday afternoon. We're hoping to get some answers about their conditions that we haven't had so far. Then, Wednesday evening we'll pick them up at the airport. This really has been a doctor's visit we've been waiting to have for months.

In the picture, I am standing next to Reagan, who's in Arizona. Colin is in the foreground in the middle with his "expander smile." I wondered if he would get through security at the airport without setting off the buzzer.

We all got together for Thanksgiving, and then, two days later went out to celebrate my son's 18th birthday. Here's a shot of the entire clan. Andrea left today, 12/1, for Arizona with two of the boys to see if the doctor there can help in their illnesses.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I was struggling today with some criticism and decided to sit down and write a few things I really believe. It turned out to be something I want to remind myself often, and here they are for you if you're struggling with something or someone.

This is part biblical truth and part Mr. Rogers. I loved Mr. Rogers, by the way. In my book, he was a prince among men. I miss him.

Here's my thesis I call, Be Yourself.

God has not created anyone on the planet who’s just like you.
Be Yourself.
Don’t get puffed up by praise.
Don’t get discouraged by criticism.
Never require someone else to validate what you do.
Listen to your heart.
Don’t concern yourself with those who are whole or who think they are, speak to those who know they’re broken.
And listen.
The future is determined not by your striving, but by God working.
There is a little piece of you that every day feels a sense of remorse and loss and regret over choices made, things beyond your control, and pain that springs up from some deep pool. It is in that remorse and loss and regret that your greatest strength lies, as well as your greatest hurt. Don’t lose it. Don’t shun it. Walk with it every day. Hold it closely.
And above all, Be Yourself.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Eric Liddell writes in Disciplines of the Christian Life:
“Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives, but God is not helpless among the ruins. Our broken lives are not lost or useless. God’s love is still working. He comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out his wonderful plan of love.”
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Answer to prayer today. We have a doctor's appointment in Arizona for 2 of our kids who have been struggling with their illnesses related to mold. We’ve been wrangling back and forth with the medical insurance company about coverage and even though they're not going to cover it at this point, we think they will when the test results come back. Even if they don't at least we're moving forward on this and we're hoping it will be the beginning of some better days health-wise for them.

We had some friends hold a benefit concert for us over the weekend, and it looks like the proceeds of that concert will cover the airplane flights to Arizona for Andrea and the two boys. People have been so generous and we have much to be thankful for this year, in the midst of some trying times.

On the home front, we have no news to report other than we're still exploring all of our options. The house sits as we left is on October 4th, like a ghost. And we're hearing so many stories of people in our same situation. I hope we can be a help to others throughout this situation.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Received this from my sister in law and many of you want to see it and read it again.

What Love means to 4-8 year old children . . .

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, 'What does love mean?' The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think.

'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.'
Rebecca- age 8

'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.'
Billy - age 4

'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.'
Karl - age 5

'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.'
Chrissy - age 6

'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.'
Danny - age 7

'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss'
Emily - age 8

'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.'
Bobby - age 7

'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,'
Nikka - age 6

'Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.'
Noelle - age 7

'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.'
Tommy - age 6

'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.'
Cindy - age 8

'My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.'
Clare - age 6

'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.'
Elaine-age 5

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.'
Chris - age 7

'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.'
Mary Ann - age 4

'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.'
Lauren - age 4

''You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.'
Jessica - age 8

And the final one
The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.
When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said,
'Nothing, I just helped him cry'
Have you ever gotten really angry? I mean, spitting mad? Most of the time it happens to me when money is involved. I get shortchanged by someone who didn't mean to or my order isn't right at the drive-thru.

Today, a friend of mine, Robert, shares a recent example of this he had with his bank. I believe what's important is not that we get angry, we will. What's important is how we handle that anger. And if we do fly off the handle, we should recognize it as the sin that it is.

I'm hoping to tell a story my kids are still laughing at 10-15 years after it happened. It concerns the Stevenson Expressway, my little Ford Festiva, and a car ahead of me littering.

I hope you can join us--and if you're reading this afterward, find the podcast at

Oh, and if you want to read about a fellow handling anger well, don't forget to get a copy of Dogwood.
Monday, November 17, 2008
I just had to relate this because it's one of those things that happen that you forget if you don't write down. We've been out of our house for more than a month now and there's not much new to report. However, last Friday a van pulls up in front of the home we're renting and there's a young boy/cub scout standing there. His mother is smiling from the front seat as he thanks me for my order and supporting the scouts.

I remember ordering popcorn from him (the chocolate covered kind) because he just looked so cute and I couldn't resist. He had a tin about as big as he was in his hands. He handed it over, took a breath, and in a squeaky voice said, "We at Scout Troop (insert #) know your family is having a hard time and we want you to have this as our gift." He gave me back the $20 I had paid.

"Are you sure?" I said, looking at the popcorn and the money.

"Yes, it's what we want to do."

It's so humbling to receive that kind of love, and yet it's so freeing to accept it because the little boy and the scout troop really wanted to give it. I was advised early on that when people want to give, accept it.

I took both the popcorn and money and then talked with him and his mom. When he heard about the deaths of our dogs I thought the poor boy was going to cry right there in the street. He was so saddened by that part of the story.

Just to show you we have some good friends around us who are being so generous. And if you need any chocolate popcorn, let me know. :)
Friday, November 14, 2008
I mentioned a picture of a family on Thursday, 11/13. This is the email I received from Diane about her family and their family picture follows.


I was driving home from a counseling appointment today with three of my adopted children while listening to your show. I am usually teaching my teens in the afternoon and don't get to hear your show. I decided it was a God moment that I heard the announcement about adoption on the show for tomorrow and decided to write to you.

