The Reading Rattler

At the height of our exposure our 4 youngest children were unable to read. Colin and Reagan got reading glasses to help. But blurry vision, headaches, and dizziness kept them far away from books. School, therefore, became impossible and I wondered if the day would ever come when I would find their imaginations captured by their favorite authors.

The day has come. Colin has 30 pages left in the book Crispin. Brandon is excited about Poppy. Kaitlyn just finished the story of Karana, the girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins, and Reagan is on page 390 in the Count of Monte Cristo. Kristen is reading Great Expectations for her online English class. Colin and Reagan no longer need their reading glasses.

Ancient Chinese medicine says that the eyes are intricately connected to the liver.

The kids have been so excited about reading they wanted to resurrect our tradition of a summer reading chart. For every 20 minutes of reading they fill in a square and move toward the grand prize. (There's a water park in Phoenix we've been eyeing.) We award small prizes along the way. This year instead of a slurpee, it's 2 Odwalla juices. This year we're doing the "Reading Rattler."

The kids are reading again. I just colored in another square as we move closer toward our grand prize of recovered lives.

EMF Sensitivity

Mold exposure often leads to electromagnetic field sensitivity. Compromised immune systems cannot handle the taxing world of cell phones, computers, televisions, etc. My daughter Megan can now feel when a TV is turned on across the room. We are slowly adapting to this issue. Just recently we invested in EMF protectors for our computers.

The following is an excellent article on this subject:

Introduction to Electromagnetic Sensitivity

An interesting and encouraging proclamation was issued for the month of May in Broward County, Florida. (The Natural Place cited in yesterday's post is located there.)


MCS Housing

Several months ago I encouraged my mom to check out an environmentally safe hotel in Ft. Lauderdale. An easy drive from Naples. Since I know my genetic make-up I know hers. I'm double 4353. She had to have at least one 4353. Anyone with this make-up will have difficulty with environmental toxins. With all of her mysterious symptoms she loved the idea. We talked about meeting in July.

I believe this facility marks a trend that will continue and multiply. It's called The Natural Place. The owners' story is fascinating. Joyce Charney got sick from an office building in New York City. Alan Charney made guitars for bands like Sting. The Charneys left it all to offer safe housing for others. The website is as inviting as the hotel itself.

The Natural Place

Water Intrusion and Home Construction

As I begin this journey of grief I remain committed to the dissemination of information regarding mold exposure.

I recommend Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker's series of webcasts. All of them are informative. If you have questions about water intrusion in homes and home construction pay particular attention to the 6th video titled "Ritchie Shoemaker, MD Discusses Mold Illness."

At 7 minutes 37 seconds he begins a discussion of home construction and water damage. This 5-minute discussion is valuable information for builders and those looking to buy a home.


A week ago today my dad called my mom over to the computer to see a picture on Chris' blog. The kids had a lemonade stand and Dad thought she'd get a kick out of it. She would have. Something was wrong and he knew it and he called 9-1-1.
Thursday Kaitlyn and Colin received the news that Mimi had died. Chris told me they were whispering to each other through the day, going out back to the neighbor's house, coming back excited. They had been looking for a place to build a Mimi memorial and the neighbors said they could construct it next to their house. They even helped them nail the cross together.

The grief comes and goes in waves. It helped to talk with my dad yesterday. He was excited to have someone to share what he's been doing. The memorial service is Saturday, the 30th, my mom's birthday. She would have been 80. And she would have loved this memorial.

Banyan Trees

My mom's sister Sue noticed a banyan tree as we were leaving the funeral home Thursday. Her observation sparked the memory of hurricane Wilma which swept through Naples in October of 2005. Kristen, Reagan, Kaitlyn, and I visited three days after the hurricane. My parents elected to stay despite newscasters' warnings, and my mom vowed she would never do that again.

The first thing we did was drive around the storm-ravaged streets of Collier County. We stood by fallen trees and took pictures. I marveled at the destructive power of a hurricane. And I noticed a pattern. The beautiful, elegant, towering palm trees were down. The banyan trees were still standing.

Banyan trees are indigenous to India. Their distinguishing feature is the trunk. As the tree ages, roots creep down over the trunk in search of the soil below. That's what sets banyan trees apart. They have lots of roots. Deep roots. Massive roots. Roots above the ground and below the ground. They're the ones that make it through the storm. Today I find that comforting.

