4 October 2017

3 straightforward steps for achieving the impossible

A couple years after my husband, Gary, died—after I took an early retirement and relocated to southern California—I discovered that I left my heart in Oregon.

One of my goals was to relocate back. The only [huge] problem was, the destination resort area at the foot of the Cascades that had been our home for 14 years isn’t known for affordable housing. I moved away because it was impossible to stay.


Photo: Pentax Forums


In time, though, and through miraculous intervention, I am now happily ensconced in a beautiful little guest house high on the side of a hill overlooking Bend, Oregon. With my own deck and sweeping views. And at an incredibly affordable cost.

Impossible. Done. Check.

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1 October 2017

7 thoughts on ‘team’

My friends, Mac and Allison, invited me to join them this weekend for a game in Autzen Stadium in Eugene, OR. They have a grandson who plays football for the University of Oregon Ducks.

A tight end. Six feet, 5 inches tall. Two-hundred thirty pounds. A little, scrawny guy.


My friends’ grandson, Cameron McCormick (Photo SportsPress)


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24 September 2017

9 advantages of having siblings

I was looking through some photos of my recent, more-fun-than-ought-to-be-allowed road trip, and came across this pic of my big brother and me standing at an observation deck above Snowbird in a gorgeous land called Utah.


Older brother and sister hanging out above Snowbird


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19 September 2017

Porch Fairy Challenge: Year 3

Four more days until the September 22 Porch Fairy Challenge!


All photos: Marlys


A Porch Fairy is someone who leaves thoughtful gifts on a front porch—or on the hood of a car, or on the desk of a co-worker—when the occupants of the house, car, desk could use some encouragement.

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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.

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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


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27 August 2017

What does ‘living well’ mean?

At a one-day writers’ conference last spring, I had a 15-minute meeting with a literary agent. She asked me to tell her about my book proposal, and then provided excellent feedback from someone inside the publishing industry.

“I like a phrase you used: ‘How to live well through adversity.’ What do you mean by living well?” she asked.


Photo: Unsplash


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19 August 2017

4 insights into reticent men and cancer

A friend of mine started dating a man six months after he was diagnosed with cancer. At the start of their relationship, he was open about his health issues. And then cancer showed up stronger, and he walled himself off.


Photo credit: Unsplash


“He won’t let me give him any hands-on care,” my friend said. “And he doesn’t want me to be there emotionally for him.”

The couple split a few months later because the guy wasn’t willing to let my friend into his pain. Which means he turned away an amazing gift of love and support.

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13 August 2017

How gritty are you?

I met him this past week at the coffee machine in my son and daughter-in-law’s Tucson apartment complex. We exchanged pleasantries and then I asked – shamelessly – how long he’d been in a wheelchair.


Photo: Marlys


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6 August 2017

Every forgettable Wednesday

One of the lessons cancer taught us was to pay closer attention. To life. To time ticking away. To simple pleasures, such as, sound of water rushing over large boulders; smell of sunbaked pine needles; strain of muscles and sense of accomplishment; another hike together, even as cancer was stealing a little more of my husband’s life each day.


Sept 2013 in Wyoming’s Tetons – nine years into a terminal cancer diagnosis


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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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