I'm sure you have many emails to read, so I will try to be brief. My husband and I have adopted 11 children domestically here in the Cleveland, OH area. Adoption is truly a calling. There are many blessings and we hope and pray that our children will all leave our home ready to love, honor and serve the Lord - that is our goal. I believe that is why they were placed with us. It is challenging for sure and many days are uphill, but, when we see a glimmer of hope, a forward step in the bonding process instead of two steps back, we are encouraged to forge ahead. We have learned to trust in the Lord each and every day.

Some days I feel as if I am floating in the "Sea of Sadness," thinking that I may never get through the difficulties in their lives. But, one day, one of my friends, who struggles with a difficult illness said she was "floating on the ocean of God's
mercy". I decided that I needed to climb out of the sea into the mercy boat! On our own, my husband and I cannot "save" them. That is God's job. We can however, plant many seeds that start them on the right path to Him.



Thursday, November 13, 2008
We had dinner with friends last night who have been so generous to our family. I showed them the news story about our family and Andrea's description of the events that unfolded with the house. When they saw me in my "bunny suit" that I use to work in every day, they howled louder than their dog, Jaxson when I walk up the street.

They said I did look like a Yhetti and that I should have growled while I was on camera and lifted my arms like I was going to attack.

Steve went into the garage and pulled out two brand new "suits" for me and these even have the footies built in. I'm wearing it now, thinking how great it is to have friends who care and will feed you salmon. Even if they do laugh at you and call you names, it's great to have them.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I'm used to hearing women cry on the phone. My wife. My daughters. But last night, Bill's wife called in tears. I had left a message on her phone telling her that I'd done a program about Bill on Monday and she listened last night, along with her daughter.

The last thing I want to do is invade the privacy of someone still grieving, but she was genuinely moved by the way we talked about her husband and how the callers responded. Even though he's been gone more than a year, and even though his life ended in a way none of us wanted, God is still using him.

God does that. He uses our weakness. He uses the broken places and the broken people. If you feel worthless and unuseable, you're in the perfect place for God to move in and make a difference.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I received an email from a friend who had received an email newsletter from singer Steven Curtis Chapman and a song he wrote called Thomas McBride. I think you'll like it.

Click to hear the Steven Curtis Chapman SONG
Monday, November 10, 2008
Bill loved our family and all of our kids. He was at our house so many times helping with some problem or project.

I met Bill through his son and I believe his wife found out I was thinking about building an office at my house. Bill comes over, we look in the back yard, try to figure out a place to put me where I can have a little privacy. He knows I don’t want to spend a fortune on it. We walk into the garage, he looks at the 13 foot ceiling and says, “Why don’t we put it here? You’ve got a foundation, we can drop the floor down…” He’d built it in his head before I could even grasp the idea. I said, what about the staircase that goes into the house. Oh, I got a guy who can do that.

That was one of Bill’s favorite phrases. When it came time to put in cabinets and a countertop, "I got a guy who can do that."

When our fence blew down and our dogs were running in the street, I called Bill. I got a guy who can do that. And when I got the estimate from the guy, I called Bill. WHAT? I’ll be right over. He shows up fifteen minutes later. “For Pete’s sake he doesn’t need a new fence, just replace that post, use the old stuff there, patch that…” The estimate came down to half the price.

We wanted to landscape the back yard. I got a guy who can do that. We wanted to put in a basketball court and tear out the playground. I got a guy who can do that.

In all the time I knew Bill, I never knew about his alcohol struggle. I wish I’d been as good a friend to him as he was to us.

Bill was fascinated with what I did. I’m a writer and do some radio stuff as well. But he would come into the office, look at the bookshelf, and stare at my computer, as if to say, You really just sit here all day and write?

With equal amazement, I would wander out and watch him and his guys frame up a wall or string the electric wire and wonder how in the world they did what they did. I tried to put on a door handle on our bathroom, and I showed Bill. He gave it that blue-eyed stare, cocking his head. It was on upside down. “You can take that back to Wal-Mart and get the right one, you know.”

I wish I could write the last chapter of Bill’s life on earth. I wish I could change what happened, but I can’t. None of us can.

But I don’t think Bill would mind if I imagined what may have happened the day he shook the sleep from his soul and opened those blue eyes to see the glittering streets, the immaculate construction job. I think his mouth fell open and he thought, “Who did they get to do this?”

And then a cloud fell over his face and someone came up beside him. What’s wrong Bill?

“I don’t belong here. I’ve messed up. I’ve let people down. I’ve hurt them. This is where good people go.”

The man beside him probably inched closer. You’re wrong Bill. This is not where good people go. Look at the bullnose on that railing over there. Look at the precision in the walls. There’s nothing here that’s not perfect, including the people.

And Bill just gave one of those laughs. “Then I don’t have a prayer. I’m nowhere near perfect. For Bill Heinz to be perfect would take a miracle.”

And the man beside him said, I got a guy who can do that.

And when Bill turned, and looked into the face of Jesus, it all came together.

Bill had told me about his meetings with Methodist men. He just glowed when he talked about his son going on a missions trip. There was something inside him that understood we’re not just flesh and bone, but spirit as well.

Bill looked into the face of the man with the scars in his hands.

Bill, you did make mistakes. You made some big ones. But you’re my child because you accepted the gift I offered. When the Father looks at you, he doesn’t see you. He sees me and my perfection.

Bill and I used to joke that we had the best jobs in the world because we never had to get dressed up. We always wore sweats and Carhartt shirts.