John Milton describes the banyan tree in his poem "Paradise Lost."

"The fig-tree at this day to Indians known
In Malabar or Deccan, spreads her arms,
Branching so broad and long, that on the ground
The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow
About the mother tree, a pillar’d shade,
High over-arched and echoing walks between."

Update from Andrea

My precious mother passed away peacefully shortly after midnight last night. Her greatest fear in life was to be disabled after a stroke. She told me that two weeks ago. She told me that two months ago. It was something that haunted her. My dad and brother and I have been united each step of the way and are grateful this morning that she is free from all pain. She was my biggest cheerleader these last two years. I will miss her terribly.


From Andrea's husband Chris:

It’s raining in Tucson today, maybe the second time since January. It feels appropriate because Mimi/Babs (Andrea's mother) died last night.

Babs would laugh at the fact that you’re reading a blog about her. She had a great laugh that sent her head back and arm out to touch you. Her eyes twinkled. She was an elegant woman and beautiful, but her laugh was the best.

Several images come to mind but the one that sticks is her at the checker table across from one of our kids, playing with them for what seemed like hours. Just the two of them, hovered over this scratched-up table. Talking. Laughing. Sometimes just sitting. Always engaged with the kids and asking questions. Pippen and Frodo on the floor nearby listening. The dogs loved Babs.

She used the word “adorable” liberally. It was a favorite. “Isn’t that dog adorable? Aren’t those older people adorable? You have adorable children.” She saw the adorable in everyone. Even in me.

I know she thought her daughter could have done better, and to be honest I agree with her wholeheartedly. (She would laugh at that line.) She never said this to me, of course, but I could tell she was a bit skeptical of the young West Virginian who had captured her daughter’s heart. Those were the early days, before we were married. I think the moment she changed her mind about me was when we said our vows. I think she knew I really meant what I said. And that was enough for her.

She was one of the most inquisitive people on the planet. She read books I’ll never hope to read. She not only knew about the latest news, she had opinions and questions about why things were the way they were. She would come into my office in Colorado and look at the computers and the radio hookup and the books and marvel. She was interested in how the publishing process worked and how my voice got to her radio in Florida. She was proud of me, proud of any little accomplishment along the way, and she read my books. A writer can’t ask for much more than that.

It seems trite to try and sum up a life that meant so much. How do you tell of the struggle and the loss and triumph that was her life? I could write pages and pages and still only scratch the surface.

So I will focus on the small things. Her smile. Her laugh. The twinkle. Her sense of humor.

I still remember the round of golf we played together in Illinois. It was the late 80s, I think, and I had recently picked up the game. I was zealous to show her how well I could play and she had good things to say about my progress. Until, that is, I tried to reach the green in two on the fourth hole at Boughton Ridge Golf Course, a small 9-hole course. With a mighty swing I connected with the ball and watched it sail past her on the other side of the fairway and leave a rather large dent in the aluminum siding of a house nowhere near the direction of the flag.

She paused a moment as I caught up with her. She looked at the house, then back at me with a deadpan face. “Well, you certainly got all of that one,” she said. And then she laughed.

Her one fear as she grew older was that something would happen and she would become a burden to her family. But her family would have moved heaven and earth for her. I know that is true.

In the end, with her husband by her side, she left us peacefully. It was her way. And adorable. Always adorable.

Tuesday Update

Andrea and her family are having to make some difficult decisions. Thanks for praying.

Late Monday Afternoon

Andrea just texted me that her mom made it through the surgery. The surgery was to release pressure on her brain. We think this is a last-ditch effort to help her. We all appreciate your prayers.

Andrea's Mom

Please keep Andrea's mother, Barbara Kessel in your prayers. She had a stroke this morning, Sunday, 5/17. Unless something miraculous happens, we fear the worst. Following is a blog that describes a little about the situation. Thanks for caring.
Chris Fabry

Andrea and I were planning the day Sunday morning, figuring out what to do with the kids. She’d been to a treatment for Reagan and Kaitlyn in Phoenix on Saturday so it was a rare Sunday together and I was hoping we’d get to the final service at church.

The phone rang.

Not unusual. Except she went outside and seemed to be talking with someone she knew well. “I didn’t recognize the number,” she said to the person on the other end.

