Sunday, July 14, 2019

Suite Life

Life as we know it is quite different nowadays!

If you remember, I posted at the end of last year (link) that we would be moving from Nebraska to Pennsylvania for Dan's job. Well, that relocation is now *nearly* complete! Our house got packed up at the end of May and we made the drive across the country from Lincoln, Nebraska to Easton, Pennsylvania over Memorial Day weekend. 

However, we did not secure a home during our March house hunting trip to Pennsylvania. That means we were left with finding temporary housing until we could secure a more permanent solution. Cue "The Suite Life of the Clark Family"!

Since we arrived on May 27th, our family of 3 has shared a two bedroom, one bathroom hotel suite smaller than my and Dan's first apartment! 😂 We hope to close on a home here by the end of July but have the hotel booked until mid-August, just in case. Let me tell you, it has certainly been an adventure!

So if you ever find yourself in a hotel for a long-term stay, here are my favorite tips for loving the "suite life":

  1. Don't overpack! Your room will probably end up being smaller than you think so be as ruthless as you can when packing. I'm pretty sure we all overpacked a little on clothes but thankfully the storage has helped it not be too much of an issue. 😉 I most definitely overpacked lightweight jackets and sweaters. Scour your hotel's website to see if they have a list of what's in the rooms along with diagrams of the layout. Especially if there is a kitchenette, check what they keep in it so you know what you don't have to bring. We also checked with the front desk when we found out that they have items they can lend to guests. That said…
  2. Pack something that will help it feel like home. This is especially true if you are going to be there an extended time like we have been. I brought some artwork that friends had given us as going away gifts along with my essential oils (which the moving company wouldn't pack anyway) and a compact diffuser to use with them. I even packed my crock pot to make cooking meals in the room a little easier. All of these have helped bring a bit of beauty and familiarity to our temporary home.
    Beautiful gifts from wonderful friends
  3. Unpack! Make use of all the closet and drawer space in both the bedroom and bathroom. It feels much better pulling clothes out of a drawer than it does a suitcase. Related to that…
  4. Stow the luggage. Once you've unpacked, make use of every space and corner to get your luggage out of the way. Nest it inside each other and stuff it in the corner somewhere. The more you condense it, the more space you have to move around the room.
  5. Don't feel like you have to get it all right immediately. Figuring out the storage situation will take time. We had things lined along the kitchen wall behind the entrance door for weeks before I figured out better places to store them.
  6. Get to know the staff and make use of their resources. It has been fun getting to know the staff at our hotel. Shay at the front desk has been indispensable in helping us, Willmary in hospitality gave our munchkin crayons and pictures to color while I got done work done on the hotel computer, and Jason in maintenance helped to quickly fix some issues in our room. We figured out pretty quick that we needed more hangers and that a place setting of 4 was not enough silverware for us, even when we try to use some plastic silverware. A quick call down to the front desk landed us some extra hangers, forks, and spoons. Don't be afraid to ask! The worst they can do is tell you no or that they don't have what you need. If you're there long-term, it definitely pays to make friends.
  7. Be flexible! Some things are out of your control or the staff's control! After six weeks in one room, the roof started leaking and we had to move to another room that same night. Most things that have happened are merely an inconvenience and not any fault of the staff's. The more you can roll with the punches, the less stressed you'll be about things that are outside your control anyway. Control what you can (your emotions and actions, etc) and don't stress about what is already in God's hands. As some military friends taught us, "Semper Gumby!" 

That's about all for now! It has certainly been an interesting 7 weeks so far and we probably have about 2.5 weeks left before we are fully moved out and into our new home! I know I'm definitely looking forward to having a full-size kitchen again and my own bed to sleep in! Until then, I will continue to be grateful for the ways God has provided during our stay here and pray that closing goes smoothly!!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Sunday, April 14, 2019


So...I wonder how big of a laugh God had when, after my surgeries in February, I told my husband that I didn't want to see the inside of a hospital for a very long time…

I know I haven't updated you all on how those surgeries went and I'm sorry. I lost basically the whole month of February with the surgeries and then we kicked the move prep into high gear in March. But it looks like that statement to Dan is coming back to taunt me.