Now, Bill is clothed in the righteousness of Christ. He’s forgiven. Restored. And unlike life down here, where the family had to pack up and leave every year or two after a house was finished, he never has to worry about moving again.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Last week a crew from the local NBC affiliate did an interview with Andrea and took video of me in my goofy suit. Here is a link to the printed story from KOAA.CLICK HERE.

There are a couple of small inaccuracies, but overall Nicole did a good job of getting at the essence of ours and the Edmonson's stories. It's a complicated, involved thing, and she captured the danger and the frustration, I think.

Our hope in this is to help people and protect them from going through some of the same stuff we've gone through in the past year and a half. If you need more information about what toxic mold can do, there's a website called That's a great first resource for people with questions.

Finally, the kids howled when they saw me in my protective suit. Thought I was trying to do my abominable snowman impersonation. I guess it helps to laugh, so go ahead.

Thursday, November 6, 2008
Jeff is our UPS guy. He drives the big brown truck and delivers all kinds of packages. Since we've been out of our home for more than a month now, I've only seen him around town and waved. Today, I heard the big diesel engine clanking up the driveway as I was coming out of the office.

"I see Andrea over at school," he said. "How are you guys doing?"

I told him what was happening and he, like just about everyone who hears, said he was sorry for us. "At least the kids are getting better, right?"

Yes, it's true, they are getting better, though not as quickly as we would like. Colin and Reagan have had a tough time even after moving out of the house. We're still praying for direction regarding the home and what to do with it, so keep praying on that end. And pray that we'll continue to be able to talk with our friends like Jeff. He's just one of the many people who have touched our lives and enriched it with their smiles and well wishes.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Here's the email I talked about on the air today. I hope this encourages you.

Good Morning Chris,
My husband's name is Dan and he’s the one who keeps you informed about the temperature in Alaska sense you mentioned 'except in Alaska' on your show. We look forward to listening to your show together each morning, I think he has more fun listening to you than almost any other part of our day. I wanted to tell you a bit about this extraordinary man. He’s a devout man of God and a strong leader with a sense of humor seemingly like yours.

He is 6'4' and a not so typical... typical Alaskan. He grew up in the south and shows hospitality to whomever he meets. His boyhood dream was to come to Alaska. Why do I tell you this today, well, in this political timeline I wanted to share with you his idea of healthcare reform.

You see My husband is a PA, a physician’s assistant, and he has worked in some of the most remote communities in Alaska, some only accessible by bush planes, then met by snow machines to take him to a small one room cabin to stay for a few weeks to help the sick, and of course plant seeds for the Lord. You can imagine the stories he tells with having such a rich sense of humor.

After the past 20 years of being discouraged by the current healthcare system (and a lot of prayer) the Lord knew Dan’s heart and led us to open our own walk in clinic this year. I can’t even begin to describe how God had such a hand in each aspect of this clinic.

We decided to sell our house and build the clinic (which we built our selves) without going into debt so that we could offer truly affordable healthcare. We charge $65.00 for most visits, and make payment arrangements for those who cannot afford to pay, and have seen many people without charging at all. My Husband does not turn people away. He spends as much time as he can with each patient to make sure they are getting the best care he can possibly give. I joke that he spends too much time. We are open from 2 pm to 9:30 pm as a convenience for working families. Except on Wednesdays and Sundays for church). He makes follow up calls on a daily basis and yes, he even makes house calls.

There are Bibles in our waiting room and if you show an interest we are not afraid to invite you to services and to let you know how God has blessed us. After all that is what we are supposed to do. When its time to go home we forward our phones so that we can be available at any time. If you ask, Dan’s all too happy to joke that at 8:00 in the morning his receptionist answers the phone in her bathrobe, making eggs. You see it is me on the other end of the line, we are even more blessed to be able to work together. Dan amazes me daily with his compassion and dedication to helping each and every person. He truly is a servant trying to make a difference.

I don’t know what’s going to happen with this election or health care in the future, as for us we are implementing God’s brand of health care reform right here. And we give all the glory to Him. If you are ever in Soldotna (Sol-Dot-Na) Alaska make sure to look us up.

I have attached a picture of Dan in front of the clinic so that you can see who’s filling you in on the weather here in Alaska and hopefully it will return the smile that you will give us today.

Thank you,
Mrs. Dan Nyitrai
Monday, November 3, 2008
Just a quick note that my father was able to come home from the hospital Friday night. He was so glad to get out of the hospital and back to his normal routine. He slept from Friday night at 11 until Saturday afternoon--I don't think he slept a lot at the hospital.

They've changed his medication for his heart and believe this will help him greatly. I know your prayers were part of his recovery. Obviously they'll keep close watch on him. Thanks for your kindness and prayers for him.
Friday, October 31, 2008
For those praying for my father, here's a quick update. Just got an email from my brother who lives near my parents--his wife is a pediatric nurse and knows many of the medical personnel at this hospital. My father completed his stress test with no difficulties. He's raring to come home, as they say in my neck of the woods. So there seems to be some improvement in his condition and I thank you for your prayers.

I also got an email from Phillip Rodgers--a guest we had in July who has written some excellent children's books. His father is having/had surgery today, October 31, so add him to the list of fathers to be lifted up.

Thanks for listening and caring. We really appreciate all who stop by for the latest.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I hate to be the human prayer list, but I heard last night from members of the family that my father is in the hospital with heart issues. He had a heart attack many years ago and has been going strong, but at 88, he's slowing down and we're all concerned. Please pray for him. If you don't hear me on the air you'll know I'm headed home.

On Wednesday's program, I talked about Bart Giamatti's essay on "The Green Fields of the Mind." It's just a beautifully written piece that hits at the heart. I'm not sure if that's where the following came from, but when I knew the World Series was winding down, I pulled out my own essay, part of my book, Dogwood.

