Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Giving Tuesday"

This is the first year for  "Giving Tuesday".  Instead of pulling from what I've read I'll let you do your own research on this topic. :) 

As you research and contemplate ways you may give, I would like to offer you an option to consider (there are many great options...this is just one close to our heart) - Love Without Boundaries. 

We love Love Without Boundaries.....

There are people out there who I have never met, but my family will be eternally grateful to them.  People who gave to help fund Meisi's surgery which was several thousand dollars.  After her surgery, Meisi was still very tiny and required a very special but expensive formula to survive.  People heard the need and they gave.  We are so thankful for each and every one of those people.  We are so thankful for Love Without Boundaries who provided all these life saving and giving therapies after they accepted the call when Meisi was just 2 months old and dying.  Amazing things can happen when the Holy Spirit leads people to move and they follow.  God still does miracles.  :) 

If you are contemplating sending money to an organization or charity but haven't found one yet that you can trust or feel comfortable with.  I urge you to learn more about Love Without Boundaries (LWB).  You can support precious children who have medical needs like Meisi did or nutrition needs like Meisi did or help provide education like our dear friend's girls received.  It is amazing what even a small amount each month can do in the life of a child.  LWB provides wonderful updates on the child or program you are supporting with pictures and information.  We were blessed that our referral file included a few of Meisi's medical updates LWB had sent to those supporting her in her first few months she was with them.  There are no words to express the gratitude for all those who gave, prayed for and loved on her before we even knew her.  We are so thankful to Love Without Boundaries for answering the call. 

We are not all called to adopt, we are all called to do something.

Is "Giving Tuesday" your day to start? 

Monday, November 26, 2012


Yay!!!!  Yay!!!!!!  Yay!!!!  
It has arrived!!  Thank you Lord!!!  I feel like I can breath again!!!!

So excited to FINALLY be able to introduce our precious, beautiful daughter - Meisi Zhen Simpson :) 

This is one of my favorite pictures of her we found on the Love Without Boundaries facebook page. Just wanna reach out and squeeze her.  Can you see why this wait has been so so hard!?!
These were her referral pictures we received.  We knew she was ours immediately. :)  Looking into her eyes...wow....  we love you sweet baby girl.
On August 22nd, 2012 Ding Si Zhen was born in our hearts. :)

We sent our Letter of Intent for her 2 days later.  We kept praying about what to name our precious daughter.  In her referral paperwork it said this regarding her Chinese name Si Zhen:
"Si means thought, because we want her to grow to have good thoughts and good morals.  Zhen means treasure, because we think she is a treasure." 
We knew we didn't want to change that, too precious.  Ian (our 5 y/o son) kept saying we should name her "Beauty" because she is such a beauty.  We agree, but you can't really name a child "Beauty" (unless you are Disney). :)  
We wanted to make sure we kept her heritage in her name (just as Aili and Ian are named for our Scottish heritage).  Her identifier with LWB is "Delyth"  which means "pretty" in Welsh.  We learned that "Mei" means "beautiful" in Chinese.....Perfect!!!  After much praying and talking, we decided her name is Meisi Zhen - beautiful thought and treasure. :)  Ian says he is still gonna call her "beauty or cutie."  I think we all will. ;)
One more picture...hehe...been waiting too long to share these. :)  How surprised I was to get this from some friends who found it on Pinterest....Beauty, eyes and her heart all in the same sentence....our beautiful heart baby with amazing eyes...  We LOVE you!!   Gotcha Day can't get here soon enough! 


Thankful for time together

Is it Sunday already??  I must admit I am kinda sad to see my kids go back to school tomorrow and my hubby go back to work. 

We had planned a busy week of traveling back to KY to see dear friends, but we weren't able to get Brian's schedule worked out in time to do that.  So, instead, we stayed here and had


One day we went on a VERY long bike ride in our neighborhood, stopping periodically to take
pictures, play on playground, sit on a pier...

The kids have been begging to camp out - so we went camping - sort of....

People talk about "car camping", but we went "Garage Camping."  We put up the projector and watched a couple movies, played Chutes and Ladders, Bingo and Go fish then roasted marshmallows on our grill. :)  It was a blast, but our blow ups had holes in them so, we snuck back inside our cozy beds to sleep.  I do wish I knew how to get videos on here.  We laughed harder than I can remember with some of Ian's songs he sang us. :)  Great belly laughs!!  My little man is hilarious!! 

