Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols

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Thanks and Giving

Family, food, a home, a job, clothing, etc…the general list of things for which we are thankful. This year my list is a bit different. The top of my list remains the same with my salvation in Jesus Christ being what I’m most thankful for, but definitely number two on my list is my health. Without my health, I could not be the wife or mother or daughter or sister or friend that God created me to be. I could not be my best version of myself. This journey to great health has only just begun, but I’m incredibly thankful that I am no longer where I was 110 days ago.

Now that I have completed the True Cellular Detox, I will begin the Cellular Vitality Phase. This phase is helping to keep the purified pathways from the detox open, and throughout this phase, my damaged cells from years of living an unhealthy lifestyle will continue to repair themselves. I will continue on the Ketogenic Diet, and my burst workout routine will stay the same.

While I know remaining committed throughout the holidays will be a true test, I’m committed, determined, and ready! As of today, I have lost a total of 40 pounds and 44 5/8 inches. I NEVER want to undo what I’ve worked so hard to accomplish, and I never want to feel the way I felt four months ago!

None of my accomplishments would have been possible without certain people giving their time, talents, gifts, encouragement, and support. The first two pictures are of my Balance 30a family. Yes, I consider them family. From the moment I walked in their doors on July 28, 2017, they opened their hearts to me. I don’t want to play the “poor fat girl card,” but honestly, more times than not, obese people are overlooked, ignored, and frowned upon when they walk into any type of health facility, gym, clothing store, etc… Not at Balance Health Studio! These beautiful souls embraced, loved, and supported me from the moment I walked in the door. They wanted to help me get healthy. Emma and Whitney (both in the top picture) greeted me with a hug and a smile on a day that I was so scared and broken. They have encouraged me throughout this journey, and I was SUPER excited to see them yesterday. The second picture is of THE MAN, Dr. Bart Precourt! I worked with physicians for years, and I’ve never met a doctor that truly wanted his patients to be healthy the way Dr. Bart does. He gave me answers, encouragement, and hope, and for that, I will forever be grateful. My family has given me so much support and encouragement that I am humbled by how blessed I am to call them mine. I have the best parents on earth! They want me to be healthy and love me enough to encourage me and invest in my life. My manclan is beyond words. They have adapted to the Ketogenic Diet without complaint, and they actually feel better themselves. Without my manclan, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Because of the encouragement they have given me, I am able to be a better wife and mother.

As we enter this week of reflecting on what we are thankful for, why not consider your health? Why not be the best version of yourself? The holidays are hard. There are emotional highs and lows, financial strain, gluttony, and a very busy schedule, but there are other options. I am excited to, for the first time in my life, consider what I’m putting in my body and being still in those moments of emotion and allow myself to feel. Utilizing the tools Dr. Bart has given me is going to allow me to be the best version of myself this holiday season.

So to my Balance 30a family, thank you for loving and supporting me. I can never put into words just exactly how grateful I am to know you all. To my parents, you’re everything God instructs a parent to be. You’re loving, caring, and you invest in us. I’m beyond thankful for you both. To my manclan, you are my heart and my strength. The love I have for you three is beyond. Thank you! To all who read my blog, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Be your best you this week.❤️


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One Phase Left

As The Body Phase comes to an end on Sunday, I am excited and amazed at my results, but I am also praying that my success continues after I finish The Brain Phase.

Throughout these last seventy days, I have thought a lot about my life and choices I have made. My early and mid-twenties were filled with mostly terrible decisions, but as I grow older, I am able to look back see God’s grace in my life and His provision. Life has been hard, but through it all, I now know my strength, and I also know that time after time, things in my life have seemed impossible, but God has turned the impossible into the possible. My greatest decisions in life have been: 1.) Giving my heart and life to Jesus Christ 2.) Choosing to keep and raise my oldest son 3.) Marrying my Adam❤️ and 4.) Starting True Cellular Detox. All of these decisions have been life-changing, and although I am not where I want to be, I am definitely thankful I am not where I once was.