This essay is actually a speech the main character gives in the chapel, to himself, because he can't attend the funeral. He's in prison when his father dies and the warden allows him this opportunity. This is not even a veiled attempt to hide my love for my father because most of it is about me. I'll include that section below if you want to read it.

My brother and sister in law were at the hospital and they don't have phones in intensive care, but they let me speak to him via cell. He had a hard time hearing me and thought I was my other brother. But guess what we talked about? He was watching the Phillies-Tampa Bay game. He was rooting for Tampa Bay, too.

Maybe your connection with your father was different--it could be bowling or fishing or any of a hundred things. Here's what I wrote:

“Talk to me of a father’s love and I will tell you of baseball. Tell me of a tender touch or a hug that lasts in your memory and I will kiss you with stories of our game. Walk with me in moonlight, tell me the ways your father expressed deep emotion, his innermost feelings, and I will tell you of pitchouts, squeeze bunts, and called third strikes.”

“The women of my life, my mother, my girlfriends, have never been able to touch the part of me that yearns for the fresh smell of baseball—the finely mowed infield. Deep brown dirt and snow white bases. The tough, pungent aroma of hickory and leather.

“In the cool of the evening, when his work was done, my father and I played catch to the voices of Al Michaels and Joe Nuxhall. We groaned together through the1971 season and rejoiced at the next and all the way to Oakland. I still hate Gene Tenace and Joe Rudi for taking that away from us, but it made the experience sweeter three years later when, in spite of Carlton Fisk, we beat the Red Sox in seven.

“It wasn’t the smell of my father’s pipe lingering in the air or the winning and losing. It was the game itself, spread out before us a hundred times and more each year, the same, yet changing. Baseball cast a spell that drew us together. Baseball was the closeness we shared. We were never able to express ourselves and enjoy each other fully, without reservation, except with baseball.

“As a child, I had no idea how my father felt about his work at the chemical plant where he worked. I still don’t know. I knew little about his childhood, the anguish of losing a mother and brother to the flu epidemic that spread through the country, the abuse of a stepmother, why he chose my mother as his wife, and a thousand other questions I should have asked.

“But I do know this. I know baseball. I know how he felt about the designated hitter, steroids, and the asterisk by Roger Maris’s name. Baseball became our connection, and each spring, when the sirens called, I felt the link grow even deeper and stronger.

“When I was a child, and we partook of the blessed sacrament of spring training results, my father and I would coax the sun a little hotter, a little higher and brighter in our West Virginia sky. We trembled beneath that vast, blue canvas, knowing it was the same sky that looked down on the green diamonds of the major leagues.

“In summer we sweated through each extra inning and blown save. We counted mosquitoes, jarred lightning bugs, and believed in our team. We were separated by years, tastes in music, food, clothes, and politics, but we delighted in baseball. We kept scorecards and statistics ready to recall the previous year’s Cy Young award winner, batting champ, or MVP.

“Fall came and we praised the God who created pennant races. We cursed the demon of the season-ending groundout or pop fly. Baseball was the glue that bound our lives and kept them coming back to each other. Baseball was each tender word never spoken. It was the pat on the back, the term of endearment whispered.

“The last morning we spent together, just before my sentencing, my father and I spoke the last words that passed between us. We talked about our walks in the woods—memories of walking sticks and an old dog, we talked about our town and the changes over the years, and we talked of baseball.”
Monday, October 27, 2008
I spent some of the weekend trying to write thank-you cards to the many people who have given to us the past few weeks. Ironic that I bought the cards at Target with a gift card someone had sent. Some of the people are from as far away as Alaska, and some are in our community, like the lady in our church who turned around after the service last week and handed me a check. "The Lord prompted me to give this to you."

I didn't know what to say. There are so many others in our country and community who are in a much worse situation than we are, but I took the check as another affirmation that God is up to something and that he is going to help us through this next season.

I can't help but think of the father in some distant land who is weeping now because his child is sick and needs medicine, something simple, and he can't get it. And here I am with a roof over my head and dealing with a home issue. It's humbling and challenging at the same time. Maybe you're going through something like this right now. Hang in there and let's see what God is going to do.

One of the teachers or administrators at our children's school contacted the local NBC affiliate about our home issue and early on they called Andrea. We haven't been in any condition to talk to the media about this, other than on my program, and even that is debatable. But the news crew is supposed to come today and do a video shoot. Our hope is that it will raise awareness of the issues we're facing and that some people might be helped. If they actually do the story, I'll provide a link here in the coming days.

I've also been getting good feedback about Dogwood. Thank you for those of you who have purchased a copy. Some old high school friends have bought a bunch of them and I'm grateful for that. (Obviously they hadn't read it before they purchased it.) But if you want to buy a copy from Amazon, click Dogwood.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Busy, busy, busy. That's the way we live our lives. We rush from one thing to the next, trying to squeeze as much time as we can into the day to do more things and get more done. To what end?

Normally I'm a pretty laid back person. If I'm stuck in traffic, I try not to let it bother me. I look at it as a natural phenomenon like a storm and try to ride it out. But I had one of those days this week where I found myself rushing around, trying to get lots of things done. I even called my wife and asked if she needed anything from town.

"Oh, yes, Ryan needs his pants picked up," she said. "I'm so glad you called."

So that added meaning to my rushing. I was now on a sacred mission. I hurried to the mall, found the store's location, and parked in a perfect spot location to rush in and rush out. The store was just inside the mall next to Macy's.