The kids sat down on the couch with me and we were throwing the Nerf ball around. Since I had misplaced my copy of Microsoft Office, I was excited that Best Buy had a great sale. I could save $50!

“Mom’s crying,” one of the kids said.I stood and headed to the door, but she came in, her face contorted, tears flowing.

“Who was it?” I said. “What’s wrong?”

“She’s had a stroke. Mom had a stroke.”

My heart sank. Her mom and dad live in Naples, Florida, alone. The emotion was raw as Andrea recalled her last conversation, the plans she had for a trip there in the summer, and all of the things that flooded her memory.

We called other family and told them. The doctors didn’t hold out much hope. I called her brother who lives in Denver and caught him at the gate getting onto the plane. He’s a pilot for American Airlines and would get to Naples in the early afternoon our time.

"You prepare all your life for this and there's just no way to prepare," he said.

We searched flights from Tucson but came up empty. As the day wore on, the flight costs rose. Finally, I found one out of Phoenix that will get her there at about 9:30 local time in Fort Myers.

We drove to Phoenix late Sunday night with two of the kids and our thoughts. Barbara Kessel is a beautiful woman. She was about the same age as Andrea is now when I first met her. Tall and lean, always a good tan, dark, Italian features, and a killer smile. She was always so interested in me and anything I was doing. She had read my latest book, June Bug, and had called Andrea to tell her how much she liked it. I think she was my biggest fan.

We’ll know more from the tests run Sunday night and Monday, but things don’t look good for the long term.

When I left Andrea in Phoenix, she lingered at the side of the road there at the terminal, watching us pull away. Almost caught in two worlds. The one she knew she had to step into and the one she was leaving behind. I assured her we’d be all right until she returned. No one takes care of the children like she does. No one is quite the bulldog she is. She is so much like her mother.

And I think I'm her biggest fan.

A Mother's Agonizing Question

There is a nagging question that haunts me and has haunted me since the day my children became ill. It's a question that every mother who reads this will understand. The question is this: "Could I be doing something more?"

When a child is ill, chronically ill, and that illness is mysterious, it creates a burden on a mother's shoulders that becomes, at times, unbearable.

As we are coming up on 2 years since this nightmare began I can speak from experience.

I have found rest for my soul. So I write this to encourage a mother I may never have the privilege of meeting. Unless I understand and accept my limitations there will be no rest for myself or anyone around me.

So, yes, the answer to the question is, "I could be doing more."

How can this be a restful answer?

Because it is the truth. There is no rest in illusion. We live in illusion all the time. Especially as mothers. Illusions like, "I can't fail. I must meet every need I'm given. I can't disappoint. I have to have it all together. I must not make a mistake."

The truth is I will fail. I do disappoint. I don't have it all together. I make mistakes. Somehow these truths release a lot of pressure. I know that I am limited. I don't know everything about getting through this crisis. I have to let go of doing this perfectly. And that's hard.

It's so hard that I've had this post sitting on my computer for five weeks. I've been hesitant to publish it. Why? Because it's not perfect.

Still, there is one truth that doesn't demand perfection.

I will not give up.


Nevada Legislation

The Nevada legislature has adopted legislation regarding indoor mold. With knowledge such as this I continue to be amazed at the lack of knowledge within the medical community. But the tide continues to turn.

ASSEMBLY CONCURRENT RESOLUTION-Designating the month of September 2009 as National Indoor Toxic Mold Awareness Month.

WHEREAS, People of all ages and backgrounds throughout the world have developed illnesses because of exposure to indoor toxic mold, and it is estimated that 500,000 deaths occur annually in the United States as a result of such exposure; and

WHEREAS, Most molds produce mycotoxins, which are toxic vapors created by mold spores, that are poisonous to humans and animals, and have even been used as biological weapons in war; and

WHEREAS, Aflatoxins are mycotoxins that are among the most carcinogenic substances known, and the United States Food and Drug Administration has enforced regulatory limits on aflatoxin concentrations in foods and feeds since 1965; and

WHEREAS, Mycotoxins enter the body through inhalation, ingestion or contact with the skin and can result in a multitude of symptoms, including, but not limited to, dermatitis, cough, rhinitis, nosebleeds, cold- and flu-like symptoms, headache, general malaise and fever; and

