It is thirteen degrees here, the kind of cold that freezes the air in my lungs and turns my feet into numb stone clubs. My old dog is in the garage on a fleece covered bed near a heater. She barks if she gets cold, her old joints starting to stiffen up. The pair of kittens we’ve been raising are snuggled up nicely in our laps, although we’ll soon return them to their pet bed in the basement. They are chubby, limp, furry bundles of love and trust and I cannot look into their large cat eyes without being reminded of the day my husband found wild dogs making off with their siblings, their mother shredded in the fight to save them. She was the farm cat who lived in the barn until this incident. We assumed they were all gone. Three days later, he found two tiny near death kittens in the shed near the spot of the attack. And that is how we came to be raising these two felines that aggravate our german shepherd to the degree that we are afraid to let them be alone together. I’ve refilled the bird feeder and have prepared a nice southern version of macaroni and cheese with bacon and pepper jack cheese. A fire is glistening in the fireplace and the warmth has the kittens and me relaxed and sleepy. My son has reached an agreement with a dealership on the first vehicle that he is paying for by himself. It is a used truck, but gently and he gets a warranty. All our babies are growing up, getting older. We’ve done our job. I am fulfilled just being at home, glittering lights sparkling on our Christmas tree and mantle swag, a new Writer’s Digest to devour. I am happy to be warm, well fed, safe and loved. These are simple joys. Simple yet profound. I am thankful that I realize this and can appreciate my blessings.

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