Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols


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True Cellular Detox

Exercise, eating clean, counting calories, counting steps, and watching the number on the scale go up! Grrrrrr!!!!!! This has been my life for the past 5 years. I would lose 5-10 pounds but never anything more. I never had this problem until after I was on 8 weeks of bedrest during my second pregnancy. During this time, I gained 80 pounds, and after he was born, I was exhausted and was never able to achieve any real weight loss results. I've tried and given it my all for nearly 5 years. I went to my physician, and they would tell me I was an excellent candidate for weight loss surgery or would offer diet pills, which when you have epilepsy, do more harm than good. I didn't want a quick fix. I was willing to do the work. I just wanted to know why! Why, despite all my efforts, can I not lose weight, and why do I feel exhausted, ill, and just plain sick?

Fast forward to July 28, and I emotionally met with Dr. Bart Precourt and the staff at Balance 30A in Seagrove Beach, FL. Dr. Bart has helped my parents find an all-natural way to maintain their health as they grow older, and my mom suggested that he could help me too. It was emotional, because I had struggled for so long. After extensive testing, we discovered that my hormones were so far out of whack, which happened during the bed rest nearly five years ago, that my body was filled with inflammation. Dr. Bart explained that when the cells needed certain vitamins and minerals, despite my choice to eat healthy, the cells couldn't absorb the nutrients they needed because of the inflammation, and my body didn't know what to do with what I ate, except store it as fat.

Please understand that I, in no way, am saying that my weight gain was completely hormonal. I did make some poor choices, because I was so overwhelmed, frustrated, and exhausted with no results, despite my best efforts as well as dealing with the stresses and challenges life has presented us. Some of this was my fault. Everything is a choice!

Dr. Bart and his staff are so kind and compassionate. From the moment you walk in the door, you feel like these people genuinely want to help you. That was such a comfort as well as an answer to prayer. After my appointment, I told my mom that for the first time, I felt like there was actual hope for me to be healthy again. I cannot put into words what a comfort that is.


Two weeks prior to my appointment, I had made the decision to begin a morning exercise routine and revisit our previous clean eating habits. So, I was already headed in the right direction to prepare my body for the treatment. How do you treat this? Well, you rid your body and brain of all the toxins that have caused this inflammation and are keeping my body from functioning properly. For me, it's going to be at least a 100 day process.

For the first ten days, I continued waking up every morning at 5am to exercise and ate no gluten, no sugar, no red meat, no dairy, and drinking only water, which is all my family has drank for the last two years. So, that part wasn't difficult. I was also taking Standard Process supplements, which Dr. Bart sells at Balance, three times each day. Literally three days into this, I felt like a new person. I've told many people, "You never know just how sick you actually were until you begin to feel better."

The next 90 days will be divided into three phases: Prep Phase, Body Phase, and Brain Phase. These three phases make up the True Cellular Detox. You begin by completing an online training course, to familiarize yourself with the program as well as to explain what's going on in your body, and how each phase is going to affect your body. I began Prep Phase today. My morning was greeted with some of the suggested yoga poses, breathing exercises, and a burst workout, which is recommended in the training videos. I haven't been hungry or miserable at all, due to the filling Ketogenic type diet. I've felt satisfied, hopeful, optimistic, and excited.

Each phase will last 30 days, and I will consult with Dr. Bart at the end of each phase, where we will recheck my toxicity levels and progress through various testing and measurements. He and his staff have made themselves available at anytime to me, which again shows their dedication to helping people be healthy as well as their care and compassion.

I'm so thankful for not only Dr. Bart and the Balance 30A team but also for my incredible parents that are always willing to share their knowledge and wisdom as well as offer support in any way they can. If my mom had not told me about Dr. Bart and had I not seen the results she and my dad have achieved, I never would have gone. I am also so extremely grateful for a wonderful husband that is so supportive and has finally seen and understood just how sick I was for the last five years. I'm thankful for children that are not picky and eat anything that is cooked, because cooking two separate meals wasn't an option. Hahaha. I'm thankful for the perseverance and will that God has instilled within me to give my everything to this process. I've always been determined, strong, and a hard worker. I'm thankful He made me the way He did.

I will continue to update my blog periodically throughout each phase and post results as I see them. If anyone reading this has ever felt hopeless when it comes to your health, I encourage you to contact Dr. Bart and his staff at Balance 30A, because they can help you and want to help you.


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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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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!🔥 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. 


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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!

O

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Taste for Truth- The Journey of Weight Loss

Well, as we completed the eighth and final week of Taste for Truth, we all shared our victories. Not one person mentioned how much weight they had lost as their greatest victory. Each participant was more grateful for the spiritual victories throughout these eight weeks. Praise the Lord! Among the four of us that finished the race, we lost a combined total of nearly 45 pounds. We have vowed to take a ladies trip to celebrate and continue to nurture this bond we have as friends. This study has also encouraged us to continue meeting on Sunday afternoons for a new Bible study beginning next week. Overall, God has done amazing things through this group of sinners that just long to do what is right.

In order to live in victory now that the study is over, we must consistently refer back to weeks one and two. We must pray for self-control, and we must continue to set boundaries for ourselves. We spoke a few weeks ago about failures, and we will have times where we break the boundaries, but we must not give up! Persevere through your future failures rather than allowing them to control your journey. If you give up on your boundaries, you’re only giving up on yourself! Continue to go to God for help during the hard times.
One of the greatest victories shared was that of peace. We all agreed that for the first time in our lives we are at peace with the weight loss process. That’s because, as a Believer, one of the fruits of the Spirit is peace. Our peace comes through Him because we now see ourselves as He sees us. As we continue to trust Him throughout the remainder of our journey, we see in Isaiah 26:3 that we have that perfect peace that only He can give by trusting in Him. 

As we continue to nurture our relationship with Jesus, the study encouraged us to pray with Thanksgiving. It’s an important part of our journey because if we fail to give Him the glory on a daily basis for the small victories, we have done this entire program in vain. Prayers of Thanksgiving are powerful! They rise up out of a person that has an intimate relationship with God, and they travel directly from our hearts and mouths to His ears. In Ephesians chapter 5, we are commanded to thank Him in ALL things! When your heart is grateful and full of Thanksgiving, you don’t have time to be anxious. Thanksgiving is the opposite of anxiety. That’s why He tells us to give thanks in ALL things and to be anxious about nothing. He always shows us the right path to take. It’s our own choice as to what we choose.

For me personally, I have a long road ahead of me to get the physical results I long for, but I’m so extremely grateful for a God that loves me and has equipped me with the tools I need to complete this journey. I’m also humbled and beyond blessed with an amazing group of friends that love and encourage me. I would not have completed this study or dropped a size in clothes or lost 11 pounds if it weren’t for them holding me accountable. I will continue to write about my progress from time to time, but beginning next week, I will go back to writing about all the AWESOME things God is doing with my precious little family. Thank you all for reading about my journey these past 8 weeks. I pray that other lives were impacted through the opportunity God gave me to lead this study.