This is why we should get our ducks in a row

While my fiancé Dan and I were out on Hosmer Lake, eleven ducklings swam toward our kayaks.


Their mama made haste to line up her little ones into a row, putting some distance between us and her brood.


According to Quora, when someone says you have all your ducks in a row, they mean you’re a “reliable, proactive, logical, level-headed person.”

But is there such a thing as being too efficient, too organized? Having too many lists going at once?

Dan and I are both list makers (although I derive much more satisfaction from checking items off lists than he does). He’s simply organized while I’m, um, possibly … neurotic or OCD or something.

But I digress.

Dan and I have been planning a wedding, a honeymoon, and an addition/remodel to his house.

You can imagine the number of to-do lists running into each other.

We’ve already checked a number of items off the pre-wedding to-do list (5 more days, but who’s counting?!):

  1. Apply for marriage license.
  2. Book the photographer.
  3. Line up a caterer.

We have an inventory of things to bring to the wedding—not your typical list because this wedding is sandwiched into a weekend with our kids and grandkids in cabins along the Metolius River:

  1. Firewood, marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers for s’mores before sending the grands back to their respective cabins at bedtime. Sugared up. (The Parents have been warned.)
  2. Fishing gear for the nearby Metolius pond for kids under 18.
  3. Wedding rings and a white dress and a signboard created from old fence pickets.


Let the adventure begin!

And we’ve drafted lists of things to pack into Dan’s fifth-wheel trailer—a.k.a., the honeymoon carriage—which we’ll drive north into Washington and east toward Montana’s Glacier National Park:

  1. Camp chairs
  2. Kayaks
  3. Hiking boots

So, back to the question: Is there such a thing as being too organized?

Possibly yes. If we’re making everyone around us crazy.

Is there such a thing as having too many lists going?

Never. (Smile.)

What if?

COVID-19 hurled a lasso, caught the world by the horns, and stopped its horse suddenly to throw us to the ground.

It seems that one of the results is this: quite a few people prioritized what’s truly important when it comes to family and schedules and obligations and taking on too much.

What if lassoing our crazy schedules into submission allows more time for water color painting and canoeing and planting seeds in rich soil?

What if getting our kids’ activities under control allows more time to play with them: corn hole, cycling, Monopoly?

What if being organized and prepared for major events helps alleviate the stress?

This thought from an ancient proverb:

The ants are not a strong people, but they prepare their food in the summer. — Proverbs 30:25

Dan and I are primed for this next season.

We’ve drafted lists. And checked items off those lists. And prepared for a future together.

And what should be nerve-wracking—wedding-planning, house remodeling, consolidating two households into one—has been fun. And stress-free. And peaceful.

What if getting our ducks in a row helps create peace and harmony and sweet anticipation? It does.


So you think you know what friendship is?


A few thoughts from a new bride


  1. Allison McCormick


    Thank you for the permission to create another list! I just knew I was on the right track.

    Five more days and counting….


    • Yes, Allison … please feel free to make as many lists as is necessary. In fact, make more lists than is necessary. You’re on the right track!

  2. Tanya Neelon

    CONGRATULATIONS to you and Dan, Marlys! May your lives be full of adventure, love and happiness! We are extremely happy for you both!
    Will and Tanya

  3. Julie Koon

    I love this post! Thought your date was July 12 th but so excited for the 18 th! And what NEW family memories you will make as you check off your sweet lists!
    Lists show progress and the accomplishment of dreams and goals! I love the direction and satisfaction—my checked off lists— bring!
    Congratulations on your continued and new list making—Together!!!

  4. Hidie Baker

    I’m always making a list when we go on trips. It’s fun. By the way, I’m so happy for the two of you! Can’t wait to see the pictures.

    • I never knew we were list-making comrades, Hidie. I knew I liked you for some reason! (Smile.) Thank you for being happy for us!

  5. Gary

    Hi Marlys and Dan:
    You guys are ready for your new life together, it looks like you are very well planned. And we are very happy for you both.

  6. Chris Wheeler

    Congrats on your up coming wedding may you and Dan have the greatest adventure ❣️ Cliff is mister list man but I just that it helps me get the crazy out of my head !

  7. Celina Villa

    Congratulations Marlys!

  8. Linda Fisher-Berlanga

    So excited for you and Dan and look forward to reading about your adventures! And.. list makers unite!!

  9. Peter

    May your togetherness flourish as you become one, in love & friendship. Your days in Wyoming brought wonderful memories of ‘being there, at one in God’s great wilderness… I close my eyes and there they are.. The Grand Tetons. Thankyou for transporting me… as we traversed west to east on that life changing cycle challenge. God Bless you both, we will think of you. Our love, Barbara & Peter.

  10. Pat and Alvila Burkett

    God’s trails lead to wonderful endings.

  11. Rog and Dee

    Beautiful picture! Very happy for you. Wishing you both God’s best

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