I usually don't go into Macy's. It's a place I walk through rather than have as a destination. And I was glad the aisles were pretty clear so I could rush past the women's clothing and purses and jewelry and perfume and get to the mall doors, then purchase the pants and exit. The perfect hunt, kill, and run we men are so adept at.

I checked my watch. I was right on time for the next appointment. I slung the pants over my shoulder and headed back into Macy's, having memorized the route I would need to take to get to my car. However, right at the purses I was stopped by an elderly couple. They were walking slowly together, hand in hand. I checked the route and stepped left to go around them, through some nice looking sweaters, when something inside, something deep inside said to stop. Don't go around them.

Weird. I was in my man mode. My rush happiness. I was making good time. I needed to hurry.

But I chose to slow to a snail's pace. Painfully slow. Agonizingly slow. And I watched them. She was obviously in much better shape than he. Her strides were more vigorous. She stood taller and her skin tone was much more vibrant. Her hands didn't seem as gnarled as his. He was taking at least two steps to every one of hers. His shoulders were stooped and it looked like he could barely see over the brim of his hat. And still they walked, hand in hand, blocking the middle of the aisle.

They were talking to each other in that morse code of older people who have known each other a lifetime. Grunts and short bursts of conversation. I wanted to get closer to hear, and I could imagine some of what they were saying, but I didn't dare get so close as to interrupt their walk or make them feel...rushed.

Now we were three people walking slowly. The women from the dress department, about four of them, were talking loudly to our left. There was something about a price mismatch or a display that needed tending. The couple glanced their way but kept going. I could see my door coming up, but I lingered there, imagining them 40 years earlier rushing around and running errands and tending their children. White haired and lovely as the sun they now walked together, like two ducks waddling toward fresh water.

I finally peeled off to the left and passed them. He looked over at me, his face turtle like, his eyes fixed on my stride, as if he envied my quickness and youth and purpose. But I was the envious one.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I now have more dress shirts than I've ever had in my life. It happened like this. I received an e-mail from someone at Focus on the Family. It began something like this, "My husband recently lost a lot of weight." You know you're in trouble when you receive that as the beginning of the message.

So, after a voice session, I met one of the engineers at Focus. Engineers in radio are like the Mother Theresa's of the world. They're kind. They don't have lots of words because they're working with tiny things all day. And they are compassionate. I've never met an engineer who wasn't friendly and helpful.

We walked out to his car and he grabbed what must have been 20 dress shirts, freshly dry cleaned, and two pairs of dress pants. The size was perfect. We talked a little about how he had dropped the pounds and I'm secretly hoping this will be a new weight loss program for me.

My son, Brandon, had a surprise yesterday as well. His 2nd grade teacher had heard what was going on and that all of his "stuff" was gone. So she and the kids got together and provided a basket of games and toys and "stuff" they thought he'd like. Uno cards and Chutes and Ladders and a Batman or two. He came out of school yesterday looking like the King of England.

"What did you say when they showed you the box?" I said.

"I just about screamed!" he said, pawing through it and finding more things.

These are the types of people we have met over the past couple of weeks. So giving and caring. I was flagged down near our home by a neighbor who asked if it was true we were out of the house. In the conversation, I discovered that her family had also moved out of the home they were trying to sell because of financial problems.

"But there's a desk and a couch we'd like to give you guys if you can use them."

Again, people in need who reach out anyway. This is why I refuse to give up on America. With all of the negativity about the future, the election, wars, financial fallout, etc., this is still the land of such giving and caring people, and as long as we remain that way, we have a good future and a hope ahead.

Saturday, October 18, 2008
There is a tree in our back yard, by the house we no longer live in, that is the most beautiful think you have ever seen. It's not that old. It's only been in a year or two, but the leaves on it are the most brilliant orange-red you have ever seen. The aspens are bright yellow, and the shrubs we put in a couple of years ago are burnt orange and brown. I'm getting a little nostalgic because I went by there today to walk alone in the back yard and cross the basketball court where we've played plenty of games of "21" and "PIG." There are two trampolines, lonely and unused. I also noticed that some voles or moles or some underground creatures have been digging along the sprinkler lines. That didn't happen when Pippen and Frodo lived there.

Something amazing happened with my son, Ryan. He's a senior at the local high school and heavily involved in music and drama. Some teachers and friends got together, took up a collection, and raised enough money to buy him a guitar, one of his passions and something we had to leave behind. He knew nothing about the gift until they pulled up in front of the music store and they handed him a card. He was overwhelmed and his music teacher helped him pick out a Taylor guitar which they sold to him at cost, with an amp and case and humidifier you need to make sure your guitar doesn't warp at this dry altitude. I wish you could read some of the things these teenagers said about my son. It made me proud to know him, let alone be his father.

Those words, like the music Ryan is playing right now, are the beautiful leaves that fall around us on the rocks and dry ground and make like so much richer and sweeter. At some point, I hope we will be able to let our leaves fall on you and pass this love back to those of you who have prayed and have been so generous. Thank you.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Today on the program I'm going to talk about God being "up to something" in our lives. That's a quote from a Brandon Heath song that's meant a lot to me lately. Read on.

I just saw a comment here on the blog that a listener ordered 10 copies of Dogwood and got her Christmas shopping started early. I think that's a great idea (the humble author said) and I want to make an offer. If you order multiple copies of Dogwood and you want to participate, e-mail me your address and I will find a way to autograph those. There is something called a book plate that I can put in the mail and you can peel them and put them in the books you give for Christmas. See my email address on the right, and this is retroactive--if you've ordered a bunch of Dogwood already and want to give them away, let me know.

