1 March 2020

Difference Makers: What is the starfish theory?

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the young boy on a beach where hundreds of starfish had been washed ashore by a high tide.


Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash
Continue Reading
17 February 2020

46 highly effective self-care tips

Self-care was something I didn’t do well in the final months of my husband’s life. I dragged my tattered super hero cape in the mud far too long—because I didn’t want to bother people, because self-care sounded self-ish.


Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash
Continue Reading
10 February 2020

To-do lists … or not to-do lists, that is the question

There’s a trend, a splash across the internet that’s troublesome. I’m noticing articles with titles, such as, “Why Successful People Don’t Use To-Do Lists” and “Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work.” 


Continue Reading
3 February 2020

No matter your size, you can still be fierce

Every time I return from a short hike, Roxie is sitting at her guard post where she can see out the large windows that flank the stone fireplace. No one’s getting away with anything on her watch.


Guard dog Roxie (all photos: Marlys)
Continue Reading
27 January 2020

Is open-hearted living worth the risk?

A cousin told me about her widowed friend who was just beginning to open her heart to the thought of a new love. This woman prayed, “Lord, if you want me to remarry, you’ll have to drop him in my lap.”

While buckled into an airplane, reading and ready for take-off, someone took the seat next to hers. 


Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash
Continue Reading
25 January 2020

If You Missed “National Compliment Day,” It’s Not Too Late

Someone named Mike sent an email yesterday:

You really macgyvered that situation!

At first I thought it was a typo. But then …


Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash
Continue Reading
20 January 2020

What if making a difference might be painful?

Ryan and Katie were living in Malawi when Katie got the call. There’d been an accident. A car hit a pothole while speeding and crashed headlong into a small lorry that Ryan was driving.

Katie didn’t know until she reached the hospital that her husband had died at the scene of the accident. She collapsed to the ground, sobbing and screaming.


Photo by O12 on Unsplash
Continue Reading
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. 


Continue Reading
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.


Continue Reading
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
Continue Reading
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.

Read More