Saturday, July 31, 2010


I am HOME this weekend!

Spending my time with plenty of pink


and loving on the two most adorable nieces in the world.



Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yesterday was Granny Q's (James' mom) birthday! Happy Birthday, Granny Q!!!

We love you so much!

Remember how I have been finding random photos in my phone?

Well, this is the blessing of losing my camera. I have found the lost photos... such treasures... like this series of photos Austin and I took one day at Granny and Grandaddy Q's house when we were house-sitting. I turned around to find Austin like this.


"What are you doing, Austin???" I asked.


"I am pretending to be Granny." He stated firmly.

Happy Birthday, Granny, from a little one who loves you so much he wants to be just like you!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our REAL life in Pictures

I have not been blogging lately, and I will be completely honest about the reason. My camera is still missing...

I am heartbroken over a camera. With everything else that has happened this year, it seems rather silly to be so upset about a camera, but I am just devastated about losing my camera. My camera was a Mother's Day gift from James last year and it was the first NICE camera that I have ever owned. I fell in love. As you can tell over the course of my blog's life in the last year, I took that camera everywhere and fell in love with taking pictures!

When I traveled to Washington, DC two weeks ago, I couldn't wait to take some pictures of the Nation's capital to put on the blog (and to have for my photo albums). Since the camera is a little too big for carrying around, I (think) I left the camera in our conference room at the hotel while we held registration for the conference. I have not seen the camera since. Some of my friends lost ipods and bookbags in the same "locked" room, however, so I have my theories...

All that to say, I am mopey. Mopey about not having a camera to take picture for my blog... but also willing to wait until James and I can save some money to afford another camera. I have come to grips with the reality that is... a camera on my phone. Definitely not the quality of pictures I have been dreaming about, but these pictures still capture those moments. Those precious moments that I don't want to forget.

However, since I always used my other camera before, my camera phone was relegated for Austin's pleasure while we were out and about (or bored)...

So today, for the first time, I uploaded my camera phone's pictures to my computer, and laughed out loud at some of the results.

While most of the pictures included the inside of my car


or an unflattering picture of my back side


There were also visits to the Doctor's office


And moments with Andrew (his cousin)


that were caught on film.

So, I am slowly coming to grips with reality... the pictures will not be high quality, but they will still be moments of our life. They will still contain all the memories that make me laugh out loud, and memories that I still want to share on the blog.

So here they come...

Pictures from my phone. In all of their glory


Sunday, July 25, 2010


I don't know when it started. Perhaps it has always been this way...

but I love my quiet time.

I am not talking about my "devotional quiet time" (although I love that time too)

I am not trying to be spiritual

Just myself.

I love being by myself... MY quiet time.

And this summer has been a busy time of working, and playing, and vacationing, and traveling, and interning, and working some more. And I often go to bed early in order to hear my 5:30 am alarm going off...

and I am working on finishing some papers

and trying my best to teach with excellence this summer

in the midst of being mom, and wife, and friend

So, this weekend, we stole away to the beach.

Just James, Austin, and me

And I sat for hours last night on our 17th floor balcony overlooking the ocean

and I just stared at the moon

long after everyone else was asleep

and it was absolutely peaceful

and I felt fulfilled... just being...


Monday, July 19, 2010

I have spent a week away from my family (and regular job) enjoying almost 800 high school students in Washington, DC. The days were long, typically waking at 5:45 am and not falling into bed until after 1:00 in the morning. My body is exhausted, but my heart is full. Full of processing conversations... full of moments of laughter that delighted my heart... full of new friendships and relationships... full of pictures that will be forever captured in my mind.


And yet, while I was away, my family's world kept spinning.

And Andrew (my precious nephew) received good news about his MRI results. He will not need surgery at this point to correct the skull malformation, and so... we lift up praise!

But Dad's blood work reveals that he must start new treatment immediately (as in this morning at Moffitt)! And yet... we continue to lift up praise. For while cancer shakes all of our lives to the very core; it also makes every moment in life a little more precious. Especially the moments that I can spend with smiles like these:


And a staff like this:


Thursday, July 15, 2010

It is after midnight in Washington, DC.

I can honestly confess that I don't know what day of the week it is...

This is not because I am overwhelmed or burdened - just the opposite in fact, I am having the time of my life learning about leadership with almost 800 high school students from around the world.

I am here as a part of an organization I love. I am here to serve 56 students as their "tour guide" for the week. I am here to learn about leadership for my PhD program. I am here to serve others.

And these days of service are long. But, I just got to tour the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial... with 56 of the most interesting and respectful students you could meet.


We have an update on my nephew, Andrew!

My sister's blog explains it all in detail! click here to read all about Andrew's appointment with the nuerosurgeon

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mom, what does gratitude mean?


I learn so much from my four year old.

from silly bandz to scooby doo... to the latest apps and games for an ipod

I learn things from Austin every single day.

Several days ago as Austin and I were running errands around town, I noticed the ugly beast of selfishness rearing its ugly head from the back seat.

