The following appears in Samaritan Ministry’s May 2014 Newsletter, as part of their feature “member spotlight”. Our decision to move away from traditional health care is a recent one and we are excited about the approach offered by Samaritan. (Learn more about Samaritan and our decision here.)
Thank you to *Brittany Klaus for sharing our story, excerpted below:
Chris and Andrea now live in Arizona and have nine children—Erin (29), Meg (26), Shannon (25), Ryan (23), Kristen (20), Reagan (18), Kaitlyn (16), Colin (14), and Brandon (13). “We have a lot of fun,” Chris says. “I love delivering lines and rehearsing movie dialogues with my kids, who are into acting and those types of things.” In addition to acting and making their own videos, some of the Fabry kids’ other creative interests include varied mass media skills, cooking, and playing guitar.
After their family endured a health crisis caused by toxic mold exposure in their Colorado home, Andrea developed a passion for raising awareness about environmental issues and healthy living (see story here). This led her to start momsAWARE, an educational organization created to help people know how to better live in a toxic world. She also blogs regularly on her website, It Takes Time, and contributes to several other healthy living blogs. Andrea owns Just So Natural Products, which is “an outgrowth of our family’s encounter with toxic mold and resulting determination to recover our health with a radical lifestyle change.” Her online store offers a wide variety of personal care and natural supplies products for sale, as well as a blog that informs others how to make their own natural products.
“My kids are fun guinea pigs when it comes to my products!” Andrea says. “They’ll try anything.” In fact, last month on April Fool’s Day, Andrea says she told the two youngest kids that she was throwing away all their toothbrushes, and that they were going to start sharing one in order to share “good microbes.” “They believed me—it was fun,” Andrea admits. “Trust me, I would never share a toothbrush.”
The Fabry kids are also highly involved with their family’s efforts to be healthy. “We spend a lot of time in the kitchen together,” Andrea says. “It’s quite chaotic since the three youngest are all actively involved with cooking.” They even post their own recipes on a section of Andrea’s blog called “By Kids For Kids,” some examples being “Avocado Ice Cream Cake” by Colin (14), “Almond Butter Cookies” by Kaitlyn (16), and “Krunchy Kale Chips” by Brandon (12).
Chris has found that moments—both big and small—from their family’s life often inspire his next discussion topic on his radio show and, at times, his next writing project. “Andrea has been my biggest cheerleader,” Chris says. “She and the kids are fully behind and beside me.”
Chris discovered his love of radio in high school, when he had the opportunity to work at a radio station. “I went to school for a half day and went to work the rest of the day. It was a blast. My creativity was used, and I learned how to spin records, read news, write ad copy, etc. When you do radio, it gets into your blood.” So, when he was offered a position at Moody Radio after his studies, he co-hosted the program Open Line for more than a decade.
Andrea is a former journalist and also has a history in radio as a former co-host of Midday Connection with Moody Radio. She now co-hosts Building Relationships, a weekly radio program that provides Biblical advice to listeners who desire to strengthen their marriage, along with Chris and Dr. Gary Chapman. Once a month, Andrea joins Chris on Chris Fabry Live! for a segment called “Toxic Tuesdays,” during which she shares information and tips she has learned through their family’s health struggle, such as suggestions for navigating the vast amounts of health information available on the internet.
Chris Fabry Live!
Chris’s current program, Chris Fabry Live!, runs for two hours each weekday, and is “designed to build up the spiritual immune system of the Christian man and woman.” Chris’s desire is to uplift and challenge listeners by using his gifts of relating to people, his sense of humor, and his ability to pick out a life lesson and incite meaningful discussion from everyday experiences, memories, and encounters.
One of Chris’s favorite segments was inspired by one such everyday experience. He told his listeners how he had recently driven to a local fast food restaurant to help his daughter find her lost keys. After backtracking her steps to the grocery store and coffee shop with no success, he knew there was only one place they could be. So he hauled the restaurant’s industrial-sized trash bag out to his suburban, drove it home, and after sorting through every scrap, he finally found the keys at the bottom of the bag.
At the end of the story, Chris said, “Some of you have gone through somebody else’s trash in your life, and maybe you’re going through it right now, and the reason that you did it is because you love them, you just love them.” Then he asked his listeners to call in with their stories, and soon the phone lines were flooded with people calling in to share their stories of how they “went through someone’s trash,” and how it was difficult, but they did it because of love. “I love doing those kinds of programs,” Chris says, “because at some point you see the light go on and realize that, ‘Oh, I’m not just talking about my daughter’s keys, I’m talking about something much more important than that.’”
“I think the real power of a program like I do is that if people feel heard, if people can tell a story or ask a question or talk about what they’re going through, and feel like someone has listened to them, then they really feel like they’re not alone on the planet,” Chris says, “And people listening feel the same way, thinking, ‘I’ve gone through the exact same thing that they’ve gone through,’ and they don’t feel alone anymore.”
Chris is also a best-selling author, having published over 70 fiction and non-fiction books on a wide variety of topics. “With nine children, I have to stay busy to pay the bills, so I have written as widely as possible,” he says. Among those 70-some books are dozens of children and youth books, two best-selling football biographies, and several humor/inspiration books. And then there are his adult fiction novels. “My love is fiction. It’s the thing that has changed me most, reached my heart the most over the years, and I want to see that happen to others as well,” Chris says.
Chris’s adult fiction novels are purposely woven with themes that represent the struggles of real life, such as life’s purpose, faith issues, marital and family problems, just to name a few. “When I write a character dealing with life/faith problems, there will always be that struggle because it’s in the crucible that you grow. We think that it’s in the good times, the victories, that we grow, but the growth is really in the times when we don’t understand what’s happening to us or if God is listening or if He cares,” Chris says. “If you can choose to believe in Him in those times, you automatically grow stronger.” Chris says he realizes that he could probably sell more copies of his books if they had plots that offer an escape from real life, such as feel-good stories with happily-ever-after endings. “But that’s not what life is like,” he says, “so I try to mirror reality with my fiction instead of how I wish the world would be.”
Chris’s latest novel, Every Waking Moment, which was released last fall, is about a character named Treha, a mysterious young woman who works at a retirement home and has gone through life mostly unnoticed. She has the gift of being able to call those who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s back to clarity temporarily so they can have a conversation with their family members. The story is about trying to find answers to the questions of where did Treha come from, what is her backstory, and what made her this way. Chris says that the impetus of this novel was his family’s struggle with toxic mold exposure, and that although, like Treha, they had to deal with some extremely difficult circumstances, God used that journey to lead them to a better place.
*Brittany is a writer, editor, and social media guru employed by Samaritan Ministries. Currently on her own health journey, Brittany has a passion for sharing others’ stories, as well as exploring how alternative treatments can supplement mainstream medicine.