Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols


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2017….A Year of Change

Wow! Is 2017 already over? That was quick! This year, for my man clan and me, can best be described as a year of change. It has certainly had its ups and downs, but overall, I would say it was one of our best years yet.

Adam spent the majority of the year doing the job of the general manager at his hotel, and ultimately he was overlooked and passed over for the job. While this news was crushing, he remained faithful, and God gave him a better job with an incredible company, and he didn’t even apply for it. They sought him out! I’m so proud of him and all that he has accomplished professionally this year. He’s truly an inspiration to me, and his faith, patience, and hard work were rewarded in the end. He also led our family spiritually to a new church. This was not easy for me, and I shed many tears, but seeing the spiritual growth in all of us has been incredible. Adam is extremely easy-going, but when he’s passionate about something, you can hear the authority in his voice. I’m thankful for his guidance and most importantly, his love for each of us.❀️

Banks is a 10th grader (I’m still in shock over this!), and Weston is in 4P. The changes in their life were equally as impactful. Banks experienced his first college visit. He has his drivers permit. 😳 He’s taking his first AP class, and I’m happy to report that whatever happens to children from 7th-10th grade has finally worked its way out of his system, I think…Hahaha! Lately, I find myself impressed with his more mature and well-thought decision-making, and he’s truly the best babysitter in the world! He exhibited tremendous character throughout a very humbling football season, and most importantly, he’s grown in his Christian walk over the past six months. We have three more college tours scheduled for the new year, and although these tours make me cry a little, I am truly thrilled to watch Banks grow. He’s a good boy!

Weston goes to school five days a week this year, knows all of the alphabet and what sound each letter makes, and he can count to 50 without messing up. He played his first season of tee ball, absolutely loves to read, and will push a hot wheels car for miles! He found his independence this year. He wants to do everything by himself! He’s an excellent helper and finds joy in helping others. He wants to be just like his big brother and shows that by copying everything Banks says and does. I’m so proud of and thankful for my sweet Weston, and I can’t wait to see how he continues to change and grow.

As for myself, I went back to work full-time, left my family for a week to go on a mission trip, and began my journey to get healthy. My health is, by far, our biggest change. I say “our” because it hasn’t solely affected me. It has changed my whole family. I went from having chest pain, crying all the time, edema, and wearing a size 2XL/22 to exercising 4 days/week, smiling, laughing, losing weight, and currently wearing a size large/14. As I type this, I find myself crying tears of thankfulness. I was sick, and I mean really sick. I’m extremely grateful for my health today. I never want to be unhealthy again! To date, I’ve lost 54 pounds. I did not have weight-loss surgery, nor did I take some magic pill. It was sheer determination and hard work! It was discipline, and I couldn’t have accomplished any of it without the support of my family and my Balance30a family. Walking into that building on July 28, 2017, will go down simultaneously as the hardest and most rewarding day of 2017. It changed my life…It changed my family’s lives!

I fully intend to continue toward my best version of me in 2018. I can’t wait to start the new year by doing Dr.Bart’s 21 Day Cleanse. Have you signed up? If not, there’s still time! I am not sure what Dr. Bart has planned for me this year, but you can be certain that I will give you all the details in my blog posts.

I received The Magnolia Story for Christmas, and I finished reading it last night. I photographed some of Joanna’s words. The top photo perfectly describes what I learned in 2017. “Letting it all go is freeing. I am learning that getting our intentions right simplifies our decisions in life and changes our perspective. And in the end, what it’s all about is thankfulness and contentment.” I let it all go when I cried like a baby in Balance Health Studio that day in July, and I’ve learned through spending more time with my manclan and getting to know a new church family that my perspective has changed, and I am perfectly content and beyond thankful for all the ups and downs of 2017. The bottom photo is how the book ended, and it was clearly my mantra for 2018! “Don’t quit, and don’t give up. The reward is just around the corner. And in times of doubt or times of joy, listen for that still, small voice. Know that God has been there from the beginning-and he will be there until ….The End.” I LOVE IT! I know that 2018 will also haves ups and downs, but I have a Savior that loves me, a husband and children that love me and are healthy, an incredible family, and I’m the healthiest I’ve been in years. So, why give up? Why feel defeated? My plan is to be intentional, thankful, content, aware, and healthy in the new year.

