17 December 2017

8 gifts to give yourself this holiday season

Daughter Summer married her college sweetheart in the month of December. Twenty-two years and six children later, Josh and Summer are still sweethearts. And the only way they can get away for a few days together is when a grandparent is present.

This is where I come in.


Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash


Continue Reading

3 December 2017

Thriving through the holidays with loss

This is my favorite time of year. Nearby mountains cloaked in winter white, gaggles of geese discussing where to winter, family and friends gathering and giving thanks and eating way too much pie and lighting menorah candles and decking the halls and welcoming in a New Year.


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


Continue Reading

26 November 2017

Why taking no risks is risky business

Most worthwhile things in life come with some risk-taking. Pursuing a medical degree. Marriage. Starting a business. Begetting offspring. Climbing tall mountains.


Photo by Martin Jernberg on Unsplash


The question is: Is the risk worth it?

Continue Reading

24 November 2017

An unexpected day of feasting

The organization is incredible. When volunteers check in, they’re given a name tag along with their volunteer assignment: Greeters, and seaters, and beverage pourers, and servers, and pumpkin pie embellishers.


All photos: Marlys


The cooks had been there since 4:00am and the clean-up crew would be there long into the afternoon.

Continue Reading

21 November 2017

5 benefits of gratitude

Back in May 2015, just six months after my husband, Gary, died of cancer, I was single grandma to three grandkids while Daughter Summer and SIL Josh were in Uganda in the process of doubling the number of their children.


Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash


Continue Reading

19 November 2017

What are we doing for Family Day?

It all started with a simple question from Godfrey, my middle-born Ugandan grandson: “What are we doing for Family Day?”

Which got his parents thinking and planning, which prompted a FaceTime call Friday afternoon: We’re at the park. Releasing balloons to Grandpa.  


Photo: Pixabay


Continue Reading

17 November 2017

Why grief isn’t a linear process

November is one of my favorite months — what with autumn color skittering across the sidewalks, and chillier temps that beg for scarves and mittens and boots, and the promise of upcoming family holidays.

It’s also the month my husband, Gary, died.


Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash


Continue Reading

15 November 2017

What to do when the gifts are too generous

“Mom, people want to help,” admonished our daughter, Summer, visiting from New Jersey. “And they want to do it in meaningful ways.”


Photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash


Continue Reading

12 November 2017

How to manage fear when cancer shows up

For some people, the unknown carries anticipation. A job transition, for example, that could mean new opportunity, new friends, a new community, the excitement of pushing away from the dock and pursuing far-reaching, blustery adventures.

For others, the unknown causes anxiety. Leaving the safety of the familiar shore, being swept out into uncharted waters.


Photo by Daniel Delle Donne on Unsplash


Continue Reading

1 November 2017

“Plan Your Epitaph” Day: Who knew?!

In case you need to know, November 2 is “Plan Your Epitaph” Day — founded in 1995 as an opportunity to take control of our final words that will stand for as long as our gravestones stand.

Photo by Tom Skarbek-Wazynski on Unsplash


Continue Reading

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.

Read More