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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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Thursday, August 4, 2016
Five years ago today my father died. He had slipped away from my mother, and my brother and sister-in-law suggested I get there quickly. I drove up to the house with crickets and frogs providing the soundtrack to that West Virginia requiem. The air was thick and humid and I knew this was the end of something good.

The other night as we sat on the front porch my wife looked at me and said, "You look just like your dad." I acted as if it bothered me, but it didn't. I'm okay with becoming my father, looks and all. I'm okay with all that entails, and some of it isn't pretty.

My father wasn't perfect, though. He made mistakes. He yelled on occasion. Wasn't politically correct with his views. But it's not his mistakes I think most about these days. That's the funny thing about time. It erases most of the mistakes and replaces them with warm memories. And both are true. The negatives and positives are real, but time seems to bring the warm ones to the surface more often.

His haircuts, for example. As a kid I hated them. I didn't like sitting on that rickety, metal chair and having hair go down my neck. It was musty and hot in the basement. I just wanted to go outside. As a kid I couldn't wait for that haircut to be over. What I wouldn't give to feel his hands on my head today, pushing those clippers around one more time.

The smell of the peppermints he ate on the way to church. His laugh. Seeing him at the kitchen table reading the paper. Walk with him and our dog, Shep, up the hill and into the woods. Hear him tinker with some machine that wouldn't run. Or ride the tractor into some impossible incline to cut the hay.

I wrote about my father in the book The Promise of Jesse Woods. He was not a pastor in real life, but he had the heart of a good one. There are echoes of his grace and faults in those pages. I suppose I will write about him in some way with each story, but this one captured a different side of him.

The death of my father was the end of something good. But it was also the beginning of memories as rich as the loamy soil he loved.

This is a photo I keep on my desk of my father and his older brother
sitting on the step of their house in the southwest coalfields of West Virginia.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Dr. Tim LaHaye has died. But, of course, we know he is now more alive than he ever was. A few thoughts about him.

In 1995 I was hosting a program called Open Line on the Moody Broadcasting Network (now Moody Radio). Dr. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins were scheduled to be in the studio to talk about a new book that had been released called Left Behind. They were excited about the possibilities—and told me off-air that Tyndale felt they could sell 100,000 copies of the book. In hardcover.

I smiled.

Tyndale was wrong, of course, because they didn't just sell 100,000 copies. They sold tens of millions of copies in the series. In the next few years, the writing ramped up for Jerry as they accelerated the pace of the releases to meet reader demand. Jerry was also working on the teen version of the stories and it simply wasn't possible to do both.
In December of 1998 I got the phone call and was asked me to come alongside Jerry and Dr. LaHaye to help write Left Behind: The Kids. There would be 40 books in that series (I would write 35 of them). Jerry was the point person for me—I funneled all my plots and questions through him and he gave the green light for each title and storyline.

However, there were times when I would have theological questions about things that might occur or not occur in the Tribulation. I would write or call Dr. LaHaye. I don't have any of those emails and never recorded any conversations, but I do remember what he conveyed.

First, he was always upbeat about the stories and their reach. Not just the numbers of sales, but the responses from people. It went something like this: "Chris, what you're doing is important because there are so many young people who are going to encounter the truth about eternity through these books. This is an awesome responsibility."

He always wanted to be biblically correct with what was portrayed, but he was not against creativity. He basically gave me a fence around the stories and let me play in the middle of the pasture.

The most important thing to him was that each book contain a believable conversion of some character. He wanted any kid who picked up the book to encounter someone beginning the journey of following Jesus. He wanted any reader to be able to say, "So that's what it means to be a Christian. That's how you ask God's forgiveness." So, in the 35 books I worked on, I got to come up with 35 scenarios where kids could see a sinner repent and become a follower of Jesus.

Dr. LaHaye enjoyed being a New York Times bestselling author, but he measured his true success by the adults and children who wrote about the spiritual life they had found through the stories. I can still hear the excitement in his voice about those who were responding. His example makes me want to gauge my own life that way.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Best Reason to pre-order The Promise of Jesse Woods

My hope with each story is that it will grab you by the throat because you care about the people in the story.

I took a couple of weeks away from the office and came back to an email that thrilled me. I want to share some of it with you. This is someone who received a copy of the book from the publisher before it releases in two weeks.