"What are you going to buy me from the store, mom?" Austin asked matter-of-factly.

"Toilet paper!" I replied quickly.

"Toilet paper??? I can't play with toilet paper!" Austin stated loudly from the backseat.

"Of course you can play with toilet paper," I replied, "But I would prefer that you not play with toilet paper. It would sure make a mess for you to clean up!"

"But mooooommmmm..." and the whine started.

And I stopped the car.

And he stopped the whine.

"Why did you stop the car, mom?" He asked with a little bit of Godly fear starting to come into his day.

"Austin, I stopped the car because you do not have a heart of gratitude. Your behavior is unacceptable, and if you cannot show gratitude towards the things that I have already given you, then we will not go to the store at all. We will immediately go home and start packing up your toys and donate them to other children who don't have any toys. Do you understand me?"

"I do have a gratitude heart, mom!" He started crying. "I will have gratitude!"

And I turned the car back onto the road - towards the store for toilet paper.

As we walked up to the store from the parking lot, Austin looked at me with big eyes.

"Mom, What is gratitude?"

As we walked into the store, we talked about having a thankful heart. Thanking God and others for all the blessings we have received. Telling Jesus thank you for all the wonderful things that happen every single day in our lives.

And we bought toilet paper... and I completely forgot about our conversation.


Until this morning.

Following a beautiful service at my sister's church, a man in his thirties sat down at the grand piano and started playing an offertory song. The music was mesmerizing, but the melody... it was the melody that stirred my heart.

Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He has given Jesus Christ, his son...

And suddenly, tears filled my eyes.

"Stop it!" I told myself. "Do not get choked up over a song you learned in third grade!"

But I was choked up because I was so convicted.

"Emily, you have not had a grateful heart." I sensed the Lord's prompting in my spirit. "You have been whining and complaining about all the things that have happened over the past year. You have not been thankful."

And it is true! The Lord has redeemed my marriage from the pit (in a year)! I am more in love with my husband than ever before in eight years of marriage. God brought my marriage back from the dead. In every sense, he figuratively did a working of resurrection power in my love for my husband (and vice versa).

And, in in the most literal of senses, God has brought my dad back to life! I will never forget walking into Dad's hospital room a few days after the transplant and honestly wondering if he was still alive in the hospital bed. He looked so weak, so wounded, so small. My dad... my hero dad was taken to death's door... and now he is back.

Yes, Dad still has multiple myeloma. Yes, dad looks like he has been to death's door and back (sorry, dad). But, I get to sit in the living room and talk to him. I get to see and hear his testimony daily about what he is learning about God through cancer. I get to have my dad. And while I hope that it is for another 40 years, I have my dad back today.

And I have not been having a heart of gratitude. Have the trials been difficult? More than words will ever express. But, would I do this year all over again?

I hesitate in my answer. I want to be honest.

For what I have learned about Jesus. For what I have experienced about his love and intimacy.

The answer is yes.

And I am so grateful.


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Polka Dots

Several years ago, I was helping with a Bible study on I Peter. I will never forget my study of I Peter chapter 1.

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Little did I know ten years ago as I taught about I Peter, God was preparing my heart for “such a time as this!” Beth Moore explained verse six in this way: We all have different trials. The original word for “various” trials is “poikilos” - which means “many kinds or many colors!” It is the Greek word from which we derive our word “polka dot”. You know how polka dots come in all shapes and sizes. That is how trials come. They are different for every person. They are various. They come in small, large, blue, black, and even red! Poikilos Trials.

Polka dotted trials.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of various (polka dotted) trials. These trials (of all shapes and sizes) have come so that my faith, which is worth more than gold, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed! Through these polka dotted trials, I am receiving the goal of my faith!!!

Would you mind if I just shared some of the huge polka dots from this year?

July 2009: James tells me that he has been having an affair.
July 2009: I move home with my parents.
July 2009: James loses job. I quit mine. Income stops. All parents help provide.
December 2009: Dad diagnosed with multiple myeloma (cancer of bone marrow).
January 2010: We sell my dream home in Texas.
January 2010: Make cross-country move to Florida.
February 2010: Dad undergoes bone marrow transplant.
April 2010: Austin and I move back in with James in a new city.
June 2010: Bone marrow transplant results do not show any improvement.
July 2010: Andrew brain scan – shows malformation.

In the midst of all the huge variety of trials of 2010 have also come all the little everyday trials… the trials of being a mom, being a PhD student, being a friend, being a daughter, paying bills… you get the drift.

I was once taught that each of our trials prepares us to help someone else down the road when they face the same kind of trial. I have always tried to be as honest as possible about my trials – hoping that I Peter 7 would prove true – that my faith would be proved genuine and that others would come to praise and glorify Jesus Christ!

When I found out about my husband’s infidelity, I immediately knew that no matter how things worked out in the end, this was now a part of my ministry. (A ministry I never wanted, and NEVER would have dreamed of… but as a result of my own life, would allow me to hopefully minister to other women in the same horrible situation.)

