16 October 2016

I’d want you on my team

Snaking through the security line at Los Angeles International, I noticed an abandoned backpack. I watched it for a few moments as the line continued to move. “Is this anyone’s backpack?” No response, so I slipped under the barricade to report it.

About the time I got back in line, a woman claimed it. She had left it on the ground so she wouldn’t have to carry it down and around the barricade. The TSA guy lectured her, I apologized, but a woman in line behind me said, “You did the right thing; I’d want you on my team.”

Which got me thinking about the concept of team. And who we might want on our teams.



Photo credit: Pixabay


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9 October 2016

Season changes: What season are you in?

This is the beginning of my favorite time of year, this golden-aspen-football-pumpkin season that extends to turkey-morefootball-pie-gratitude season—although gratitude season should be year-round—followed by the Christmas-music-lights-knitting-scarves-gift-giving season. (Run-on sentence?)


A photo by Autumn Mott. unsplash.com/photos/SPd9CSoWCkY

Photo credit: Unsplash


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2 October 2016

15 ways to rock caregiving

“Honey, I can do that for you.” Hubby couldn’t reach his feet due to swelling, and I offered to clip his toenails. I’m sorry to report that I may have clipped the top of his big toe. (But only because he jerked in anticipation of me clipping the top of his toe.)

In view of my tendency toward injuring the patient, I thought I’d better ask the experts what they did well while caring for a spouse, a child, a parent with cancer.



Photo credit: Pixabay


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25 September 2016

Choices on this anniversary

Two years ago this weekend, Hubby and I rented a small cabin in SunRiver Resort to celebrate his birthday and our anniversary.

The cabin came equipped with bikes, and Hubby wanted to ride. “You set the pace, I’ll follow,” I said to the man who had grown considerably weaker and was losing muscle mass; the man who only had two months left to live, which we couldn’t have known at the time.



SunRiver Resort


We ended up riding out to the marina. About five miles from the cabin.

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22 September 2016

Top Ten things I miss about you

Tomorrow is the second wedding anniversary without Hubby, and there is still so much I miss about being married to him. So much.




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18 September 2016

Dear 20-something me

Generally speaking, it’s a good thing we can’t see into the future. But if it were required that I know in advance what the wilderness years would hold for us—that season of time from joblessness through cancer and death—then here’s what I’d say to a younger version of me.



Younger version of us, l to r: Summer, Gary, Marlys, Jeremy


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15 September 2016

How a season of loss can be bountiful

I’m interviewing for a new position as foreman of an Idaho ranch. Driving the all-terrain utility Gator was part of the interview process. Riding the range. This is what I was born to do.




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9 September 2016

2016 Porch Fairy Challenge – in honor of Hubby

The second annual Porch Fairy Challenge—Sept 22—is fast approaching. (A Porch Fairy is someone who leaves gifts on front porches so as not to disturb the residents in the house, one of whom might be in a hospital bed that dominates the living room.)

Our Porch Fairy was an overachiever, gifting us with jars of homemade soup, chocolate, pumpkin scones, banana nut bread, socks, bouquets of flowers, bouquets of colorful fall leaves. And Chai tea. Every morning at 7:30 for several weeks, Chai tea was left on our front porch.



2014 Porch Fairy hit


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5 September 2016

Why we should think about end-of-life wishes

Hubby made a good choice when he was offered a third chemo. He declined. “The other two didn’t do much good,” he reasoned. That’s when the oncologist asked if we wanted a referral to hospice care.

We were hesitant. Isn’t it too soon for hospice care? I mean, after all, Hubby was planning to walk out of this appointment on his own two feet. No wheelchairs involved. Don’t you call in the hospice troops when your loved one has only a few days left?



Photo credit: Pixabay


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29 August 2016

Lessons on fifth-wheel-ishness

Chloe, one of my grand-dogs, is a Brussels Griffon. She doesn’t know what it means to be a fifth wheel because she assumes everyone wants to play with her.



Chloe, on left, teaching her lumbering friend, Noah, how to be a little more playful


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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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