Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols


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Everyday I’m Hustlin

As I shared two weeks ago, I will be going on a mission trip to Austin, TX in June 2017. Mission trips are expensive, and as I was pondering ways in which I could help off-set the cost of this trip, my sweet friend Amber called me. She knows I enjoy cooking, and she also knows I am an excellent baker. So, she recommended that I sell my homemade, baked items throughout the holiday season.


After considering my friend’s idea as genius, I began compiling a list of my favorite holiday recipes. Then I began picturing the presentation of my goodies, what my menu would look like, and once Weston was down for his nap, I spent the next hour typing a rough copy of my menu. Due to Adam’s extensive knowledge in the catering and hospitality business, I knew that I would need to consult with him on pricing. 

So, without further ado, I present P 31’s Holiday Bakery!!!!!! What is P 31, you ask…It is the book and chapter in the Bible in which I have prayed to mold my life after for the last thirteen years. Being a Proverbs 31 wife, mother, and woman is extremely important to me. She is a lady that works diligently, and that certainly describes me. She also uses her talents as unto the Lord, which is what I am attempting to do with this holiday bakery. 

So, if you are in the Dothan area and are in need of some savory or sweet treats for a gift, family gathering, holiday party, or simply to enjoy, please contact me beginning October 1, with your order. I guarantee super yummy goodies made with love ❤️.

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Submerged

WOW! What a week! It was VBS week at church, and between working all day and teaching the 5th and 6th grade group of kids, I am still exhausted! It was a truly amazing week though. I absolutely love 5th and 6th grade! This was my third year teaching this age group, and they always bless me. I had been praying for months that God would send plenty of kids to VBS, and He certainly did not disappoint! This was our largest group of kids in years! I had more than double the number of kids than I had last year.


Decorating my classroom is always one of my most favorite parts of the week. My classroom had a giant octopus as the centerpiece with blue tablecloths draped across the ceiling for that “submerged” feeling. I made jelly fish from plastic cups and ribbon, and I even found the cutest inflatable turtles at the Dollar Tree. Although the decorations were wonderful, the most exciting part of VBS this year was, without a doubt, the kids in my class.


These kids were so awesome, and they were extremely respectful and well-behaved all week. They enjoyed all the games, had killer dance moves, and always answered any questions I asked about the previous day’s lesson. As if they weren’t great enough, I had two young ladies ask Jesus to be their Savior!!!!!! It was quite possibly the most amazing night of VBS I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve been to many nights of VBS! We even had some kids out of my class come to our house and hang out with the youth group on Saturday night, and they were at church on Sunday. God is just so great! I just know that He’s getting ready to do amazing things at Southside Baptist Church through children, youth, and young people, and I simply feel humble and blessed to be a part of it. 

Please join me in praying for these precious girls to be discipled further following their decision to follow Jesus. Pray also for my church. It’s the greatest church in the world, in my opinion, and I just can’t wait to see what God has in store for us!

Next week my post will be dedicated to the love of my life and my daddy as we spend the weekend celebrating Adam’s birthday and Father’s Day. Thanks for reading and have a great week.


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He’s My Favorite Thing About Everyday

I know, I know, I am over a week late with my post. I’m sorry to those who actually look forward to reading my blog each week. Between the end of school, work, and my house being overtaken by VBS decorations, I haven’t had much time for anything else. We did make time to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary on May 28. We had a wonderful day, but we have an even more wonderful life together. Everyday with Adam is a gift!

We began the day with a DIY project. I mean, is it really a weekend at the Nichols house without a project????? We (mostly Adam) made a headboard for Weston’s bed out of old pallets. This was such a great, easy project that cost us $0! BOOM! *Attention locals: Eagle Eye Outfitters will allow you to haul off as many pallets as you want at no charge.*


We went to dinner at our favorite little Mexican restaurant, Hacienda Azul. As we dined, we talked about all the Lord had brought us through in our 5 years of marriage and all the blessings we’ve been given as well as the excruciatingly difficult times that we’ve endured. 