Thank you all so much for reading my blog, and I pray that the new year holds peace and blessings for each and every one of you. Check back next week for my first post about Dr. Bart’s 21 Day Cleanse! Happiest of New Years to you all!πŸ₯‚πŸŽ‰

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A Huge Thank You

I’m writing this post to say, “thank you” to everyone who has helped support me in raising funds for my upcoming mission trip to Austin, Tx.


To those of you that purchased homemade savory and sweet treats from me during the holidays, thank you. I love to bake, and each item was prayed over and cooked with love. Thanks your kindness and generosity, I was able to raise just under $300 for my trip.


To my precious church family, thank you so much! Whether you chose us to wrap your Christmas gifts, dined with us at our fundraiser meal, donated baked items to our baked goods auction, bid on baked goods, or donated to our recent love offering, your support was monumental. It is a blessing to be part of such a loving and generous church family.

To my family and friends that chose to simply donate money to my trip, I love you all so much, and I’m so thankful for your selfless generosity.

However you chose to give, I’m so incredibly thankful. When God laid this trip on my heart last summer, I knew He would provide, because that’s who He is! It humbles me and leaves me in awe of my God to report that my entire trip (lodging, transportation, and food) is completely paid for through your generosity.

Some have asked specifically what we will be doing. Since we will covet your specific prayers each day, here is our schedule:

Sunday,  June 11- travel day! We will leave Dothan at 5am and arrive in Austin at approximately 8:30pm

Monday, June 12- orientation at the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center in the morning followed by ministering to patients at the center in the afternoon.

Tuesday, June 13- praying and witnessing at Planned Parenthood. This will be an emotionally and spiritually challenging day. We covet your prayers!!!

Wednesday, June 14- working at the APRC in the morning and we will be kicking off their on-campus outreach ministry at the University of Texas-Austin that afternoon

Thursday, June 15- we will be restocking the center and making house calls to those that are without transportation.

Friday, June 16- we will be working with patients at the center in the morning and continuing our on-campus outreach in the afternoon.

I ask you to specifically pray for lives to be changed both spiritually and physically. I ask you to pray that God will use our stories of teen pregnancy, single parenthood, adoption, and infertility to give hope to these ladies in such a hopeless situation. I ask that you also pray for God to grow and change me on this trip. I owe everything to Him, and I want to be my best for Him as well as for my family. 

I’m so thankful for each lady that He has clearly hand-picked for this trip, and I look forward to serving with them as well as my new friends at the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center. Thank you all again for your overwhelming support. I can’t wait to come back and share with you all what awesome things God did in Austin!❀️


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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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Uneventful Week…Uneventful Post

Oddly enough, it’s been a rather uneventful, slow week for my manclan and me. I went shopping with my mom this morning and told her that I did not really have anything to write about this week, and she said, “write about that.” So, for those of you that actually enjoy my blog, this is a post about nothing in particular. HahahaπŸ˜‚

Monday night, Banks had a JV football game, and he played great! He had two interceptions, some great blocks and tackles, and Houston Academy won! He was extremely proud of himself, as were Adam and I. Some of our friends from church came to watch him play, which made the great plays all the more exciting. Tonight, he will play with the varsity team in Goshen, AL, and then we will do it all over again next week. We love cheering for our Banks and the Raiders!πŸ’™

Weston’s highlight of the week was singing in church on Sunday with his Mission Friends Class. They sang two songs, and he seemed much more interested in the flower arrangement than singing. Thankfully, he pulled it together by the last verse of the first song, and the entire group did a phenomenal job! I love getting to teach this group of kiddos every week! They make me smile!😁

He also learned how to form the letters “L” and “O” at school this week. They use the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum, and it is amazing to watch Weston take cars, candy corn, and even his sweet little fingers to form the letters. The more I read about this curriculum, the more I love it. We are very proud of how much Weston is learning every week.

