Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols

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Blink and They’re Grown

July 28, 2002, changed my life forever. I became a mom. I didn’t plan it. I wasn’t ready. The timing was bad. The circumstances were awful. Little did I know that God had HUGE plans for this little 7 pound 1ounce, 23 inch long baby boy.πŸ’™

I was just a child myself. I didn’t know how to raise a child. Within the first few days, I was presented with a multitude of options and decisions that had to be made. It was more than my 20 year old self could handle, but thankfully I had parents that loved me and showed me grace. I didn’t have any idea how much this little LIFE would change mine. Mathis Banks was the best baby. He was a nursing champ! He slept well, cried very little…strong and resilient from the beginning. When I lost all my friends, he was my buddy. Banks was my constant sidekick for 9 years.

I messed up….A LOT….but he loved me despite poor decisions, working all the time, no money for vacations, and no daddy. We did our best, and he kept me going. It was giving him life that saved mine. Without the birth of Banks, I don’t know that I ever would have come to know Jesus. Without Banks, I wouldn’t be the person and mother I am today. Without Banks, I would be incomplete.

Sacrifice is a major part of parenting. There were times I went hungry so he could eat. There were many years daycare and babysitters spent more time with him than I did due to school and work. There was a time we didn’t have a vehicle and walked where we needed to go. There were bills that were paid late. There were some really hard times. This kid ALWAYS smiled, laughed, excelled in school, and was there to hug me and love me. He’s incredible! Some kids cave and rebel when they’re made to feel less than by their peers because they don’t have the best of possessions or don’t live on the right side of town or don’t have a dad. Not Banks! He has used it all to drive him 1.) Closer to God and 2.) In full pursuit to fulfill his dreams and prove to all those that have made him feel like a “nothing” that he is indeed a “something”. Though the first 9 years were tough, we had blessings coming. We prayed and prayed for a husband and a daddy, and In 2011, God delivered. It went from just the two of us to a family! From the first time they met, Adam and Banks were best buddies! Banks would hang on him and wrestle, and I don’t know who loved it more, Adam or Banks. As a matter of a fact, Adam told Banks he loved him before he told me! A lot changed for Banks when he was given a daddy. Adam has taught him confidence, how to tie a tie, all the ins and outs of muscle cars and cars in general, talked to him about the birds and bees😬, and taught him to drive. Because of Adam’s love, Banks is adopted and chosen!

It was not long after Banks was given a daddy that he was also made a big brother. After being an only child for 10 years, I wondered how he would take this change, but in perfect Banks form, he instantly was the absolute best big brother in the world! Seriously, he helped change diapers, play, was always willing to take a picture with Weston, and is now Weston’s role model, babysitter, and best friend. The past two summers Banks has taken care of Weston everyday while I work (40-50 hrs/week). I come home to a clean house and well-cared for 5 year old. Banks is truly an amazing kid. Most teenagers are selfish and only care about what they want during the summer, but Banks never complains about having a summer job. Weston is one lucky kid to have a brother like Banks!Banks is not only a hard worker, but he is also athletic. Over the past 16 years, he’s played 10 years of city league baseball, junior high school baseball, junior varsity school baseball, junior varsity football, and varsity football. Sports is another parenting sacrifice. It’s time-consuming and takes a lot of patience, and sometimes self-control, but it’s worth every penny and every hour spent at a ballpark and stadium. Athletes are disciplined, driven, and sports teaches kids a lot about humility, teamwork, and confidence. There’s no where I would rather be on a Friday night or an entire Saturday than watching my Banks play ball.

I’m not finished bragging yet! He is also smart…like really smart. You wouldn’t know it now, but he was actually kicked out of our local magnet school after one semester of kindergarten because the teacher said he wouldn’t behave. Of course, he had perfect grades and had not missed a question all year. That same teacher also mandated that I have him tested for attention problems. The physician wrote on a prescription pad, “This child is bored. Give him something to do!” I wish I had that teacher’s phone number now. I would send her every picture I’ve taken over the last 16 years of every academic accomplishment he’s achieved. I would also send them to the principal of that magnet school so she could see the outcome of a child she had no faith in and gave up on. Banks still makes excellent grades, just passed his first AP exam, already qualifies for scholarships at every college we’ve visited, and does an amazing job of balancing both sports and school. He’s self-motivated. He wants to be an attorney, and we have been touring college campuses to find the best place for Banks to fulfill his dreams and succeed.

