1 December 2018

Tidings of comfort and joy? But what about my loss?

This is my favorite time of year. Nearby mountains cloaked in winter white. Gaggles of geese discussing where to winter. Breaking trail in snowshoes. Family and friends gathering and giving thanks and eating way too much pie and lighting candles and opening gifts and ringing in a New Year.

And yet, the holidays without a job, without our health, with missing loved ones just aren’t the same.


Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash


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17 November 2018


My intent was to honor my husband on this anniversary of his Homegoing. And so I ordered dozens of pumpkin-flavored mini-cakes from Ida’s Cupcake Café.

Ida’s Cupcakes (all photos: Marlys)

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28 September 2018

9 fun ideas for celebrating National Good Neighbor Day

Today, September 28, is National Good Neighbor Day. This thought from NationalDayCalendar.com:

It is a blessing to have a good neighbor, but it is even a greater thing to BE a good neighbor.

What if we made it our goal to be a good neighbor year-round?


Photo: Pixabay


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10 September 2018

Why brave-making?

It’s infinitely more comfortable to wrap the security blanket of my routine around me — with stacks of books and pots of tea nearby — than it is to travel alone without my best friend/tour director/husband.

And so, I booked a cruise to the last frontier as a brave-making venture. Alone.


All photos by Marlys unless otherwise noted


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12 August 2018

Treasuring the past; living now

My husband, Gary, had a ’66 GTO when he was a bachelor. In all the years of our marriage, any time one of these classic cars came within sight, it was pointed out to me; I know the front grill of this car by heart.


1966 GTO


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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)


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10 June 2018

Alphabet list of 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 my husband, Gary, finally admitted his fears and 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 by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash


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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


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5 March 2018

Cancer as a gift? No, thank you.

I walked beside my husband, Gary, with late stage prostate cancer for ten courage-filled years. The experience taught us to pay attention to life and its simple pleasures and the astonishing people who surrounded us in love.

There are numerous folks dealing with cancer who have suggested it is a gift … and countless others who would never refer to it that way. “Would you re-gift it?” someone once asked sarcastically.


Photo by Natalie Collins on Unsplash


But consider this thought from one of my cancer-fighting friends …

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4 February 2018

10 things not to say to a widow(er)

In her book, Bittersweet, author Shauna Niequist wrote that people often say the wrong thing when something bad happens:

But there’s something worse than the things people say. It’s much worse, I think, when people say nothing.


Photo by Patrick Hendry 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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