Adam and I have spent the majority of our time away from work, football, carline, church, etc… making a checklist and beginning to pack for our upcoming vacation to Cloudland Canyon State Park. We are very excited to spend fall break as a family in the mountains. I spent nearly every weekend of my childhood camping. So, this is nothing new for me. I’m thrilled to camp and hike with my manclan. One of the many things Adam and I have in common is our love for the outdoors. πŸ•

Well, as I explained earlier, this week was not quite as eventful as usual, but if everything were always the same, this life would become extremely boring. We have enjoyed this calm week and are looking forward to our last free weekend until the middle of November. Come back next week to see what my manclan and I have gotten into.πŸ˜ƒ


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Go, Serve, Love

This week I finally get to share some very exciting news!!!! At the beginning of May, I began praying for my VBS class, and I prayed specifically that the Lord would send more kids my way this year. VBS came, and He more than doubled the number I had from the previous year. I was pumped, and as if that were not enough, two young ladies in my class came to know the Lord! At this point, that flicker within my soul was now a flame!πŸ”₯ After VBS ended, I told God that I wanted to lead people to Jesus everyday, and as always, He answered me just as matter of factly as I speak to my friends, saying, “You can do this everyday, Jessica! You just have to be willing to be used by Me.” WOW! It was a real “duh” moment for me.

Mark 12:30-31…I could not get these verses off of mind. Everyday I would read them. Some days I would repeat them 3-4 times. What did this mean? I began praying over them, and soon enough, it was clear. GO, SERVE, LOVE!!!!! I was being called to head up a women’s mission trip. Who me???? Why me??? Seriously??? I also began to pray for confirmation, and I did not utter a word about it to anyone except Adam, and at the end of June, I was volunteering at our church for Wired, and throughout the week, three random ladies within our church mentioned that I would be the perfect person to organize a women’s mission trip like they once did annually at Southside Baptist Church. These are all ladies whom I hold in the highest regard, as they have been a part of my life since the day I was born. Isn’t God cool? Wow, ok, God, thanks for the confirmation! 

Now that I knew what I was supposed to do, I had A LOT to do. Where will we go? How do I even begin planning this? There were so many questions. I began by speaking to my pastor, and he said, ” I’m so excited about this, and I’m 200% behind you.” Awesome! What a blessing to have such a supportive and encouraging pastor and friend! Thankfully our church has a treasure in Mrs. Rhonda Grandstaff, who served as a wealth of knowledge and guidance for me in this planning process. Her husband, Dr. Jerry Grandstaff, just happens to be the Director of Missions for the Columbia Baptist Association, and he gave me a folder with 286 missionaries and their ministries to contact. I was completely overwhelmed! I persevered and over the course of two months, narrowed the selection down to four. After contacting all four missionaries, only ONE returned my call. I had prayed for clarity, and God could not have been more clear. We are going to Austin, TX to serve at the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center!!!!

From the first moment that I spoke to Lori Devillez, the center’s founder/director, I knew that this was the place. I cried as she told me about the situations these young ladies have found themselves, and I just praise God for allowing me to use my story to minister to the families. These young ladies have already made the most wonderful choice by choosing LIFE for their unborn baby, and now the Lord is going to allow this group of ladies from my church to share His Gospel and just show love to these precious “neighbors”.

We will be heading to Texas on June 11, 2017, and we will return on June 18,2017. I am still in utter disbelief and completely humbled that God chose me, but I am so excited to live out Mark 12:30-31, as my sisters in Christ and myself GO to Austin, Tx to SERVE the Lord at The Austin Pregnancy Resource Center and LOVE on these young ladies that are so courageously choosing life for their babies. So please join me in the coming months praying for this trip, the center, the people we come in contact with, the finances of the trip, and most importantly, the preparation of our hearts to serve. Again, I am so excited to serve Him alongside my sisters in Christ, and I am thrilled to love on these young ladies that are just as lost as I was fourteen years ago, and I just want to convey to them that I know exactly what they are going through. It will be tough, but they can do it with the help of God. They were chosen, hand-picked by the Creator. I am just thrilled! We appreciate your prayers and support, and I will be posting updates as the trip draws near.