As you can see, the last 16 years have been filled with trials, hardships, diseases, rejections, crying, fun, blessings, adoptions, vacations, family, sports, achievements, success, laughter, and most importantly LOVE. On Saturday, July 28, the little baby that changed my life will be 16. He’s handsome, kind, respectful, smart, athletic, funny, and destined for greatness. I’ve prayed and cried over this child. I’m his biggest fan. Together we’ve beat poverty, loneliness, hatred, discrimination, epilepsy, and every other odd that was against us. Banks, I’m so proud that you are now a man that loves God first, your family, are a loyal friend, never too big or embarrassed to take a picture with your mom, and always put others first. I knew when you were born that God had amazing plans for you. I’ve never stopped and never will stop helping you achieve every goal you have. Your birthday changed my life forever, and I could never be more thankful and proud to be your mom. The years have passed quickly, and I can’t believe your going to be 16 and a junior in high school, going to prom, and applying to college next summer. You make me proud, and you make all the hard times worth it. I will always be your biggest fan! I love you and happy birthday, my Banks!


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Back to the Basics

Since my post next week will be dedicated to celebrating my oldest son’s 16th birthday, I decided to post today about where my journey is leading me. First of all, let me say thank you to every person that reads my blog, subscribes to my blog, leaves me comments, and follows the Dugouts and Diapers Facebook page. When I started this blog, I never dreamed I would have people subscribe to read what I write. Mind blown 🀯! I enjoy writing. It’s therapeutic for me, and I originally began this blog as a way to let go. I had no idea anyone would actually be interested.🀣🀣

My loyal readers know of my perfectionist ways, and lately, despite my best effort to follow all the rules of intermittent fasting along with an all organic Keto diet and exercise, I’ve just hit a brick wall. I just finished a 10 day cleanse, thinking that would get me back on the weight-loss, muscle-gain train. Well, it didn’t! Yesterday I had a full-blown breakdown! I cried and cried and cried about why things have come to a screeching stop. After my eyes were good and swollen from crying, I began praying. I asked God to show me what steps to take next. Well, as I was cleaning house, an OLD song came on my phone. It is a Christian song from the 1980’s or early 1990’s by 4Him called The Basics of Life. That was it! Thank you, Lord, for ALWAYS leading me in the right direction and ALWAYS being faithful to answer when I ask!

The answer was, “Get back to the basics, Jessica! Do what you know works!” Back when I began this journey, as a matter of a fact, up until March (so the entire first 8 months) I was losing pounds, gaining muscle, feeling great, and not obsessing over every aspect of my journey. The basics….I ate 3 organic Keto meals/day and exercised everyday. Well, in March, I began intermittent fasting and was having to count hours between meals, worrying if I was eating too much or too little, still exercising everyday, but I haven’t lost much weight, nor have I gained very much muscle mass. It has become more of a stress than something that just comes naturally. Clearly it’s excellent for maintenance, because I haven’t gained any weight. I’ve just pretty much stayed exactly the same, give or take a few pounds. So, once I get to my healthiest version of me, I might go back to the intermittent fasting as a method of maintenance. For now and the journey I’m on, it’s not right for me.

Besides getting back to dietary basics, beginning July 30, I will also be getting back to family basics. God has opened the door for me to be a stay-at-home mom, and I am so excited! My manclan needs me and loves for me to be available for them. Weston has missed me terribly since I went back to work, and I didn’t get to attend any pep rallys for Banks. My time with Adam was minimal due to all the chores I had waiting at home once I got off of work. The truth is, Banks only has two more years of school, and I want to enjoy every moment! I miss my manclan. I miss my time with my husband. I am also looking forward to having some time for myself again. I’ve been so busy, I literally had to start trimming my own hair in January, because I didn’t have time to go get my hair cut! 😬 So, back to the basics….do what works! I’m thankful for these opportunities, and I encourage those of you that are hitting brick walls at full force in both your health and home….stop, and get back to the basics! For the first time in MONTHS, I feel encouraged and excited! I can’t wait to share with you all how these changes work out.

