13 October 2017

8 tried-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


Continue Reading

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


Continue Reading

3 September 2017

17 things I lost when Hubby died

A blog reader recently sent email about his wife who died too quickly after a cancer diagnosis. “I was unprepared and now alone. My awesome wife and friend … was now missing from my life,” he wrote.


Photo: Gary Johnson


Continue Reading

13 August 2017

How gritty are you?

I met him this past week at the coffee machine in my son and daughter-in-law’s Tucson apartment complex. We exchanged pleasantries and then I asked – shamelessly – how long he’d been in a wheelchair.


Photo: Marlys


Continue Reading

20 June 2017

How to live with knowing the future

For a second time, I’m reading When Breath Becomes Air by surgeon and author Paul Kalanithi. At age 36 and on a career path that was spiraling upward, Dr. Kalanithi was rudely interrupted. By a lung cancer diagnosis.


Photo credit:


Continue Reading

2 June 2017

Maintaining bonds with our deceased loved ones

Recently, the title of an article, “16 Tips for Continuing Bonds with People We’ve Lost,” caught my eye. Maintaining bonds with the people who have died? Really? Doesn’t that sound a bit communing-with-the-dead-ish?

But then I read the article and was surprised to discover I had done several things on the list.


Photo: Pixabay


Continue Reading

15 May 2017

Putting dreams on paper

I’m at a coffee shop—one of those fabulous local places where the high ceilings thrum with industrial pipes and funky lighting, and a large garage door is open to let in the mountain air—waiting for two of my creative team members.


Photo: Unsplash


Jim and Michelle are meeting me here to brainstorm over some needed changes to website, brand name, tagline, purpose. Who do I want to reach? What’s the best way to get there?

Which means, stay tuned for some exciting changes!

Continue Reading

2 April 2017

Celebrating a life well lived: Random thoughts

Family and friends gathered in Idaho this weekend to celebrate a life well lived: Mom-in-law Ivalene, who died of complications due to pancreatic cancer.


Jack and Ivalene Johnson, 1946


Since yesterday’s Celebration of Life service, a few random thoughts have been swirling in my brain:

Continue Reading

5 March 2017

11 secrets I learned about living after losing

After my husband, Gary, died of cancer, I relocated to southern California, claimed my daughter-in-law’s pink-rimmed bike as my own, and said Yes to several not-necessarily-planned-far-in-advance adventures.


Venice Beach with my pink-rimmed ride


Continue Reading

14 February 2017

Is this how death should be?

Mom-in-law Ivalene died this week from complications due to pancreatic cancer. We thought we had six to twelve months left with her. And then the call: “She’s in transition. The hospice nurse doesn’t think she’ll last through the day.”


Photo credit: 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