16 January 2017

Why you should write a Life Review letter. Soon.

The title of a New York Times piece written by a palliative physician, Dr. VJ Periyakoil—“Writing a ‘Last Letter’ When You’re Healthy”—caught my eye.


Photo credit: Pixabay


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8 January 2017

What a cancer warrior looks like

My friend, Michelle, is a cancer fighter. Although she doesn’t have cancer – nor do her husband or any close family members at present – she is, nevertheless, a fierce passionate dazzling cancer-kicking warrior.

Michelle approached us, back when I was on staff at St. Charles Cancer Center, with an idea: What about a weekly walking class for cancer patients, survivors, caregivers? she suggested which, in the four years since its inception, has come to be known as the Walking-For-Wellness-but-we’re-really-here-for-the-coffee-afterwards crew.


Photo credit: Jim Dailing


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1 January 2017

Can 2016 losses be turned into 2017 gains?

New beginnings have always energized me. The challenge of a new deadline, the anticipation of a change in seasons, the turning of calendar pages to a fresh, hope-filled New Year.

But what if we’re still reeling from loss as the calendar page turns? Is it possible to take the hard and turn it into good in 2017? It is.



Photo credit: Pixabay

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25 December 2016

5 life observations on this Christmas Day

While heartless unfeeling inconsiderate friends continue sending photos of piles of snow back home, I’m spending Christmas in New Jersey where there is no fluffy white stuff adorning the landscape.

But there’s been plenty of playing, laughing, squealing, listening to Christmas music, gift-giving, nerf gun wars, good eating, Chai tea sipping, Lego building, book reading going on here in Jersey.



Photo credit: Doug Oines


Which has contributed to 5 observations on important life issues this Christmas:

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18 December 2016

6 gifts to give yourself this holiday season

Christmas in New Jersey and I have the grands all to myself for a few days while The Parents meet up with The Aunt & Uncle in a place that involves sunglasses, fun T-shirts and odd-looking ears in a land called Orlando.


Photo credit: Unsplash


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8 December 2016

Because I can

In two days, I fly to the other side of the continent. New Jersey. Home to half my kids, all my grandkidlings, and three-quarters of my grand-dogs. (As well as the NY Giants and NY Jets, in case you needed to know that.)

But before I leave Oregon, one last 2016 hike through Shevlin Park today …



Photo credit: me and my iPhone


… because I can.

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5 December 2016

3 thoughts on outward focus

Hubby and I were anticipating hiking a new trail with friends. Four-in-One Cone in the Sisters (Oregon) Wilderness with views of seven distinct massive rock-solid peaks. As we began our climb, we found ourselves in the clouds. Dense. Gray. No mountain views in sight. Worse, I couldn’t seem to get warm; I was focused too much on the damp coldness.

A week later, Hubby and I hiked the same trail and climbed the same cinder cone. This time, the views were stunning. And although it was cold, my focus was on the splendid 360-degree canvas in shades of blues and whites.



North and Middle Sister, left to right (Photo credit: Gary Johnson)


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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 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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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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