30 November 2020

9 great ways to support a friend in grief during the holidays

Nearly once a week, he’d stuff cookies into his pocket and we’d hike the river. And always, we stopped for coffee and Chai tea to sip with his stash of cookies. It was Cody who taught me to pay closer attention to the wonders surrounding us.


Cody pointing out the wonders at Smith Rock
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27 November 2020

What hasn’t been cancelled?

On a day when we normally would have been surrounded by kids and grands, Dan and I packed our Thanksgiving feast into the wilderness and spread it out on a tablecloth overlooking a snowy landscape.

Chai tea, turkey sandwiches, potatoes and gravy, and veggies never tasted better.


Outdoor feast
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18 November 2020

What if Plan D is better than Plan A?

“Wow. Didn’t expect this much snow.” Dan and I hadn’t brought our snowshoes. Because our intent was to hike. In hiking boots.


A good foot of fresh powder
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8 November 2020

Are you a refresher?

It’s snowing as I write this—beautiful fluffy white stuff falling from the heavens—but honestly it wasn’t that long ago when I introduced my new husband Dan to a favorite Cascade trail.


The ridge above Broken Top’s well-hidden lake
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3 November 2020

4 reasons for spontaneity or … How to fly a kite

Dan and I made a spontaneous trip to the Oregon coast this past weekend. One of the reasons was to remedy our kite-flying fail from two weeks ago when we were passing through and had to stop and buy a kite and run on the beach and get sand between our toes. 


Photo: Marlys
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28 October 2020

What does risk-taking look like?

We learned the results of Dan’s biopsy last week while away from home: A small amount of prostate cancer. 

The urologist said Dan could opt for treatment, but he recommended expectant management—sometimes called “watchful waiting.” He said a normal side effect of expectant management is anxiety.


Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash
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20 October 2020

What if we enjoyed the journey?

“I’m going to marry someone who will stop and play in the snow,” our daughter announced. At the time, we were on a family road trip across winter-white mountains. And the purpose of the journey was to get to the destination. Safely. And in good time.


Can you find Dan in this photo?
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13 October 2020

Should we set goals?

In January, Dan and I took on the challenge to complete 52 hikes in 2020. We were already on hike #38 by April. And so we revised the goal: we would aim to log in 500 miles before year’s end.


Tam McArthur Rim across the lake — our destination this past week
From the top of Tam MacArthur with Broken Top as backdrop
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6 October 2020

Can we find things to be grateful for anyway?

“I don’t have to drive home by myself!” We were in Idaho. Extended family members were eager to meet this man who’d won my heart.

For the past five years, I drove this route alone. And now I had a husband for the long road home.


Photo by Nicolas Moscarda on Unsplash
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28 September 2020

Here’s why freedom is over-rated

A friend texted four days before our mid-July wedding, teasing good-naturedly: “Enjoy your last few days of freedom!”


Photo by Aditya Saxena on Unsplash
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About Me

Hello, my name is Marlys Johnson. I’m a speaker, award-winning writer, cancer widow, and Chai tea snob. I love getting outdoors; would rather lace up hiking boots than go shopping. I have a passion for encouraging people to live well in the hard and holy moments of life. With heart wide open.

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