Category Archives: Personal

James D. Dabbs (1936-2017)

It is hard to believe that just a few short days ago we buried our father. Everything went by so quickly and while we expected he didn’t have much time left none of us saw him passing as quickly as he did. He will truly be missed and the impact he has had on our lives is evident.

There were a few things about him that I would like you to know about. Dad worked for the federal government his entire working career as a cartographer for the Defense Mapping Agency in St. Louis. He retired at the rank of GS13 (from what I understand the scale goes to GS15). Dad worked with the department for nearly 35 years running from Vietnam to the Gulf war and from punch cards to CD’s and clean rooms. We know very little about what dad did in his working career as much of it was classified. Every now and then you might get bits and pieces or clues about his work. The two things I remember putting together through various conversations were that one of his co-workers was integral in the creation of GPS as we know it and that they did the work that led to flight simulators. They did that by programing satellites to take stereo photographs on a grid of the earth (say every 20 feet) in order to measure elevation and create terrain maps that were eventually digitized into simulators so that pilots could be there before they actually went there.

The two most important things in his life were his faith and his family. Dad taught us what it meant to be a Christian. He had a high sense of right and wrong as well as justice. Doing what was right really mattered to him. At the funeral my brother shared a story about dad yelling at him for jaywalking. The little things mattered to dad. Doing what was right on the little things mattered greatly. You knew it because he would let you know. He didn’t cut you much slack. Dad cared about our upbringing. Who we became mattered a lot to him.

I remember the first time I took communion. I had been baptized the week before and the trays were being passed. It dawned on me that I didn’t have a clue what I was supposed to do besides take it and eat/drink it. I asked dad and he gave me a quick tutorial on what to think about and pray about during the Supper. That meant a lot to me and I have carried his advice with me to this day.

Not only did his nuclear family matter to him, so did his ancestors. Dad was an avid genealogist. He spent countless hours working on the family tree. He even traveled to libraries to gather this information in the days before duplicating this material was easy. He took copious amounts of hand written notes of documents that were not allowed to be copied, tracing our lineage back into the 1600s in Virginia. Dad knew story after story about our ancestors. He shared them with us regularly. It dawned on me the other day that dad is finally with those people he studied his whole life and I am convinced they are shocked at just how much he knows about them! From a biblical perspective our patriarch has been “gathered to his fathers” and I am quite sure he is at home there.

Dad struggled with dementia in this last few years. There was a side to dad that came out during that time that was truly touching. He was such a fighter during his life that a gentle side came through and he was at peace with everyone. This was such a gift of grace to us all. It was a true act of mercy to get to enjoy dad without all his defenses up that we had known the better part of our lives. We are sure going to miss our dad and we greatly appreciate all the blessings and kindness that have been given and shown to us over the last few weeks.

How to Put the Guard Spring Back in a Ryobi 10 Inch Miter Saw

After searching high and low for the answer to my question and finding very little help online, much less pictures of how to do this I thought I would post this here for anyone searching for help. I was changing the blade in my Ryobi miter saw this morning and what should have been aContinue Reading

Settling into Auburn

Over the last week we have made the move from Bakersfield to Auburn. It has been challenging and exciting and I can see God’s fingerprints all over the process. The people at both churches have been a tremendous blessing to us as have been both of our families. We are excited to see what GodContinue Reading

Looking Toward 2016

Another trip around the sun and another chance to look at life from a new perspective. As the New Year rolls around it reminds us that we always have an opportunity to start afresh, to turn the page and write something on the next page that hasn’t been written before. Maybe the opportunity isn’t forContinue Reading

Resurrecting Evangelism…Here is One Missing Piece to Viable, Intentional Outreach in Our Churches

I just posted something over at Wineskins that I think you may find helpful. If you have a couple of minutes you might want to give it a read Resurrecting Evangelism…Here is One Missing Piece to Viable, Intentional Outreach in Our Churches

How I Told My Kids the Truth About Santa Claus

A few weeks ago our 4 year old son Elijah asked a question that was profoundly insightful and forced an important conversation. Here is what he asked “What did Santa Claus do to God? He knows everything about us…what did he do to God?” Kids need plenty of room to have their imagination. At theContinue Reading

Asserting Our Rights

We had a busy weekend…so busy that there was one event we had to drive separately to because Missy had to be at something else before that and we just couldn’t drive together. On the way home Missy was driving her car right in the right lane and I was in the left. I noticedContinue Reading

The Walk

Jonah started kindergarten last week and I can’t tell you how full my heart is each morning walking him to his class. Jonah’s school is right next to our church building and so each morning we park at the building and walk about a block to where his classroom is. I have made it myContinue Reading

Imitating Christ Doesn’t Mean We Do it Perfectly

One of the joys and horrors of having kids is to see them imitate you. There are times when kid’s imitation is the cutest thing ever and there are times their imitation teaches you a lot about yourself and things you need to change. I love seeing my boys play with their tools. They getContinue Reading

What Happens in Vegas Goes Straight to the Blog

This past weekend Missy and I renewed our vows for our 10th Anniversary…in Las Vegas…with Elvis. Enjoy!


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