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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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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

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.

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.

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.
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).

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.

(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

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

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.

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.