We just heard some sad news from friends of ours who live in a house nearby. I could probably throw a rock and hit their roof if had a better arm. They have beautiful children and have attended our church for a number of years. They've had some health problems recently and the mom actually sewed the curtain I use for my international braodcast studio. They have just discovered that they have the same problem as we do, only it's a little different type of mold. Their whole family is out of their house and displaced as well. I know, you're asking, "What's up with mold in Colorado?" This is a semi-arid environment with very little humidity. You think of mold in "wet" states. Well, this stuff can grow anywhere it finds a water leak. It's an insidious, unseen enemy. (Does that sound like a familiar parallel to our spiritual lives?) Pray for this family as they make the tough decisions we've had to make in the last two weeks. I know they would appreciate it.

God is up to something in our lives. There is hope for you and me, no matter what the circumstance. No matter what the brokenness or loss. They say if you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. The truth is, we're not here because we hang onto God so tightly, he holds us tightly in his sovereignty and grace. He made his plans for the world long before it was created. He made his plans for you long before you were born. And the plan he has for us is not finished, no matter how bleak the outlook. That's what I take from Brandon Heath's song, Wait and See. God is involved. He has a future and a hope for you. You and I are not here for our own pleasure or how much stuff we can accumulate. We do not live a random existence. There is a purpose for your life. He has a purpose for me. And if we will allow him to do his perfect work in us and through us, the world is going to be a better place when we're gone. Our story is part of a much bigger story being written by the Author of our lives. Success is our ability to submit to his plot and align our story with His story. I love thinking about life that way because not only is it true, but it makes sense of some of the senseless things that happen. I can't make sense of the health struggles we've had the past 17 months. But if God can use this to help others and save them from going through the same thing, I'm onboard. I want to ride that train to the end of the track.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family. We are going to try and get the kids around some hay and pumpkins this weekend. Also, if you are in Colorado Springs, I'll be at the Mardel's store on Powers from 12-2 tomorrow, Saturday the 18th. My friend, Travis Thrasher, will also be there so interrupt our conversation!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I was on Mark Elfstrand's morning program from WMBI today and had a conversation about our experience since October 4. He had some good questions and I tried to give the answers. There's so much we don't know about the future, but we know who holds the future in His hands.

Thanks for your prayers and concern. I know many in Chicago will be hearing about this for the first time. Keep praying for wisdom on our next steps. One day, one step at a time.

If you want to do something tangible, rather than sending us something, find a copy of Dogwood and purchase it. Either at your local bookstore or online. Here's a link to Amazon for Dogwood. That really is a vote of confidence about where I feel God has been leading me the past few years, to tell redemptive stories in a genuine way that shows the reality of sin and reflects the love of God.

Brandon Heath's song "Wait and See" from his current album has meant a lot. The chorus to that says, "There is hope for me yet, because God won't forget all the plans he's made for me." I believe he's not finished with this story. He's not finished with our family. In fact, He's just begun.

Thanks for reading and listening. If you want to email me, the address is

I mentioned Pippen in the interview and just found a picture of him on my computer. You can see Frodo's ear in the picture. Pippen was Colin's diabetic buddy. Pippen was diagnosed exactly one year before Colin and he watched him go through 2 shots a day to keep him healthy. We were talking the other day that Pippen and Frodo are probably frolicking together, running free, no mold, no blindness or diabetes. Thank God for dogs.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
We had some good news yesterday afternoon when the toxicology report came back. We tested 6 kids and Andrea for the presence of stachybotrys in their systems. This kind of mold causes cancer and many other maladies. Only two of the children had levels of the mycotoxins for stachy and those were at small levels. We think we will be able to help detoxify them without going to Arizona and a doctor there who specializes in this.

That, coupled with the report about the house, gives us hope that we may be able to bring it back to "habitable," but probably not for us. The cause of this recurrence may be trace elements of mold that the kids and Andrea are more susceptible to because of their huge exposure in the last 17 months. It's kind of like an allergic reaction to some kind of oil--you only have to cook something close to it in order to have a reaction. This makes us wary of bringing clothes and other porous items out. However, we may be able to salvage some electronics and other non-porous items after cleaning. That's a judgment call and some of you who have been through this know the risk is not worth the reward if it means cross-contamination and beginning all over again.

More testing will have to be done down the road on the house to make sure anyone coming in there would not be harmed, of course. The last thing I want to see is anyone getting sick like we've been in the past couple of years.

Thanks for your prayers and emails. They really mean a lot. In the midst of displacement, we are blessed.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
We don't deserve the kind of care we've been given. Saturday and Sunday some friends moved lots of furniture so the home we're staying in doesn't look like a wasteland with bags of clothes lying around. Couches. Chairs. 2 tables. Food. More food. Toys. Puzzles. The game of Trouble. I think I've played that one.

I was out on Sunday night late, making one more run to the store for lunch bags, sandwich bags, fruit snacks and such, and Andrea said Colin was listening to his radio to the local Christian music station. Normally he would listen to Adventures in Odyssey, but all of those are back at the old house. He said, "Hey Mom, I just heard them say something about giving to the Fabry family whose house had mold."

As I said, we don't deserve any of this. We've eaten 8 dinners at 7 different houses in the last week. People have been so generous with their time and their funds to help us. We had nothing except our cars when we left last Saturday night and now we have so much. We feel so fortunate in all of this--sounds counter-intuitive and totally backwards, but it's true.

I keep waiting for the boils to pop up. Or my wife to start getting really cranky.
It's not happening yet.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
We moved into a house that has never been lived in Thursday. We are all here now, the six children and two adults. Our other three children are living out of the home now. I slept between Colin and Brandon on an inflatable bed--really comfortable actually, but it lost some air in the middle of the night and when I woke up, I was in the middle with the two of them squished tightly next to me.

