With every change of the season, I am filled with bright expectation and excitement. The transition from autumn to winter brings along an anticipation of the Christmas holidays. I annually fall in love with the segue from winter to spring--the stark, beautiful nakedness of an oak beginning to bear it's light green spring robe; the pretty blooms resting on the branches of redbuds, dogwoods and peach trees. I enjoy the life and hum of summer out here on the lake, in the woods. But my favorite is the often dramatic entrance of fall.

A cozy kind of happiness washes over me when the light shifts angles and cooler temperatures sweep in. I get excited over the first brightly hued leaf I discover in the backyard. I daydream about pumpkin bread, candy-hungry children, and my family gathering together and reflecting on our many blessings before sitting down to my favorite meal of the year. Now that I have a child and another one who will very soon be appearing, this time of year has become even more sentimental to me, and I am thrilled that Baby Sara will be born in the glorious autumn season. It feels like a tip of my hat to my favorite time of year.

I've been thinking a lot about the shifting seasons--not just of those we are blessed with if we live far enough from the equator, but the shifting seasons of life. Last night, I told Brandon how much I've enjoyed every stage in our marriage, even the parts that have held their own various kinds of heartbreak. From dating to being engaged, from being engaged to being newlyweds, from being alone to owning a dog, from owning a dog to having our first child, from being a family of three to expecting our second child, these transitions have all been challenging, but they have all held remarkable blessings. And now, as I have less than 24 hours left of the final season on the short list above, I am mentally savoring each one, as I've been doing subconsciously for the past few weeks, made evident by the following photos--
Micah on the first cool, fallish day--our first day in months to play outside

Micah helping me with our first pumpkin bread of the season

Brandon and me at a wedding of friends

Micah and Emory, enjoying the pumpkin patch at Curry Farms

Micah playing at Curry Farms

Micah feeding a goat at Curry Farms

Micah painting pumpkins

New play dough

Micah enjoying a cupcake at the Fall Festival at my Nona's church

Trick-or-treating . . . er . . . . hunting on Halloween in Mom's neighborhood

There isn't enough memory storage on my photo card to capture all the kisses and cuddles I've stolen from my red-headed firstborn in the past few days.

I have worn myself out trying eke the most out of our final days as a family of 3, and you know what? It's been worth it. This last chapter has been wonderful, covering Micah's birth, a personal rebirth in my walk with Christ, a new closeness with Brandon, the growth of community with my extended family. It's been a really good chapter, one that I wouldn't be able to leave if I didn't know that by turning the next page, even more blessings await.

Tonight, Brandon and I head to the hospital. I will be induced into to labor, and tomorrow morning, we will have a baby girl. After so many months, it feels a little surreal, but really, really good. I will actually be holding the heartbeat I heard in March, the tiny smudge on the screen. Sara Elizabeth will become more to me than a thought, a hope, a movement in my belly. She will be my daughter, and she will be her own person.

I will close by sharing a funny little post I put on Facebook this morning--

Dear Sara,
This may come as a shock, but as of tomorrow morning, I'm kicking you out . . . . cutting the cord, so to speak. I've enjoyed our time together, living within such close quarters, but it is time for you to find your own place in the world. Once you're gone, I may find that I miss our closeness, but I'm sure it's for the best. And believe me when I say, the transition will be a lot more painful for me than it is for you. I'm looking forward to witnessing and sharing the next chapter of your life!
Love and blessings,