22 September 2018

How did you fall in love?

Today is my husband, Gary’s, birthday. It’s also our wedding anniversary. If cancer had not stolen him from me, we would be celebrating forty-five years of marriage.

In Fredrick Backman’s novella And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, a young boy asks his grandfather a question about his grandmother: “How did you fall in love with her?”


Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash


Continue Reading

2 August 2018

How to become wealthier

Leaving behind Oregon’s impossibly green trees, driving southeast through California and into Arizona, Elisha and I were on a mission: To get our friend, Charity, settled in Tucson for astrophysics grad school at the University of Arizona.


Charity, Elisha, Bug (a PomChi), and me


Continue Reading

28 May 2018

Crew, posse, network: Do you have one?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said this:

No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing.

That’s because a crew needs to be in synch; to pull together at equal strength. Connected. Coordinated.


Photo by Quino Al 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

25 March 2018

Meet Marni, world changer

When Tyler Henderson was diagnosed with brain cancer, Marni brought their two sons home for online schooling so they could spend as much time together as a family while they still had the hours, the weeks, the months.

Turns out, they only had fifteen more months together. Which wasn’t nearly enough time.


Tyler and Marni


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

11 February 2018

If I were to date again

Now that I’m perfectly content and happy and have purpose in this season of widowhood, I’m tentatively, cautiously, hesitantly — maybe — considering male companionship. (My children have given their blessing to dating and remarriage, but my son had one stipulation: “As long as he has a yacht.”)


Photo credit: Unsplash


Continue Reading

28 October 2017

Friday date: How fun would it be to share all this?!

I don’t remember a date that lasted from 9:00am to 7:00pm — even back when cancer motivated my husband and me to establish a standing Friday date, back before cancer took him.

But today was that day, beginning with a couple hours of writing at Suttle Tea Café in Sisters, Oregon, over Pumpkin Pie Chai, handcrafted with real pumpkin — so good — followed by a hike around Suttle Lake.


Suttle Lake, Oregon


Continue Reading

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.

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

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