There was a time in our marriage when Adam was making very little money, we had a newborn and a 10 year old, and I got laid off from my job. Times were tough, like crying and praying everyday tough. In order to feed our boys and keep a roof above our head, I sold every piece of real jewelry I owned, except my wedding rings. I would have sold those too, but Adam wouldn’t let me. Times were tough, but we made it through together. Thankfully, we are in a much better place now, and God has been faithful! My precious husband surprised (I mean really surprised) me with the most beautiful ruby and diamond earrings. He always reminds me that I’m “worth far more than rubies.” He also knows I cherish them because they are Banks’ birthstone. I was just absolutely stunned! The gift is not what makes me feel loved. While I adore the beautiful token of his love for me, it’s the fact that every single day, he knows my worth as a wife and mother. That is love!

I have known Adam Nichols for ten years, and for as long as I’ve known him, he’s been asking for a solar-powered, leather banded wristwatch that only has the time and date on the face. He has no interest in a chronograph or any of that jazz. Well, I’ve searched religiously for the past 5 years, and they were always out of my budget. Well, my search finally came to end. I found the watch he had longed for, and it was within my budget! He was so overjoyed and excited! He has worn it everyday since he got it. He deserves the finest of watches! I pray that every time he looks down at it, he knows that there’s not one second that passes that I don’t love and adore him. ❤️

Marriage is certainly not for the weak. It’s definitely more than a ceremony in a fancy dress and a party. It’s work! It’s fun! It’s hard! It’s rewarding! Most importantly, for Christians, it’s a covenant with God. The covenant I made with God and Adam is so important to me! I realize that five years isn’t very long compared to an eternity with my love, but I’m so thankful that I get to do this thing called life with Adam Nichols! I could never fully depict his worth in a blog post. He’s truly my favorite thing about everyday.


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I Love a Project

As many of you know, I love a good DIY project. We have been working on our house for three years, and we do projects as we are able to afford them. My grandmother gave me two pieces of furniture that she and my Papa had in this home when they lived here. Clearly the furniture is outdated, but they are both solid wood, and they are very unique pieces that just needed a little TLC.

My first project was this fabulous chair! Our bedroom is made up of neutrals, and it needed a pop of color. This chair was the perfect piece to take our bedroom to the next level!

I disassembled the chair and sanded it down before applying Valspar Color Radiance spray paint and primer in one. This paint went on extremely smooth, and it only required one and half cans to get good coverage on all sides of the chair. 

While the paint was drying, I recovered the cushions with a basic dark chocolate and beige upholstery fabric that I purchased from Hobby Lobby.

The finished product was the perfect pop of color our bedroom needed. I accented the turquoise with a coral throw pillow from TJ Maxx.  This was a super fun project for under $25!


Our second project was one that my sweet husband helped me with. I hate that I didn’t take an assembled “before shot”.  This is a solid wood secretary that my grandparents kept in the living room, but Adam and I use it for a dresser/tv cabinet in our bedroom. We sanded down the dresser, the drawers, as well as the hutch. We also removed all of the old hardware before we began sanding.


We used Valspar spray paint and primer in one for this project as well. This spray paint goes on flawlessly. It was also such a time-saver for this project due to all of the woodwork on this piece of furniture. We used 10 cans of paint.

I really wanted to use clear knobs to keep the look soft yet updated. We found these knobs at Lowes. The total cost of the project was just under $100. I’m so pleased with the outcome. I’m amazed at what a coat of paint can do to transform a piece of furniture.

I love a project, and I certainly enjoy it all the more when the pieces are a family heirloom. Small DIY projects such as these are excellent for some weekend bonding with your spouse. Thank you guys for reading and let me know what you think, or if you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them.


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All You Need is Love

In the words of the Beatles, “All You Need is Love.” How true that is. It’s amazing how one thoughtful gesture, a kind word, or simply being in the same room with people you love can change your entire day. February 14, 2016, was an absolutely wonderful day. Sure, there are those who dislike Valentine’s Day, but truthfully, that’s a problem within themselves that keeps them from celebrating an entire day dedicated to love. Heck, love is the entire reason for our existence. We were created by a loving God to share His love to ALL people. 

