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Free Spirit is the current Weekly Photo Challenge set for us by the folks at The Daily Post at  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/

I always think of my youngest daughter as a bit of a ‘free spirit.’  I suppose by that, I mean that she, unlike her chicken-hearted mother, doesn’t seem to let fear of the unknown get in the way of living her life.  She certainly has enough nerve for the both of us, doing things that I can only dare to dream of, attaining accomplishments that I could never hope to achieve in twenty lifetimes.

Whereas I can’t even whack up the courage to get on a plane, she and her husband travel the world; they recently got back from a trip to Peru where they helped out at a local clinic in the Belen district of Iquitos. She has spent time trekking through the hills of Thailand and immersing herself in the culture of Ecuador. She got engaged in Westminster Abbey in London and honeymooned in Paris.

She received Illinois’ prestigious  Lincoln Laureate award before graduating from college in 2010 and is now beginning her second year of studies in pharmacy school, all of this after having been hospitalized with spinal meningitis and later undergoing surgery for chiari malformation, a condition in which the stem of the brain is herniated, allowing it to press against the flow of spinal fluid in the cavity of the skull.

She is a beautiful person both physically and spiritually; caring and considerate, who always strives to ‘do the right thing’ yet retains that certain freedom of spirit that makes her the wonderful woman she is.