Planting the Stinky…


(image found on

The other day on Sesame Street, there was an episode when the stinkweed could not “grow” his flower because he was too stressed out about the upcoming flower show competition.  In fact, no matter what he did, his flower would not grow and bloom until some random famous person sat next to him and sang him a song about how “he’s unique”.  And, after repeating this mantra several times to himself, he bloomed and ended up winning the show!

Of course, once his flower bloomed and he won, his smell came out.  And boy was it stinky.

Everyone was so surprised that something so “beautiful” could be so “stinky”.

Isn’t that like much of life around us?

We work so hard for something to grow that we “KNOW” should be beautiful and perfect and the “just needed” addition to our life.  But when it does bloom, it actually smells worse than what we imagined?

Now, of course, this wasn’t the point behind the Sesame Street skit.  Stinky is beautiful reigned there.

But in life.

Sometimes we water the things we should not.  Sometimes we encourage the things we should not.   Sometimes we grow the things we should not.

And they grow.

And they bloom.

And they thrive.

Because we, the gardeners, have watered and tended to them.

Unfortunately, when they bloom, they stink.

And then we’re stuck.

We’re stuck with stinkweeds.

We’re stuck with invaders…Invited invaders.

And we’re stuck with more work now than before.

Because we don’t want these stinkweeds to stay.

So we go back.  We weed.  We make sure that we don’t just cut the top but pull the roots.

And then we spray.

And then we pray.

We wait.  Hoping that these weeds are gone.

And we prepare to plant again.

Or we leave the soil barren.  After all, the last time it was a lot of work and it was a massive “stink bomb”!

This story has a moral, and it’s this:

You are unique.  You don’t need Sesame Street to sit next to you, singing you a song.  There is a God that created you to be one of a kind.

And it’s up to you and you alone what kind of garden you tend.

Will you purchase seeds of discontent?  Seeds of destruction?  Seeds of ugly?

And will you water them, tend to them, and grow them…

Having later to go back and weed.

Or leaving you in the exhausted position of surrender-surrounded by the weeds or barren soil.  Tired.  Afraid to try again.

Or will you pause before you garden.  And think.

Is this good for me?

Does this belong, here, in my life?

Will this be a beautiful addition to me?

And then you plant carefully, wisely, and strategically…

If you are being choked out by weeds, may God help you garden.  May you take the time you need to rest, and then may you replant…this time a garden of beauty instead of ashes.

If you have not planted yet, then take the time to think.

Is this the kind of garden I want in my life.  Will this bring me beauty?  Or heartache?

And then tend carefully to your blooms.  Because gardens are fragile.

Like our hearts.

Like our lives.

Don’t plant the stinky.  You are too good for that.

My husband’s off to get people hitched…in Africa!

Adelyne and Richard had an amazing start to their African father/daughter journey.

Well…After they flew 10 hours to Germany, then a 10-hour layover in Frankfurt, and then another 10 hours to Johannesburg.


Frankfurt Layover…Goodbye, Sunny AZ!

But when they FINALLY arrived in Africa, they have had an amazing time!

The lion park.  Huge perk for a little girl.  Especially when a lion cub gets to gnaw you to smithereens.

Then they have gone on Safaris and wild animal roundups.  And they have even gotten to go swimming.


Daddy’s toes enjoying the African sun!

At breakfast the other day, they ate outside and saw grazing giraffes.  Pretty stinking awesome.

Finally yesterday, they had to leave their safari paradise and begin the border crossing…on their own.

I remember when Richard was going from Kenya to Uganda (Nairobi to Kampala) on his own—well, in a bus full of others.  It was a midnight bus crossing and Rich said that he was the only white passenger on the bus (an important part of the story in a moment) and he was RIGHT below the radio’s speaker button that was playing the same scratchy tape over and over again.  So when the tape took it’s pause to switch sides, he reached up above him and turned off the speaker — and the bus fell into a beautiful midnight silence.

Well…it may have been a night bus, but that did not mean its passengers were sleepy because soon he heard from the back of the bus in a deep voice, “HEY, Muzungu!  Turn back on the radio.”  Without looking around or missing a beat, he crept his hand in the air, found the speaker’s button, and turned back on the loud midnight music.  Listening to it all the way to Kampala.  And the rest of the passengers were pleased 😉

But this time, with Adelyne, Rich was not in a bus as a passenger.  He was the driver, and he had to get his daughter safely across the border and make his way to Gabarone, Botswana.

He said trail mix was a nice treat for the border agents as he crossed.

And then, the rest of the journey, well, let’s say it was wrought with, in Richard’s words, “Six hours of dodging goats, cows, donkeys, people, cars, potholes, baboons, and anything else you can think of.”

But he finally made it!  And they are thrilled.

And today they get to begin the celebrations of Seun and Kwesi!  Today is the traditional ceremony.  Adelyne is a blessed and honored part of today’s event.

Tomorrow is the church wedding.  Richard gets to do the whole, “Do you?  And Do you?  And Yea!  You may kiss your bride!”

I am so excited to hear how Seun and Kwesi have brought their two families together (Nigerian and Ghanan family backgrounds) and joined them together in beautiful ways to celebrate who they are and who they will become together.

It brings me back to my own wedding.

ImageSeptember 30th, Richard and Brooke

I am not a big church and fluffy wedding dress-type woman.  And my husband, he could have gotten hitched on a raft, shouting “I Do,” as we went through a rapid.

But, since we have families that love us, we decided to have a wedding…in 3 weeks!  Good thing I have an extremely organized sister, eh?

She pulled off my wedding in 3 weeks.  And I wore my mother’s wedding dress.  And I received my grandma’s wedding ring.  And we wore tennis shoes or hiking sandals.  And we had trail mix at our tables.

We were in the day of “film” so there is not a lot of digital documentation of this day, but we didn’t even go with, at the time, the VERY traditional wedding cake.  You see, neither of us are huge cake fans.  So we went with something we both do love…Marie Calendar pies!

We bought out the restaurant.


Richard’s vows to Brooke

And our evening even ended with illegal fireworks, sending us off, in our Jeep!

Yep.  It wasn’t fancy—but it was beautiful.  And one of my favorite moments, dancing with my husband while our guests surrounded us with bubbles in the air.

I am sure today’s wedding will be extremely different than mine.  And I can’t wait.

Because each wedding day should be an introduction of two families, coming together, to join as one.  Not leaving behind what makes the other so beautiful and unique, but joining together the beauty of “you” and “me” and making the two a “we”.

Oh…and it should be a LOT about the bride.  (Well, saith this bride!)

And I am sure Kwesi and Seun’s wedding will be just that…a beautiful joining of two families with a great celebration of the bride herself!  And the groom.  And the two of them, joined with their family and friends from around the world.

And I can’t wait to see where God and their future takes them.

I pray their day blessed and joyful.  I pray their day tomorrow honoring and special.

And I pray their lives, forever, together…full of adventure, hard work, fun, and, when God gifts, beautiful children to fill their hearts to the brim of overflowing!

In the meantime, I simply hope that they’ll enjoy their honeymoon and their brand new future in great and adventurous ways.

Congratulations, Seun and Kwesi.  Now, go and get hitched!

Kiss.  Kiss.