13 January 2020

Is there a dream-defender in your life?

There were always several hands in the air during the Q&A. The freshmen were my favorite. “Ooh, me, me! Pick me!” So full of enthusiasm and hope. Surprisingly attentive. 


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4 January 2020

Go make stuff this year … the world needs makers

A few years back, my husband and I started a tradition of making memories with one grandchild at a time for a full week. This past week was eleven-year-old Lydia’s turn.


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30 December 2019

How do we know the best route to take?

Heading across a snowy meadow and into the trees on the return loop, there were two trail options. But no signage.

I knew all routes led back to Mt. Bachelor, but I wasn’t sure which one was the shortest. And the shortest seemed the most important at the moment … because there was a thick cloud bank rolling in from the west.


Mt. Bachelor across a snowy meadow
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23 December 2019

Can a shower truck really make a difference?

A mobile shower unit, designed to provide showers for homeless clients, was purchased by Foundry Church in Bend, Oregon. But it was in disrepair.

That’s when Tom and Tricia Stutheit took over the administration of the truck and recruited Dan Lawry, a retired electrician, mechanic, and general tinkerer, to contribute his expertise.


Photo: Marlys
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15 December 2019

Maintaining bonds with our deceased loved ones? Seriously?

It’s been five years since my husband Gary left this tilting, whirling globe for a cancer-free, no-pain, zero-stress life in heaven. 

My grief is long gone. In its place, there are movie reels of contagiously fun adventures that unfolded during the cancer years. In living color.


Hiking above Jenny Lake — Teton National Park, Wyoming
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10 December 2019

How to vanquish sumo wrestlers

Several dark mornings a week—during the final months of my husband’s life—I woke up with a rather large sumo wrestler standing over me, pulling my stomach into a tight knot of anxiety.

Worry over the thought of widowhood. Concern about our financial situation and how I could afford to stay in the small rental solely on my salary. 


Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash
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5 December 2019

4 things you need to know about staying connected

Daughter Summer, SIL Josh, and five of the six grands moved to Oregon from New Jersey last week. They were at my place for a few days before heading “over the hill and through the woods” to the other side of the Cascade Mountains.


All photos: Marlys
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24 November 2019

What if you counted all the ways you’re loved?

It was a sunny July—four months before my husband, Gary, died. We were in a cozy vacation cabin with family. And I was adding to my gratitude journal.


Photo by Nicole Wilcox on Unsplash
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15 November 2019

Can we edit our life stories? How?

This quote from Susan Statham made me wonder: How does the editing process work?

Your life is a story. Write well. Edit often.


Photo by MILKOVÍ on Unsplash
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11 November 2019

What do you know to be true?

An online article at The Grit + Grace Project caught my attention: “100 Truths for Every Strong Woman.”

(Before the men quit reading, you need to know that this piece is very honoring of your gender. Because you are valuable and important and worthy of our respect.)


Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash
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About Me

Hello, my name is Marlys Johnson. I’m a speaker, award-winning writer, cancer widow, and Chai tea snob. I love getting outdoors; would rather lace up hiking boots than go shopping. I have a passion for encouraging people to live well in the hard and holy moments of life. With heart wide open.

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