Why people trump projects

Being the organized, neurotic list-making, project-oriented girl I am, I need this refresher course from time to time: People always trump projects.


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


It all began with two invitations in Boise: Bro- and sis-in-law’s anniversary celebration, and a speaking engagement.

Not relishing the thought of two round-trip drives from Oregon to Idaho in a three-week period, and with a large writing project on my docket, I shamelessly invited myself to hole up in bro- and sis-in-law’s remote cabin north of Boise.


All remaining photos: Marlys


And then a text from my niece: Would it mess you up if we came to the cabin for part of spring break? Of course not. It’s your parents’ cabin. I’m the gatecrasher here.

And bro- and sis-in-law decided to join in the fun.

And Daughter Summer texted to see about flying my oldest grandson out west for his spring break.

Which means my original plan to spend three weeks—alone, hunkered down, writing—has been updated to two weeks of people and one week of writing.

But people always trump projects.


And so this past week was spent giving the 15-year-old his first driving lessons …



… and baking cookies and pushing swings …



… and riding the range …


… and helping trim blackberry bushes and stack firewood …



… and chugging around on 4-wheelers, and drone-flying lessons …



… and a whole lot of knitting (with help, of course, from the littlest munchkin).



So why do people trump projects?

Because people are irreplaceable, and good relationships are rare, and strengthening those connections is among our wisest investments.

Because projects and work and the accumulation of things—as good as projects may be, as certainly as work needs to be done, as surely as we need food and clothing and houses (and yarn)—these things pale in comparison to the people who make our lives sweet.

This thought from Lysa TerKeurst:

I want to make sure it’s people, not projects, that occupy the sacred places of my heart.


P.S. If you found this blog to be a timely reminder, please share, tweet or pin!


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  1. Lonnie Johnson

    You always seem to have the right outlook on things : )

    • Alas, I think it took the wilderness years, which included Gary’s cancer, for me to learn some of life’s most important lessons. (Do people use ‘alas’ anymore?!)

  2. sally

    What a wonderful time! I have a feeling your writing will be even better – if that is possible – because of the adventures you had thin at beautiful place!

  3. Gary Wirth

    Marlys you need to hide better so you can do your writing. Hope you get it done. As always great story.

  4. Oh Marlys, so good to have this reminder. The gentle balance of focus and play….creativity and production. The sweet pictures tell it all. Precious. Thank you!!

  5. Debi

    Your heart has to be full ? My guess is that your words will just flow. Love your blog as always girl.

  6. Peter

    As soon as I read about your Boise visit, you took me to the Boise forest fires of ’92 which we encountered on our Across USA cycle challenge. Though there was only an old shack available for us to ‘hold up in’ at White Bird.. due to most everywhere else being occupied by firefighter crews, it was the people who had come from near and far to fight those fires, they made our ‘stop over’ such a memorable occasion, such characters with purpose, it was a blessing, in spite of the cold we had to endure. And as I write, I’d just received an e.mail asking me to confirm that I would be ‘speaker’ for a University of the 3rd Age group, on Wednesday. Like you, this needed preparation, however I decided to confirm that I would attend…. no real preparation, so I will find something to entertain them with…. because I KNOW TOO, that it is the people who attend, who I can share with; they will make my day happen and they will be a blessing. I will be duly rewarded by their interaction with me. Thanks once again Marlys for taking me to think, ponder and make due decisions, as you always seem to do. Our love, God Bless, Bx P & family.

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