10 February 2019

Is chivalry dead?

After a writing session in a coffee shop, I discovered a very flat tire. The temperature was in the teens, it was starting to spit snow, and dusk was just beginning to think about showing her dark side.


Photo: Marlys


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3 February 2019

How to manage waylaid plans

The plan was for a six-week writing retreat at a log cabin surrounded by 2,200 acres.


Photo: Marlys
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28 January 2019

Best way to buy happiness

Someone very wise and insightful penned these words:

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books, and that’s kind of the same thing.

Photo: Marlys
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21 January 2019

Celebrating friendship in grief

January 15 marks the day when my friend Charity watched frantically, hysterically as her husband and three-year-old son were swept out to sea by a sneaker wave.

Every year, on the anniversary of the Worst Day Ever, Charity is determined to get as far above sea level as possible.


Photo of Charity (by Chylynn Barklow)
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13 January 2019

How the Porch Fairy broke PF rules

You remember the Porch Fairy who—when my husband, Gary, was dying in the hospital bed in our living room—left Chai tea for me and Americano coffee for my daughter on our front porch? Daily. For weeks. Even in snow and ice.


Photo: Marlys

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6 January 2019

Top Ten reasons to do road trips

After an early Christmas in New Jersey with kids and grands, and three snowy, Christmasy days in the forested village of SunRiver, I took to the road.



Photo: Marlys
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25 December 2018

Can we really be this brave?

Five years ago this month, I had head surgery. My husband—dealing with cancer and the side effects of wretched chemo—whisked me away to a resort village in the mountains with a tiny tree, a few lights, and a couple of gifts. It was a blissful, healing time.

We didn’t know it would be our last Christmas together.



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20 December 2018

Inconvenient love

It took a while to get here. And then there was the jet-lag thing. 

But love isn’t always easy. Or comfortable.

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

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9 December 2018

8 gifts to give yourself this year

My daughter Summer married her college sweetheart in the month of December. Several 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.


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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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1 December 2018

Tidings of comfort and joy? But what about my loss?

This is my favorite time of year. Nearby mountains cloaked in winter white. Gaggles of geese discussing where to winter. Breaking trail in snowshoes. Family and friends gathering and giving thanks and eating way too much pie and lighting candles and opening gifts and ringing in a New Year.

And yet, the holidays without a job, without our health, with missing loved ones just aren’t the same.


Photo by freestocks.org 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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