22 July 2018

Supercharge your caregiving batteries

A friend asked if she could give my phone number to her cousin, Michelle. Michelle’s husband was recently diagnosed with late-stage cancer; they have a young daughter, Olivia; and Michelle is dealing with some serious health issues of her own.


Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash


Continue Reading

18 July 2018

How to know everything there is to know

Today — January 18 — is “Winnie the Pooh” Day. Who knew?!


Photo: Pixabay


Continue Reading

8 July 2018

Why Misery Ridge isn’t all that miserable

Yesterday I hiked up to Misery Ridge and sat for a while, doing absolutely nothing. Well, except for munching fistfuls of nuts, and crunching on fruit, and slugging back cool, refreshing water.


All photos: Marlys


Continue Reading

1 July 2018

Food and cooking: Sacred things?

A browse through a local Farmer’s Market yesterday gave me a fresh appreciation for living in the United States — we who rarely miss a meal and if we do, it isn’t from lack of food. (Let me just say that if your hometown doesn’t have a Farmer’s Market, you might want to consider relocating.)


All photos: Marlys


Continue Reading

24 June 2018

Random thoughts on turning corners

This girl in the graduation cap: Charity. Probably the grittiest young woman I know.


L to r: Niece Brittany, me, Charity, and Elisha (photo: Lynn Frohnmeyer)


Continue Reading

10 June 2018

Alphabet list of cancer caregiver tips

Being a caregiver was one of the most challenging and sweetest roles I’ve ever held. The challenging part was in the beginning, when terminal cancer was dropped on us from a high-flying bomber we didn’t see coming.

A year later, after Gary finally admitted his feelings of failure as a man, we sorted things out, determined to live more fully, found ways to give back, and made more fun and memories. That was the thunderous, sweet, majestic part.

If given the assignment to share tips from my cancer caregiving years, and if the assignment required an alphabetized list …


Photo: Pixabay


… it would look something like this:


Continue Reading

4 June 2018

How to keep the familiar from becoming routine

Author Anthony Doerr spent a year in Rome on a writing fellowship. One of the things this ancient, spellbinding city taught him was how dangerous habit can be when it causes the spectacular to become routine:

Imagine if we only got to see a cumulonimbus cloud or Cassiopeia or a snowfall once a century: there’d be pandemonium in the streets. People would lie by the thousands in the fields on their backs.


Photo by Cédric Dhaenens on Unsplash


Continue Reading

22 May 2018

What makes a house a home?

I live in a beautiful little guest house on the side of a hill overlooking a valley to tall mountains across the way. The guest house is not my own place, but it is home.


Photo: Marlys


Continue Reading

12 May 2018

Have you hugged a nurse this week?

In honor of National Nurses Week, this quote from Vincent Van Gogh reminds me of all the nurses who interacted with us through the ten years my husband, Gary, lived with late-stage cancer:

Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on earth to do with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.


Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash


Continue Reading

7 May 2018

4 ways to save therapy costs

This is my last week at the Idaho cabin. Today’s trek took me off the beaten path, through a green gate …


Photo: Marlys


… around a couple of bends, across a small creek, and then uphill where the deep prints left by elk in the soft spring mud have now hardened into pitted landscape.

Continue Reading

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.

Read More