Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Guest Post from Joe

Dear Patra and family: 

I write with mixed emotions of sadness and also privilege. Sadness at the occasion of the passing of my Christian brother, a good and decent man who was a trustworthy servant of his God and a compliment to his culture. However, also privileged to tell of my friend and recount the influence of his daily walk through this life with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

The words integrity and consistency perhaps best describe the Bob Bugg I was blessed to know and work with for many years. He walked humble but tall in a fallen world which often creates and promotes smaller men; men who worship at the altars of pride, arrogance, ignorance and self- adulation, while choosing to serve much smaller gods than the one Bob knew personally. The impact Bob had on his world was subtle, but truly profound. Husband, father, grandfather, attorney, teacher of the law and the Bible, friend; he pursued all these relationships and responsibilities with a fervor, class and demeanor that can only come from a man who daily walks, as best he can as a flawed human, with the Creator. 

It is said that you teach what you know but you reproduce what you are... what you live. Our brother was classic evidence of this and it shows in the legacy he has left in his family. Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me." Bob never compromised this testimony, even in a culture that sadly pursues watered-down social religion in the shrouded names of tolerance, inclusion and a quest not to be offensive, even at the expense of truth. May we all live our lives safe in a relationship with our Savior so that we, like Bob, can someday hear Jesus welcome us into His eternal presence. Bob would like that. May the peace that passes all understanding be with you and your family during this chapter of your earthly walk.

I was visiting with Bob a month or so before he went home to be with His Lord. As I was getting ready to leave, Bob, who was somewhat labored in his breathing after us joking around, motioned me closer. He said he had something he needed to ask me. I walked over to him ready for some profound, deep question. As I leaned down, Bob said " Joe, I need to know what you think about something". Drawing closer, I waited for his question. He then looked at me with that serious, now drawn  face of a standout trial lawyer and said " I've been thinking about entering a body building contest.....what do you think?" After looking at him dumbfounded for a second or two, we both cracked up. Here I was with a good friend, probably in his last days, yucking it up. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. As always, my buddy was concerned about making me comfortable in this very uncomfortable situation. There.....you have the essence of the man...................I miss my friend. 

A couple of days ago I listened to a voice message I have saved that he left me while at Mayo Clinic, awaiting his return home. It was good to hear his voice. Along with his family, I expect to hear it again when we all reach our eternal home, redeemed for us by the cross.
Joe Park

Friday, September 13, 2013

Guest Post from Chobee

September 13, 2013

(Chobee is a lifelong friend of Bob's who was in Africa at the time of Bob's passing.  He sent the following letter to be read at the Memorial Service.)

Today,  my friend, Bob is sitting at our Lord's feet soaking in the answers to all the questions his rich mind sought out his whole life.

As boys, Bob and Thom helped lead me to my salvation. How do you find the words to thank any person for that gift? But that was just the beginning, from 12 years on, Bob influenced my life as much as any man could. He did this by living his life as close to the example of our Savior as any man I have ever known or will know.

Bob Bugg walked through his Earthly life with a quiet wisdom and strength.  He has a humility that makes a person feel  Immediately at ease in his presence. He has the greatest gift for communicating of any person I have ever encountered. Striving to emulate his talents opened the doors for my own future.  Consequently, I followed Bob to college and then law school.

While I started climbing a shaky ladder to build a world focused upon what I could gain from lesser treasures, Bob was growing in his reputation as a lawyer while at the same time never placing his professional goals above things that were far more important and not locked away in banks.

Bob has that elusive and precious gift of living  a balanced life. Other than his love for God, nothing , simply nothing, is more important to Bob than his love for Patra, and for Jenny, Emily and Adam, and now their grand children and spouses.

Ever by his side, Patra has been an amazing wife. She possesses the most positive attitude wrapped in a cheerful spirit of any person you will ever meet.

