16 July 2017

How to regain childlike wonder

The New Jersey crew is on an epic cross-country road trip—six grandkids and two parents in an eight-passenger van—visiting family in Iowa, Utah, California, Oregon, Idaho.

And I’ve been re-experiencing the wonders of the Wild Wild West through their eyes.


Photo: Summer Conn


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2 July 2017

11 reasons why you should not join a support group

You may have heard how important it is to have supportive, like-minded, understanding people surround you. But support teams come with a high price tag, so you really want to consider the costs before you commit to plugging into community.

Here are 11 excellent reasons not to get involved with any kind of support team:

  1. The people in support groups lack determination.


Part of the St. Charles Cancer Center hiking posse on top of Black Butte


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27 June 2017

Is survival possible in barren places?

While on a recent Middle Eastern adventure, my nieces and I crossed from Israel into Jordan and rode through barren wilderness to Petra, a historical and archaeological city named among the “New 7 Wonders of the World.”


The Treasury (photo: Breanna Canclini)


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25 June 2017

Why we need to live connected lives

There were no mishaps in the past two weeks of traveling through Israel, and crossing the border into Jordan and Egypt.


Photo credit: Camel driver’s young son


No mishaps landing in San Francisco, getting through customs, or driving north to Oregon. Until.

Until — just ten minutes from home — my tire blew.

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20 June 2017

How to live with knowing the future

For a second time, I’m reading When Breath Becomes Air by surgeon and author Paul Kalanithi. At age 36 and on a career path that was spiraling upward, Dr. Kalanithi was rudely interrupted. By a lung cancer diagnosis.


Photo credit: Freeaudiobookguide.com


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2 June 2017

Maintaining bonds with our deceased loved ones

The park on my parents-in-law’s ranch in the remote hills of northern California had been decorated in fernery, and Gary and I were married beneath the monkey bars (don’t read anything into that).


Casterlin Ranch park (photo: Oliver Johnson)


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21 May 2017

10 ways to become infected with “helper’s high”

Did you know that giving and volunteering stimulate the reward center in the brain, releasing endorphins and creating what is known as helper’s high?

And like other highs, this one is also addictive.



Photo credit: Unsplash


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15 May 2017

Putting dreams on paper

I’m at a coffee shop—one of those fabulous local places where the high ceilings thrum with industrial pipes and funky lighting, and a large garage-style door is open to let in the mountain air—waiting for two of my creative team members.

Jim and Michelle are meeting me here to brainstorm over some needed changes to website, brand name, tagline, purpose. Who do I want to reach? What’s the best way to get there?


Photo: Unsplash


Which means, stay tuned for some exciting changes!

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9 May 2017

How spontaneous are you?

On a fine spring day this week, I had a hankering to trek back to the place where I scattered my husband’s ashes after he died of cancer, after he lived much much longer than the original prognosis: Ten preposterous, brimming, courageous years with late stage disease.


Broken Top standing guard over a frozen Todd Lake


Do you think there’s a difference between being spontaneous and being impulsive?

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30 April 2017

National Honesty Day: Can I just whine for a minute?

Today is National Honesty Day. Founded in the early 1990s by M. Hirsh Goldberg. Can I just be honest and whine for a minute?


Credit: Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes creator 


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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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