  In true Adam Nichols fashion, he surprised me with my most favorite things…..fresh-cut roses and green tea. I drink a cup of hot, green tea every morning, and I try to always keep fresh-cut flowers in my living room all year. They just make the room brighter, and they help set an atmosphere in your home. I love that he showers me with the little things that mean so much to me.😘 I gave Adam a shirt from his favorite clothing store, S Brannon Clothing, and it was even orange and blue! Now, that’s true love! HA! I know receiving clothes is not what most men like, but due to the few times Adam has received high-quality, new clothing in his life, he has made it known that this is one of his most favorite gifts to receive.

    
 My smokin  hot hubby wore his new shirt, and I got all dolled up for our Sunday school class’ annual Valentine’s Day dinner. Our buddies, Brittney and Jonathan, hosted the event again this year. It is always the best social of the entire year. Everyone brings a side dish or dessert, and Brittney and Jonathan provide the meat, and we have the most amazing meal with lights dimmed and 90’s love songs softly playing in the background (Boyz II Men and Keith Sweat are sure to get you in the mood for mommy-daddy time when you get home)😂👍🏻😍. We always end the night with an ever-interesting Newlywed Game! It is absolutely hilarious, and we learn more about our Sunday school family than imaginable! 

    
    
 Ashley, my sister, aka, the best aunt in the entire world, babysat Weston for us THE ENTIRE NIGHT!!!! She took him to the park, the food court, and 7 rounds on the carousel. 🎠 He got to lie in her bed and drink juice boxes and eat cookies, and on Sunday morning, he enjoyed cinnamon rolls in bed before getting ready for church. Ashley always spent time like this with Banks when he was little, and she was so excited to be able to start this tradition with Weston. This act of love showed love to not only Weston but also to Adam and myself. Both Banks and Weston adore their Aunt Ash, and it’s not hard to see why. She’s invested in their lives and makes them a priority. We are blessed to have her. 

 Banks spent the weekend with his youth group at the Lift Tour. He heard some great speakers over the weekend, and he thoroughly enjoyed the contemporary worship with thousands of youth from the Dothan/Wiregrass area. I’m so thankful that he wasn’t bogged down in the superficial love that so many teenagers fall victim to, but yet he was experiencing the most wonderful love of all….God’s love for His children. 

I am so incredibly thankful for the love my husband has for me and I have for him, the love we have for our children, the love our family members have for us and our boys, the love found in the wonderful friendships of our Sunday school class, and most importantly, the love our Savior shows to us daily through His grace, mercy, and kindness. All you need is love to make a difference.❤️


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A New Year, A New Project

Since we moved in this house nearly three years ago, we have constantly had a project. Thankfully, most of the major projects are complete, and those that remain on the “to-do list” do not require us to rearrange our lives in order to complete. 

  On the weekends and even some during the week, we spend the majority of our time in our backyard. Whether we are laughing with friends around the firepit, grilling delicious food with family, or just watching the boys play, we are enjoying every minute spent outside. One thing we were missing was an outdoor television for watching sports or a movie. My precious parents bought us a new 60″ SmartTV for Christmas, and we knew immediately that we wanted to put our old tv outside. My brilliant husband devised a plan to remove one of the windows in our laundry room and build the tv cabinet around the current window frame. He’s truly brilliant!  
 Once we removed the window, he cut a piece of plywood to the size of the window frame and braced it from the back with pieces of a 2×4.He placed a smaller piece of plywood in the center of the window to attach the wall-mount for the television. We painted it all black so that it will disappear into the black of the television. 

 He then built the actual tv cabinet using 2×4’s, right angle brackets, and screws. We allowed an extra 3-4″ on each side for proper air flow when the television is on. As you can tell, we had to remove our vinyl siding to do this project, but it doesn’t take but just a few minutes to hang it right back up when the project is complete. When the framework was complete, we painted the frame black and ran all of the cables from the attic to the outdoor space.  

 For the door of the tv cabinet, I wanted it to be more of a piece of artwork than simply a piece of solid black plywood. I spent roughly two hours painting the door of the cabinet, but it really is so inviting, and most importantly, so us! 

 Once the door was complete, the only thing left to do was hang the television, hook up the cables and Bluetooth surround sound, hang the cabinet door, and check for power. Of course, it worked beautifully! Since we didn’t want to take the tv in and out every time we wanted to use it, we put a lock on the closure of the cabinet so it is right ready to use each time we go outside. 