Ephesians 3:20, is my life verse and my favorite verse. I love it, because it displays the power of my God! He can do anything in and through us, we just have to be willing. My entire life bears witness to this verse, especially these last seventy days. I pray everyday that He will give me the power to keep going and to stay strong in this journey, because I am going to tell you, the urge for a Coca Cola is REAL from time to time. Hahaha! As I have mentioned in previous posts, I encourage anyone who struggles with their weight or health in general to call the Balance 30a team and make an appointment to see Dr. Bart Precourt. They are kind, compassionate, and truly bring light to your life. I am so grateful for each and every one of them and how they have impacted my life.

Let’s get to the goods, the first picture was taken July 4, 2016, and my fabulous bathroom selfie was taken today, October 6, 2017, in Mrs. Betty’s bathroom! Mrs. Betty is the precious lady that I take care of everyday. As a side note, old people surely do love artificial flowers. Hahahaha! When I began this journey seventy days ago, I weighed three pounds more than I did in the top picture. As of this morning, I have lost 31 pounds and 28 inches. I absolutely cannot believe the difference in my clothes, my skin, my energy, my sleep, my mood, my emotions, and my sex life. My clothes are big. I am able to wear things I stashed away and secretly hoped I would wear again. My skin is clear and bright. The loose skin is going to be an issue, but as I mentioned in my last post, I will find someone to nip and tuck that mess when I lose all my weight. I have tons of energy and actually become fidgety if I sit for too long. I sleep soundly throughout the night and wake up energized and well-rested. I have not broken into tears or lashed out due to hormones being haywire since the day I met with Dr. Bart. My sex life has always been amazing because my husband and our marriage is amazing, but when I tell you it’s good, it’s GOOD these days! 😍 I am also proud to share that I am only four pounds away from my personal goal of weighing what I did when I got pregnant with Weston by his 5th birthday, which is October 16. I believe and know I can accomplish this!

I will begin the Brain Phase, which is the final phase of the Detox process, on Monday. Check back next weekend for another update and a brief summary of the Brain Phase and what it entails. As always, thank you to everyone who has loved and supported me over these last 70 days. I love you all!😘

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Fall Breakin in the Mountains

There has been so much going on in my family over the past two weeks. So, there is really only one fair way to do this….write two posts😜. To my faithful readers as well as my visitors, check back in tomorrow for another post.One thing my manclan has been begging to do is go camping. So, when you live in a house full of testosterone, you load up the van and head to the great outdoors! We knew Banks had his annual appointment with his pediatric neurologist on October 11, so we began googling campgrounds near Huntsville, and luckily we found Cloudland Canyon State Park. It was only an hour and a half from Huntsville, therefore we knew we could enjoy camping all weekend then load up on Monday morning and head to the doctor’s office before driving back to Dothan. We also knew camping would be an affordable option. There are not many four-day vacations that a family of four can enjoy at just under $100. I grew up camping nearly every weekend of my childhood, but I had never stayed at a campsite like this😳! You park your vehicle and hike about 1/4 mile to your campsite, and the only amenities are a leveled area for your tent and a firepit with a cooking grate over it. The closest comfort station, electricity, and fresh water was about 1/8 mile from our campsite. Now, thankfully, growing up, my mother was the world’s most organized camping wife. So, I learned a lot from her, and I was able to implement many of the same tricks she used, and spending my childhood watching my parents use camp stoves, lanterns, and clotheslines, I had no problem planning meals and organizing each person’s “bath house basket.” For a little TMI, when you are with a group of boys, and the nearest comfort station is 1/8 mile away, you learn to go #1 in the woods and only make that trek to the bath house when necessary. Following a cool night’s sleep in our tents, we spent day 2 hiking. We hiked a total of about 12 miles that day. Although all the waterfalls were dry, the scenery was majestic! I was so proud of Weston and my Chrissy! Weston rode in his stroller as far as the trail would allow, but he hiked a good 4-5 miles, and that’s a long way for his little legs. My Chrissy is part Beagle, part Bassett Hound, and her personality leans more toward a Bassett, but she loved sniffing out the trails, and she was an awesome hiking dog! While Weston preferred to stay on the ground, Banks was a mountain goat! If there was a place to climb, he found it! Have I mentioned that he is in incredible shape! I was planning my funeral at the end of the day, and once we got back to camp, he was still running up and down the side of the mountain with his Go-Pro strapped to him! We spent day three hiking a bit closer to our campsite. We discovered the cutest little bridge, a few very unique trees, as well as a strange bug or two! Day 3 was really special! Adam taught Banks how to make a campfire, and using only an axe, Banks chopped down a dead tree next to our campsite. Like I said, he’s in incredible shape! We had delicious meals the entire time, s’mores each night for Weston, and campfire smooches for my honey and me. 