Monday night, April 1st, I experienced what seemed to be excruciating back and rib pain. Having had back spasms before, I immediately called my chiropractor Tuesday morning to get in to see him. After my adjustment, I figured everything would settle down, right? Right?!

But no. Tuesday night saw me literally crying out in pain, which now seemed to be in my ribs and belly. Wednesday wasn't much better, so off to to doctor's office I went on Thursday (for this and a sinus infection to boot!). By this point, the pain seemed to be localized near my stomach. The PA ordered some labs and suggested I try zantac and see if that helped with the stomach pain.

Friday, they called with the results. Labs all looked normal, nothing concerning. At Dan's prodding, I asked the nurse if the issue might be my gallbladder. After talking to the PA, they admitted there was that possibility so the PA ordered a full abdominal ultrasound for Monday the 8th, a week after the pain started.

I'm not that great at reading ultrasounds but, when I could see the screen, even I thought something didn't look right with my gallbladder. My suspicions were confirmed when they called a couple hours later to say that I had an inflamed gallbladder with stones. Lucky me… :P

A quick consult with the surgeon that afternoon and we were scheduling surgery. Unfortunately, because I am still on antibiotics for the sinus infection, we have to delay surgery until after I'm finished with those. So it's slated for 11am on Tuesday, April 16th.

Now, we prepare for my third surgery in less than 3 months. This is definitely not how I'd planned to be spending my time (especially with our upcoming move!) but I keep reminding myself of this truth: this did not catch God by surprise. As much as I don't want to be going back, I know God knew I would be and so He provided for our needs. He's given us a wonderful support structure and amazing friends. While I'm not enthusiastic about the situation, I can still have peace, the peace that comes from being held and known by my Father. And that's more than enough.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Thursday, January 31, 2019


It's time. 

It took awhile to get scheduled and we had to fiddle with dates, but the day for my surgery has finally arrived. Tomorrow morning, I will check in at CHI Bergan-Mercy hospital in Omaha at 5:30am and should be wheeled back to surgery sometime around 7:30am. Surgery itself will take 6-8 hours (my guess is closer to the 8-hour mark based on all they have to do).

Here are all the procedures they are going to be doing during that time (for more info, see my previous post, Jordan):

0. Uterine fibroid removal
1. Endometriosis removal
2. Appendectomy
3. Ovarian Wedge Resection
4. Bowel Resection
5. Pelvioplasty

If all goes well, I will spend 2 nights in the hospital and should be discharged and back home sometime on Sunday. I will then have my second surgery at Boys Town on Tuesday, February 12th, to remove the gortex surgical mesh.

Prayers are very much appreciated! For my anxiety, that God would help me receive His peace, and for smooth healing. For the surgical team, including the surgeons, Dr. Pakiz and Dr. Fitzgibbons. For Dan and my Mom who will be spending the day at the hospital, waiting for news. For the Munchkin and my Dad who will have school and be spending the day together.

Thank you to everyone who has already reached out to help and encourage us. There is a meal train set up if you would like to help provide meals while I recover from both surgeries. Here is the link:

I am grateful for the answers God has provided in this journey and I'm looking forward to seeing what life will be like post-recovery. Thank you for your many prayers and well wishes! I'll see you on the other side! :)

Soli Deo Gloria,

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


“And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean." But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, "Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage. But his servants came near and said to him, "My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, 'Wash, and be clean'?" So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”
2 Kings 5:10-14 ESV

When we embarked on this health journey into our infertility issues, my husband would often remind me of Naaman's story. “We are dipping in the Jordan” he would tell me. This came to be a twofold reminder to both of us as we walk this road and a quick way to refocus when we are discouraged.

First, it is a reminder that there were no shortcuts. Naaman had to dip seven times. Not three, not We knew this would be a long journey, not a short walk in the park. So each time there was a new task to complete? “We're dipping in the Jordan.” When we had to learn Creighton Model fertility tracking for 2 months before we could get an appointment at Pope Paul VI Institute? “We're dipping in the Jordan.” Driving up to Omaha six days straight for ultrasounds? Three weeks of getting blood drawn every other day? Diagnostic laparoscopic surgery? You guessed it, dipping in the Jordan.

