Day 1 – 7 day doodling challenge – WELCOME!

Hello, hello everyone!
I have created a 7-day doodling challenge.
(You’ll will be my beta-peeps)
If you think you can’t draw or you know you can and would like some fun, calming, stress-relieving doodling – JOIN ME!
You’ll need:
Pen/pencil – any old pen/pencil will do (no special kind – yet)
Paper – any old paper will do (no special kind – yet)
Yourself – any old you will do (no doodling passion – yet)
An open mind and open heart… REQUIRED  🙂🙃
Day one: Introduction into what doodling is like.
ZERO pressure.
**Please share link if you know someone who could use some fun, calming, stress-relieving doodling!



I have zero musical talent.
Have never played an instrument nor sang in a chorus.
Wait! I lied. I sang to my children when they were young.
I am sure they thought I was amazing.
I wasn’t.
I have always wanted to try, however every time I did, I failed.
I was awkward holding the instruments and gave up BEFORE even starting.

Four weeks ago I was tired of hearing myself whine about wanting to, not being able to, play an instrument. I was going to learn Amazing Grace on the Irish Penny Whistle, IF. IT. KILLED. ME.

I watched and re-watched several you tube videos. 99% of them were far too complicated. “Read the music, rel…” Uhmmm, you lost me at “read the music.”

However, I kept searching for the right video. FAIL.

I searched for the music – hoping I could learn that way.

I found it! I found a page with the notes (eeeek) AND the little dots that are the same as the holes on the whistle. Yes, that I could understand.

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Lily: Emma, don’t come home from college this weekend mom decided she wants to learn the Penny Whistle.

Emma: Heeeheee

Lily: No, Emma, I am not kidding.

I held the whistle and tried to follow the sequence. Squeal, squeal, and squeal. Hence the texts to Emma. My hands were quite awkward. My lips were hurting. It was weird and HARD trying to play, read the music AND pay attention to covering the holes. I felt like a dork.

Who cares about the Irish Penny Whistle anyway? This is too hard and I personally hate the squealing myself!


Lily: Mom, you have to cover the holes all the way.

Me: I know, I don’t see how that is possible. I can cover some, but then my hands are not malleable enough to cover the others.

Lily (days later): You are squealing! Which means you are not covering the holes all the way. You are hurting my ears. My ears hurt too. I shall not quit!

ME: I am going to learn Amazing Grace on the Irish Penny Whistle, IF. IT. KILLS. ME.
Five minutes a day. Five. Then every time I was home I would carry it with me around the house.

Play, play, play. squeal, squeal squeal.
Play, play.

Hey, No squealing! Sort of. Every third or fourth note went well.
Set timer, five more minutes.

Hey, I hear it… Sort of.

Now I really can hear it!

My hands are relaxed . I see how this thing works!

Play play play.

Very Cool!

Lily: Mom, I’m impressed. WIN!

Weeks and five minutes at a time.

Still practicing.

A day just may come where no squealing happens.

I am going to learn variations and beautiful ways to manipulate the whistle. Not today, but someday soon. Must go set the five-minute timer.

I wish I had a video of the start, it was horrid. And I mean horrid.
Just ask Lily.

No need to listen but if you don’t think you can teach an dog new tricks – you are sadly mistaken.

Here is relatively decent 26 seconds…

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Civic duty and all that.

This afternoon I was driving home from church and taking Lily for a quick lunch.
I dropped her off at work and I headed home.
I was looking forward to doing some research in my air conditioning (80ish degrees outside)
on my Mac for a present for Emma’s birthday.

On the way I was complaining in my head about the free loaner car I STILL have because the repairs are not done yet.

Then I noticed a woman walking down the sidewalk with a library bag obviously walking home from the library. I thought, good for her she walked all that way. Man, I am mad I STILL don’t have my car. I wonder if she even has a car or she has to walk?”

No kidding two streets later I see another woman walking with heavy bags of groceries. Three bags in each hand. Heavy! She has already walked at least a 1/2 mile from the grocery store that I drove to and shopped at last night.

Then I started thinking, Huh, Mary are you really complaining because you:
*Have a FREE loaner?
*Have an amazing church to go to?
*Have enough money to take Lily for a quick lunch?
(Wait let me go back… Have an amazing daughter!)
*Air conditioning?
*My beautiful Mac computer which has pop-ups I can set to remember things?
*Ability to shop for my other amazing daughter Emma?
*My brand new job?
*I shall not go on, you get the picture…

Once home I push the remote to pull into my garage. Yes, garage!, only to find a said pop-up on my computer saying I am an “on-call” juror.

