17 June 2018

Celebrating life … while the patient is still alive

An email arrived recently from a friend — her grandfather died, and a week and a half later, her grandmother was diagnosed with late stage cancer.


Photo by Jake Thacker on Unsplash


“My grandma went through such a long, rough time being a caregiver for my grandpa,” wrote this young woman, “… and now this.”

Continue Reading

10 June 2018

Alphabet list of cancer caregiver tips

Being a caregiver was one of the most challenging and sweetest roles I’ve ever held. The challenging part was in the beginning, when terminal cancer was dropped on us from a high-flying bomber we didn’t see coming.

A year later, after Gary finally admitted his feelings of failure as a man, we sorted things out, determined to live more fully, found ways to give back, and made more fun and memories. That was the thunderous, sweet, majestic part.

If given the assignment to share tips from my cancer caregiving years, and if the assignment required an alphabetized list …


Photo: Pixabay


… it would look something like this:


Continue Reading

4 June 2018

How to keep the familiar from becoming routine

Author Anthony Doerr spent a year in Rome on a writing fellowship. One of the things this ancient, spellbinding city taught him was how dangerous habit can be when it causes the spectacular to become routine:

Imagine if we only got to see a cumulonimbus cloud or Cassiopeia or a snowfall once a century: there’d be pandemonium in the streets. People would lie by the thousands in the fields on their backs.


Photo by Cédric Dhaenens on Unsplash


Continue Reading

28 May 2018

Crew, posse, network? Do you have one?

A crew needs to be in synch; to pull together at equal strength. Connected. Coordinated.


Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash


This thought from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing.

Continue Reading

22 May 2018

What makes a house a home?

I live in a beautiful little guest house on the side of a hill overlooking a valley that shelters my hometown to tall mountains across the way. The guest house is not my own place, but it is home.


Photo: Marlys


Continue Reading

12 May 2018

Have you hugged a nurse this week?

In honor of National Nurses Week, this quote from Vincent Van Gogh reminds me of all the nurses who interacted with us through the ten years my husband, Gary, lived with late-stage cancer:

Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on earth to do with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.


Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash


Continue Reading

7 May 2018

4 ways to save therapy costs

This is my last week at the Idaho cabin. Today’s trek took me off the beaten path, through a green gate …


Photo: Marlys


… around a couple of bends, across a small creek, and then uphill where the deep prints left by elk in the soft spring mud have now hardened into pitted landscape.

Continue Reading

29 April 2018

What if we lived in the moment?

My time in Idaho — tucked away in the tranquility and amazingness of these remote acres — keeps getting extended.


All photos: Marlys (none enhanced)


Continue Reading

22 April 2018

What is your super power?

This thought from an unknown author:

No one is you and that is your super power.


Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash


Continue Reading

15 April 2018

What’s the big deal about repurposing?

Some of you may know that my dream house would be a sturdy, old barn repurposed into an open-beamed, warm, welcoming home. With mountain views.


Photo: Houzz.com


Continue Reading

About Me

Hello, my name is Marlys Johnson. I’m a cancer widow, author, speaker and blogger. I love getting outdoors; would rather lace up hiking boots than go shopping. I have a passion for repurposing old junk into cool new stuff. And an even greater passion for showing people how to navigate life’s challenges. Tenaciously. And with heart wide open.

Read More