Bob constantly told me how he could not have faced any of his long battle without her emotional and physical strength which he depended on every day. In these last few months you would notice that Bob instantly knew when she left his side as he turned and asked, "where is Patra?." She had only been gone a second. She is truly the Godly woman that inspires everyone around her.  Together, they raised remarkable children that carry the immense gifts of both parents. They too, stood by their Dad always laughing and supporting him.

When we walked through the years that passed so quickly, Bob was building a successful Life focused upon God and his family. His wealth was being stored in heaven as we were taught to do in the songs we sang together in our youth. Long before there were any WWJD bracelets  when I would face a temptation or crossroad in life, I would quietly ask myself, "what would Bob do?". I knew his choice would be the Godly one and I tried to follow that course as much as possible. But, as I said to Adam, he set the bar at a level that the rest of us could not quite reach.

I hold fast to the truth that Bob is alive this very second. That is why I do not speak in the past tense. We have lost his terrestrial presence but we have not lost his deeper eternal presence.

Each of that knows Bob takes with us a part of him as we  walk through the remaining days of our own lives on earth. For some, it will be his wisdom and wit, locked in a memory of his smile or in the warmth of his eyes. For others, it will be a memory of a kind service he performed or a kid he coached playing ball.  But  all of us share a common knowledge of what he held out with open arms and shared with all of is ...that unmeasurable  wealth  he gave from loving others more than himself. Look at any picture with his grandchildren and look at the sparkle in his eyes. The truth lies there. He gave that to all of us.

I can share this one example ...
God blessed me with allowing me to talk to Bob on a static filled call from Africa - he knew his earthly journey was ending- I wanted to talk to him about how he was doing and to express my love for him and he would have none of that. He told Pat not to call me in that my trip might be spoiled. But then in the brief moments of the phone call his heart was turned towards his friend and he said to me, "bag a big one, Chobee." Even in his last moments he put the other person first.

My favorite movie of all time is "It's a wonderful life".  All of you know the film about man who gave up the big dreams he had for himself as he gave his life to his family and friends . As I sit here 7000 miles away from this celebration of the life of my friend of 50 years I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, just as I have every time I see the ending of that wonderful old  film.  So as the film ends,  I close with the same words that were shared by Harry Bailey the war hero who had come home to honor his brother, George Bailey , when  he lifted his glass and made a toast :
From  so far away on a beautiful morning  on the other side of the world I want to make the same toast:
" To my dearest friend, Bob Bugg, the richest man I know."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

To the Moon and Back

from Patra

A few days before Bob's memorial service at our church, our immediate family gathered in the cemetery for Bob's private burial.  I wanted it to be a special time for the young grandchildren.  They played with pinwheels, released heart shaped helium balloons, put simple flowers, letters and art work they'd made for him on his coffin. We shared a few favorite memories and sang "Jesus loves me".  Sharon, my daughter-in-law shared that she loved how every time she'd come after work to pick up her kids (aged 2 and 3), Bob's last words to them would be, "I love you to the moon and back."

Your cards and notes began to arrive.  There was so much food, I could have fed all of you.  The fellowship of Christ held me together with kindness, love, and prayers.  I witnessed firsthand what the early church must have been like.  Followers of Jesus gathered in homes, worshiping together and taking care of each others needs. You met my every need including repairing my broken air conditioner.  You made me want to be like that... to give back, to give more!  Thank you.
I was dreading the memorial service and even begged a friend to come kidnap me so I wouldn't have to attend.  I didn't know how I was going to survive such a day.  I did survive, and the supernatural peace that can only come from God filled my heart with more love and compassion than I've ever felt in my life. 

In the weeks to come, I've asked those who spoke at Bob's service to write our blog.