WHEREAS, Mycotoxin exposure can lead to toxic injury that may include multiple potentially life-threatening illnesses, affecting the skin and the nervous, vascular, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, urinary and immune systems, as well as forming cancers within the body; and

WHEREAS, Certain species of molds, referred to as "body temperature molds," can live and grow inside the human body, causing recurring infections and numerous other health problems as well as death; and

WHEREAS, Mycotoxin Toxic Exposure Injury is a chronic, debilitating condition causing serious economic, employment, housing, health, social and other consequences, including death; and

WHEREAS, While there is no practical way to eliminate all molds and mold spores in the indoor environment, indoor mold growth can be curtailed by controlling moisture and ensuring that any damp or wet building materials and furnishings are cleaned and dried within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth; and

WHEREAS, National Indoor Toxic Mold Awareness Month is an opportunity to bring greater attention to the need for further education and consumer awareness about molds and mycotoxins; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED BY THE ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, THE SENATE CONCURRING, That the 75th Nevada Legislature designates September 2009 as National Indoor Toxic Mold Awareness Month; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Legislature recognizes that by increasing awareness about indoor toxic mold, we can prevent needless hazardous conditions that take the lives of thousands every year and adversely affect the health and well-being of many more.

Mold and Marriage

It's common for one spouse to "see" something that the other spouse doesn't. This is especially true when it comes to mold. When we first discovered mold in our home, Chris and I were on the same page. Both of us believed the advice we were given. Mold is no big deal.

Slowly, I began to sense the opposite. I remained a step ahead until the day we left. This created a tension resolved only through Chris' unwavering belief in me. He was struggling to accept the reality about mold, but never questioned me as a person. In turn, I determined to believe in him despite his denial of the problem. I knew that his commitment to his family would win out over the invisible mold spores.

The morning after we left our home we talked with two mold experts. Chris heard them describe the facts about mold and the effects of mycotoxins on the brain. The doctor's staff get rashes simply from the paperwork submitted by mold patients. Clothing professionally cleaned 7 times still had remaining stachybotrys spores. Colonized fungus lives inside of those exposed to high levels of toxic mold. Chris and I found ourselves on the same page. But it was a different page than when we started.

Chris recently heard from a woman whose daughters are sick from mold. Her husband was struggling to support her desire to leave. I conclude with this excerpt of his response.

"Let me say this to your husband. You don't want any harm to come to your wife and your children. It's the last thing you would ever want to do. We stayed in our house almost 9 years and the different illnesses that came from our kids, beginning with food allergies, and ending in loss of hearing and vertigo, seizure disorders, skin rashes--we lost our two dogs to this--you don't want to look back and say, "If only I had listened to her." This stuff attacks the brain. It attacks the immune system.

Perhaps there is nothing to be worried about. Do the hard thing and let your wife vacate the house for a while to see if the kids get better. Trust me. I wish someone had told me this a few years ago. We wouldn't be living in Arizona in the middle of cactus and sleeping on air mattresses and sitting in camping chairs if they had."


"How poor are they who have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?"
William Shakespeare

Kaitlyn tried horseback riding again last week. She had a severe reaction. Again. We think we know the reason so we're going to try again this week. But the fact remains: she is still struggling. She's much better than she was a year ago but she's not where I hope she'll be a year from now. And so I must find peace with the reality that healing is a long road. No matter what course of treatment I follow.

Patience is unnatural at a time like this. I want us to be better today. There's a certain striving that is necessary to keep going. A drive that is valuable. But there's also a strength of heart that is inestimable. And unless I cease striving and allow this process to be a long one, I will miss the opportunity to discover the beauty that comes to those who wait.

“All human wisdom is summed up in two words - wait and hope.”
Alexandre Dumas

Alternative Health

Before my children became seriously ill I was afraid of alternative health. When I ran out of options I stepped out of my comfort zone. I'm glad I did.

My first experience with alternative health came in April of 2008. Before I connected our mold with the illnesses. I knew that Reagan's vertigo was more of a migrainal issue than inner ear. Kaitlyn had a head tilt. It made sense to me, then, to pursue help with their alignment. I contacted a chiropractor who specialized in the field of orthospinology.