Monday morning, we woke up with the sun, ate breakfast, packed up, and headed to Huntsville where Banks received an excellent report from his doctor. She even gave him the “go-ahead” to get his permit next summer when he turns 15, as long as he remains seizure-free, which we have total trust in God to keep him healthy.

Quite possibly the best part of the trip was the time we got to spend with Adam’s dad in Hartselle, which is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Huntsville. I am thankful for repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. I am thankful to know my helpmate felt love. Mostly, I am thankful for over a year of answered prayers! 

To say the least, our fall break was wonderful! We cannot wait to plan our next trip, and anywhere my manclan leads, I will follow!❤️

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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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Family, Food, Freedom, and FUN

After taking a week off from blogging in order to volunteer my free time to cooking food and serving over 150 youth and chaperones at our church last week, I was in desperate need of some  relaxing, family time at the beach. 

My parents have a vacation home at Baypoint in Panama City, FL. They just moved in March, so this was our first visit. My brother and his girlfriend drove down, my sister was there, and obviously my parents were there too. It was fabulous! The photo above is the view from their living room. My dad had us all stop what we were doing to watch the most amazing sunset I’ve ever seen, and it was breathtaking! 
Saturday was a beautiful day on the Gulf of Mexico! The sugary white sand was so soft and relaxing, and the water was perfectly cool and clear. We set up camp in front of Schooners, which has been labeled “the last local beach club.” 

Adam, Weston, and Aunt Hope built the most amazing sandcastle of all time! Weston also enjoyed jumping the waves with mommy and daddy and picking up sea shells along the beach. My mom, Ashley, Jud, Banks, and I all gave paddle boarding a shot. My mom is extremely fit for 60 years old. She teaches yoga for goodness sake. About a month ago, she decided to buy a YOLO board, and I’m so glad she did! It was absolutely the worst day to try this for the first time due to the number of people in the ocean as well as the number of boats and jet skis passing by, but we all had a blast trying this new sport. I promise it is NOT as easy as it looks. We all were able to get up to at least our knees on the board, but Banks was practically a prodigy. He did awesome! I can’t wait to try it again. I wish we had more photos of us trying it.

After spending all day on the beach, we had a laughter-filled evening grilling burgers and playing cards. Adam and I played my dad and Jud in a game of spades, and Adam and I got slaughtered! I love my husband with every ounce of my being, but there isn’t one competitive bone in his body, but we surely did laugh….A LOT!!!! Banks dominated Aunt Hope in a few games of Skip- Bo, my mom just watched, and Aunt Ashley and Weston enjoyed snuggle time and went to bed early.

Sunday was my baby brother’s 33rd birthday, and I’m so thankful we were able to be together to celebrate. My manclan and I spent some of the morning taking family photos outside the condo in front of the bay. While some may view my obsession with family photos as lame, they mean the world to me. I’m so thankful for my manclan and want to document every memory that I possibly can.