 We are all so excited about the completion of this project, and we can’t wait to have our first gathering next weekend as we host our church’s youth group and college kids for a Super Bowl fellowship. We find enjoyment in all of our renovation projects, but this one just might be our favorite! 

Come back next week as I fill you in on one more thing that I’m obsessed with this year! Ladies, it’s a good one, so don’t miss it! Have a great week everyone!


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Keep Dreaming 

Did you follow your dreams? Do you even have a dream? Do you think you’re too old to pursue your dreams? Do you think you’re too poor to follow your dreams? Have you even ever had a longing to pursue or to be something so badly that you’ve said either to yourself or out loud, “That’s my dream __________.” The blank could be filled in with nouns such as: job, home, car, man, woman, vacation, etc… Being able to see that dream come to fruition truly makes you feel like “a real somebody.” 

  Ever since the movie Coat of Many Colors aired on NBC, I’ve been completely obsessed with Dolly Parton. I want to meet her and talk to her! Now to many of my friends, it has seemed really strange, but she and I have a lot in common, and I admire her so much for being so incredibly real, clearly I’m referring to what’s on the inside. HA! If you haven’t seen the movie, you should make it a priority, and here’s a little free advice…grab some Kleenex! 
 My mom always  buys each one of us a book as one of our Christmas presents, and she always writes the sweetest note on the inside cover. This year, she asked me what kind of book I wanted, and I told her a book written by Dolly Parton. Well, she bought me Dream More, and it was so fabulous that I read it in one day!  

 God used this book and Dolly to show me that it’s ok to have dreams. It’s ok to be a goal-oriented person. It’s ok to be so in love with your dreams that you’re not going to let anything or anyone stop you, make you feel silly or strange for believing that they will come true! 

 I’ve always been a goal-oriented person. Heck, if I weren’t, Banks and I would have been better off to have lied down in a ditch and die. I set goals on a daily basis, and I absolutely cannot lay my head down until they’re accomplished. Some say that makes me OCD. I say, I’m focused. I come from a long line of hard workers, and I agree with Dolly, I would rather wear out than rust out. At least when you wear out, you have something to show for it. You will never reach your goals or dreams by just sitting and waiting on something to happen. Light a fire under your tail and work for it!  

 Now you can’t work for the prize without energy. I’ve been criticized by people for being too goal-oriented and for never sitting down. Now I know…they’re just unhappy people. I work from the time my feet hit the floor in the morning until I go to bed at night. I’ve always been that way. The things I’m busy doing most people would despise, but it makes me happy to keep a clean home for my manclan, and it makes me happy to cook for others, and I’m thrilled to pieces to drive to work 3-4 days every week! Why, because I’m being a blessing to those I love, and my dream has always been to be a wife, mother, and caretaker.

 With goal-reaching comes failures. Just like Dolly, thank God for them! You can’t learn and become better without failures. When I fail, I give myself the worst beat down you’ve ever seen. I can’t stand to disappoint anyone, even if it’s just myself. I always replay things in my head to figure out what I could have done differently, and when the situation arises again, and it will, I do my very best to never make the same mistake twice. Friend, don’t beat yourself up, thank God for your failure, change, and keep pressing on toward your dream! 

 While I can’t write a blog long enough to go over everything I highlighted in this book, I hope this little paragraph that Dolly wrote means as much to you as it did to me. Follow your dreams! Don’t give up! Be kind to EVERYONE, even when they don’t deserve it. They’re probably just unhappy with themselves. Pray God will send them some energy to get up and chase their own dreams. In doing these things, you will be a better you than you ever dreamed you could be. You’ll be “a real somebody.”

Thanks to my wonderful mother for buying me this book and for believing in this little blogging dream of mine. Thank you to both of my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents for instilling in me a strong work ethic. Thank you to my amazing husband for being my dream man and fulfilling my dream of by making me your wife. Thank you to my Banks and my Weston for fulfilling my dream by being your mother. Thank you, Dolly, for sharing your stories and being such an inspiration to me, and most importantly, thank you, God, for allowing me to fail daily and learn from my failures and for making me just the way I am!