Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols

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Wisdom Gone Wild

Last weekend I left my manclan at home to go off by myself for the first time since I left my parents’ home for college, which was sixteen years ago. A group of ladies from our church traveled to Mobile, Alabama to hear Beth Moore.

There were approximately 9,000 people, mostly women, gathered in The Mitchell Center on the campus of The University of South AlabamaTravis Cottrell led worship, and it was absolutely phenomenal! I was about  two seconds from abandoning my Baptist roots and becoming Pentecostal when we sang Break Every Chain. I love that song!

There were ladies from college to retirement age that went with us, and I was so thankful to get to know some of these precious souls better. Beth Moore spoke out of Proverbs concerning Wisdom vs Folly. She defined wisdom as, “skilled living from treasure hunting.” Metaphorically speaking, she described wisdom and folly as a crossroads, and sometimes they both look very similar, but she gave us seven points to distinguish one from the other.

1. Wisdom turns on its ear. Wisdom listens. It does not always have something to say.

2. Wisdom is awhirl with wonder.

3. Wisdom exists to engage.

4. Wisdom prizes insight over ego.

5. Wisdom sees through seduction.

6. Wisdom knows folly can kill you.

7. Wisdom can tell what time it is. He is a God of perfect timing.

It was quite interesting to see the distinction between the two, and as I recollected to certain times in my life when I was at the crossroads of wisdom or folly, it is interesting to see that as I have grown closer in my relationship with God, I have nearly always chosen wisdom. I am learning to be quiet, listen, wait on His timing, be willing to learn, and to make sure folly does not slip in that one spot that my armor does not cover. Just as my main man James says in James 1:5-8, “ask God for wisdom.” He also instructs us to ask in faith. I pray for wisdom daily for me, my husband, my children, family members, and friends. So, if you are consistently at the crossroads of wisdom and folly, and your are generally choosing folly, I urge you pray in faith for wisdom. It is just another free gift from our loving Savior.

While the conference was good, the fellowship with my sisters in Christ was amazing. I love my church family, and I am so thankful that the Lord gave me such incredible Christian friends. I cannot wait for our next adventure together!



Our Friends Are Our Family

One Sunday, a few years ago, Adam and I saw a young couple visiting our church, and we made a point to invite them to Sunday school the next week, and we had no idea the beautiful friendships that would evolve. Rebecca and I became fast friends. We have a lot of characteristics in common, and Daniel and Adam are both much alike as well. They also had a little girl, named Ella Kate that was just a few months younger than Weston. So, basically, it was a match made in heaven.

In January 2016, our sweet friends added to their family with the birth of a little boy, Hudson Michael Morrison. Everything was completely normal for the first few months. Sleepless nights, tons of diapers, bottles, etc… It was a Thursday afternoon in May, and I was on my way to pick Weston up from the babysitter’s house, and my phone rang. It was Rebecca. She was sobbing and said, “Jessica, I need you to stop what you’re doing and pray right now! Something is wrong with Hudson. His blood counts are very low, and the doctor is sending us to Flowers Hospital for a blood transfusion and from there, he will be airlifted to UAB Children’s Hospital. We don’t know what’s going on, but it could be Leukemia. I know you will pray and get others to pray, and that’s what we need right now.” I felt sick! I pulled the van over into a parking lot, and I immediately prayed for Hudson, our friends, and the medical team. I emailed our entire Sunday school class right then telling the few details I knew and asking them to join me in prayer for our friends.

After days of waiting, they found out that it wasn’t Leukemia, but the doctors still didn’t know what was going on. They had one possibility of Hudson having a mitochondrial disease called Pearson’s Syndrome, but they had a better chance of winning the lottery TWICE than it being Pearson’s. After all, there had been fewer than 100 cases diagnosed WORLDWIDE since its discovery in the 1970’s! 

Well, after an entire month of genetic testing, the mystery was solved. Hudson was diagnosed with Pearson’s Syndrome. My friends were devestated, but they had faith, and none of us had a clue what the Lord was about to do in Daniel and Rebecca’s lives! When parents are told that their child has a disease that has no cure and no current treatments available because so little is actually known about their disease, most parents would give up, and allow their circumstances to overwhelm them, but not my friends! They are fighters! They fight every day! It is phenomenal to watch their faith grow, and it’s incredible how God is using this little baby to change people’s lives!

After being in contact with a family from North Carolina, whose son also has Pearson’s Syndrome, they found out about The Champ Foundation. Donations to this foundation help fund research for Pearson’s Syndrome. This foundation is near and dear to the Morrisons and every other family that is dealing with Pearson’s. 

Daniel and Rebecca have made a website Hudson’s Hope for a Cure where they explain exactly what Pearson’s Syndrome is. They also have Hudson’s story posted as well as updates on his health, fundraisers for The Champ Foundation, and how God is working in their lives.