Thank you again for reading and come back next week as we celebrate Banks’ 16th birthday!!!!!!😱


Real. Honest. Weight Loss.

While buying smaller clothes and feeling energized and strong are wonderful, there are some parts of weight loss that NEVER get talked about, and I can’t find highlighted on very many blog spots. To someone that has only needed to lose 10 or 20 pounds at a time, this won’t apply. I’m talking about major weight loss and what you’re left with….extra skin and becoming just as self-conscious over the loose skin as you were when you were 100 lbs heavier.

People that don’t understand will chalk this up as vanity and minuscule, because like I said, they don’t get it. Yes, it’s super exciting to not shop in the plus size section anymore, but when you’re still having to wear larger clothes than you actually are in order to accommodate your extra skin, or that really aggravating extra skin on your tummy gets stuck in your zipper and ends up ripping your skin…..it ain’t fun. It ain’t cute, and in turn, it messes with your mind and allows Satan to attack you physically just like he did when you were fat!!!! Grrrrrr!!!!!!

I’m here. I’m at this point. I feel like screaming. As of July 4, I have lost 93 pounds and over 100 inches since July 28, 2017. Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I feel amazing. I exercise everyday, and even find myself wanting to push harder and further with the exercise. I get compliments often from people who haven’t seen me in a while, and that is wonderful. No matter how much I focus on the positive and quote truth to myself of who I am in Christ, when I look in the mirror, or try on clothes I feel ashamed and self-conscious. Ashamed that I ever let my health get so far out of control, and self-conscious because even though the size 12 dress fits, I still have to buy a 14 to accommodate the extra skin and it’s too big everywhere else. Lately, I’ve even found myself avoiding waving at people, because a few weeks ago I waved at a friend and my 5 year old told me, “Mom, when you wave, your bat wings swing back and forth.” Now as innocent as his statement was, it hurt my feelings, and ever since then I’m extremely self-conscious about it. If you don’t know what he’s referring to as “bat wings,” they are all the extra skin on my upper arms. My biceps are toned and I can feel my triceps now, but where all the fat was in my arms is now just loose skin that apparently is still waving even after I’ve stopped.πŸ‘‹πŸ»

These are my “bat wings” for all to see, and for those of you that get it, I’m thankful that I am not alone. We talk so much about being the best version of ourselves. That’s all well and good to talk about it, but in reality, I know myself, and I know I will never feel like the best version of myself until all this loose skin and the self-consciousness is gone. Being the best version of yourself references not only your physical health but also your mental and spiritual health. It’s hard. It’s a different kind of hard than being 150 lbs overweight, but hard nonetheless.

This extra skin in my lower belly is what gets caught in zippers and rips and just sits there like a kangaroo pouch when I try on cute clothes. My brother is getting married in October, and I started trying on dresses last week and was excited to put something on that showed off the work I’ve done, but in actuality, I tried on 5 dresses and cried in the dressing room because now I have 2 options…wear Spanx and be uncomfortable in order to smooth my kangaroo pouch out OR wear a dang mumu to cover it all up. I will tell you now, I refuse to wear a mumu! I’ve spent the better part of my adult life in mumus because that’s all they make for fat girls!

Some may be reading this and thinking, “this is just vanity. This girl is just vain.” You’re the people that just don’t get it. Maybe you think I’m having a pity party. Again, you don’t get it. Until you’ve lived it, you don’t get it! The hard part is this isn’t something I can fix quickly, inexpensively, or anytime soon for that matter. I still have about 60 lbs left to lose (at least), and I can’t even see a plastic surgeon until I’m within about 10-15 pounds of my healthy weight. So, until then, it’s just this constant battle in my mind as well as the emotional battle that then ensues. It’s exhausting!

