It is a blustery, chill, wintery “rain” day. A perfect day for a fireplace blog post. A perfect day to light a snap, crackling fire and gather round… embrace the warmth, enjoy the flickering light.

The ever-changing beauty of the mountains captures me… be it hundreds of trees bending in brisk wind and biting February rain, mist hiding mountain peaks, or snow gently falling in the stillness- coating branches upon branches white. Or yet- deep blue sky— with miles to see before our eyes. Ever changing.

And so – in this delight- of a wet and chill rainy day, a day to stay in and cuddle warm, a day to light a fire and fill mugs with hot drinks…

I purpose to share some little inspiration that has been on my heart about family culture.

We recently lit our fire for the very first time. We had never used our fireplace for several reasons. One- we have a child with severe allergies(doing so much better, praise the Lord!) who always struggled at a relative’s house due to the fireplace. Two- due to this child, we just thought we would turn it over to gas before we ever used it. So- we were just waiting… and it was a beautiful fixture- but never lit.  It, in fact, had never been used. We are the second owners of our house- but bought in almost new condition.  We lost power in a big storm that hammered North Carolina,Virginia and other southern states last weekend. Asheville received a foot of snow. We did not. But we did lose power. It was mainly ice, and slight snow, and sleet here at our house. Others in our county received much, much more.

Anyway, freezing weather, power outages, it was time to light our fire! And- oh how we did enjoy it. Placing little red chairs for the children in front, and everyone gathering round reading favorite books.  Eventually we roasted our dinner (hot dogs) to the children’s delight, wishing we could roast marshmallows too- but we had none in the cupboard.

It is a wonderful, “open” fireplace with just a mesh metal screen to draw across. Perfect for roasting. With a big stone rock face that reaches up to our ceiling. It definitely lends our home a rustic, “cabin” in the wilderness/woods feel.

It was sweet to see how natural it was for my family to stack books in piles together and choose to read. Reading, for all of us, is a favorite activity. And I am glad. I am glad!

Prior to this storm, I had truly recently, been inspired, about the place a fireplace can serve for family culture.  It started with this:

Read For The Heart by Sarah Clarkson.  In Read For The Heart, she vividly describes personal family times of reading around a crackling fire. Her book is so much more than fireplaces and memories… yet-this is something that just completely captured me as I was reading.  The vision started kindling within… She also encourages to use the hearth as a cozy place for reading or perusing art and nature books. She paints a vivid picture of what a hearth can be for family coziness. New purpose for our home hearth began to grow.

I also- simultaneously found a sweet blog post tucked into my reader from Mark Hamby’s Blog Word is Out. To find it you have to go here and scroll down to the 1/14 entry. The post is titled “Turn Off the TV.”  Oh- I loved the vision this man shared when he described their family reading time round the hearth.

Then- I was in our beautiful library here. It features a marvelous stone rock fireplace that reaches high up to a cathedral ceiling. The fire was crackling. I took a moment to actually stroll through the reading area with little ones in tow and enjoy the beauty. It is beautiful. I noticed the beautiful hard wood floor and the cushy, oversized chairs places throughout the large area. And on a shelf across the way, puzzles and quiet board games were stacked for enjoyment. It was an inspiring hearth.

I came home sharing the vision with Todd after we had talked together of the Hamby blog post. We have been enjoying Lamplighter books this year. It is a new venture for us.

And so- I am thrilled and happy to embrace the beauty of our crackling fire and hopefully build more family heritage and memories, gathered round our hearth. Ideas for comfy seating are filling my mind and thoughts toward accentuating the beauty are also growing.

Fireplace reading and family nurture will be a priority, I hope. Or at least a goal I strive for…