However, to me, it also became a reminder of God's plan. You see, this wasn't how Naaman thought he should be healed. He thought he would at least see Elisha face-to-face. He complained that there were far superior rivers elsewhere, so why this one? And I get it. This was not how I thought our journey to become parents again would be. I never imagined difficulty and loss at every turn. I never planned to have kids this far apart. I never imagined I'd only have one precious little one for so long. Let's admit it: I, like Naaman, thought God should answer my requests the way I wanted it.

And, yet, God is good. Without our “Jordan” experiences, we wouldn't have the answers that we do today. If there were no “Jordan”, we'd still be looking at quick-fix “solutions” that didn't address any of the underlying problems. And, oh boy, are there problems...

On October 11th, I had my diagnostic laparoscopic surgery as the final step in our diagnostic testing with Pope Paul. Then, on Monday October 15th, we met with my doctor to discuss all the testing I'd undergone and her findings. What she found… Well, I was surprised, to say the least.

Severe endometriosis and polycystic ovaries.

Now, we'd expected to find some endo and she had talked about, if it was minor, she would simply take care of it during the diagnostic surgery. But the amount and the locations where she found it mean that we will be scheduling a second, all-day surgery that includes a second, general surgeon probably sometime in late January. So here's the litany of procedures I will need during that surgery to address all the problems we found:

0. Uterine fibroid removal (only one, super simple, almost not worth mentioning)

1. Endometriosis removal from uterus and bladder

2. Appendectomy

3. Ovarian Wedge Resection (addresses polycystic ovaries)

4. Pelvioplasty- the only procedure insurance will not cover. They will wrap things in Gortex to prevent scar tissue and adhesions from forming. This covering will then be removed 10 days after surgery via another quick laparoscopic procedure.

5. The doozy...Bowel Resection- in order to completely remove the endo, they will need to resection part of my small intestine. This will require a general surgeon and 2 nights in the hospital following surgery.

So here we stand on the banks of the Jordan again, preparing ourselves for the path God has laid out for us, unsure of how many more times we will enter the river. But while we may not yet know the outcome of this journey, we trust in the One who does. He knows the path ahead because He has prepared it for us and us for it. God is in control so we dip in the Jordan, trusting Him for the outcome. He's not finished with us yet.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Six Years

This September, we celebrated six years of living in Nebraska! I love Nebraska. This is where we've spent the majority of our married lives so far. This is where my son was born, where I became first a stay-at-home wife then a stay-at-home Momma. We bought our first house here and made it a home. We've made friends and walked through pretty much every major life-changing event with them from weddings to births to funerals. I have really loved living in Nebraska.

But… (you knew it was coming, didn't you?)

We won't make it to 7 years. God (and GSK) has seen fit to open the door for us to relocate for Dan's job. Where you may ask?

New Jersey.

Or at least that's where Dan's office will be. God has a sense of humor because this was one state I told my husband where I didn't really want to live. I guess I've been spoiled by the slower pace of life in the cornhusker state. ;) Nevertheless, this is where our next adventure is heading.

Thankfully, we have time. With Munchkin's school year and especially the medical testing and surgeries I've been undergoing, the company is giving us some leniency in the timing of our move. We're looking at a late spring 2019 date as our departure time frame which gives us ~6-7 months right now, give or take.

So we're forming our bucket list for Nebraska alongside our to-do list for New Jersey. One of the things that's been hard for me to process is that we've already had so many “lasts” here in Nebraska and didn't even realize it. And now that I can realize it, I'm an emotional mess as we continue to experience more “lasts”.

We have truly enjoyed our time calling Nebraska “home”. We will always carry a piece of it with us, no matter where we may end up. And we will certainly always carry our friendships and the people we've met in our hearts. Thank you for being a part of our journey and this chapter of our story.

Here's to the next chapter and more adventures!

Soli Deo Gloria,