I’m so thankful for wonderful weekends like this one, and I can’t wait until Christmas because I’m sure that will be the next time we are all able to get together again. My boys loved getting to spend time with their TG, Pops, Aunt Ash, and Uncle Jud. No matter the time or distance between us, through technology, we are able to talk to one another on a regular basis. We all enjoyed getting to meet Hope, and she definitely has my stamp of approval! She was a perfect fit! As I was praying Sunday morning, I was thinking about all those grains of sand that slipped between my toes on the beach, and I was thinking of God’s love for me. How incredible to have a God that loves me more than all the grains of sand on all the seashores. I know that my family loves me and my manclan pretty close to that much, and it’s all such a blessing. Thanks, mom and dad, for an amazing weekend, and a huge happy birthday to my brother, and a very humble thank you to all of our forefathers that risked it all to give us this incredible country! 

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Happiest of Birthdays and Happy Father’s Day

On June 17, 1983, God chose to grace the world with the presence of Adam Nichols. I believe the world is a better place with him in it. He’s kind, generous, hard-working, patient, extremely wise, and he loves big. So, how do you celebrate such an amazing man???? Well, the humble man that he is, he asked for a simple steak dinner at home with his wife and children and his buddy Mark and his family. 

After working until nearly 8pm Friday night, Adam came home to a grilled steak, mashed potatoes, fresh field peas, and a homemade caramel cake(his favorite). You know you love your husband when you grill steaks in an absolute downpour of rain. I was drenched to the bone, but as long as my love was happy, it was worth it! Our friend, Christy Whatley made the most delicious caramel cake! I tried a few years ago to make a homemade caramel cake for Adam, and it was a flop. I was thankful to have such a sweet friend with such great talent. Mark and Amber’s daughter, Ava, has a beautiful voice and is extremely talented. So, she led us in singing “Happy Birthday.”

No birthday is complete without treasures! Adam opened most of his gifts and cards on Thursday evening. Although “receiving gifts” is not one of Adam’s primary love languages, I always enjoy watching the joy and love that he feels when he opens his birthday gifts. He studies each one so carefully, which always shows his appreciation. As we went to bed Friday night, he told me that it was one of his best birthdays yet, and for that, I am thankful!

Today is Father’s Day, and Banks and Weston couldn’t wait to shower their daddy with love! As you all know, Adam is extremely talented in carpentry and home repairs, and once I heard him mention he would like to have a DeWalt Drill Driver, I knew he had to have it. His favorite candy is soft peppermint, so when Banks and I found this large tub of mints, we knew it was the perfect gift for daddy. We spent the morning with the greatest church family on the planet, and enjoyed lunch at our favorite little Mexican restaurant, followed by a relaxing afternoon at home enjoying one another’s company.

I can’t write a Father’s Day blog without mentioning my amazing daddy. He’s the rock of our family. He’s quiet, patient, kind, generous, caring, hard-working, and loving. He cares for every member of our family equally and would cross the highest mountain to make sure his family knows they are loved. I’m so thankful for how this man loves me and my little family. I admire him so much, and I’m so thankful that God chose a man much like my daddy for me to marry.

One simple blog post can never adequately express the love I have for my husband and my daddy, however, a tribute to them is the very least I can do. I am so incredibly blessed to have a Heavenly Father that loves me and sees what others choose not to see, an earthly father that has instilled in me how to love God, love my family, and love others, and a husband that I admire more with each passing day for seeing me as God sees me and for loving me, despite my imperfections, and loves our children so beautifully. I’m truly the luckiest girl in the world!

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Hang our Hats in Tennessee

Because I chose to write for 8 weeks on Taste for Truth, I have a lot to fill you all in on concerning my manclan. 

We had asked Banks where he wanted to go for spring break, and he said, “Nashville, to the country music hall of fame.” So, to Nashville we went. We had not been on a family vacation since we went to Disney World in 2011. It was also the first time in four and a half years that my hard-working husband had requested time off of work. It was much-needed and well-deserved for all of us. Adam got us a hotel room in the heart of downtown Nashville. We were 4 blocks from the Parthenon and 10 blocks from the Ryman Auditorium. Since Adam works for Marriott, he was able to get us a terrific deal. I urge anyone who’s planning on visiting Nashville to stay at the Courtyard by Marriott at Vanderbilt University. The staff was amazing, rooms were clean, and you’re within walking distance of all the main attractions.