I call the number I am required to call and the message says, “if you have a last name that starts with a ‘B’-‘N’ you must appear tomorrow.”
At the Daley Center.
Monday morning.
In the heart of The Windy City.

Now I am all for civic duty, however I am wondering why I must be scheduled
for the courthouse 40 miles from my house when I pass two very significant (busy) courthouses along the way?
Anyone seeing a chronic pattern here?
I shall appear for my civic duty. I w
ill take the train that stops very close to my house and takes me right down underneath the Daley Center.

I shall appear for my civic duty. Not begrudgingly… because I am not a complainer.
When my kids were young and complaining or angry about some petty, ridiculous thing I would make them list 50 things they were grateful for. Sometimes 100!

So, I am in my air conditioned house, on my computer, counting my blessings and I will not stop until I reach 100.

Anyone else need a reality check? Try walking home (at least a 1/2 mile) from the grocery store and carrying 6 bags of heavy groceries home because you have no other options.


Join me in counting all the blessings you are given. Every. Single. day.

Anatomy of A Jump

I am a wee bit Claustrophobic. 
I like to breathe air that has not already been in and out of my body once.

Not a big fan of heights either. I MAY have been known to have a panic attack or two.

Here’s what happened.

My friend Yolanda sent me a video. I watched, with excitement! This was so amazing!

I said to her, “I feel like I did this right along with you!”

 “Mary, LET ME BE CLEAR. You DID NOT do this with me!”

So I set out to do it myself to prove to her I could.
I made the appointment.
They called, “Too windy today.”

So we try again today. Beautiful, 60 degree, sunny (not a cloud!) day.

We are excited, my daughter Lily and me.
They sit us down to watch a video and basically scare us to death. 
We shall not be moved. We are going skydiving! 
“Oh no not yet my friends, not until you sign the waivers please.”
By signing the waivers they mean, read this, this, this, this, this AND these three pages sign and initial. 40, not kidding, 40 intitals and 4 signatures later we are done with the forms. Because I like to read the fine print let me tell you the craziest thing I learned from reading those forms. 

WooHoo, let’s do this! (I say to myself, “self I say, uhhhmmm, are you crazy?”)

As we are suiting up, the instructors make jokes about making it back alive.
Most of the jokes are lame and have been told a BILLION times you can tell.

The witty banter does takes my mind off of how, um, uhhh, STUPID we just may be. This goes on for a good 10 minutes — because we get to watch the guy PACK OUR PARACHUTES!

I want to tell him to, “Stop talking and pay attention to what you are doing!”
As though he knows what I am thinking he says, 
“Don’t worry you guys I get paid a bit more for packing the chutes than the other guy.” Oh yeah, I feel better already…

“Step into this.
I am going to hook this around you.
It will be tight but don’t worry I will unclip you in the air. 
(I’m sorry, did you just say unclip me?) 
Now when we are in the plane we will climb to 10,000 feet. 
We will fly directly over Lake Michigan. 
When we leave the plane I need you to bend backwards in the shape of a banana, arms up and back and wrap you legs around the back of mine.”

“No problem” I say, wondering what he just said.

“Are you ready?”


We head outside toward the planes. I see the beautiful 8-seater plane, royal blue, clean, shiny and ready for take off. Our instructor starts walking away from it toward the Red Baron. I am wondering where Snoopy is. “Seriously?”

This plane, I am sure is not ours, is red and small. Did I say small? I meant TINY! Four plus the pilot must fit and let me tell you two plus the pilot isn’t going to fit.

“Mary, you get in first because you will jump after Lily.”

“So, my friend, to be clear, you want me to climb into this teeny tiny little cabin of a plane that has no seats except the pilot’s and 
THEN you want me to crawl all the way to the back corner 
WITH all this gear on, 
turn around to face forward and 
THEN let you all get in after me closing me in?”

“Did I tell you how old I am? I have not sat pretzel-style since uh, 4th grade!” I do as I am told. And no kidding, we all fit! Not pretty and I am sure not safely, but we fit.

The pilot shouts, “Fifteen minutes to climb 10,000 feet, sit back and enjoy the ride the view is beautiful.”

Sit back? I just explained the scenario, are you seeing a way to “sit back”?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.

I do look out the window best as possible and it really is an amazing day for this. There are maybe two clouds and they have parted ways for us to complete this. When I look down I am staring at the beautiful Carthage College campus in WI. The sky is the perfect shade of blue, as is the body of water starting to appear out my window. Body of water? There is no longer any land in sight, just Lake Michigan in all its glory. Ummmm, where are we going to land?

