The Love Of A Roaring Fire

Feng Shui has become a new trendy discipline that we look to for guidance in our homes both in how we decorate and how we live.  Vastu Shastra is actually the predecessor to Feng Shui.  Both are sciences that are a bridge between man and nature and offer guidelines to help set things in balance with the five elements of nature- Earth, Fire, Water, Space and Air.

The element of Fire is important in Nature for many reasons.  For one thing, Ecosystems depend on fire to balance environments.  I love going to different Nature Preserves in the Chicago area and observing first hand how this all works.

Laura and Tommy Balzer’s Country Home

Laura and Tommy Balzer’s Country Home

Throughout the history of civilization humans have used fire as a means of cooking and to obtain warmth.  Most of us were taught in elementary school about the discovery of fire.   I can still remember some of the pictures in both science and history books depicting this discovery.  I can also remember thinking fire was a simple concept and what was all the hoopla about anyway?

In today’s world, we take fire for granted.  Electric and gas utilities have allowed us to become “modernized”.   An open fire in a wood burning stove or fireplace is rare.  What was once considered commonplace, a roaring fire, today is typically meant for a time of relaxation.

I love fire and everything about it.  I love the burst of colors, the flickering flames, the smell and the sound of fire.  Some of my fondest memories include times around a roaring fire.  Growing up, the fireplace was in our living room.  No Christmas morning was complete without a fire burning to set the mood.  At the beach (Sandbridge, VA) we used to have bonfires at night.  To this day I think the best hot dogs come from roasting them on an open flame as the waves of the ocean crash nearby.  Marshmallows?  Who doesn’t love roasting them and making s’mores in the beautiful outdoors under a starlit sky?  Now, all grown-up (supposedly…) my David and I enjoy sitting in front of fires both inside and outdoors.  We have a small fire pit that we enjoy on cool fall evenings.  A fire like this sets the mood for quiet contemplation for us both.  What better way to spend time with someone you love than in quiet contemplation?  And, early the next morning after an outdoor fire the smell of smoke still lingers.  Talk about warm fuzzies!

My children grew up loving fire as well.  In fact, all three of my children learned to love and respect fire and understood how to build a fire at very young ages while camping and enjoying the outdoors.  Just ask any one of them and they will tell you potatoes cooked deep in the coals of an outdoor fire are the bomb.  Bonfires at Hunt camp were and still are a family tradition as well.  And, my son Ben even designed and built his own outdoor fire pit.  In a recent post, Home Through The Eyes Of My Son, Ben said, “The fire pit always draws a crowd when friends are over but I can also sit there by myself for hours and feed my love of nature.”

Coco Brami’s favorite spot

Coco Brami’s favorite spot

One of my sisters, Mary Ann (along with her husband, Jim) even has an annual woodcutting tradition.  All four daughters and their families along with close friends spend an entire weekend cutting wood for the coming fall and winter.  Believe me, I have many times enjoyed the wood from this weekend work the McAden family does.  Just last fall I happened to be in Roanoke for a few days.  Mary Ann and I came home after a full day of visiting our mother at Richfield (Mom’s Alzheimer’s Facility) and what did we come home to?  A fireplace full of wood readied for a beautiful fire greeted us and all we had to do was light a match!  Jim was playing tennis or soccer, I can’t remember which but he had readied a fire for us.  It was wonderful!  What a loving gesture in this simple thing he had done for us!  We were able to sit back, watch the fire roar to life and enjoy time together as sisters.

Architects, Designers and Decorators incorporate outdoor living spaces in most plans for their clients.  There is no coincidence that homes of today include these outdoor living spaces with gorgeous stone fireplaces or fire pits. We silly humans have spent so many, many years removing ourselves from nature by way of advancing technology that we have forgotten what nature does for us.  No electric or gas heat is going to give you the feel good vibes of watching a fire burn.  It is no wonder we are now creating spaces to return to fire!

Marc Killips to the rescue

Marc Killips to the rescue

Clearly, the sight, sounds and smell of fire bring different images and memories to each of us.  Just last weekend a colleague of David’s came over to our house to cut down a tree that was damaged in a summer storm.  Marc Killips and his son cut the tree down and then cut the wood up to haul off for their own family fires.  I have no doubt that Marc and his family will enjoy the fire more knowing the work they put into getting it.  Talk about memory building!  (By the way, more on Marc and his boys in an upcoming post, Actions Speak Louder Than Words.)