Everyday these precious friends wake up ready to fight whatever obstacles may come their way. They haven’t asked for any assistance other than prayer. I would urge you all to follow the links in my blog to both Hudson’s Hope for a Cure as well as The Champ Foundation and read about Pearson’s Syndrome and donate any amount you can to The Champ Foundation to help fund research for this rare disease. If you are local, there are some fundraisers planned, in which all the profits will benefit The Champ Foundation. T-shirts have been made and are being sold by some of Rebecca’s co-workers. The information is on Hudson’s Hope for a Cure website, or you can contact me directly if you would like a shirt. Our church is holding a huge yard sale in October, and any items laying around your house can be dropped off at Southside Baptist Church every Monday-Wednesday. Drop off deadline is September 30. 

Please help contribute to the research through The Champ Foundation, and if you aren’t able to donate, I urge you to pray for my dear friends and the few babies and families around the world like sweet Hudson and the Morrisons. My friends need an exuberant amount of strength each day, and their baby needs a miracle! One thing those of us closest to Daniel and Rebecca have learned is that when things seem so bleak and dark, our God is bigger! Our God is stronger, and our God has a plan! I could never fit into one blog post the amount of admiration I have for my friends! They are indeed family, and I pray everyday for healing, whether on this earth or in heaven for Hudson. I pray that lives are changed through this baby and this family’s story. I pray for God’s will to be done. I pray for strength, faith, and courage for my sweet friends. I pray for a miracle! Won’t you join me?

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New Beginnings

First off, allow me to apologize for my brief hiatus. I have been terribly sick for two weeks. I finally feel human again. As all of you moms know, life doesn’t stop simply because you aren’t feeling well. There’s still a manclan to be fed, laundry to be done, a house to be cleaned, and bills to be paid. Did I mention that it was also time to start back to school???? The uniforms needed to be ordered, school supplies purchased, haircuts, etc… Needless to say, being sick did not fit into my schedule.

This year didn’t merely consist of getting Banks ready to go back to school, but Weston would also be starting school. Both boys are marking milestones this year. Weston, as he begins his journey at Houston Academy in the 3P program, and Banks, as he begins high school at Houston Academy in the 9th grade.

The first day, as every day, began with prayers for both of my boys. I prayed that they would both be light in the darkness, do what is right, and basically, have a great year. I thanked the Lord for such intelligent and kind children. As we sat at breakfast, Weston could hardly eat due to his excitement. Banks was his usual cool, calm, and collected self. Since he had worked all summer, we didn’t have any issues with waking up early, and thankfully he looks forward to going to school each year.

Both boys willingly gave me a smile for the annual first day of school picture, and then we were off. As I dropped Banks off in front of the high school building, I began to have tears in my eyes, but I knew I had to hold it together in order to avoid sending Weston into a major meltdown before his first day. On the first day, they allow parents to walk pre-schoolers to their classroom. So, I parked the van, and as I reached for Weston’s hand, he told me, “I don’t want to hold your hand, mom. I want to walk all by myself.” 😭 So, instead of allowing him to see my broken heart, I told him how proud I was of him for being such a big boy. I walked alongside of him to his classroom, and I said goodbye and left.

He was not thrilled that I wanted yet another picture of him and his teacher, Mrs. O’Connor. When I picked him up, he couldn’t quit talking about all the great friends he had made, the story they read, but most importantly, the playground! He was so excited! 

After Banks finished school, he had football practice. So, it was nearly 7pm before I heard about his first day. He too had a great day. He told me about all of his teachers, the expectations for each class, and of course, we talked about football practice. He is playing on both the JV and Varsity teams this year, which he is overjoyed about, and Adam and I are extremely proud of all the dedication and hard work he has put in to accomplish such a feat. A freshman playing varsity requires hard work, talent, and a personal invite from the varsity coach. His first varsity game is this Friday night. We can’t wait! Go Raiders!

The back to school excitement has continued throughout the week. Weston and I spent the majority of yesterday morning on his first homework assignment. He had to make a “Me doll”. It was a fun project, and he was excellent at painting and using the glue stick. I did all of the cutting, but the quality time together was priceless. Banks has already had two quizzes, and today is only the third day, but he seemed confident in the material, which was over the three books he had to read for summer reading. 

The new beginnings really hit home this morning, as I went into Weston’s room to wake him up, he was already completely dressed including his socks and shoes. As I walked by the bathroom, Banks was shaving his face. Those same tears that filled my eyes two days ago were coming back. After Weston hopped right out of the van in car line this morning, the tears began to flow. I prayed and asked God to take care of my boys, and I decided that I could handle this one of two ways. I could cry and be sad that my babies aren’t babies anymore, or I could be thankful that I have such intelligent, independent children that love God and love others. My daddy offered me some great advice this morning as he reminded me that this is all just part of the process moving on from one chapter to the other. So, as for these new beginnings, I’m thankful. I’m thankful for an incredible school like Houston Academy. I’m thankful that no matter what, our boys will always be our children, and we will always be there for them when they need us, and I’m thankful for the village of family and friends that have helped mold and make Banks and Weston into the wonderful young men that they are. Here’s to another fantastic school year!