this is the face of a fighter - a joyful, compassionate, and empathetic fighter. this year has been challenging in new ways for our family, but it has taught us so much about ourselves, about each other, and about what it means to be a family. when Jody started experiencing major hyperventilation attacks, she was forced to slow down and re-evaluate where she was at. and when you're this young, that's hard to do. you're fired up, ready to try everything, passionate about your dreams. but when your body can't keep up, won't let you keep up, you're forced to stop. and the stopping is sudden, foreign. but through it all, Jody's joy for life and her love for others has never slowed down. i think that's what my baby sister has taught me, constantly challenges me in: to love others unconditionally, with tremendous compassion. she is so compassionate, and i am so not at times.
as a family, we've had to adjust, but its been the best adjustment for us. though one of us is living in the other half of the state, and another on the other side of the world, we've become closer as we've pursued ways to encourage and love on Jody. so, when i had a chance to fly home and visit with Jody, Mom, and Josh a few weeks ago, Jody asked if we could do a little spontaneous photo shoot (to which i, of course, said yes!). i love every bit of these photos - not only the gorgeous scenery (hello northern california in the fall) and the yummy light, but mostly because of this girl and her incredible spirit. no matter what happens, sweet girl, don't ever lose track of that big and beautiful heart of yours - it's my favorite thing about you!