I wanted to write my review this evening, but my husband picked up the book, and, well, there goes that. Just you try prying that book out of anyone's hands once they get sucked into that story.

For anyone who likes getting in on something good from the get-go, this book is the next To Kill a Mockingbird. It felt like the child of the classic, all grown up and refocused for today's reader.

This story is one that sticks to your ribs; the ending was quite satisfying although I sure didn't see it coming.

Rebekah said she thinks it will be a bestseller. Well, that would be wonderful. But my main goal is to move you like I was moved as I wrote the story. I think you'll fall in love with Jesse and Daisy Grace and Matt and Dickie. I think there's a lot of hope in the middle of the pain of their lives. I think there's hope for you and me as well.

Find out more about The Promise of Jesse Woods

Friday, June 10, 2016

Reason #4 to pre-order The Promise of Jesse Woods

Music is critical to me getting my fiction right. I use songs of the period or soundtracks from films that get me in the right mood for the scenes I'm writing. When I was helping write Left Behind: The Kids, 35 books in the apocalyptic, end-times series, I listened to a lot of Hans Zimmer. When I wrote Almost Heaven, I had an online bluegrass channel I kept going.

For The Promise of Jesse Woods there was a group of songs I listened to every day for the six months it took to write the book.

#1. "Lean on Me," Bill Withers
#2. "A Thousand Miles," Vanessa Carlton
#3. "Long Way To Go," Augustana
#4. "The Road Not Taken," Bruce Hornsby

These songs provide the longing, the heart, the pain, the anguish, and the joy of running back to the hills again.

Find out more about The Promise of Jesse Woods

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Reason #3 to pre-order The Promise of Jesse Woods

Setting is important to every story—and in the ones I tell, I try to make the setting so much a part of the tale that you feel as if you are there. My friend Sharon wrote and said, "When I was growing up, I never imagined I could go back home through a book. Thanks."

In The Promise of Jesse Woods, you'll taste potato salad at a church potluck that didn't turn out lucky for my friends. You'll see fireflies rise from the earth like prayers and smell the smoke of a campfire on the hill that overlooks Dogwood. Feel the humidity of June. And the bugs and gnats. And the cool breeze in the evening.

One of the principal characters is Jesse Woods. She lives in a ramshackle house "on the side of a hill that hung like a mole on the face of God."

As I wrote, I pictured the spot on the road by our house that led to a gas well and a "V" in the hills. When I was a kid there were no houses in sight on that spot, just trees and brush. My friend Rex drove there the other day and took these pictures.

On the flat spot at the bottom of the hill are three crosses. I have no idea where they came from or who put them there, but as I drove past them recently, I gasped. That was the very spot I pictured Jesse's house. Then I had to laugh. You can't make this stuff up. What a setting for a story.

I hope you get to read about Jesse's promise, her life, how much Matt loved her, and what happens 12 years later.

Photo credit: Rexford Chambers

Find out more about The Promise of Jesse Woods

Monday, June 6, 2016

Reason #2 to pre-order The Promise of Jesse Woods

Our first apartment in Chicago was at a place called Atrium Village. It was built at the edge of the Cabrini-Green housing project, just across the El tracks. To the east was a thriving, burgeoning downtown area. The west was intense poverty and violence.

We lived on the third floor of 300 W. Hill Street. Because my salary was so low, we qualified for government assistance. We also qualified for government butter and cheese that was handed out every few weeks.

In the new novel, The Promise of Jesse Woods, Matt Plumley lives in this apartment. In fact, the first chapter shows Matt with his friend Dantrelle, who lives in Cabrini. Matt has come to Chicago to help inner-city kids escape poverty and hopelessness. Then he gets a call from a childhood friend that changes his life.

Throughout the book, there is a theme running through that shows that you and I make lousy "saviors." Matt doesn't understand this at the beginning of the story, but by the end he has a better handle on part of the problem he brings to the people he is trying to help.

This link to real life is another reason to put The Promise of Jesse Woods on your summer reading list.

Find out more about The Promise of Jesse Woods
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Reason #1 to pre-order The Promise of Jesse Woods

I think we all have pivotal years in life—when internal and external forces collide to shape us. For me, 1972 was pivotal because that was the year I became a full-fledged Cincinnati Reds fan.