To those in my same boat, congratulations on your weight loss and taking the action required to become healthy. We will get through this, and I’m sorry no one sees the need to address this portion of weight loss. I get it! It’s hard. It’s embarrassing. Its uncomfortable. Here’s what I’ve been telling myself and maybe it will help you as well. I have to admit, it’s a bit of tough love, because that’s the way I operate. When the self-conscious thoughts and emotions overcome me, I tell myself, “Jessica, pick your hard. Pick your embarrassment. Pick your uncomfortable.” I would rather roll up my bat wings in order to wear a structured shirt than only have the option of mumus. I would rather be embarrassed by my bat wings flappin in the breeze than be embarrassed because my rear end doesn’t fit in a chair. I would rather deal with how uncomfortable it is to get my kangaroo pouch unstuck from my pants zipper than the uncomfort I felt when I was out of breath and having chest pains just from going grocery shopping this time last year. No one ever told us this journey was going to be easy. If it was, everyone would do it. It will be worth it someday. When we truly do feel like we’ve become the best version of ourselves, it will be soooooo worth it, and then I will write a blog about that. Until then, let’s just put on the dang Spanx and wear the dress we deserve to wear!

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Yoga Love

When I began this journey to health last July, I knew I could discipline myself to eat the right foods, but the part I dreaded was the exercise. I’m not the girl who’s going to join a gym and spend hours there each day. That’s not my gig, nor do I have time for that. I enjoy swimming, hiking, riding a bike, and being active in general. What I don’t enjoy is being yelled at why I exercise, forced to do something I don’t enjoy doing, and do anything I don’t have passion for. At that point, it’s just a chore and another stressor in life. So, I was pleasantly surprised when Dr. Bart at Balance 30A never once told me that’s what I would have to do to lose weight.

Now certainly you can lose weight by merely changing the way you eat or having a weight-loss surgery, but simply weighing less doesn’t make you HEALTHY. My goal was to be HEALTHY. I want to live to be old and not take any medicine, like my great grandmother. She was HEALTHY. So, in order to be HEALTHY, exercise was essential, because muscles are essential for posture and movement. Exercise also benefits your mood, outlook on life, helps relieve stress and anxiety, etc… The benefits of exercise and a HEALTHY body are endless.

For the first eight months of my journey, I merely reacquainted my body with moving. I would do jump squats, run in place during a show, and jumping jacks for literally 10-15 minutes/day. That’s literally all my body could handle, but the more weight I lost and the more endurance I gained, my body and my soul wanted more. On March 1, I began 30 Days of Yoga With Adriene, and I LOVED it! It was hard but began to get easier the more I did it. I was also able to do it in my own home, which helped my self-esteem and my bank account. After my first 30 days were up, I did True Yoga With Adriene for another 30 days. I continued to improve physically, mentally, and spiritually so on May 2, I began Yoga Camp With Adriene. It was very challenging, but I stuck with it and continued to grow. I am currently doing Yoga Revolution With Adriene, which is a 31 day series. Needless to say, I’ve fallen in love with this practice.πŸ’—πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ

I like that yoga is something you can do no matter what your physical capabilities or age. The first public yoga class I attended, the lady behind me was 76 and killin it! Heck, my mom is nearly 63 and teaches spin and yoga and doesn’t take any medicine (BEAST MODE)! Yoga is not hard on your joints and doesn’t push your body to unrealistic levels. Adriene does an excellent job of showing poses at a beginner, intermediate, and advanced level. Mostly I love the way I feel about myself, my day, and life after I practice. I can’t put into words how refreshed and clear your mind is when you finish. The best way I can think to describe it is PEACE. There’s just a peace that comes over you while practicing yoga, and you can’t help but to carry it with you throughout your day.

As I’ve advanced, the 30-40 minute online sessions are no longer enough. So, last month I began adding 3 sets of push-ups/day, and this month, I’ve added 10-20 minutes of cardio as well. Six days a week I jog around my neighborhood and on Thursday, I go to my mom’s spin class at MH Yoga. This isn’t something anyone has made me do. I just WANT to do these things now. It’s funny how the more time you spend thinking positive and renewing your mind and health, your priorities change. Where I once looked forward to watching trash tv (Real Housewives on Bravo) and eating a bowl of ice cream every night, I now wake up refreshed by 6am, can’t wait to hit my mat and get my day started, rarely watch tv, and am ready for bed by 9pm.