At nap time today, I was resting with my 3 year old granddaughter Avery.  I thought she was asleep, but with her wee little voice she said:
"Grandma, will Grandpa come back when Jesus fixes his voice?
Me - "mmmm, why does Jesus need to fix Grandpa's voice ?"
Avery - "You said you missed Grandpa's voice!"
Me - Ohhhh, sigh...
        "Grandpa's voice is OK, it's just that I can't hear him anymore"
Avery - "I can... Grandpa talks to me"
Me - (l o n g    s i l e n c e)
Me - (tight throat)... I whisper..."What does Grandpa say?"
Avery - "ohhhhh, I dunno... lots of stuff"

I bet he's telling her he loves her
To The Moon and Back

Monday, August 12, 2013


It is with great sadness for our loss, yet great hope in his Eternal Home that we announce our dad, Bob Bugg, passed away on Friday, August 9, 2013.

In the coming days and weeks there will be more time for (and great healing in) writing a more formal epilogue of his last few days with us.  For now, though, we thought it would be good to update the blog.

Although he has had several health setbacks since November of 2012, my dad's health went downhill very quickly this past week.

He spent his final days in a wonderful hospice facility.  Those days were peaceful, relatively comfortable days.  His room was filled with family and friends.  Conversations abounded with memorable stories and heartfelt thank-you's to a man we were all better for knowing.

A memorial service will be held in his honor at 10am Saturday, August 17th at Starkey Road Baptist Church.

Thank you all for loving us well through this journey.

Jenny (on behalf of Patra, Emily, Adam, our spouses, and the grandkids)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Lord is My Shepherd

August 1, 2012
The Lord is My Shepherd

Psalm 23:1-6 (NASB) 
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures; 
He leads me beside quiet waters. 
He restores my soul; 
He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. 
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; 
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; 
You have anointed my head with oil; 
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, 
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. 

     After thinking and praying about it, I believe it is time to suspend regularly scheduled blog posts. I would never have imagined at the beginning of this journey that this blog would come to mean so much to me. I am most grateful that through the blog I have been able to keep in contact with so many of you.
     When is the right time to stop writing? I don't know. However, it will soon be one year since I was last hospitalized. At the moment, my condition has definitely stabilized.
     I appreciate so much those of you who have kept up with us and have prayed for us so faithfully. Your prayers have meant so much.
     The journey has not always been pleasant, it has not always been easy. Amyloidosis truly is a "nasty little disease." God has always been faithful! My own faith has been strengthened.
     We have many friends walking through "tall weeds." Hopefully this blog has been an encouragement to some of those people.
     This will not be my last blog post. If nothing else, I will keep you updated on the grandchildren with pictures. If anything significant changes (good or bad) I will let you know.

Dear God: Thank You for Your faithfulness. Your mercies are new every morning. Thank You for friends who have prayed for my family and have supported us. In Jesus' name. Amen. 

Until the "next time." God willing.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Wonderful June

Sunday, July 1, 2012
A Wonderful June

From Bob

     June was a very good month. While I had a couple of episodes where I became lightheaded, I never passed out. Not one time!  That is a new personal record for me - an entire month with no syncopal episodes.
     I had no hospitalizations. It's now been 10 months since I was last in a hospital. Unfortunately, Adam and Sharon's daughter Avery (2) fell and hit her head on a table and required a "staple" at the emergency room. She is her father's daughter - Adam was the child that kept us busy with doctors. He had so many broken bones we felt that we paid for the orthopedist's office building.
     Because I am feeling better I want to increase my activities. My biggest "problem" now is fatigue. My doctors have adjusted my medication and while that helps, I still spend a great deal of the day sleeping. My goal remains to return to work part time and to do that, I need to increase my stamina. Progress is slow but I am improving. Recently I have started using a cane to get around the house. For the first time in 3 years I was able to get in the pool. Poor Andrew (7) thought I was going to drown.
     If I start to get discouraged, Patra reminds me how far I've come. It really is amazing to consider how different things were just one year ago. I'm not aiming to participate in the Olympics this month (although I can't wait to watch and cheer for USA) but I would like to be more independent. I really did take for granted the pleasures of walking, driving, working. I'm trying very hard not to take anything for granted now.
      On Father's Day, I had the privilege of sharing my testimony at our church. Jenny (and David), Emily, Adam (and Sharon), and all the grandchildren were there (the 4 youngest went to the nursery.) After I shared Jenny spoke as the representative of the family. If you are interested, I've included a video from that evening service at Starkey Road Baptist Church.

