Introducing the Love Begins at Home Logo!

Dear friend, 

Introducing the Love Begins at Home logo! I have been dreaming of a blog logo since I began Love Begins at Home. As you could probably guess I had the biggest smile on my face when I saw my finished logo! I even jumped up and down with happiness! It is more beautiful than I imagined it would be. I definitely took some thought and prayer into brainstorming a logo and to see it in real life is such a gift. There are special little significances within the image and it brings me great joy to think about the meaning behind my logo. I had no clue that God would guide me to transform the image in my head to an actual piece of art thanks to a friend.

My lovely friend Samantha from Flor de Azahar began her calligraphy business about a year ago and as I followed along I was amazed by her work. At one point I felt God placing on my heart the idea of working with her to design my logo. Thankfully she was more than willing to help me create it! Samantha truly went above and beyond my expectations. I am so happy with my logo and with her beautiful work!

When I was brainstorming my logo I knew that I wanted to include the name of my blog (of course) as well as the three hearts of Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph within a home. These three holy hearts within a home were to represent love beginning within a home. I have a special devotion to the Holy Family and often during my meditations I will imagine myself entering into the home of the Holy Family to learn from them as to how I can become who God intends me to be. It is here that I learn from my heavenly Mother, my adopted spiritual father, and God made flesh dwelling among us. These times in prayer are very intimate and dear to me. 

That being said when I was thinking about a name for my blog, “Love Begins at Home” was immediately in the forefront of my mind. I actually wrote a blog post about why I chose the name “Love Begins at Home” if you would like to read that story. I am realizing that this phrase is like a daily prayer to me as I go about my day as a stay-at-home mom. A mother’s work is extremely important even if it seems mundane. It isn’t. Mary’s most important role was to become the Mother of God, the Spouse of the Holy Ghost, and a beloved daughter of the Father. Think about that for a moment. It truly is humbling to be gifted with the privilege of being a wife and a mother so as to imitate thee most holy wife and mother.

The one heart in my logo represents a few different things. As I said before I wanted to include the Hearts of Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph in my logo. The “JMJ” within the heart represents the “heart” of the Holy Family, united together in love to bring about redemption for us all. This heart most resembles the Sacred Heart because each family is called to put Jesus at the center and to live out His will even within the family. As I continued praying about this image I felt the Lord revealing to me that this heart can also represent my own heart which holds within it the Holy Family. How my heart burns with love to unite myself to the Heart of Jesus and that of the Holy Family. Each post that I write is dedicated to the Holy Family as I include a “+JMJ+” with each post in their honor.

Again, this heart is within a home to represent love beginning at home. I love that Samantha added the little bricks because it reminds me of Christ our cornerstone. 

“Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture: ‘Behold I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and he who believes in him will not be put to shame.'” 1 Peter 2:4-6.

“So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” Ephesians 2:19-22.

John Paul II describes families as schools of love in which we learn how to be human, how to grow in virtue with others, how to love, and how to give of oneself. Lumen Gentium also describes the family as a domestic church. Meaning that within the family one first learns about God, love, and how to become who God created us to be. It is within the home that love begins.

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In the original sketch I created I included flowers as an extra little touch, but I didn’t even ask Samantha to include them. I am so glad that after seeing my sketch she added them as these are actually extremely significant! St. Therese is a dear saint to my heart and as you could guess roses remind me of her. She is known as the little flower and taught us her little way. It was actually St. Therese who inspired St. Mother Teresa to choose the name Teresa. This is because Mother Teresa was amazed at how St. Therese advanced in holiness through her little way. Therese exemplified Mother Teresa’s phrase, “Small things with great love.” These flowers are a little reminder to me to always do small things with great love, offering them to Jesus at each moment.

I am sure that as time goes by more and more significance will go along with my logo. I am excited to see where God takes me and pray that He uses me through my writing. Now I cannot wait to introduce you to the artist and calligrapher behind my logo, Samantha! I met her a few years ago through mutual Catholic friends. Our family even got to witness her becoming friends with and marrying her husband, Conner. Samantha is an inspiring woman and her story clearly points to an unending faith in God and what He can do. I asked her to send me some information about herself that she would like to share. Here is a little bit about Samantha:

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My name is Samantha and I’m 28 years old. I have an incredible husband who country dances quite well and rides a motorcycle to work every day. We’ve been married since June 2018! We have two little girls who light up our life. Zoë is our spit fire wild child (4 years) and María Dolores is our calm spirited happy baby (4 months). We live in Arizona and (totally crazy) we are currently renovating our 400 sq foot RV to live in full time come February 2020. You can check out the transformation in my Instagram stories (@samanthanicolejuliette). Yay for tiny living! God is our numero uno and our family comes in at a close second. 

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I took a calligraphy class offered by Erica Tighe at Be a Heart in November 2016 when I was a single mom and a student getting my master’s degree. Zoë was about a year and a half old. It was one of the first times and money investments I made in myself after becoming a mama. It was $100, I remember, and considering how broke I was that year, I felt it was a lot to spend on a two hour class! But it sparked something in me. I saw that I could make beautiful things. I still have my name card I made that night. It’s so imperfect, but it serves as a reminder of how far I’ve come both in my calligraphy practice and in my journey with the Lord. It’s a reminder of all my little “yeses” or “fiats.” 

I took up calligraphy more frequently when, during engagement, I realized we couldn’t afford to pay someone to hand letter our wedding invitation envelopes. It was a blessing in disguise because it challenged me and by the end of it I realized how much I enjoyed this particular aspect of calligraphy. Since then I’ve continued hand lettering envelopes for wedding invitations and I’ve actually designed a couple of invitation suites! 

It’s been such a blessing to have this outlet of creativity as we just welcomed our second daughter into this world 3 months ago. Like journaling, calligraphy has been a way to process my thoughts and it’s also been a form of prayer as I like to write out scripture. It helps bring balance to who I am and in turn helps me live out my vocation more fully and joyfully as a wife and mother. And talk about the joy of walking alongside a couple as they prepare for the sacrament of Holy Matrimony! I’ve gotten to know my couples a lot more during the process, and wow! Hearing and seeing the bride’s reaction to what is sometimes the first concrete item invitees will receive in the mail is something special. I’m honored and so so blessed to be in this position. 

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I’ve also dabbled with making prints with scripture, and they’re up on Etsy (FlordeAzaharShop) and at local parish gift shops. These have been fun to do and through them I’ve learned a lot about digitizing my work. I’m open to doing custom work and working with people on bringing their ideas to life! Some of these have been blog logos, poems, names of children they’ve lost in miscarriage to honor and remember them, handlettered names for girl’s rooms, wooden last name signs for recently married couples, etc.

You can find Samantha at Flor de Azahar on etsy. If you would like to reach her directly please email me and I can get you connected with her. She is not limited by distance as she creates within her home and sends the lovely finished product to you! So, keep her in mind especially if you are getting married or know of anyone getting married!

Our mutual friend Sasha also created a beautiful video of the Statt family. You can watch it here. Their family is just beautiful!

To make this announcement even more exciting we have decided to partner together for this week’s Family Friday and will also be hosting a giveaway! You can find more information about our partnership on this week’s Family Friday here.

With love,

Nina 

+JMJ+

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