22 October 2017

What I learned from my 21-day detox

When my husband, Gary, was diagnosed with cancer, we asked the professionals about diet and exercise. One doctor said, “That’s like closing the barn door after the horse has gotten out.” Well, thank you. That was helpful.


Photo: Pixabay


On our own initiative, we increased our fruit and veggie intake, eliminated unhealthful fats and sugars, and ate more whole grains and legumes. And then Gary died. And I quit cooking for myself.

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15 October 2017

8 health benefits from giving

Four years ago, as my husband’s cancer was ramping up, our friend Kattaryna texted from Alaska:Trying to figure out how to bring some Alaska to you and hubby. Any requests?

Gary asked for Baked Alaska, and I requested a live baby moose. We’re both easy to please.


Photo: Marlys Johnson


Apparently something got lost in the translation. Because we found this colorful, hand-crafted, moose-shaped garden ornament planted in a rather large and beautiful fall bouquet on our front porch. (Which, if you can’t have a live moose, is the next best thing.)

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13 October 2017

8 tired-and-true beauty secrets

If we’ve lost something of incredible value — our health, a way of life, someone who is precious beyond words — then it’s important to grieve. To take our time and grieve in our own way.

At some point, though, it will be to our advantage and good health to set aside our sorrow and take a stab at living again. And while we’re learning to live again, see if we don’t become more attractive in the process.


Photo: Unsplash


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8 October 2017

How to experience peace in sorrow: 4 thoughts

Not too long ago, I stumbled across an email sent in November 2014 as an update to our kids and siblings two weeks before my husband, Gary died:

“We’re home from Hospice House,” I wrote. “Gary’s still pretty sharp, his sense of humor is still intact, but there’s been quite a bit of change in the past week.”


Photo by boram kim on Unsplash


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4 October 2017

3 straightforward steps for achieving the impossible

A couple years after my husband, Gary, died—after I took an early retirement and relocated to southern California—I discovered that I left my heart in Oregon.

One of my goals was to relocate back. The only [huge] problem was, the destination resort area at the foot of the Cascades that had been our home for 14 years isn’t known for affordable housing. I moved away because it was impossible to stay.


Photo: Pentax Forums


In time, though, and through miraculous intervention, I am now happily ensconced in a beautiful little guest house high on the side of a hill overlooking Bend, Oregon. With my own deck and sweeping views. And at an incredibly affordable cost.

Impossible. Done. Check.

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1 October 2017

7 thoughts on ‘team’

My friends, Mac and Allison, invited me to join them this weekend for a game in Autzen Stadium in Eugene, OR. They have a grandson who plays football for the University of Oregon Ducks.

A tight end. Six feet, 5 inches tall. Two-hundred thirty pounds. A little, scrawny guy.


My friends’ grandson, Cameron McCormick (Photo SportsPress)


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24 September 2017

9 advantages of having siblings

I was looking through some photos of my recent, more-fun-than-ought-to-be-allowed road trip, and came across this pic of my big brother and me standing at an observation deck above Snowbird in a gorgeous land called Utah.


Older brother and sister hanging out above Snowbird


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19 September 2017

Porch Fairy Challenge: Year 3

Four more days until the September 22 Porch Fairy Challenge!


All photos: Marlys


A Porch Fairy is someone who leaves thoughtful gifts on a front porch—or on the hood of a car, or on the desk of a co-worker—when the occupants of the house, car, desk could use some encouragement.

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17 September 2017

3 thoughts on glass hearts and courage

Road trip! Three Mountain States in nineteen days. I’ve been to a gorgeous high-altitude ranch above Aspen, Colorado; a Utah ski resort busy with summertime activity; and as I write this, I’m holed away in a cozy, remote cabin in Idaho.


Photo: Pixabay


It seems I’m not afraid of road trips alone. Or staying in remote places alone. Yet, for all my bravado, there is something I’m a little afraid of.

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27 August 2017

What does ‘living well’ mean?

At a one-day writers’ conference last spring, I had a 15-minute meeting with a literary agent. She asked me to tell her about my book proposal, and then provided excellent feedback from someone inside the publishing industry.

“I like a phrase you used: ‘How to live well through adversity.’ What do you mean by living well?” she asked.


Photo: 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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