29 October 2018

How to cure the wanderlust bug

Confession: The title of this blog is misleading. Because once you’ve been diagnosed with wanderlust—that strong desire or urge to travel and explore—there is no cure.


Photo: lovethispic.com


Continue Reading

30 August 2018

Stories to tell, not stuff to show

Twelve years ago, my son-in-law Josh accepted a job on the east coast. I was OK with that, until he insisted on taking my daughter and grandchildren with him. And then I wasn’t OK.

This past week, my daughter Summer and the two granddaughters left four brothers and one dad in New Jersey and flew to Oregon. And we were tourists in my hometown.

We ate at Jackson’s Corner, and visited Tumalo Falls, and …



Continue Reading

19 August 2018

Are you a criticizer or a contributor?

Is there a difference between criticizing and critiquing? Absolutely.

Criticizers express disapproval and point out their perceptions of our flaws and mistakes. Someone who offers critique is contributing their careful opinions with the intent of helping.


Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash


Continue Reading

24 June 2018

How to be gritty

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

22 April 2018

What is your super power?

This thought from an unknown author:

No one is you and that is your super power.


Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash


Continue Reading

15 April 2018

What’s the big deal about repurposing?

Some of you may know that my dream house would be a sturdy, old barn repurposed into an open-beamed, warm, welcoming home. With mountain views.


Photo: Houzz.com


Continue Reading

25 February 2018

Meet Katie, world-changer

When Katie Strumpf was diagnosed with leukemia, there were no online resources or publications to offer guidance to a 10-year-old kid dealing with cancer. She endured chemo, spinal taps, and bone marrow aspirations.

While still going through treatment, Katie told her mom that someday she would write a book for children with cancer, offering encouragement and practical advice from someone who’s put up with doctors and medications and hair loss.


Katie Strumpf-Rackley


Continue Reading

18 February 2018

4 ways to edit your story

There’s a chapter in Gary’s and my story, titled “The Wilderness Years,” that lasted for more than a decade. A windswept, barren, bleak, heart-throbbing trek through financial reversals, and a live-in parent sinking into dementia, and a terminal cancer diagnosis, and the death of a most beloved husband, friend, life partner.

Most of us would edit some chapters of our stories if we could.


Photo by Andrew Measham on Unsplash


Continue Reading

21 January 2018

Lessons from a turtle release

Someone handed a baby turtle in a small container to me. “Give him a name,” she said. And of course what popped into my head was ‘Gary.’ As in, my deceased husband.


Photo: Campamento Tortugueros Sayulita


Continue Reading

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


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