I suppose when some may read my columns (and thank you to those who do), they may assume that all is sunshine and roses in my world. Let me assure you that is not the case.

Life throws me curveballs, and I do not always handle them with the grace that I should. There are also those days when the world seems a bit bleak, or I’m just tired and cranky. However, I do my best with prayer and purpose to focus on the good things in my life to make the dark times a bit brighter, and I wish to put as much positivity and good things out into the world, as I can.

Last week it was so refreshing to step out onto my front porch in the morning and embrace the cooler air. I’m sorry that my pleasure was the result of the pains caused to many by Hurricane Ida, but there is a lesson in that as well. Sometimes we have to look closely and try to find the positive, even when small, when there is so much negative. This cooler weather truly restored my soul.

The flavors of fall are also some of the most enticing. Just this weekend, I flavored my coffee with sugar-free Pumpkin Spice creamer. I always enjoyed my 2-3 cups of morning coffee, but this flavor made my coffee a truly delicious experience. Saturday afternoon I was also inspired to take the remaining apples in my fruit bowl, cut them up, and simmer them with some butter, spices (allspice, cinnamon, clove and ginger), and a bit of molasses. The aroma wafting throughout the house of those apples was better than any scented candle, fully immersing me in that crisp fall feeling.

This weekend I took full advantage of some downtime. I wiled away a few hours on both Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon sitting on my screened-in back porch, my loyal furry friend, Sunny, by my side, sipping coffee or sparkling water, feet propped up on my table, and reading a good mystery. From my cozy perch, I was able to look up from my book to observe birds at my feeder, especially one young male cardinal who proudly announced his arrival each time with singular loud chirps. Watching the squirrels was also particularly entertaining, as they scampered back and forth around the yard and up the trees, chattering to one another.

As I have said in previous columns, although I am a planner, I do like impromptu road trips. I discovered a flea market online within a reasonable driving distance that professed to be the world’s largest flea market. Once my husband arrived home from hunting, we grabbed some water and snacks and hopped in the truck for this brief excursion. Well, the flea market didn’t turn out to be what we were expecting. We were hoping for antiques and uniques with some salvage and surplus thrown in, but that wasn’t what we found. After stopping at another flea market down the road that was a bit more to our liking and taking a quick tour without making any purchases, we decided to hunt for a fun local place for a late lunch.

After a short drive and a Google search of nearby restaurants, we discovered The Gilded Pear Brew House. I’ll admit that I was initially under the impression that it would be a pub of some sort. Instead, we found a quaint coffee shop and eatery in a restored downtown building with beautiful high, pressed tin ceilings and a menagerie of tables and seating, along with myriad sayings painted on the wall. My husband enjoyed an Italian flatbread, paired with baked potato-style potato salad and Cheerwine in a glass bottle. I had a savory curry chicken crepe, paired with a mixed green salad in a light vinaigrette and some watermelon sparkling water. The meal was delicious. My husband had never tried a crepe before, so we capped off our meal by sharing a sweet crepe, topped with Nutella, banana slices and whipped cream — a beautiful and light dessert.

Any time spent in my safe space at home or in the company of my husband, our dog, Sunny, and my other family is time well spent and the simple pleasures in my life that bring me pure joy and make lasting memories, and I got to enjoy it all this weekend. Let’s all do our best to “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, [and] don’t mess with Mister In-Between,” per the great advice in a song by one of my favorite crooners Bing Crosby.

Christina Wells lives in Halifax with her husband, Bruce, and their dog, Sunny.

Christina Wells lives in Halifax with her husband, Bruce, and their dog, Sunny.