Why not begin to enjoy the benefits of fire for yourself?  Just sitting in front of a fire can relax you in ways that are incredible.  Fire brings people together, too.  It is a great way to socialize!  Use this fall and the coming winter as one more way to connect or reconnect with nature and begin to enjoy a roaring fire.  I can almost guarantee that you will feel relaxed, restored and renewed.  Nature has a way of doing that to us!

Lilly and Thomas enjoying s’mores

Lilly and Thomas enjoying s’mores

Enjoy the fire…

For a full album of beautiful examples of fireplaces and fire pits be sure to go to my Facebook Fanpage, livinginperfectharmony.

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Jamie Balzer

About Jamie Balzer

Jamie has worked in the field of interior decorating for over 10 years and has owned B&A Interiors, LLC for almost as long. Partnered with her daughter, Sammi Blake, Jamie has been honored to work in homes and businesses across the country. Knowledge and experience is but part of what she has to offer. As a young girl, Jamie intuitively understood that the placement of things, the color of things, and the arrangement of things evoke certain feelings. Working together with this knowledge, experience and intuition Jamie has answered the call to her life’s purpose- teaching the spiritual truth of what she believes- “Everything begins in the home”. As a branch of B&A Interiors, LLC, Living In Perfect Harmony emerged to teach her philosophy. Jamie believes, “if you live peacefully and beautifully at home, you are well, your family is well and that helps to make the world a better place”. Jamie's most passionate role is as a mother and grandmother. Jamie currently lives and works in the Chicago area but also continues her business in Charlotte, NC as both a decorator and a homespace coach. She is certified in Reiki Therapy which she believes broadens her success as a homespace coach. Jamie is available for private consultations, lectures and seminars.

10 thoughts on “The Love Of A Roaring Fire

  1. Sitting around a fire with friends and family is like sitting around a table and breaking bread! Jamie, thank you for sharing our home with your readers.

    • Laura, what a perfect way to describe sitting around a fire with friends and family – you are right, it is as wonderful and as memorable as breaking bread together. As for sharing your home on my site, I thank you! Your country home nestled deep in the woods of historic Powhatan, VA can only be described as stellar. Well, OK, maybe warm, cozy, friendly, and inviting as well! And then there is the awesome scenery of Nature…

  2. It is amazing to me that something so simple can help your family create such wonderful memories. My children love nothing more than sitting by our outdoor fire pit and snuggling as a family. Of coarse s’mores are always a bonus but, they just love when we can all be together. This is the one space in our home that has allowed us to gather for quite family time. This by far, this is our favorite place in our home!!!

    • Jennifer, I can certainly understand why your outdoor living space is your favorite space in your home. Not only is it part of the outdoors which makes it so relaxing in and of itself but, it is so well appointed that it beckons to you. Several weeks ago while I was in Charlotte you so graciously invited me and Sammi to dinner. When our schedules couldn’t mesh you then asked us over for a glass of wine out by the fire pit once all the kids had gone to bed. Truly, I am glad we were not able to go to dinner. Sitting by the fire just the three of us was wonderful. I got to spend time with just you and Sammi in a totally relaxed space. Plus, I got the added benefit of some good fresh air right before bed time. As for family memories, as I told my brother Don yesterday (he and his girls and families spent a day in the country apple picking) simple pleasures are the best. I can just about guarantee that your kids (and most kids if given the chance to enjoy nature) will remember times like roasting marshmallows and making s’mores outside more than they will video games and other forms of what I call “man”ufactured fun. We spend so much of our time being busy, busy, busy and too much time playing games involving technology that we forget to enjoy the simple pleasures God created for us in nature. Keep roasting marshmallows. See you at Thanksgiving! Oh, and ready the wine!!!!

  3. We have a fire every night that it is chilly. It is so relaxing and cozy. Our family log splitting is taking place over Thanksgiving weekend. The family and friends that help split and stack the wood get to take some wood home. It is such a great feeling getting all the wood that you will need for the winter months ahead. : )

    • M.A., you and Jim are the King and Queen of fires. I would feel like something was missing if you didn’t have one going in the fall and winter. Your woodcutting tradition is such a neat bonding ritual. I know that the Mocker Family is always part of it and wouldn’t miss it for the world. Enjoy it this year as usual and please do send pictures of it! I would love to post them on my Facebook Fanpage!

    • Jackie, funny that you wrote this. I was thinking of all of you yesterday since I knew you went apple picking and Scott was tossing around the idea of how wonderful a freshly baked apple pie would be that night. Since I knew this post was coming out today I had already visualized you both sitting before a fire eating warm apple pie. Well, you had the fire and so what about the apple pie? Did Scott get his wish?!? By the way, you have a beautiful fireplace!

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