Does your perspective need tweaking?

Thirteen years ago, daughter Summer and son-in-law Josh packed up the grandkids and moved away from the Pacific Northwest.


Multnomah Falls above the Columbia River Gorge (photo: Marlys)

And now they’re moving back. To Albany. Forty-five minutes from the University of Oregon Ducks. An hour to the rugged Pacific coast. Two-and-a-half hours to my place on the other side of the Cascade Range.

Earlier this week, I met Summer at the Portland airport and we did a pre-arranged tour of homes with a realtor. After which Josh (via faceTime) and Summer placed an offer on a house.

Working around the house-hunting efforts, my daughter and I played tourists in the area.

Lunch at the Brick & Mortar in downtown Albany. A long walk through OSU campus in the on-again, off-again rain. Hot beverages at Margin Coffee.


Margin Coffee (photo from Instagram)
Matcha latte and caramel latte (photo: Marlys)

We visited Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, hiking up to the bridge.

Me: “Do you want to go further up to that next look-out spot?”

Summer: “Sure.”

Me: “How about that next spot – do you want to hike up there?”

Summer, with one eyebrow raised: “I see what you’re doing here.”


Multnomah Falls above the Columbia River Gorge (photo: Marlys)

We also attended a cousin’s wedding. Another beautiful bride and a mini-reunion where we were welcomed and surrounded by the embrace of family.

Back when Josh & Summer’s two oldest kids were pre-school-aged, we lived in the same town. And then Josh had the opportunity to plant a church in New Jersey. He embraced it full on and did an excellent job.

When the hole in my heart healed, I was their biggest fan.

Upon learning they were relocating back to Oregon, I texted Summer: “If you had moved to Albany from Bend, I would have mourned the distance. And now I’m celebrating the closeness!”

Summer texted back. “It’s all a matter of perspective.”

Perspective allows us to see things from different angles, different distances, different points of view.

My husband, Gary, and I often told our kids as they were growing up: Ask God what He wants you to do to change your corner of the world. And then go do that. You can be anything God wants you to be.

So why would I be surprised that my children don’t live next door to me. We encouraged them to be difference-makers, to leave the nest and impact lives.

Nanea Hoffman writes about letting go so we can reach out and grab hold of a better perspective:

Put it down. Then your hands will be free to receive good things like perspective and hope. And maybe cupcakes. You never know.

The lesson on perspective for me is this: Don’t hang on tightly to anything. Nothing is mine — not my life, not my children or grands, not my health, not even the air I breathe. It all belongs to God.

What if?

What if we changed our perspectives to the viewpoint of seeing what we have … instead of what we don’t have?

Like, 1) these particular family members and friends who leave their fingerprints on our hearts.

2) the gift of good health to enjoy (in my case) the great Pacific Northwest: hiking, kayaking, snow-shoeing, stand-up paddle boarding.

3) The joy of sipping Chai tea at an outdoor table, layered up against the October cold — because everyone knows that food and beverages taste better outdoors.

4) The simple pleasure of knitting fingerless mittens, 5) of breakfast for dinner, 6) autumn colors showing up this week after snowfall last week. 7) Cupcakes.

What if we speak gratitude for all the goodness that adorns our lives—despite living on a broken planet?

Would that change our perspectives?

I’m thinking, Yes.


What are you waiting for?


How to create margin


  1. Heather Coughlin Crow

    Thank you so much for this writing ✍? It was exactly what I needed today! Seeing the pictures with Summer brings back so many memories.

  2. Allison McCormick

    Marlys, thank you for the challenge to see “what we have instead of what we don’t have.” It can be so easy to focus on our losses, our brokenness, that we fail to look beyond that moment to God’s amazing goodness and blessings.

    Walking instead with hope, gratitude, and resting in the truth that God has us brings freedom.

    Thank you for the reminder.

    • “Looking beyond the moment of loss and brokenness” … beautifully said, Allison. The resting part is hard for us humans. Because it also usually means waiting. Which is never easy. Thank you.

  3. Julie Miller

    A wonderful piece Marlys, thankyou.

  4. Mary Tomjack

    Such happy news, Marlys.

  5. Susan C

    I happened across your blog somehow & have begun to read your “story”. Thank you for sharing. It’s been helpful.

    I’m new at this widow “thing” (7 months) & I don’t even like to say the W word. Although I had 3 years to prepare for the death of my husband, who battled cancer, I’m very much in the daily throes of putting all of my new “alone” life into the right perspective.

    God has been faithful to meet me where ever I am in my grieving to assure me of His presence. My current daily perspective…..I’m truly not alone.

    Blessings to you!

    • Oh, Susan, I’m so sorry to hear of your recent loss. I know what’s it like to have time to prepare … and yet, we’re never really prepared to lose a loved one, are we? When you’re ready to get back into full living after healthy grieving, I’m here to say it can be done. There is abundant life after loss. Blessings to you on this journey, Susan.

  6. Grace Lawson

    Thank you for sharing this marvelous story !!! So happy for you and many others !!!

    • Grace, your perspective is from having been an Albany-ite (Albanian?), and you know what fun and goodness is in store for Josh & Summer!

  7. Pat

    Beautifully written. I am so very happy that Summer and her family will be within driving distance for you.


  8. Deb

    Yes, this…”What if we changed our perspectives to the viewpoint of seeing what we have instead of what we don’t have?” I can testify to the profound difference this makes, as someone who spent much of her life magnifying what was missing instead of focusing on what I had been given. When my husband was diagnosed with cancer, God directed me to Ann Voskamp book, One Thousand Gifts. He used the message in it to open my eyes to choosing gratitude each and every day and it has made all the difference in how we lived those nearly 3 years with cancer and now how I live as a widow of 2 years.
    Thank you for continuing to write beautifully inspiring articles that remind me to keep adjusting my focus!

    • Wow, Deb. I’m impressed with this: ” … choosing gratitude each and every day and it has made all the difference in how we lived those nearly 3 years with cancer and now how I live as a widow of 2 years.” Ann Voskamp’s book, which was a Mother’s Day gift from my daughter in that last year of Gary’s life, inspired me, as well. Thank you!

  9. I know there are times when God shows me that my perspective needs tweaking. I am thankful for His guidance and love.

  10. San Dee Wright Crabtree

    I needed to hear this today. God bless you.

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