AM and Kim We had an unplanned, last-minute visit from Allen-Michael this weekend.  As you may know, he took his junior year away from college to serve on a ministry team that travels the country bringing testimony, the gospel and having faith in God to middle and high school age students.  At the moment his group of ten is working in Iowa.  Seeing Allen-Michael was a mixed blessing.  We love having him around of course, but the reason he came home was to attend the funeral of his good friend Ashley.

While we were sitting through the service, my mind couldn't help but wander to the challenge any parent must face when their child passes on.  The gravity of emotion and the deep void in one's heart...something I hope to only wonder about and never truly know.

Ashley, Allen-Michael's friend and tennis teammate from high school, endured a very brief illness and then passed suddenly from a blood clot in her brain.  Ashley was 21.

It was evident by those who spoke during the service Ashley was a young woman filled with life, with joy, with potential.  I know I won't soon forget how often she graced our home with her infectious smile and genuine friendly nature.

Ashley's passing gave our family the opportunity to spend time creating additional memories with Allen-Michael, and today I have a new level of appreciation for that good fortune.

Life is fleeting.

I want my children understand we have a choice in how our lives are lived.  We can make important contributions to the quality of life for others every day.  The words we speak and the way we behave have impact on many more people than we realize.

Ultimately we are called home when that mission (in God's eyes) is complete.

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