31 March 2020

What if we could live fully in the small moments?

Michelle Bader, my beautiful young friend, is standing watch as her husband is dying of cancer. Michelle’s anticipatory grief for the loss she and her three children will experience is taking her heart on a crazy roller coaster ride these days.


Photo by blueberry Maki on Unsplash
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23 March 2020

When this is over …

It seems we humans tend to not appreciate things—like, our good health, or our people, or a way of life, or our freedoms—until we lose them.


Photo: Marlys
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10 March 2020

When is a tree much more than a tree?

My friend Dan lost his wife to cancer in July 2019. Their daughter Carey works for Friends of Trees, a non-profit based in Portland, Oregon. When her co-workers gifted her with a grove of trees to plant in memory of her mom, Carey organized a “friends and family” tree-planting gathering.


Carey with her husband and son (all photos courtesy of the family)
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1 March 2020

Difference Makers: What is the starfish theory?

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the young boy on a beach where hundreds of starfish had been washed ashore by a high tide.


Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash
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17 February 2020

46 highly effective self-care tips

Self-care was something I didn’t do well in the final months of my husband’s life. I dragged my tattered super hero cape in the mud far too long—because I didn’t want to bother people, because self-care sounded self-ish.


Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash
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10 February 2020

To-do lists … or not to-do lists, that is the question

There’s a trend, a splash across the internet that’s troublesome. I’m noticing articles with titles, such as, “Why Successful People Don’t Use To-Do Lists” and “Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work.” 


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3 February 2020

No matter your size, you can still be fierce

Every time I return from a short hike, Roxie is sitting at her guard post where she can see out the large windows that flank the stone fireplace. No one’s getting away with anything on her watch.


Guard dog Roxie (all photos: Marlys)
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27 January 2020

Is open-hearted living worth the risk?

A cousin told me about her widowed friend who was just beginning to open her heart to the thought of a new love. This woman prayed, “Lord, if you want me to remarry, you’ll have to drop him in my lap.”

While buckled into an airplane, reading and ready for take-off, someone took the seat next to hers. 


Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash
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25 January 2020

If You Missed “National Compliment Day,” It’s Not Too Late

Someone named Mike sent an email yesterday:

You really macgyvered that situation!

At first I thought it was a typo. But then …


Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash
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20 January 2020

What if making a difference might be painful?

Ryan and Katie were living in Malawi when Katie got the call. There’d been an accident. A car hit a pothole while speeding and crashed headlong into a small lorry that Ryan was driving.

Katie didn’t know until she reached the hospital that her husband had died at the scene of the accident. She collapsed to the ground, sobbing and screaming.


Photo by O12 on Unsplash
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About Me

Hello, my name is Marlys Johnson. I’m a speaker, award-winning writer, cancer widow, and Chai tea snob. I love getting outdoors; would rather lace up hiking boots than go shopping. I have a passion for encouraging people to live well in the hard and holy moments of life. With heart wide open.

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