Friday we had a meeting with Carl Grimes of Healthy Habitat who confirmed, due to the timeline of illnesses and looking over the remediation we've had, that it was vital that we move from the house. We've been out a week now and the symptoms have lessened in that time, which Carl thought was a hopeful sign.

Monday we'll hear about other tests on 7 of the family members in regards to the stachybotrus. We had high levels of this in two rooms of the house and we believe it spread to the rest of the house.

This is an involved story and changing all the time. We're trying to make good decisions about the future of the house, of course, but our main concern is the health of the family. We have had support throughout this process from the health insurance provider, working with us and trying to figure out all of the problems the kids have had over the past two years.

From Carl's assessment, it appears that we may be able to save some non-porous things in the home, but there is a risk of cross-contamination with anything we bring from that home.

We're in a good place and healthy and together. The financial end of this scares me, but God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and though I don't need any cows, he knows exactly what we do need. Thanks for your prayers and support.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I just moved all of our worldly possessions from the hotel where we were staying to the home where we'll now rent. It took me 10 minutes to move everything. By myself. We signed a lease last night--the kind folks are letting us rent it month by month. It is a beautiful new home, never lived in, so the concerns over problems with this new house and the health of it are nil.

We sent samples to be tested in Texas at a lab that will tell us if we have toxins in our systems. We should know something Monday about whether or not we have the stachybotrus in our systems. I'm worried most about the children because they seem more susceptible.

Through it all, we've been so encouraged by loving family and friends. Thanks for your prayers. We are going to try and sleep in the new house tonight and are hunting for a good deal on mattresses.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
"Remember it is because He loves us that He waits. Immediate intervention would abort the far greater thing He has in mind. Trust Him for the greater."
My friend from the Chicago area asked if she could hijack this blog. I'll get to her in a moment. First another update:

We have some friends with a house they've never lived in. It's something like 3800 square feet with a nice view. Only 3 bedrooms, but at this point we're not looking for a floor plan, we're looking for a floor. I'm supposed to go over tonight to sign papers, etc.

Thanks for your kindness and prayers. From the emails from listeners I can tell God
is going to do something really good through all of this. And in his own time.

Now, here's what my friend, Sherry, wrote:

(Hey, Chris - Can I borrow your blog to speak to my fellow listeners for a moment? Thanks!)

Hello, fellow listeners!

I know there are a lot of you who, like me, would like to come alongside the Fabry family in a tangible way as they deal with this major upheaval in their lives, so I thought I'd pass this along: To help meet some of their immediate needs, Moody Radio is suggesting that we purchase gift cards to major chain stores (Walmart, Target, Kohl's, etc.) and mail them to the following address:

Moody Radio
Attn: Amy Rios
820 N. LaSalle Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60610

Moody will make sure that Chris and his family receive these gifts in a timely manner.

I hope this is helpful to those of you who want to express your love and encouragement in this way, and let's remember to keep uplifting the Fabry family in prayer during this difficult time in their lives.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Thanks for caring enough to read this blog. Last Saturday, as I was coming back from Tricia Boyle McMillan's wedding, Andrea called and said, "We have to get out of the house." Eight little words that changed our lives.

On Sunday morning we talked with a toxicologist who urged us not to re-enter the house, which we've owned for 8 years. I won't go into all the details, but it is infested with black mold or stachybotrus. (I'm not sure of the spelling and at the moment I don't care how you spell it.) So we left with the clothes on our backs and have not returned. I still work out of a room next to the house but it is not attached with vents.

We have had the home remediated for mold twice. The second time, a hygienist did air samples that came back at unbelievably high levels of stachy. He'd never seen those levels before. Others in the remediation business have said, "I've been in abandoned buildings with mold growing up the walls where the levels aren't that high."

So we have left and are considering options. Lots of questions remain. Is there any way to "fix" the house so that we could move back in or sell it? I would not want to do either unless totally assured the problem is cleared, and if the toxicologist is right, demolishing the house and starting over is the best idea. Like most people, I don't have the funds to do that. Unless I'm wrong, the insurance company doesn't cover this type of loss. We could take legal action, but I'm told this type of case is complex and expensive. Plus, I don't like the thought of going through a court battle, but that may be the only way to get relief.

Amidst all of this, the outpouring of prayer and support has been amazing and humbling. I can't thank you enough for your care and concern. Keep praying. I think God is walking with us through the midst of this. No, I know he is.

Some people have emailed and offered us money. Thank you. I think there is a trust fund being set up by a church in our area. Other than that, if you want to pick up a copy of Dogwood on Amazon or at your local bookstore, I promise that all the proceeds of the royalties of that book will go to the Fabry Family fund.

Thanks again for caring and for your support in prayer. It really means a lot.
Friday, October 3, 2008
What a treat to walk down Wells Street again. My wife and I moved here in 1983, 6 months after we were married. We had everything we owned (except for some furniture) in the back of a 1978 Toyota Corolla Hatchback (which is still running somewhere, I believe). We were following God's call, wherever he led, and we wound up at Moody Bible Institute.

Walking down Wells, I remembered Kristen Kent who was killed here walking back from a job she had. They were filming a movie near the street where she lost her life. The Cabrini Green housing projects are mostly gone. Many students went there to mentor or befriend young children in the neighborhood, but it was a rough area. Now it's been leveled and there are so many buildings going up. The economy may be slowing down, but Chicago is filling up.

