15 January 2018

Should we let disagreeable conditions defer our plans?

Earlier this week, I joined up with two of my cancer-kicking friends, Mike and Bina, and snow-shoed from Mt. Bachelor out to Todd Lake — gray-shrouded and cold.


Looking out across a frozen Todd Lake (Photo: Mike Gibson)


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7 January 2018

How to be a world-changer

My young friend, Charity, is a world-changer. But she doesn’t know it.

Charity is facing the one-year anniversary of the day her husband and young son were swept out to sea by a sneaker wave on the Oregon coast. January 15. But wait until you hear what she’s accomplished, despite dealing with the most horrific experience of her life.


My world-changing friend, Charity


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31 December 2017

Define your purpose; live your reason

Three years ago—back when I was newly widowed, resigning my job, and paring down to move out of state—a bracelet arrived in the mail from one of my beautiful sisters-in-law. The charm dangling from it read: “Embrace the journey.”


Photo by Fineas Anton on Unsplash


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17 December 2017

8 gifts to give yourself this holiday season

Daughter Summer married her college sweetheart in the month of December. Twenty-two years and six children later, Josh and Summer are still sweethearts. And the only way they can get away for a few days together is when a grandparent is present.

This is where I come in.


Photo by on Unsplash


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3 December 2017

Thriving through the holidays with loss

This is my favorite time of year. Nearby mountains cloaked in winter white, gaggles of geese discussing where to winter, family and friends gathering and giving thanks and eating way too much pie and lighting menorah candles and decking the halls and welcoming in a New Year.


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


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26 November 2017

Why taking no risks is risky business

Most worthwhile things in life come with some risk-taking. Pursuing a medical degree. Marriage. Starting a business. Begetting offspring. Climbing tall mountains.


Photo by Martin Jernberg on Unsplash


The question is: Is the risk worth it?

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24 November 2017

An unexpected day of feasting

The organization is incredible. When volunteers check in, they’re given a name tag along with their volunteer assignment: Greeters, and seaters, and beverage pourers, and servers, and pumpkin pie embellishers.


All photos: Marlys


The cooks had been there since 4:00am and the clean-up crew would be there long into the afternoon.

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21 November 2017

Why gratitude? 5 benefits

Back in May 2015, just six months after my husband, Gary, died of cancer, I was single grandma to three grandkids while Daughter Summer and SIL Josh were in Uganda in the process of doubling the number of their children.


Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash


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19 November 2017

Kicking off Thanksgiving week

It all started with the simple question from Godfrey, my middle-born Ugandan grandson: “What are we doing for Family Day?”

Which got his parents thinking and planning, which prompted a FaceTime call Friday afternoon: We’re at the park. Releasing balloons to Grandpa.  


Photo: Pixabay


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15 November 2017

What to do when the gifts are too generous

“Mom, people want to help,” admonished our daughter, Summer, visiting from New Jersey. “And they want to do it in meaningful ways.”


Photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash


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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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