16 June 2019

Beginner’s Guide to embracing imperfection

In my ramblings on central Oregon trails this past week, several imperfect trees caught my attention. Not because they were flawed. But because they stood out. In beauty. In uniqueness.


All photos: Marlys
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9 June 2019

5 steps toward your destiny

“You probably don’t want to make any major decisions within the first six to twelve months of widowhood,” my husband, Gary, said in one of our conversations about where his cancer was taking us.


Photo by Danica Tanjutco on Unsplash
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2 June 2019

What if we cultivated wonder?

As I leash up his dog, John stuffs cookies into his pocket. On nice days, we walk a nearby trail. And then we purchase a coffee to go with the cookies, and take a leisurely drive through the countryside just east of town.


All photos: Marlys
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26 May 2019

What should we do about criticism?

A couple months ago—while a solitary guest in a log cabin on a gazillion acres surrounded by high, snow-covered hills—I posted a blog about embracing “aloneness.”



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19 May 2019

The house that JW built

While undergoing cancer treatment, 15-year-old Jan-Willem Knapen (JW) had the idea for a “home away from home” – a welcoming place close to the hospital with overnight lodging where families could stay together during a medical crisis.


JW’s parents and siblings in front of JW House (photo: JWHouse.org)
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13 May 2019

Who are the unsung Mother’s Day heroes?

Mother’s Day. With no children living nearby, I tossed my snowshoes into the back of my rig and headed up into the Cascades.


Mt. Bachelor (all photos: Marlys)


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5 May 2019

Can we choose happiness?

Grand-dog Chloe and I are glamping in an elegant Airstream in a land of sunny skies, craggy mountain ranges, and saguaro cacti. Tucson.

Stenciled on the vintage trailer next door is this thought:

Today, I will be happier than a bird with a French fry.


Photo: Marlys
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28 April 2019

How to experience tiny moments of nerdy joy

My flight to Tucson earlier this week included three legs and two layovers that totaled twelve hours from drop-off to pick-up.

But I was prepared. I brought reading materials. And an intention to look for opportunity to do a random act of kindness. Or two.


Photo: Pixabay
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21 April 2019

How to lose the day

There was this one sentence, from a book, that made me sit up and pay closer attention:

We lost the day in love.

That’s exactly what happened to these last nine days.


Photo by Suresh Kumar on Unsplash
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7 April 2019

What are you planning for National Nurses Week?

In case you didn’t know, May 6-12 is National Nurses Week, which allows about a month to plan. What if you showed up with a bouquet of flowers? Or some chocolate? Or a gift card to a local coffee shop?

To thank the men and women who made a difference in your life, or in the life of your loved one? How cool would that be?


First-year COCC nursing students, 2016
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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.

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