The thing I like coming back here is the people. I just spent a few minutes talking with Mike Kellogg, who has meant so much to listeners over the years. Yesterday, Greg Wheatley and I spoke about the Detroit Tigers of the 1960s. I have no earthly idea why because I hate the American League.

Greg now hosts Prime Time America, but a few years ago we used to host a morning program together. There are not two more opposite people on the planet, but I love him like a brother...which means I want to sneak into his room at night and scare the living peanuts out of him.

Then we talked about my book, Dogwood, and his perceptions of it. He mentioned that someone had told him a tidbit about a scene and he wanted to know more. This is a man who does not read the kind of books I write, but that's okay, because my main readership is women who want to dive in to a good story, see themselves on the pages, and come out the other side with some of God's love displayed on the page.

If you haven't read it yet, order a copy or pick one up from your local bookstore.

And then call Greg Wheatley and tell him about it!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

By popular demand, here's a new picture of Tricia and Nate. They will be married this Saturday in Illinois. I'll give you details about the wedding Monday.
Winter statistics:


It snows 5 inches and you don't expect school to be canceled.

You'll wear flip flops every day of the year, regardless of temperature.

You have no accent at all, but can hear other people's.

'Humid' is over 25%.

Your sense of direction is: Toward the mountains and Away from the mountains.

You say 'the interstate' and everybody knows which one.

You think that May is a totally normal month for a blizzard.

You buy your flowers to set out on Mother's day, but try and hold off planting them until just before Father's day.

You always know the elevation of where you are.

You wake up to a beautiful, 80 degree day and you wonder if it's going to snow tomorrow.

**You don't care that some company renamed it, the Broncos still play at Mile High**

Every movie theater has military and student discounts.

You know what a 'trust fund hippy' is, and you know its natural habitat is Boulder

A bear on your front porch doesn't bother you.

Your two favorite teams are the Broncos and whoever is beating the Raiders.
I'm headed to Chicago for a few days and on Saturday, October 4, I will watch our producer, Tricia Boyle, and her intended, Nate McMillan, be united in holy matrimony. This is a special deal for me because when I first met Tricia and Nate, they were producing and engineering Open Line. I could tell there was chemistry between them, but I wasn't sure where it would lead. They seemed to laugh a lot together, which is quite important for a future married couple.

Then, next week, on October 7, I'll be in Birmingham, Alabama at a conference for the Booksamillion chain. They have chosen my novel, Dogwood, as something they're going to feature in November. If you're in the Birmingham area, I'd love to see you on the evening of October 7 at 7 PM at the store located at 1624 Gadsden Highway in Birmingham. I'm excited that many people are reading the book and telling others about it. There are some plot twists and arcs of characters that I think will keep readers guessing. If you'd like to order it, click on the link below.

Friday, September 26, 2008
As a writer, you set goals for your work. Each day I try to write a certain amount of words or a certain amount of pages. I know, because the delivery date of the manuscript is set, that if I put off until tomorrow the writing of those pages and words, it only increases the number down the road. So I stick with it, put my rear in the chair, and put my fingers on the keyboard.

I was recently on Nancy Turner's program on WMBI in Chicago. She asked, "How do you find time to write when you have 9 children and do a radio program each day?"

I'm a big believer that whatever you think is important, you'll do. If your marriage is important, you'll make time to deepen that relationship. If your children are important to you, they'll know it by the time you spend with them. And if writing is something important to you, you'll find time in the schedule to do it. Turn off the TV, turn off the distractions, and do what God called you to do. And, by the way, I probably wouldn't do the writing thing if it weren't a deep-seated calling I feel.

With that said, I reached a goal I had never considered reachable before. Last night I helped my 2nd daughter, Megan, move an entertainment center into her apartment. My son, Reagan, went with us. What were we thinking naming them Megan and Reagan? Anytime we called them the other would yell, "What?" Anyway, after we moved the behemoth in, Reagan and I went to the local grocery store. It's called King Soopers-just the Colorado version of Kroger. Reagan found his Nerd's ropes and I went looking for a sandwich or salad.

As we passed the end cap of books, all the bestsellers from top writers, my eye stopped at the bottom of the rack. There was a familiar crimson and gray cover with Jim Tressel's face on the front. I helped him write The Winners Manual in March and April of this year, and here's that book in my local grocery store.

I had always hoped I could buy a book by Chris Fabry where I buy my beans and turnips, but I don't think it seemed believable to me. I pointed at it and said, "Hey Reagan, look!"

He smiled big and put up his hand. I gave him a high five. The lady behind us had a bag full of cheese in her cart. She was older. She had no idea what was going on. She smiled anyway. I wanted to say, "This is a good book to read while you eat that cheese." I didn't.

I guess I have another goal now. Wouldn't it be great if a person could buy a book of fiction I've written at the grocery store? Then I could say I've bought both dog food and Dogwood.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I'm coming to the great state of Alabama on October 7th. The Chris Fabry Live! show will originate from there and I'll be signing books and meeting listeners at 7 PM at the Booksamillion store at 1624 Gadsden Highway, Birminham, AL.

Booksamillion asked me to come to a manager's meeting and I'm excited about the opportunity. If you're in the area, I would love to see you and match a listener with a face. I hope to see you then.
Monday, September 15, 2008
We took a 3 mile hike on Saturday to combat diabetes. The "Walk for the Cure" became more like a crawl because there were so many people. What a great problem to have. In the picture above you'll see our family, along with some good friends who were there for the walk and the chicken afterward. See the home-made "Colin's Cure Crew" T-shirts. Colin is behind Brandon in the front. I am wearing my San Diego Padre hat.

In the picture below, Colin sits in front of Andrea, showing the correct way to give himself a shot.