No matter your size, you can still be fierce

Every time I return from a short hike, Roxie is sitting at her guard post where she can see out the large windows that flank the stone fireplace. No one’s getting away with anything on her watch.


Guard dog Roxie (all photos: Marlys)

I’ve been holed away in my bro- and sis-in-law’s log cabin these past two weeks. And my sis-in-law’s dog, Roxie, is holed up with me.

I brought the essentials. A stack of books. A couple of knitting projects. Hiking boots. Laptop.

Oh, and an ample supply of ingredients for pumpkin Chai tea. Priorities, you know.

Unhurried time alone is a gift that we humans don’t get very often. Or maybe it’s that we don’t take advantage of it when the slowing-down opportunities present themselves.

There are critical life reminders that get away from us in the normal crazy. And slowing down can bring them to our remembrance.

4 things I was reminded of these past couple of weeks:

Life Reminder #1. It pays to pay attention.

I’ve mostly stayed to the plowed road in my daily meanderings on this remote property. At the sound of boots crunching on packed snow, quail and pheasant skitter away. And small bands of deer run.



Bobcat tracks followed mine from the previous day. And one morning before sunrise, a rather large owl was sitting on top of a nearby power pole when I took Roxie outdoors. The owl saw my furry little friend and lifted his wings. When he swooped up and toward us, I swooped off the deck toward the little dog. And the owl made a U-turn in midair.

The wildlife, and the beauty of soft white spread across meadows and on fence posts and flung over the high hills—this is God and His awesomeness.

And I want to always pay attention. With heart full of gratitude.


The dinner bell view

Life Reminder #2. Simple pleasures are the best.

One early, dark morning, the geese on the pond near the house were calling out through the mist to their mates on the lower pond.

I stepped onto the deck, their melody and harmony causing me to hold my breath, it was that beautiful.

So many simple pleasures in life. The sound of a text message dinging in from a friend. The lick of a puppy’s rough tongue. Aroma of pumpkin Chai tea. The joy of children laughing. Unhurried hugs from the people we love, the people who love us.

And these honking geese.

I want to treasure everything while I still have breath, and mobility, and all five senses intact.

Life Reminder #3. It’s a good thing to daydream in small doses.

These past two weeks have been filled with reading. And listening to a variety of podcasts while knitting. And bundling up and praying while walking along the frosted fields and hills. And writing to the sound of a fire crackling. And maybe a bit of daydreaming while gazing into the flames.

A number of studies indicate that if we slow down long enough to daydream, it can boost our creativity and problem-solving skills, and help us concentrate and focus on a specific task.

Dream away, my friend. And imagine what God can do through your one, yielded, wildly-loving life.

Life Reminder #4. No matter how small you are, you can still be fierce.

Roxie doesn’t know how small she is. She stands alert at any out-of-the-ordinary sound. And while I don’t know what she’d do if put to the test, she knows in her heart that she’s a fierce guard dog.

I’m too small, too insignificant, and without enough resources to accomplish all the hopes and goals that bubble up in my heart — like getting a second book published, or having a home barn of my own with mountain views and room for all the guests God sends my way.

But there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that if God wrote these desires into my story, then He can provide for anything and everything He’s called me to do. And I am fiercely guarding that in my heart with prayer.

What if?

What if we could take a few moments this week to daydream, and then capture our creative thoughts and ideas in writing?

What if our size or position or resources don’t matter when it comes to realizing our God-infused life goals?

And what if it’s possible to be fierce about all the things that are worth being fierce about?

We could. They don’t. It is.


Is open-hearted living worth the risk?


To-do lists … or not to-do lists, that is the question


  1. Bev

    Love your writing and your insight!

  2. Janette Skow

    I enjoy your writing Marlys, and Roxie sure is darling! Where is the cabin located? Reminds me of the scenery on my drive to my parents.

  3. Peggy Carey

    Oh my gosh Roxie is adorable! Thanks for the reminder Marlys. Love, Peggy

  4. Grace Lawson

    Dear Marlys,

    Wonderful, wonderful !!! Your writing is always so great to read !!!

  5. Thank you for the encouragement. Love your photos of Roxy and nature.

  6. Alegría (Ali) Kent

    I love reading your articles. Even though I almost never post comments. I am in awe of what you do with your life and how you inspire others. One of my fondest memories is when you provided the environment for me and others to learn how to hoola hoop!

    • What a fun memory! I really enjoyed my work at the cancer center. I think the Soaring Spirits camp and the monthly DEFEAT Cancer educational dinner meetings were my favorite memories. But I mostly enjoyed getting to know our patients and caregivers – like you, Ali.

  7. Kathi D.

    Marlys – I am always in awe of your writings, so beautifully written and insightful. You inspire me with everything you
    write- to be a better person, to trust God to put me where I need to be, to fulfill my dreams. Thank you for being such a beautiful friend. – Kathi

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