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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13 July 2020

This is why we should get our ducks in a row

While my fiancé Dan and I were out on Hosmer Lake, eleven ducklings swam toward our kayaks.


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29 June 2020

So you think you know what friendship is?

I have a new best friend. Dan.

We’ve ridden mountain roads on a motorcycle and let our hair fly loose in a Jeep Wrangler. We’ve shared meals and Sudoku puzzles and volunteer experiences. We’ve planted flowers and veggies together. We’ve hiked and kayaked.


Kayaking on Hosmer Lake with South Sister as backdrop (photo: Dan)
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17 June 2020

What if demolition serves a good purpose?

You think your kids are destructive, wait until you meet these boys—my two teenaged grandsons, dismantling and kicking things down.


All photos: Marlys
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1 June 2020

Difference Maker: When small adds up to big

C.S. Lewis wrote:

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.

My friend Jackie has the extraordinary destiny of understanding the hurting heart of a mom who has lost a child, of the woman who can’t carry a baby to full term.


All photos: Jackie
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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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