In my walk with Christ is where I see the biggest change from doing yoga. Some church-goers have the perception that yoga=worshipping a false god/voodoo. Nothing could further from the truth! If you are a Christian, God will reveal Himself, speak to you, and change you through yoga. It’s a practice that is focused on mental, spiritual, and physical health. The meditation time has been a real game-changer! Not very often do we sit in silence and just LISTEN. I begin my meditation by taking some deep breaths to clear my mind, and then I follow by expressing gratitude to God for all the blessings He’s given me and my family, and then I just ask Him to speak to me. Many times tears will just run down my face, because He reminds me of how much I’m worth and encouraging thoughts come to my mind and fill my body and lead me throughout my day. It’s just that PEACE that I spoke about earlier.

So, if you’ve never tried yoga, I encourage you to give it a go! What do you have to lose? The answer is nothing, but you have EVERYTHING to gain! Don’t put it off until another day. Today is the International Day of Yoga. So, there’s literally no better day to start than NOW! You don’t have to have a mat or a membership to a yoga studio. I did yoga for the first month on my bare living room floors, and there are a multitude of free yoga sessions on Youtube (that’s where I found Yoga With Adriene❀️) and Lululemon has a free 20 minute session on their website. I know if you’re a female, you already have the right clothes. I see ya all over town in yoga gear. So, why not do some yoga in those yoga pants?🀣🀣🀣 If you’re local and just don’t want to do it by yourself, hit me up! I would love to join you. 😊

I’m thankful for this practice and how it’s helped change me. I’m thankful for my family and friends that have encouraged me. I’m thankful for Adam, my kids, my mom, and my entire Balance 30A family-you all are my inspiration!😘 Most importantly, I’m thankful that every morning when I show up, my God meets me on the mat.πŸ’•

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10 Months Of Keto and 90 Days of Yoga

If you subscribe to my blog or read regularly, you know all about my Keto journey. May 28, marked 10 consecutive months I’ve been at it. If I’m honest, I had really hoped and prayed that I would have already lost 100 pounds by the 10 month mark. I didn’t make it. Of course, as I mentioned a few posts ago, I didn’t lose one single pound the month of April, and with only three pounds lost the entire month, May wasn’t much better either. As a total weight loss, I am down 87 pounds. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m BEYOND proud of myself, but the overachiever perfectionist in me had really hoped for more.Hitting the 10 month mark wasn’t the only milestone I’ve had lately. Today was my 90th consecutive day of yoga! I have fallen in love with this practice!πŸ’• I completed three 30 day online yoga series. First was 30 Days of Yoga With Adriene . Second was True 30 Days With Adriene, and for the past month, I’ve attended Yoga Camp With Adriene. Tomorrow I begin Revolution With Adriene, which is a 31 day series.

This practice has changed me. It has helped calm me, taught me to love my body even its imperfections, encouraged me, challenged me, made me sweat (a lot), and most of all, it has become a quiet place where I talk to God and He talks to me. I certainly have experienced physical changes as well. I’ve lost multiple inches over the last 90 days. The photos on the left were taken 90 days ago, and the photos on the right were taken today. I’m amazed at the visible muscle tone and how much stronger I am! Poses that I couldn’t do on day one are now easy. For example, on day one, I couldn’t even do a side plank, and today I held one on each side for 5 breaths. πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ

My sweat made a smiley face on my mat today, and I took that as an, “I’m proud of you. Be proud of yourself,” love, God.😊Today’s mantra was, “It’s All You.” Well, I changed mine to, “It’s All You, God.” As I sat in meditation this morning, I cried as I thought about the last 90 days and even the last 10 months. While I know that I have certainly put in the work to accomplish all that I have, it’s God who sent the right people into my life at the right time to be my TRIBE, and it’s Him that has endowed me with self-control, strength, and determination. I’m just so humbled and proud.πŸ’—