And what a year it was. The Big Red Machine was rolling down the track and I was on-board for every game, listening on my transistor radio to Al Michaels and Joe Nuxhall.
Fast-forward 12 years and I'm in Chicago rooting for the Cubs. Internal and external forces had moved me to the city from the country—and the playoffs that year brought a heaping helping of pain.

The Promise of Jesse Woods looks at these pivotal moments through the lens of the life of Matt Plumley—a Pirates fan transplanted in a little West Virginia town where the Reds are exalted.

Matt falls in love for the first time in that pivotal year and returns 12 years later to make sense of all the promises, hopes, and dreams.

I hope this is the one you take to the beach this summer.

Find out more about The Promise of Jesse Woods
Monday, April 18, 2016
The County Fair always makes me think about life. Maybe it's the aroma of corn dogs, popcorn, cotton candy and turkey legs that does it to me. Or the barkers who yell, "Step right up!" Or, "We have a winner!" I guess it could be the lights and booming music, but I think it's something else.

I spent four agonizing hours (and considerable cash) at the County Fair last week so my son could go with a friend and ride some rides. There was a musical group at the main stage that I had never heard, but the audience had because they knew all the songs. I didn't understand the words, but maybe that's not a bad thing.

I believe I was the only person among the thousands in attendance who was reading a Writer's Digest magazine, but I didn't see everybody, so don't hold me to that.

Other than three camels and a seal, I didn't recognize anyone in the crowd. (They were here last year.) Sitting there watching the humanity rush like a river, I didn't see one face I knew. And that bothered me.

I've been in this area since 2009. Surely I should have seen someone I recognized. (Perhaps someone I knew saw me and turned another direction?)

As I watched the guy with the toy he sent high into the air that lit up and came back to him like a boomerang (only $10 for 3 toys), I wondered what his life was like outside of the fair? How does he deal with the daily secondhand smoke?

Five ponies with saddles stood in a circle, waiting for riders. Three men talked and laughed nearby and the ponies never moved. Sometimes I feel like those ponies, but I'm not as patient or cute. They looked lonely and tired. Like they wanted to see a familiar face.

Just about everyone of age had a plastic cup filled with Budweiser or a tall can. An older woman sauntered by, a man with a cane following, walking spider-like to catch up. He gestured and raised his voice, pointed his cane in the air and threw out his other hand. I couldn't understand what he was saying. The woman didn't say much, just kept walking. The veins in the man's neck stood out as he railed. I never did find out their problem or if it was just his, though I admit I did follow them for a while.

Just after 10 p.m. my phone dinged. It was my son. "Come to Wave Rave."

"Ok," I texted.

I was standing in front of the barbecue place that had the beer-battered onion rings for $10. Nearby was the stand selling fried pecan pie. No kidding. I had no idea where Wave Rave was, but I was pretty sure I had been past it about a dozen times.

Past the basketball game with the bent rims, past the quarter tossing game where no one wins, past the ride where you drop from a great height, the Haunted House, G-Force, the Ferris Wheel, another haunted house—this one wasn't quite as ghoulish as the first—and another stand selling fried Twinkies and corn on the cob. Cash only.

The man with the cane and the woman passed me going the other way, his arm around her, walking as if they'd never fought a day in their lives.

And there it was. Wave Rave. And there was my son and his friend, talking and laughing as they waited in line.

And the world felt a lot less lonesome.

As far as I know, the ponies are still waiting.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
We had a chicken coop made for us by a neighborhood young man. It is hawk-proof and coyote-proof, the two main predators here in AZ. We had gotten these chickens for their eggs, but even more for the life they bring. We have friends who have chickens and we wanted to try it out.

Another friend advised, "Don't name them. Once you name them, you won't be able to let go."

So one day Miss Perkins was by the scrub oak, and Tiger was by the coop...

You see, I did name them.

At first they all looked the same. Then I noticed FLASH. Flash was the fastest chicken. Two little black feathers in the back and she RAN everywhere.

My son named Miss Perkins. Don't ask me why he named her that. I have no idea. But the name fit.

We had six Rhode Island Reds, then one died and we got one more Red and a black-and-white chicken we called Tiger, for the same reason we call my program Chris Fabry Live!—we're just not that creative.