The focus here is on the atlas bone which sits at the base of the skull (the C1). The atlas and brain stem should be at a 90-degree angle for optimal communication between the brain and the rest of the body. We're all off for a variety of reasons including toxic exposure. My kids were way off. 9 degrees off in some cases. An adjustment to the atlas consists of a gentle tapping on the bone using precise measurement. Within one week of her adjustment Kaitlyn's nystagmus disappeared. Her dizziness improved. The day after Colin was aligned properly he became sick. He had a fever, vomiting and diarrhea. This continued for 4 days and by the 5th day his abdominal pain, numbness, and headaches were dramatically improved. Days after my experience with the orthospinologist I became sick with a respiratory illness. I was sick for two weeks. The sinus drainage was massive. I know now that these were dramatic de-tox responses and saved us months of healing time.

Now that I understand the nature of our illnesses I find alternative health to be an even greater resource. Especially when it's non-invasive and natural. We've been helped by biofeedback, ionic foot baths (Reagan's rash on his ankle first appeared after a foot bath),massage therapy, auricular therapy, and herb supplements, to name a few. The herbs came after we connected Megan's illness with Lyme Disease. She has been using the herbal protocol recommended by Dr. William Cowden. Several of these herbs are for de-tox alone.

Most recently we have worked with yet another gifted individual in the area of energy medicine. This is a powerful and fascinating area of medical treatment. I now wish I had paid more attention in Physics class. Electromagnetic fields and sound frequencies work to stimulate the flow of electrons to generate cellular repair and regeneration. Specifically we've used the ondamed.

I have come to see alternative health, not as a threat, but as a great resource and option. For those of us with toxic exposure the opportunities are even greater. Much of alternative health is about de-toxing and allowing the body to utilize its inherent capacity to heal. For me, a clear reminder that our bodies are "fearfully and wonderfully made."


All 11 of us have had some type of rash along the way. Everything ranging from bumps, to dry areas, to red marks, to large areas of raised bumps. A black light will show if the rashes are colonized fungus or immune complexes. The chitin, the main component of the cell walls of fungi, will glow in the dark if the rash is fungal. I have documented some of the rashes since leaving our home.

Colin had extensive rashes on the backs of his hands when we left. Within days we watched the rashes move to his first set of knuckles, then to the second set of knuckles and finally they were gone. This happened without treatment. It was his body de-toxing before our very eyes.

Reagan showed signs of a fungus rash 3 months before our exposure in May of 2007. There was a circle of raised bumps on his elbow. The dermatologist biopsied the skin and determined it was an allergic reaction. She encouraged me to switch our detergent. Soon after we began de-toxing a similar rash appeared on the left side of his forehead and his right ankle. Both of these rashes are now gone.

Within hours of moving into the rental home sprayed with pesticides, open sores appeared on my hands and fingers. They healed within days.

The most common rash has been a simple red circle. These continue to appear as the de-tox process continues.

Most recently I took Kaitlyn in for a wound on her foot that hadn't healed properly. It turned out fine but while we were there I asked if we could take the black light to the dry area around her mouth. It was colonized fungus.

When we were in our home the backs of my heels were extremely cracked and dry. I would often wear plastic bags to bed with a moisturizer to help ease the discomfort. I didn't realize this was a sign of a stressed adrenal system.

We continue to use ketacanazole cream for the areas we know are fungal.

Tea tree oil is a natural anti-fungal and helps with itching. Coconut oil and grapeseed oil are excellent anti-fungal moisturizers.


"A wise man is strong, and a man of knowledge increases power.
For by wise guidance you will wage war,
And in abundance of counselors there is victory."
(Proverbs 24:5,6)

I came across this verse two days before we left our home.
It has carried me over these last 7 months. I hope it encourages you.

The Decision to Leave

You would think a decision to leave your home and all of your belongings would require some planning. Some forethought. I woke up the morning of October 4, 2008 with no intention of leaving. By 8:45 that night I walked out knowing we would never be back.

Chris was in Chicago. I was keeping up just fine with Pippen's shots, Colin's shots, chauffering the kids, etc. In the midst of the juggling I had an e-mail exchange with Dr. Jack Thrasher, a leading toxicologist in the field of toxic mold.

A friend from the internet, Darlene, a mold victim herself, suggested I send him our story. He responded immediately. "Let me repeat what you've already been told. Those levels of mold are very serious. Call me tomorrow."