Thanksgiving dinner was fantastic this year too!!  So thankful for our dear friends from our Life Group (Bible Study group).  We got to eat together for Thanksgiving.  I even played Bocce ball for the first time.  It was fun!!  Even better that my teammate carried us through to win the championship - thanks Jason! :) 
While there - Ian finally agreed to marry J (a few weeks ago he was the runaway groom during life group). :)  Of course, right at the end she got wet feet - haha.  We are discussing the benefit of arranged marriages. lol  Look at their smiles- aren't they cute?? 

Black Friday shopping??  Of course!!  This time with grandparent's money though. :)  They sent it for me to do the kids shopping.  Waaaayyyy more fun to spend someone else's money. :) 

I tried really hard to keep up with the 30 days of thankfulness on facebook but I am soo far behind on that.  I have too much to be thankful for to just think of one thing each day!!  Obviously thankful we are getting closer everyday to getting Meisi, although the wait for LOA has been one of the hardest and most emotional roller coasters I have ever been on..   This too shall pass.  Thankful this is the last Thanksgiving she will have without us (haha - of course, she has no idea what thanksgiving is...yet). :)  Thankful that she is already part of our family.  We talk about her, pray for her, buy her things, love her.  Even though she will not be "with" us in 2012, we are thankful for the birth of our daughter and sister in our hearts this year. :)  Ian today says, "Meisi is the smallest in our family."  When asked how many kids we have, the kids immediately say, "Three, our baby sister is waiting for us in China!"  LOVE it and my precious kids!! :) 

Speaking of precious kids....this morning in worship we sang Matt Redman's "Never Let Go."  I wept throughout it, praying for a precious little boy named Seth and His sweet mom Sarah -

"I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on,
There will be an end to these troubles, but until that day comes,
Still I will praise you, Still I will praise you."

I had posted about this precious little boy identified as "Kelly" in my VERY first blog post here.  "Kelly" who is now Seth is home with his amazing family. :) However, the doctors here have said he is inoperable and medications will not help with his heart defect. If you would like to follow along on her blog it is here. Can you pray with me for this sweet child and family? I am praying it is God's will to heal Seth and to give the Risley's amazing comfort and peace throughout this journey. The power of prayers is amazing.

Thankful for each moment we have and the time we have together.

Hoping this week I will FINALLY get to share pictures of Meisi with you!!!  COME ON LOA!!! 

On a final note - I am thankful for my amazing man!!  I just came donwstairs to load these pictures and all the dishes are done. :)  I am blessed. :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Puzzles, Pampered Chef and Purposeful Crafts :)

We've had several folks ask how they can help us with the adoption. Well, more than anything we need prayer! Please pray for

1. God's protection over Meisi until we can get to her (winter months are hard in China)
2. God's comfort during the wait - we know His timing is perfect (and hopefully sooner than later) ;)
3. For Meisi's heart to be prepared to be part of our family
4. For our hearts (Brian, me, Aili and Ian) to be prepared to be her family
5. That we let the peace of Christ rule in us. He's got this and He is faithful! How quickly my mind forgets this!!!

Finances? Well, He has been amazing at providing all we have needed so far through saving more - spending less, taking temporary jobs here and there, tax returns, yard/bake sales, 31 party, generous friends, and a Scrapebooking Fundraiser with 4 other amazing ladies at our church who were in process (now 3 of these families have their children home). :)  Until now the fees have been somewhat spread out.  As we approach the travel phase we are looking at the last half of the cost of adoption ($5500 orphanage "donation", $1000-2000 for legal fees in China, and $5000-7000 in travel expenses for Brian and I).  We are hoping to raise enough in our fundraisers to cover the orphanage "donation". 

If you want to help with the finances of adoption and our specific journey to bring our Meisi home we have three ways you can do that!  We are doing a puzzle fundraiser, a Pampered Chef online party, and I am selling a craft I made (purposeful craft). If you are thinking of buying Pampered Chef for Christmas - this is a double gift as our friend is donating her commission to our adoption.  Check out my fundraisers tab at the top for more details.  

Puzzle fundraiser?? Here is how it works!

We just bought the coolest puzzle!

Every $10 would "buy" two puzzle pieces which we will write your name on like this:

Once puzzle is completed we will hang in double sided frame and display in our home so that we can always see who helped us bring home Meisi. :)

I have added a paypal link on the sidebar  or you can send us your gift in the mail (send me a note if you need our address). Please include a note saying whose name you would like on the pieces.

I am also selling these "purposeful crafts" or he"ART" pieces. :) 

I can create any country you'd like and if you really need a different color pattern - let me know, I probably can do that too!  The cost of these are $10 not framed, $20 if framed (8x8) plus shipping. 