Then, when we found out about Dad’s cancer, I thought… “Okay, God is now preparing me to help minister to those directly affected by cancer.” This is now part of my ministry.

Did you know that this same word: this polka dottedness is also used to describe God’s grace? I didn’t! But I Peter 4 tells us that God’s grace comes in “various” (i.e. polka dotted) forms. It makes complete sense that God’s grace is various to meet the specific needs of the situation. I Peter 4:10 tells believers that we should use whatever gift (and I believe circumstance) that God has given us in order to serve others, “faithfully administering God’s grace in all it’s various POLKA DOTTED forms!”

So, this week, when we found out that Andrew would need to visit a neurosurgeon, I had a long talk with God. “Lord, you do realize that I am not trying to experience every single polka dotted aspect of your grace, right? My goal is not to have every single life experience so that I can affectively minister to all people in all situations, right? Isn’t it enough that adultery, cross country moves, job loss, and cancer were all added this year? Do we really need to add another color to the polka dottedness of my year?”

And today, through a series of events, emails, lessons on tape, and conversations, I am reminded of the purpose of every single trial – no matter what shape or size. The trial has only two purposes: 1) to show the genuine-ness of my faith! And 2) to bring praise, glory, and honor to Jesus Christ.

If you were to ever ask me the deepest longings of my heart, I hope that I would answer truthfully. In the purest places (the quietest places of my soul) I want to live this life, this relationship with Christ that I confess, in the most intimate way and I want him to be glorified! I want him to receive all praise, glory, and honor…

To be continued.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Prayer Request Update!

Can you tell that my mom and dad are just a little bit happy about having four grandchildren?


Just a little bit happy!

If you have been following my dad's blog (A Cheerful Heart), then you know that we continue to covet your prayers as a family! Dad had an appointment at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville last week. For the first time, a doctor stood before my parents and gave a prognosis. As a family, we have never asked for a prognosis, never looked online for a prognosis, and believed that it is God who truly numbers all of our days. While we still believe it is God alone who numbers our days, it is hard to receive a prognosis from a doctor - especially when it is preceded by the words, "Mr. Bugg, you have a very bad disease!"

Dad is having some tests done in the next week or so to try to begin another treatment option, so please keep my parents in your prayers as they navigate this journey of cancer.

In other prayer news, my nephew will be meeting with a neurosurgeon on Wednesday, July 14th to discuss an MRI he had done last week. Please keep Andrew (age 5), my sister (Jenny) and David (brother-in-law) in your prayers during this time. I will update you as I find out more information. He went to have an MRI last week due to headaches - and his pediatrician has asked for follow up with a neurosurgeon. At this point, I really don't have other details. So, just as always, we ask for your prayer. We continue to believe in a God who is in control! Thank goodness!

My sister, Andrew, and Megan

And just because cuteness abounds from my two nieces, I will throw in a picture of them too!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Famiy Photo Shoot - Minus James

Austin, James and I were able to go to Beachtown for a few days this past weekend to celebrate the 4th of July. I love being home, and I absolutely LOVE my family.

Unfortunately, James had to work on the 5th, so he wasn't able to make our family barbeque and photo session. Just imagine him standing there next to Austin and above Adam. Once I learn photo shop, I will just photoshop him into the picture :)


Immediately after taking this picture, Adam said, "Okay, that was pretty good, but let's try to get another picture with the baby girls actually looking at the camera."

I think it was that exact moment when Megan decided to pull Avery's pacifier out of her mouth and Avery decided that she had just about had enough of her hat.

Even with Adam's expert photography skills, there was no way to capture a moment of family happiness with two screaming 8 month olds.

So, this was the result.

Probably my favorite picture of the day!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It is just coming out...

"Hey, buddy. What are you working on?"

"I am drawing a picture for you, mom."

"Oh, wow! What are you drawing?"

"It's a heart, mom. Can't you see it? It's my heart."


"Oh, buddy. I do see it! What a great heart. What are the lines coming out of it?"

"Mom, that's the love. It is just coming out because I love you so much."


... as if there was any question about how crazy I am for this boy. He absolutely steals my heart every single day.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

My heart (and my stomach) are completely full from all the fourth of July activities so far today! Mom and I are still deciding whether or not we want to venture into the traffic of Beachtown tonight to see any live firework shows. So, until we decide whether or not our day's activities have come to an end, here are some of my favorite pictures from today!

Austin and I playing on the kitchen floor this morning before everyone arrived for lunch.

Miss Megan enjoying watermelon for the first time.

Andrew was just a little bit excited when the sky cleared enough for the family to go swimming.

Miss Megan

My view all afternoon. I love the view from here!

A typical brother/ sister moment between Andrew and Megan

My sweet husband

And my sweet, sweet boy!!!

I hope that you have had a wonderful Fourth of July celebrating with those you love the most.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

We are back in Beachtown for the weekend!

Doing a lot of this!


(I plan to update a real post soon! I have been busy teaching and traveling... and honestly, just loving life quietly for a little while!)