Nadine sold us our chickens. She said, "Keep them in the coop at first and then let them walk around. They'll find shelter. Let them free range." So for a week or so we kept a tight rein. Then, I would leave them out for an hour and let them roam, then entice them back to the coop with food and close them in.

Tiger and Miss Perkins were the hardest to get back to the coop because the other chickens were merciless. I think they were racist toward Tiger—but Miss Perkins was a Red, too. I don’t understand it.

A farmer friend of mine says chickens can be really, really mean. And I believe it. But I grew to really like these creatures—who don't do anything but peck, poop, and lay eggs. They make this interesting noise, too. And they have bright, inquisitive eyes.

The most fun I had with them was calling them to one side of the yard, holding out cabbage or lettuce or Andrea's kefir grains, which they loved. I would call them over, then run toward the coop and they would follow—of course, Flash in front, in a V formation. It was like the geese in Fly Away Home. And I would call the kids out—hey, watch this!

Every morning I let the chickens out, saying "Hello, ladies!" as I approached. Tiger was always the first out of the coop, probably because of all the abuse she was getting in there.

And if they were in the yard, just opening the door caused them to look up and move toward the house. If I was feeling a little down, I could always go stand out back and those chickens would come around me and pay attention.

Soon it got to the point where I just let them stay in the yard. There are hawks nearby, but I would take my hat and flap it, and the chickens would immediately run for the scrub oak. I saw coyotes in the neighborhood, but they didn’t look very hungry. At night you could hear them howl. But again... what were the chances?

Plus, there's something about the freedom of chickens who stay near the coop. I don't want to coop up an animal. That seems cruel to me. Let them roam.

Last Thursday... or Wednesday, the days blur together... I looked at the clock. It was after 6:00 and I hadn't put "the girls" to bed. I had been covering the coop with a tarp when it was cold, but it was getting warmer now. I had fed them at 4:00 and watered them.

So I ambled out back with a flashlight and bent down to look inside. Two Reds and Tiger were in the laying boxes. I looked on the roost. No chickens. Looked in the corners, where they can hunker down. No chickens.

I shone the flashlight on the scrub oaks. No chickens. I walked toward the more open area. No chickens.

And then, in a scratched-out part of the grass and gravel and sand that is our yard, I saw her. Miss Perkins. Actually, I don't know if it was Miss Perkins, but it was a Red. And her eyes were closed. And her body was lifeless... no movement.

Why would anyone want to hurt my chickens?

And immediately I felt this... ownership. I had been a bad chicken farmer. I had been derelict in my duty to protect. And here was the lifeless chicken in front of me... a few feathers around, but otherwise intact.

It was Tuesday night, now that I think of it, because the trash is picked up on Wednesday.

I picked her up and wrapped her in a plastic coffin, said a few words, and took her to the bin at the end of the driveway and let her go.

And I told my wife and kids.

The other three chickens are still missing, and we can only assume the worst.

Now I've been dealing with the question, "What do we do now? How do we keep these chickens safe?"

And I've been thinking about the lessons to be learned. The first one is how desperately vulnerable my chickens were to a predator. Because the truth is hard to believe: My chickens have an enemy.

  1. My chickens have an enemy.
  2. The enemy will devour the flock.
  3. The enemy will kill and leave a chicken behind.
  4. The enemy wants nothing more than to KILL, STEAL, and DESTROY.
  5. The enemy will return to wreak more havoc.

    (Now, let's be honest—if we looked at this from the coyote's perspective, we might hear him giving thanks to God for His provision for the pups today. So I'm disparaging the coyotes and painting them as all evil. Which isn't really fair, since they were here before my chickens were. But the analogy is still true for you and me, as it concerns our enemy.)
  6. We don't pay attention to the warning signs.
  7. We deny the truth, thinking THAT CAN'T HAPPEN TO ME.
  8. Once the enemy strikes, it changes everything. (Do you know how often I let the chickens out now? Not very. We're all scarred by this.)
  9. But the chickens forget. Every day when I open the door, they're ready to run. They evidently have very little short-term memory. As a protector, I have to remember for them.
  10. What did Jesus say about wolves?
How much more valuable we are than chickens (and sparrows)! And yet, God has left us in a vulnerable place. Not without protection, or hope, but still vulnerable. I think He did that for a reason. I think you and I become stronger because of the reality of an enemy—and we become more dependent on our Owner because of it.