23 July 2019

How critical is it to count the ordinary moments?

One of my closest friends from high school, Cheryl—whose brother I married—walked beside her husband, Steve, as he entered hospice care last week.


Photo by Simon Smith on Unsplash
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14 July 2019

Why you should tell the story of the mountain you climbed

My husband, Gary, and I climbed several mountains during his cancer years. The highest elevation we ever reached was a trail ending at an icy-cold lake in the Colorado Rockies — 13,850 feet up.


Rocky Mountain hiking (photo: Gary Johnson)
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8 July 2019

12 benefits of being single

There was the statement—“If we’re not content single, we won’t be content married”—that resonated with me.


Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash
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30 June 2019

What is anticipatory grief?

A close friend’s husband has cancer. They’re saying maybe three, maybe four months.

And then there’s my sweet friend who lost her husband and young son to a sneaker wave. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. Tragically.


Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash
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21 June 2019

How to experience tiny moments of nerdy joy

My flight to Tucson earlier this week included three legs and two layovers that totaled twelve hours from drop-off to pick-up.

But I was prepared. I brought reading materials. And an intention to look for opportunity to do a random act of kindness. Or two.


Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash
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16 June 2019

Beginner’s Guide to embracing imperfection

In my ramblings on central Oregon trails this past week, several imperfect trees caught my eye. Not because they were flawed. But because they stood out. In beauty. In uniqueness.


All photos: Marlys
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9 June 2019

5 steps toward your destiny

“You probably don’t want to make any major decisions within the first six to twelve months of widowhood,” my husband, Gary, said in one of our conversations about where his cancer was taking us.


Photo by Danica Tanjutco on Unsplash
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2 June 2019

What if we cultivated wonder?

How vital is it to see our world through the eyes of a child or an Alzheimer’s patient, to carry wonder as part of our inventory?

Photo by Tetiana Syrova on Unsplash
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26 May 2019

What should we do about criticism?

A couple months ago—while a solitary guest in a log cabin on a gazillion acres surrounded by high, snow-covered hills—I posted a blog about embracing “aloneness.”



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19 May 2019

The house that JW built

While undergoing cancer treatment, 15-year-old Jan-Willem Knapen (JW) had the idea for a “home away from home” – a welcoming place close to the hospital with overnight lodging where families could stay together during a medical crisis.


JW’s parents and siblings in front of JW House (photo: JWHouse.org)
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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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