I also have a really big idea that I’m praying about and would love for you to pray about with me. I’ve already reached out to my prayer warrior friends and family about this. I’m so thankful for people I can go to with big ideas and trust to pray over me. So, here’s the big idea…I want to go to yoga teacher training and teach a Christian faith-based yoga to anyone who wants to come, and I even want to go to different churches and shelters to use this as a women’s ministry. It’s really burning in my heart, and I’m praying for the answers of how(it ain’t cheap), when, where, and can this really be SOMETHING. Basically, I just want the opportunity to share the love I’ve found on the mat through this practice with others that may need to feel loved or be encouraged or told that they are good enough. Because of my love of this practice, I can’t explain the emotions that come with this idea. So, thank you for praying with me. Thank you for reading, and if you follow the Dugouts and Diapers Facebook page, you already know that in order to spend more time with my manclan, this summer I will only be posting every other week. If you don’t follow the Dugouts and Diapers Facebook page, you should! Until next time, here’s to month 11 of Keto, the next 31 days of yoga, and a really big idea! Xoxo πŸ’•

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No 7 Year Itching Here

On the heels of The Royal Wedding, Adam and I will be celebrating our 7 year wedding anniversary on May 28. Last Saturday, the world was abuzz with excitement and anticipation as Prince Harry married Meghan Markle. Everyone was going nuts about the fashion, the guests, the flowers, and every other aspect of the wedding. Well, it made me think of my own wedding.

I walked down the aisle in a $200 dress, $13 ballet slippers, my mother’s veil, and a bouquet I made out of my grandmother’s old broaches, and the only reason we got married in a church is because both Adam’s Nanny and my Ma’am made us promise we would get married in a church and not elope🀣🀣🀣. There weren’t any flowers hooked to the pews or an extravagant arrangement at the front of the church. It certainly wasn’t royal wedding caliber. There wasn’t all the fuss. Why didn’t I have the extravagant wedding most girls dream of? Well, honestly, I didn’t care. None of that was important to me. The only thing that was important to me was the covenant being made with God and Adam. None of the rest mattered. If I had a chance to go back and change something, I wouldn’t. I was relaxed and happy and honestly just ready to head to the honeymoon with the most wonderful man in the world!πŸ˜πŸ˜˜πŸ˜‰Why didn’t the big production and everything associated with it matter to me? Well, I don’t know. Maybe it was because I was nearly 30, and I knew what life was about. I had stood on my own as an adult for many years. Maybe it was because I was already a parent, and many of the traditions that are symbolic in a wedding ceremony didn’t apply to me. Maybe it was because I’m just not one that enjoys that type of thing. Mostly I think it was because I was so in love with Adam that I would have married him on our second date (no lie)! He was EVERYTHING I had prayed for the last 8 years. It was only the marriage that mattered not the wedding.❀️ Please don’t misunderstand me though, if a big shindig is your thing, go for it! No judgement, just reminiscing.πŸ’—There are more reasons than I can write in a blog about why I love Adam. The most important one is he knew my worth, and he showed me my worth and still does. When we started dating, I didn’t love myself very much. He would compliment me, and I would criticize myself rather than just say, “thank you.” We had been dating about 2 months, and he bought me the book A Jewel In His Crown. This book is AMAZING! It tells you how God sees you, and when Adam gave it to me, he told me he wanted me to see myself and love myself the way he and God saw me and loved me. 😍😍😍 Super romantic, right??? Well, it was life-changing for me. I suggest every teenager and anyone that feels that they have to get married because that’s the next step read it. It will keep you from settling for just anyone. I also suggest it to the woman that’s been married for years but feels absolutely alone or anyone that struggles with knowing your self-worth. You’re spoken for! You’re treasured! You’re loved by God, your Creator!❀️I’m thankful that prior to getting married I was able to discover my self-worth, because if you’re married you know this all too well, it’s no longer about you. It’s about speaking love every single day to your partner through words and actions. When Adam and I dated, we did the study The Five Love Languages. This was a total game-changer for us. It allowed us to know and see how the other best receives love. I was able to go into our marriage knowing that acts of service (cooking, cleaning, ironing, etc) speak love to Adam, and he knows that physical touch (hugs, kisses, holding hands, intercourse) speaks love to me. Over the last seven years, we have been intentional with making sure the other knows they are loved and treasured.