I remember back at the “getting ready” stage, the instructor mentioned something about a floatation device around my waist. What was that for? I can’t remember now…

With my mind spinning and rambling aimlessly through my life the guy says, “we are going to open the door now, we are all going to have to squeeze toward the back of the plane so Lily can get into position.”
Yeah, okay, keep me posted on how that goes for you guys.

The door of the plane opens, holy crap, the door? You mean half the right side of the plane, don’t you?

Air is gushing in on all sides and Lily has to move to the open door. 

Did you know that Lily is my youngest? I am responsible for letting my youngest get in a plane to climb two miles in the air only to jump right out of said plane. 
I am an AWESOME mother. She will not forget that I am sure.

“Lily swing your feet… asdfghj wertyu asdfg erty sdfg”

I no longer hear a word her guy is saying, my mind can only see her tiny baby feet outside on this, what looks like a bicycle pedal. The wind is incredible.
God, I love her, I love Emma, I love You, I am sorry I am doing this!”

One, two, three and I see what looks like two bodies hurling toward the earth at a…

“Mary, you’re turn!” Oh, nuh-uh.

My guy says, “Move your body to start to come toward the door.”
Again, I am a bit older than everyone in the room and pretzel style doesn’t come apart as easy as it used to. AND I have 180 bucklesfloatationdevicesstraps around me.

You know how when you are getting in a car there are handles to grab on to help you get in? I use those to finally make it to the same place Lily was moments before and my guy says, “grab hold of your harness.” 
Oh yeah I remember that, I tell myself this and release my right hand to grab the harness. The guy is now screaming something else, I stopped listening because I can’t get the right side of my brain to compute, because my left brain is saying, “Sorry stupid, I am NOT letting go of this plane!”

You might think this funny, however I am thinking, so this is what they mean when the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. 

He grabs my hand and once released I grab my harness. 
“Okay, Mary you remember everything we talked about right?”


“Okay, one, two” AND we jump.

Hey! I want a do over, you didn’t count to three!

Yes, he says, 120mph until we open.
WOW, look at the water!
AMAZING! Will my floatation device work?
I hope I look pretty on the camera!

WHOOOOOSH! All of a sudden I am rapidly, decisively and violently being pulled back up towards the sky and desperately away from where I want to be!

And then the music and the heavenly angels are singing, we are floating…

All is well with the world. We just float like this and look around at God’s country. Yeah I think I am going to take up parachuting and travel around the country and do this!

I see Lily’s chute just below us about to land. It is a beautiful red, white and blue parachute. AND the guy gets paid a bit more to pack it. Good for him and good for Lily, it seems to be going well.

“Ok Mary… gh onnma sdfgh jse rga dg”

What did he say? Buckles start to be unclipped. Oh, that is way better, it really was too tight. HOLD ON! You’re unclipping me!

More buckles unclipped. Are you uh, trying to get rid of me?

“Just enjoy it Mary!” I think that is God speaking to me, because I no longer care one iota about what my guy is saying. And so I do. I enjoy it. We are soaring over Lake Michigan and it is a wonder. For how dirty I think the Lake is, you can see clear to the bottom today. We do few swirls around to make sure we are in the right wind pattern to land.

The landing strip is the beach right alongside Lake Michigan. We are watching Lily land. From my view they do it effortlessly. They unbuckle and Lily stands and starts waving. I can’t see the smile on Lily’s face but I know it’s there and I know it is big. We have done it! We jumped out of the sky!

Our landing? Welllll, My guy says, “Hopefully we will just slide right in on our bums, but the wind may change and we will have to stand and run.”
You stand and run pal. I am going with the slide in plan.

The wind grabs the chute and he says, “STAND UP AND RUN!”
Once again, bodies don’t move as quickly as they used to. Okay, okay, MY body doesn’t move as quickly.

We try that and let’s just say, five minutes later we are UNtangled from the chute and I am no longer ENtangled with the guy!

Well that was easy!

He takes one last video which is a plug for the center. 
(He tells me this beforehand)

“So Mary we landed, we lived, would you it again?”
“Absolutely. AND if I do it will be at the WORLD DIVING CENTER!”

My smile is as big as I knew Lily’s was. We hugged and Lily says, “I love you.”

I am an AWESOME mother. She will not forget that I am sure.

Who do I think I am…

Why did I actually think I could acquire the courage to create, write and self publish books?

I didn’t. What I did think was, “hey I have an idea.” Then I took a step forward. That step led to another. And so on…

It has been a culmination of ideas, creating, iterating, reflecting, and learning along the way. Oh, and chickening out. I did that a few times. That’s how we learn isn’t it?

