28 November 2016

7 great reasons to hope

My practical analytical down-to-earth no-nonsense wry-humored (handsome) husband once said to me: “If you didn’t get your hopes up so much, you wouldn’t get so disappointed.”

I don’t know about that philosophy. It sounds pretty hope-less to me.



Photo credit: Unsplash


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24 November 2016

Top 14 reasons you are needed

This is a revisitation of a blog I posted a year ago during the holiday season, which — as you know — can be a no-tidings-of-great-joy time of year. Especially if you’ve lost something of infinite value.

Like your health. Or you’re dealing with the aftermath of cancer, or of financial reversals.

Or you’ve lost that most perfect astonishing, believer-in-your-dreams, would-do-anything-for-you, would-go-anywhere-with-you person in your life.



Photo courtesy of Unsplash


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23 November 2016

Be more here

Before going to bed each night, I opened the shades. So I could wake up to tall snowy mountains peeking in my windows. I’ve spent the past three days in Joseph, Oregon, at The Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast.

Hubby and I had talked about visiting Joseph and hiking in the Wallowa Mountains. But we ran out of time. And so here I am. My November brave-making venture.



Photo credit: JosephOregon.com


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18 November 2016

Why this day is monumental

Today is the day — two years ago — Hubby left his cancer-ridden, morphine-pumped, lymphedema-swollen body for heaven.

Today I helped a friend pack up her kitchen, and unpack in her new home. The new kitchen — the heart of the house — is now open for service. And I loved that I had a part in that.

Today, I sat in a coffee shop infused with comforting aromas, writing and enjoying a Chai tea, courtesy of my niece who sent a generous gift card.



Photo credit: Pixabay


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13 November 2016

17 tips for throwing a successful funeral – wait, what?!

The title of an online article — “4 tips for throwing a successful funeral” — caused me to do a double-take. Perhaps it was the use of the word throwing as opposed to say, planning, that made it sound a little … um, inappropriate.

Two years ago this week, the most overwhelming aspect of my newly-widowed life was the thought of planning a service. But after all was said and done, the Celebration of Life service we *threw* for Hubby was just that. A celebration. And why not?



Photographer: Howard Gorman


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7 November 2016

Made to live connected and close

These local Ponderosa pines intrigue me. Tall and strong, joined at the hip, each growing their own boughs and pine needles and pine cones.

What happened ages ago that caused their union? And then what induced them to grow from that solid foundation into beautiful displays of individuality?



Central Oregon Ponderosa pines


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30 October 2016

What’s on your brave-making list?

At the encouragement of a friend, I presented at this week’s IGNITE Bend event. IGNITE events are produced in places like Helsinki, Paris and New York City. Presenters get 5 minutes and 20 slides, which automatically advance every 15 seconds. The tagline is, “Enlighten us, but make it quick.”

And so I applied to be one of the speakers. Because I didn’t want to.



Photo credit: Amy Turner


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23 October 2016

You are missing from me

Dear Gary —

One of the tools from a widow grief class was letter-writing, beginning with these words: “My favorite memory of you is …” The problem with that: There are so many favorite memories of you. In fact, there are entire categories of memories.

Being the overly efficient person you married, here are some of my favorite memories. By category. And alphabetized. Just for the fun of it.



Dear Gary …


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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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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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