It hasn’t been easy. Marriage isn’t for the weak. It takes effort and action! We have been through a lot in a such a short period of time. We’ve each lost jobs. We’ve been through sickness. We’ve had financial struggles. We are raising men, which takes definite teamwork. We’ve suffered loss, extreme hurt, and disappointment. We’ve also had wonderful laughs, great vacations, excellent conversations, and life-changing moments. We haven’t allowed the bad to break us. Instead we talk and cry and pray about things. Although it hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies, there’s absolutely no one else in this life I would want to walk alongside. Seven years ago I said, “I do” to the most encouraging(all the time), hardest working (for real though! His work ethic is incredible), best provider(always does whatever it takes to provide), most handsome😍, God-fearing man I’ve ever known. To the end of this life, if I could choose anyone in the world to marry, Adam Nichols, I will ALWAYS and FOREVER choose you! Happy Anniversary and many manymore!😘😘❀️❀️


The Power of a Tribe

Ready to quit….that’s where I was this week! I was ugly crying and just plain DONE! I’m a results person. I’m not the type of person that finds joy in lying around in pjs all day. I feel as if I’ve wasted the day if I haven’t accomplished something. This weight loss journey is the same way! I feel as if it’s just a big ‘ol waste of time when I don’t see results. As I mentioned in Feast Day Favorites and a Little Progress, I didn’t lose one ounce the entire month of April. Well, two weeks ago I weighed and had lost 5 pounds. It was just the energizing motivation I needed. It was RESULTS! Since then I am back to not losing one ounce. To try and encourage myself, I measured. Maybe it was inches I had lost rather than pounds. NOPE! A measly 3/4 of an inch was all! I was so upset and defeated. I cried, prayed, and contemplated quitting. What’s the point of going on if you aren’t seeing results????The point is my TRIBE! They encouraged me and reminded me of where I started. My mom, a staple of my tribe, and the OG of healthy, amazing 62 year olds, sent me these two pictures. The top picture was made on my dad’s boat July 4,2017. Just 24 days before I walked through the doors of Balance 30a and began this life-changing process. I was MISERABLE! I was 300 lbs, a size 24/26, and that dress and the swimsuit underneath were a 2XL. The bottom picture was taken last Sunday on Mother’s Day. That’s my mom in the pic with me! Isn’t she beautiful????😍 I’m now wearing a 12/14, size Medium T-shirt, and a two piece swimsuit with abs showing! As much as I would like to burn every old picture of myself, I’m thankful for the reminder of where I was and where I never ever want to return. https://jstarrnichols.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/720p.movThe other chief of my tribe is my husband. He made this video of me doing my own yoga flow to my own music, and favorite song of all time. He told me how great I’m doing and how beautiful he thinks I am. 😘He encouraged me to just keep going, and it will all work out. I watch this video, and I’m proud! I’ve done yoga for 71 consecutive days now, and although I notice that the pillows on the couch aren’t straight, and I still can’t pull my leg from 3 legged dog up to a low lunge YET. Mostly I notice the progress and the strength I’ve gained not only over the past 10 months but just over the last 71 days of doing yoga. I know my shoulders and core are sore from doing 3 sets of push-ups each day. So, I can feel the difference. Sometimes you just really want the scales and measuring tape to reflect the work and effort you’ve put in.So, what’s the plan? The plan is to continue logging each set of perfect-form push-ups I can do three times everyday. The plan is to continue doing yoga without missing a day. The plan is to continue eating organic keto no matter how sick and tired I am of spending $250/week on groceries. The plan is to NEVER give up, no matter how long I go without seeing numerical results. The process is hard and long and frustrating at times, but when I see that old picture of myself, I don’t ever want to be that girl again. I want to be better for myself and for my tribe that loves me so well! If you’re venturing down a life-changing path like I am, you’ve got to have a tribe. You’re not going to make it without one. There’s going to be ugly cry, tough days! Let your tribe carry you on those days! If you don’t have a tribe, get one! Find the people in your life that encourage, uplift, and love you! They’re essential to your success.

To my tribe….I love you all! This week would have been failure without you. You make me better.πŸ’•πŸ˜˜πŸ’ͺ🏻