Our first stop on day one was the Parthenon. Banks was so excited about this, because of the time he had spent studying the Greeks in history class, and he had also taken a short-term class on World Mythology, where he was able to tell Adam and I all about the Parthenon and what all of the carvings meant within the pediment, which is the large triangle above the entrance to the Parthenon. 

From the Parthenon, we walked downtown to see the Ryman Auditorium, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Bridgestone Arena, and Big Time Boots. There were people EVERYWHERE!!!! 

Weston’s one request was a cowboy hat. So, we were patrons of Big Time Boots, and we found Weston a hat, Banks found himself a hat, and I even found one for myself. This store had something for everyone, and they were extremely friendly. Weston tipped his hat and told everyone we passed, “Howdy partner!” So, when in Nashville, head over to Big Time Boots and find the perfect hat or pair of boots. 

The Country Music Hall of Fame was our next stop. To be honest, it was a little bit of a disappointment. Sure, it was great to see so many pieces from the history of country music, but it just seems that there could have been more. Personally, my favorite part was seeing my girl, Dolly in the hall of fame and seeing some of the outfits she had worn on stage. I ❤️ Dolly!

When researching our trip, Adam was determined to eat some hot chicken while in Nashville. After walking nearly 11 miles on our first day, we were hungry and tired. Directly across the street from our hotel was Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. This place was AWESOME! We waited in line for 2 hours, and were expecting great things, and we were not disappointed. After enjoying a basket of hot chicken and potato salad, order some banana pudding. It’s the real deal, just like I make it! No, Jello pudding and Cool Whip used to make this pudding! Definitely the best food of our entire trip.

Day two was spent sharing my family heritage with my husband and children. We drove about an hour North to the sweet little town of Charlotte, TN. My great grandparents lived in Charlotte, and when I was younger, I would hop in the car with anyone that was headed to Mama Story’s house. I don’t remember my Daddy Rod, but Mama Story was an amazing woman! She was such a strong woman, and boy, could she cook! We placed some flowers at their grave, and I showed my manclan their sweet little white house. 

From Charlotte, we traveled about 20 more minutes to Cumberland Furnace, TN, to show my manclan where my Ol Dad grew up and all of his family is laid to rest. My Ol Dad may not have had anything of monetary value when growing up at the Furnace, but he had character and work ethic. He was my buddy. I have so many wonderful memories of him, and it was from him that I got my determination and drive in life. He taught me to never settle in life. I miss him every single day! He was such an outstanding grandfather. I cherish every moment I got to spend with him. This was, by far, my favorite part of our trip.

The last day of our trip was spent taking a campus tour of Vanderbilt University. A few weeks before we left for our trip, Banks asked us if we could take a tour of Vabderbilt while we were in Nashville, and of course, Adam and I both encouraged this by scheduling the tour. It was led by an engineering student, who was very impactful to Banks. Although Banks is still young, it was a very eye-opening experience for him. He explained to them that he wants to be an attorney, and they gave him a lot of undergraduate as well as law school information that has been so helpful in allowing Banks to see what kind of determination and grades it takes to attend a school like Vanderbilt. I’m certain there will be many more college tours in our future, but it’s safe to say, for now, Banks is absolutely obsessed with this beautiful school and all it has to offer. Future Commodore? We’ll see!

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Nashville. We grew closer as a family, and it was so nice to spend so much time together uninterrupted by work, school, ball, church obligations, and all of the other outside sources that tend to draw our attention away from one another. We had amazing food, walked 19 miles in 3 days, saw some beautiful architecture and things from history, prayed with thanksgiving for family that had gone before us and for the legacies they left behind, got a glimpse of Banks’ future that will be here befor we know it, and best of all, we laughed, a lot! It was a great trip, and I can’t wait for the next one Adam plans for us! I love my manclan. They complete me!