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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3 November 2019

How to be a difference-maker

It was Annie Dillard who said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Mick Black of Sisters, Oregon, is spending his life making a difference for the people in the Ngenge area of northern Uganda—as co-owner, CEO, importer, exporter, roaster, administrative assistant, and janitor of Kabum Coffee.

So how does owning a coffee company make a difference in the world?

Answer: When the business model is “entirely and wholeheartedly humanitarian-based” and any earnings, after expenses, go right back to the country.


Photo courtesy of Kabum Coffee
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27 October 2019

Do you doubt you can fly?

“Honey … we can do this!” I’d just read an article as a newlywed—back in the 70s—about Alaskan acreage being given to people who could build a home and settle on the land.

Homesteading. It sounded so romantic, so adventurous.

“So cold,” said my husband.


Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash
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20 October 2019

You need to read this if your life hasn’t gone as planned

When my husband Gary died of cancer, my kids encouraged me to take an early retirement. The plan was to temporarily move to my son Jeremy and daughter-in-law Denise’s place in Marina del Rey.


Photo: Marlys
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13 October 2019

How to create margin

Last week I was in Albany, Oregon with my daughter, Summer, who was house-hunting. We stopped into Margin Coffee in the old downtown area for hot beverages.


Photo: Margin Coffee website
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6 October 2019

Does your perspective need tweaking?

Thirteen years ago, daughter Summer and son-in-law Josh packed up the grandkids and moved away from the Pacific Northwest.


Multnomah Falls above the Columbia River Gorge (photo: Marlys)
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29 September 2019

What are you waiting for?

The floor is still swaying gently beneath me. I’m back on solid ground after a week-long cruise from Quebec to Boston. But the floor is still swaying.


Home base for the week—the Zaandam (all photos: Marlys)
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23 September 2019

Welcome, Autumn! 50 inspiring thoughts

The question went out to girlfriends, daughters, sisters, nieces: What are your favorite things about autumn?

You might be surprised at some of the responses.


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23 September 2019

How to shut down loneliness

I’m sitting in a park in Old Quebec surrounded by ancient buildings. Bells are ringing with abandon from all directions and a nearby fountain is whispering, “Breathe deeply, my friend.”


Photo: Marlys
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15 September 2019

Do you get to pick your family?

On a recent road trip to Ferndale in northern California, I drove over the Cascade Range, through the redwoods, and then turned left at the Pacific Ocean.


Oregon redwoods
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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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