1 July 2018

Food and cooking: Are they sacred things?

A browse through a local Farmer’s Market yesterday gave me a fresh appreciation for living in the United States — we who rarely miss a meal and if we do, it isn’t from lack of food. (Let me just say that if your hometown doesn’t have a Farmer’s Market, you might want to consider relocating.)


All photos: Marlys


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24 June 2018

How to be gritty

This girl in the graduation cap: Charity. Probably the grittiest young woman I know.


L to r: Niece Brittany, me, Charity, and Elisha (photo: Lynn Frohnmeyer)


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17 June 2018

Celebrating a life … while the patient is still alive

An email arrived recently from a friend — her grandfather died, and a week and a half later, her grandmother was diagnosed with late stage cancer.

“My grandma went through such a long, rough time being a caregiver for my grandpa,” wrote this young woman, “… and now this.”


Photo by Jake Thacker on Unsplash


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10 June 2018

Alphabet list of caregiver tips

Being a caregiver was one of the most challenging and sweetest roles I’ve ever held. The challenging part was in the beginning, when terminal cancer was dropped on us from a high-flying bomber we didn’t see coming.

A year later—after my husband, Gary, finally admitted his fears and feelings of failure as a man—we sorted things out, determined to live more fully, found ways to give back, and made more fun and memories. That was the thunderous, sweet, majestic part.

If given the assignment to share tips from my cancer caregiving years, and if the assignment required an alphabetized list …


Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash


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4 June 2018

How to keep the familiar from becoming routine

Author Anthony Doerr spent a year in Rome on a writing fellowship. One of the things this ancient, spellbinding city taught him was how dangerous habit can be when it causes the spectacular to become routine:

Imagine if we only got to see a cumulonimbus cloud or Cassiopeia or a snowfall once a century: there’d be pandemonium in the streets. People would lie by the thousands in the fields on their backs.


Photo by Cédric Dhaenens on Unsplash


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28 May 2018

Crew, posse, network: Do you have one?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said this:

No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing.

That’s because a crew needs to be in synch; to pull together at equal strength. Connected. Coordinated.


Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash


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22 May 2018

What makes a house a home?

I live in a beautiful little guest house on the side of a hill overlooking a valley to tall mountains across the way. The guest house is not my own place, but it is home.


Photo: Marlys


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12 May 2018

Have you hugged a nurse this week?

In honor of National Nurses Week, this quote from Vincent Van Gogh reminds me of all the nurses who interacted with us through the ten years my husband, Gary, lived with late-stage cancer:

Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on earth to do with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.


Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash


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7 May 2018

4 ways to save therapy costs

This is my last week at the Idaho cabin. Today’s trek took me off the beaten path, through a green gate, around a couple of bends, across a small creek, and then uphill where the deep prints left by elk in the soft spring mud have now hardened into pitted landscape.


Photo: Marlys


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29 April 2018

What if we lived in the moment?

One of the things my husband’s cancer taught us was to live in the moment. While we still had moments.


Photo by Savs on Unsplash


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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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