I called him first thing Saturday morning. October 4th. He didn't tell us to leave. He explained the contamination process. The fact that 50% of all indoor mold hides behind walls. The fact that dead spores still emit toxins. The fact that stachybotrys is extremely dangerous. The fact that an exposure like ours doesn't "just go away." He asked if we were still having symptoms. I explained that my tongue was black. Colin's rashes were back. Our dog was terribly sick.

Ten times in the course of the hour-long conversation he said, "This is very serious." Ten times at least. I'm glad he repeated the phrase. I didn't hear it the first nine times.

Dr. Thrasher wanted to bring in a colleague of his, Dr. Michael Gray. He said he would arrange a conference call later in the day. I called Chris in Chicago. I had strong feeling we needed to leave the house. "We'll do whatever it takes," he said.

It was a nice day in Colorado. I gathered the troops and loaded up bicycles and took them to the Santa Fe Trail. I was preoccupied. Until my conversation with Dr. Thrasher I only had my gut instinct that the medical issues were connected with the mold. Now I had an expert in the field not only acknowleding a connection, but suggesting we could be at risk by staying in the home.

Dr. Thrasher called back and set the conference call for 10:00 the next morning. Chris would be back by then and we could sort through the situation together.

As the day progressed, I felt increasingly uneasy. A deep anxiety. I think I ordered pizza for dinner but I'm not sure. I only recall a friend asking Kaitlyn to sleep over. Sounded good to me. I was having a difficult time focusing. After dropping her I called a friend of Reagan's and asked if he could sleep over. Maybe I could think clearly with less children in the house. I didn't realize it but I was preparing our departure. Kristen was eagerly getting ready for her first homecoming dance with her best friend. I suggested she sleep over at Brandi's. Ryan agreed to call his best friend and spend the night. I was left with Colin and Brandon.

Our oldest daughter, Erin, called. (Our other two daughters had apartments nearby.) I told her about the conversation with the toxicologist.

"You need to leave," she said.

She and I had walked the day before. She had seen my black tongue, my rash, and I was limping from the joint pain. "Dad's not here and we have the conference call tomorrow," I argued.

"Please," she pleaded. And then she started to cry. "The Titanic looked fine."

I called Jennifer, the only person I knew who could keep both Colin and Brandon. With Colin's diabetes and Brandon's tornado-like disposition I knew she could handle it. I dropped them off and drove back alone with a heightened sense that we were leaving for good.

I called my friend Sara who found me wandering the street, my camera dangling from my hand. I needed to go across the street to take homecoming pictures at the home of our neighbors who would soon shelter us.

I can't recall how many pictures we took but Sara and I found ourselves back at the house and, for the final time, we sat in our kitchen. Ryan was packing. He brought his beloved guitar and asked if he could take it.

Chris' plane touched down in Denver. He called immediately and listed a number of reasons why it would be better to wait. It was a remarkably calm conversation. I listened and he listened. He had an hour's drive to process.

Chris pulled in the driveway at 8:45 p.m. Sara left for Walmart to buy us a set of clothes.

He knew and I knew we were leaving. In the end, it was so easy. A simple walk across the street.
His suitcase, filled with his new suit, dress shirts, dress shoes, and gifts is still in the garage.

(Our local television station did a story several weeks after we left. KOAA news story)

Frodo's Burden

Our nightmare began two years ago. It was May 8, 2007. We were launched into a world of uncertainty and suffering, a season of worry and heaviness as our world collapsed. Since that time there has been no break. No escape from the worry and anguish.

We're approaching monsoon season in Arizona, months filled with unrelenting heat and flash floods. Something tells me we have miles to go before we rest.

And so the load seems heavy. Unbearably heavy.

Yours might too. All of us carry something. I know my husband and children do.

Tom (you can read about him in the previous post) sent me something he wrote as the reality of his illness and journey set in. He was reflecting on the Lord of the Rings series and the call on Frodo's life.

"Frodo carried a burden that he didn't ask for. He didn't run for cover and instead carried it when nobody else could. He relied on companions throughout his entire journey, often in places unlooked for. All the while, Frodo was bringing hope to the people of middle earth who followed his struggle with interest and support because he represented hope for them in overcoming the threats of darkness advancing into all corners of the land."

I'm especially grateful for the Sam in my life.