Video streaming by Ustream

     Psalm 8 has been a very special Psalm during this journey. I often enjoy slowly reading and meditating upon its truths.

(Psalms 8:1-9 CEV)

Our [Lord] and Ruler,
your name is wonderful
everywhere on earth!
You let your glory be seen
in the heavens above.
      With praises from children
and from tiny infants,
you have built a fortress.
It makes your enemies silent,
and all who turn against you
are left speechless.
  I often think of the heavens
your hands have made,
and of the moon and stars
you put in place.
      Then I ask, “Why do you care
about us humans?
Why are you concerned
for us weaklings?”
      You made us a little lower
than you yourself,
and you have crowned us
with glory and honor.
      You let us rule everything
your hands have made.
And you put all of it
under our power—
  the sheep and the cattle,
and every wild animal,
  the birds in the sky,
the fish in the sea,
and all ocean creatures.
  Our [Lord] and Ruler,
your name is wonderful
everywhere on earth! (Emphasis mine)

Dear God: Thank you for your goodness. We continue to pray for many friends who are walking through the "tall weeds." May they feel Your presence. Thank you for the prayers of friends. May I be faithful to You. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Until August 1. God willing.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Celebrations of May

"The Celebrations of May"
Friday, June 1, 2012
From Bob

May turned out to be a busy month for me and for our family. The big event was Adam's graduation from Stetson Law School. As a graduate of the law school in 1976, I was allowed to present him with his diploma. Thank you Dean Roy Gardner for giving me that opportunity.

Stetson's graduation ceremony is held outside and it was a beautiful Florida day.  A beautiful Florida day in the middle of May also means that it was very hot. Stetson was most accommodating. The school provided a room so that I would not have to stay in the heat. Thank you Brianna for making those arrangements. I didn't pass out!   Together with Sharon's mom and dad, we gathered after graduation for a small celebration and lunch.

Adam did much better than I did in law school. Much better. He graduated with honors and also received an award as the best public defender clinic student. The exciting part of the story is that he graduated on Saturday and started his new job with the state attorney's office on Monday. Now all he has to do is pass a little test (the bar exam) in July.

May was also a busy birthday month. Andrew is now 7. Anderson is now 1. Jenny and James (Emily's husband) are now... a year older.

From left: Austin (6), Andrew (7), and Anderson (1)

MOTHER's Day was another opportunity to celebrate together. Our children gave Patra a picture of the grandchildren - her favorite gift.

I had the privilege of sharing my testimony several times in May. I spoke to Bible study classes at Skycrest Baptist and Calvary Baptist churches and the Clearwater Men's Community Bible Study. I had hoped I would be an encouragement to others but I was the one blessed. Thank you. I had an opportunity to see long time friends and make new friends. People who have been praying for us came up and introduced themselves. Jenny spoke of the impact this type of illness has on the family. Many people shared their own journeys through "tall weeds." The common bond is that we have experienced God's grace and presence even in difficult moments. God is good... all the time.

Sharing with Lifegroup at Calvary Baptist Church

I am still doing well. I return to the cardiologist in July and want to discuss my medications. I'm thinking the medications may be part of the reason I'm always sleeping. At the same time, I'm doing so well that I am reluctant to change anything. My dry weight (weight goal) at dialysis is now 70 kg (154 lbs.) It wasn't that long ago I was at 130 lbs. I am still having some problems with becoming light headed and passing out. Even that seems to be slowly improving.

John 1:1-5 (KJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Dear God:Thank you for another good month. Thank you for the opportunities to visit with others to share your faithfulness and goodness. You know all of our needs and You are able to meet our needs. More than anything we thank You for Jesus, the Creator of the world, the life and light of the world. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Until July 1. 
God willing.

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