Thank you for journeying with us to Meisi! :) Your prayers, words of encouragement and support are such a blessing!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monkey Bars and Pink Casts

We are still waiting for that same piece of paper from China (LOA/LSC).  Wednesday, Great Wall (our agency) told me today that they don't expect us to receive it for another 4-8 weeks. :(  However, on Friday they told me we are in the review room which was good news to me.  At least we are out of translation!  After review we will got to the matching room where our LOA/LSC will be issued!

My mind was taken from the wait for just a little while.... Unfortunately, my distraction was an accident with my Aili Grace.   Aili had a fall from the monkey bars at school which led to surgery to pin her little bones together in her left arm (and she is a lefty).  :( 

Wanting Daddy to lay next to her

Therapy dog named Benji

You can see it is great therapy!  She loves dogs!!

Just before going back to surgery :(

After surgery - she woke with this cute bear they gave her :)

Amazing how things like this remind me of the brevity of life.  I was so worried about her heart and how it would deal with the stress and all the medications she would be getting.  It didn't ease me any with nurses asking what her heart condition was. :(  God is good and faithful.  She did great through the surgery and the whole time the doctors and nurses commented on how brave and strong she is. :)  She did get an infection a few days later, but has recovered from that too.

Now she has her hot pink cast and seems to be doing very well... She still can't write but is enjoying directing people to what she needs/wants. :)

Thank you all for your prayers for her.  We are so blessed with amazing friends around the world who love Jesus and stand with us in prayer from miles away.  She kept telling doctors and nurses how safe she felt because "mommy asked people to pray and people around the world are praying for me...so I know I am safe."  :) 

That safety and your prayers led her to share with Brian and I some burdens and temptations she carried and she laid those at Jesus's feet.  It is amazing what our eight year old can understand and verbalize.  Thank you for your prayers and thank you Jesus for answering!! :) 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Treats

Happy Halloween!   We don't do much around here for Halloween as far as decorating goes, but we do love the candy!  :)  The day started with my kiddos dressing as book characters and going to school. :)  I got to stay to see the Kindergartners in a character parade..so so cute! 
See my Captain America there?

Of course, later we walked down our street to get some candy then got WAAAYYY too much candy during Awana - Candy Explosion! 
Super Heros and Super Space Dog Ready for Treats!

Too cute not to capture their conversation :)

No idea where the drama comes from ;)

Now for the rest of my day....While having some great fellowship with a group of ladies from church this morning, who have adopted or are adopting, I got a call from our agency.  Normally I would've been excited except that yesterday they told me that piece of paper (LOA/LSC) I've been waiting longing for from China isn't expected to come for another 4-8 weeks.  :(  Ever wanted to cry but tears wouldn't come???  Back to the call...they called to tell me our sweet daughter had been moved out of her foster home and back into the Love Without Boundaries Healing Home she had previously been in before foster care.  I admit I was worried (still struggle with continually "letting the peace of Christ RULE in my heart".... Col 3:15)..... Was she sick?  Is something wrong?  Are they sending her back to the orphanage already? 

I called my dear hubby who also was concerned and he is usually much more at peace and trusting than me.  So, through his encouragement I called our agency back to ask beg them to check on the status of our dossier in China.  She finally agreed to check for me.  That still didn't resolve my concerns for Meisi though.  So, I looked up an email address for where she is, prayed and sent an email hoping someone would get back to me.  I just needed to know she was ok and not sick, that the move had to do with the foster family, not her and Lord, please don't let them be sending her back to the orphanage right away.

I don't know if I have said it here but
Love Without Boundaries!

I mean truly LOVE them.  Within a few hours I had a response from them saying just that.  Praise the Lord!!!  They are limited on what all they can tell me now, but knowing she is with the people God used to save her life and that she is ok.... She is not sick, and she is staying with them until we get closer to travel time.  God still answers prayers.  Sometimes fast (like today)...sometimes slower (like this wait for the paper/LOA). 

I realize not everyone is called to adopt.  However, all Christians are called to help care for orphans (James 1:27).  If you are looking for a "safe" organization to sponsor a child or send support, one that truly makes a difference in the lives of precious children- whether it be medical needs (surgeries, transfusions,etc), educational or nutritional support - Love Without Boundaries would be at the top of my list! 

There were so many people who gave financially to pay for our Meisi's surgery and her expensive nutritional formula, who prayed for her around the world before we had even started the process to adopt.  She is alive today, as a miraculous example of what God's power can do when He calls an organization like LWB to act and calls regular people like you and me to support, give and go.  I am so thankful for all those people who said yes to God's urging to pray or His little whisper in their ear to give.  :)  We cannot wait to go!!

So, How is God calling you to help care for the orphans?