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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21 September 2020

Garden therapy … or feeding the critters?

“How did the deer get in your backyard?” We were on a week-long camping trip when my husband Dan received this text message from our neighbor.


Back at home, while unloading the trailer, two mama deer and three speckled fawns ambled through our gate to help themselves to our garden.

Seriously?! You don’t see us standing right here?

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8 September 2020

The pursuit of happiness … or should we?

A brother-in-law texted with family news. I didn’t see his message until several hours later. “We’ve been camping/fishing/kayaking all week,” I explained.

BIL: “Are you sure that having that much fun isn’t a sin??!” (Smile.)


Early-morning fishing on Lava Lake
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31 August 2020

How to survive ‘Tweens

Dan and I knew we’d be exhausted by the end of the week. But we asked for our ‘tween granddaughters anyway—ages 11 and 12. Maybe because we also knew we’d make some epic memories.


Tween granddaughters
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11 August 2020

This is how they became family after loss

Together, Dan and I have nine grandchildren. Two older teenagers. A toddler. And six kids in the middle.

My new daughter-in-law, Azla, sent a photo of The Middles taken at our wedding. They’re sitting at a picnic table wearing beautiful smiles that range from impish to goofy. They had only met the day before. 


The Middles (photo: Azla Lawry)
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4 August 2020

No, seriously … what’s the point of physical activity?

Dan and I planned a honeymoon that would allow us plenty of time outdoors: camping, hiking, paddling, eating meals at picnic tables.

Oh, and zip lining.


Whitefish Mountain Resort — Montana
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24 July 2020

A few thoughts from a new bride

No other soul is outdoors on this early morning near the Columbia River. I’m planted at a sturdy picnic table, journaling and sipping cinnamon tea made by my husband—yes, I have a husband!

My new name is Marlys Lawry.


Hannah Turner Photography
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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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