15 September 2019

Do you get to pick your family?

Two weeks ago I drove to Ferndale in northern California—over the Cascade Range, through the redwoods, and then turn left at the Pacific Ocean.


Oregon redwoods
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1 September 2019

The break-up letter every widow wishes she could send

Stepping into a new season of life can be exciting and breath-taking and dream-engineering: Graduation. That job you’ve always wanted. A new love. Your first house. A much-anticipated baby.


Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash
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25 August 2019

5 things worth slowing down for

Slow isn’t my normal speed. I walk quickly, type quickly, clean house quickly, stack wood quickly.

None of those are necessarily bad. But there are some things worth slowing down for.


Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash
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19 August 2019

10 best tactics for dumping depression outdoors

“Depression — you’re welcome to hike up to Tam MacArthur Rim with me,” I spoke the words out loud after waking up on the blue side yesterday, “… but I doubt you’ll be able to keep up.”

Even though my life is good and full and there’s no reason for it, depression and anxiety often wake up with me.


Heading up to Tam MacArthur Rim from Three Creek Lake
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7 August 2019

Why not a brave-making date?

My husband, Gary, and I had several favorite trails in the Oregon Cascades. One of my brave-making goals is to eventually re-hike all of them. Alone.


The moraine lake tucked into Broken Top at 8,150 feet (All photos: Marlys – none enhanced)
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23 July 2019

How critical is it to count the ordinary moments?

One of my closest friends from high school, Cheryl—whose brother I married—walked beside her husband, Steve, as he entered hospice care last week.


Photo by Simon Smith on Unsplash
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14 July 2019

Why you should tell the story of the mountain you climbed

My husband, Gary, and I climbed several mountains during his cancer years. The highest elevation we ever reached was a trail ending at an icy-cold lake in the Colorado Rockies — 13,850 feet up.


Rocky Mountain hiking (photo: Gary Johnson)
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8 July 2019

12 benefits of being single

There was the statement—“If we’re not content single, we won’t be content married”—that resonated with me.


Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash
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30 June 2019

What is anticipatory grief?

A close friend’s husband has cancer. They’re saying maybe three, maybe four months.

And then there’s my sweet friend who lost her husband and young son to a sneaker wave. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. Tragically.


Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash
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21 June 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 by Mohamed Nohassi 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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