8 February 2016

Cancer: Love and loss

With love in the air and roses on sale for $25 per dozen and Valentine’s Day looming up ahead, this question:

Would you still marry your spouse if you knew you would walk beside him/her with aching heart as they endured cancer treatment; loss of appetite, loss of weight; became childlike before taking a final breath sooner — oh, so much sooner — than you had imagined? Would you still marry?

Of course you would. Because the sweet years with your husband, your wife would be worth the pain of loss.


View More: http://kristinalee.pass.us/garymarlys


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5 February 2016

What we learned about a cancer diet on our way to living better

When Hubby was first diagnosed, we asked about diet and exercise. “That’s like closing the barn door after the horse has gotten out,” said one oncologist (not the oncologist we ended up hiring).

One urologist said, “I heard lycopene is good for prostate cancer, and tomatoes have lycopene, so you might want to eat more tomatoes.”

“Good,” said Hubby out of earshot of the doctor. “I’ll add more tomatoes to my Big Macs and I’ll be just fine.”


A photo of a McDonalds' Big Mac hamburger November 2, 2010. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

                                      Photo credit PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images


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1 February 2016

Why you should tell your story

My adult children encouraged me to get back into public speaking. But Hubby and I had always told our story together and I was somewhat fearful to present alone. What if no one laughed at the humor?

And then an invitation last week. To speak to nursing students. Who laughed in all the right places. (And I may have made a couple of them cry, which wasn’t very nice of me.)




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29 January 2016

Wedding ring on right hand

Daughter Summer is losing her playfully-sarcastic edge. Last week I sent her this text: “Today I moved my wedding ring to my right hand.”




Summer: “Wow. Big step.”

I’m not sure who this girl is. The daughter I know would have shot back with something like: “Does this mean I’m getting a new dad?!”

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24 January 2016

Looking back; living forward

My friend, Mike, emailed a couple of photos of the first hike he did with us, before he was the official hike leader. The photos sent me pouring back through old hiking pictures that represent the hundreds of miles Hubby and I put in together.

Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park where a rather large bull elk crossed the trail in front of us. Instead of throwing himself between me and the bull, Hubby whips out his camera and starts photographing, using me as a shield.




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20 January 2016

3 steps toward purpose

My favorite pair of boots were in desperate need of new heels. “You’ve been having fun,” commented the shoe repair guy as he studied the damage.

“I walk with purpose.”




“A lady on a mission with determination,” he responded with a smile.

Why, yes. Yes, that would be me.

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17 January 2016

Is this the way to joy?

Snow falling cold and beautiful. Warm fuzzy scarf wrapped two and three times around my neck. Hot lunch in a fire-lit restaurant with new and old friends.

Noticing blessings and naming them is one of the things that saved me while standing watch as Hubby slipped away, as I stumbled into widowhood.




Thanksgiving lists. Not just for the month of November, I’m thinking. But rather a year-round sport.

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14 January 2016

9 essential lessons for success

I now know everything there is to know about curling, that most fascinating of all Olympic sports.

Four players to a team. The first player bowls the 42-lb marble stone, which glides down a long runway where it can careen off the other players’ stones and send them sprawling (the stones, not the players). The closest stone to the intended goal earns points. While a whole lot of sweeping is going on.

Basically, a combination of bowling, pool, horseshoes, shuffleboard and janitorial services. On ice.



Janitorial services on ice at the new Bend Parks & Rec ice rink


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9 January 2016

Why it matters how you live

Daughter Summer sent a link to a short video featuring the daughters of Stuart Scott, ESPN announcer and SportsCenter host who died after a lengthy battle with cancer.





It is a beautifully-made video that ends with these words, in their father’s voice:

When you die, it does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer … by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.

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1 January 2016

Yes, you can handle loss. Here’s how.

My luggage got lost somewhere in Airportland. The return flight from New Jersey was by way of Chicago to Los Angeles to Oregon. I de-planed in Chicago to this v-mail: “Due to delays, you won’t make your connection in LA and so we’ve rescheduled your flight for tomorrow.” What?! 

A quick phone call to the airline established a new route home. One seat left. I made the flight. My luggage didn’t.



Pixabay stock photo

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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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