Creating these books has become very exciting for me. I have learned A LOT. Recently I have stepped further out of my comfort zone and I am considering a third book. Yes, an Espresso Yourself 3! That won’t be the exact name mind you. I will call for votes from you and others that have purchased the Espresso Yourself books. Involving others in the process of the books is my favorite part. How much more fun and interesting the
results can be!

Can you relate?
I am a lifelong learner. I am always looking for new ideas, thoughts and information to expand my thinking and broaden my horizons.
It is through this continued learning and pursued action that I will be able to impact the world.
Yes, I said the WORLD…

It is a great feeling to contribute to others. I am doing it with wit, wisdom, humor and art in a positive and encouraging way.
When you pick up the Espresso Yourself books you will seem to read something new.
Do you ever think, “I’ve heard that so many times before”?
Me too! However I have had many come to me and say,
“I read something today that I have read before but today, today I get it.”

The books are a fun, funny and serious exchange of ideas and thoughts.

What exiting/crazy idea is brewing in the back of your mind? Are you ready to act on it?
Stepping out of your comfort zone is a scary prospect.
I would like to say it is easy IT IS NOT.

By taking action we are allowing ourselves the freedom to grow.

And grow we must.


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P.S. If you would like to contribute your favorite life advice and/or story email me at Would LOVE to read it! And you just may end up in book 3!

The answer to an interesting question?

Good day everyone!

New Year’s day has come and gone. Most of our thoughts of doing something different this year are now out of our minds.

A few weeks ago I received a very interesting question:

“Mary, how do I go about writing the book I have in the back of my mind?”

After that first person asked, A few of more you have approached me about writing and publishing the book you have wanted to for years.

I am wondering how many more of you would like to write a book?

So I decided to take a survey…

Are any of you interested in writing YOUR book?

Beautiful day to you all,


P.S. Please take a moment to respond!

YES Mary, I am definitely interested in MY book. ____________

NO mary, not something I am interested in pursuing. ___________

I am always wondering if others do…?

This time of year I always think of things that I am interested in pursuing… random, really. But I do always consider ideas, thoughts… stuff that I am hoping the New Year will become. Dreams… wishes… you know, all the things you think about when falling asleep.

Sometimes I write them down, usually in a fun new hardcover notebook with a pen that feels really good to hold. I think it is just too cool that every year there is this opportunity to feel all fresh and new… I DO NOT feel this way all year long (I wish it was that easy). But naturally, for many, the New Year is the signal. I try to think of all sorts of topics to consider… my health… my family… things I want to get more of in my life… You name it, I may be writing it.

Does it all happen?

No. But it does feel really right to put it down on paper. If you find the whole thing too intimidating, or if you aren’t sure where to begin, try this creative approach as an option…
Go to the magazine stand or bookstore and get inspired by what you see. Buy a few mags if you want to rip the pages (I have done this for a few years now – so much inspiration). So, your New Year’s “journal” could become a random mix of torn pictures, beautiful quotes, visions of wonderfulness… things that allow you to feel like you want to get from one place to another… inside or out.

Fill it with your thoughts, your dreams… all sorts of excellent stuff that make you tick, that make you ever so happy… Ready, set… GO!

ESPRESSO YOURSELF TOO has launched! Sort of…

HI Everyone,

Let me explain.

When the first Espresso Yourself was published, part of my goal became to get the book for sale in the Starbucks stores. I have diligently and progressively moved toward that goal.

One week ago I took THE BIGGEST RISK thus far in this journey.
One week ago today I shipped a package of ten books and a stack of cards that explained the story and the “vision” for the book to Cliff – THE PRESIDENT OF STARBUCKS! I had been emailing back and forth with him for a few months.

When the book was complete I asked him if I could mail him a copy.
Here’s what he said,
“Mary, I would love to read and share the book. I look forward to it.”

Here’s what I heard, “Mary, I would love to read and share the book. Please send me several copies and a note that explains your vision for your books in our stores.”
(I may have over-read that… but hey, go big or go home, right?)

Sooooo, when creating the book I took many liberties using the Starbucks name and logo without permission, knowing that there may come a time when “they” say to stop.

Beg for forgiveness, don’t ask for permission.

The first printing is the one that has all the Starbucks logos in it.
The ~LIMITED EDITION~ ESPRESSO YOURSELF TOO is the one that launched!
That is the one that is now for sale.

I will NOT be offering that one on my website.
AND quantities are limited.
PM me below
email me at

BTW, Greeting card were made from quotes from book one.
For each book you buy you receive a FREE greeting card!

That said, if you have any Starbucks lovers in your circle of family or friends this is the edition to buy. EY TOO is funnier, more profound even cool-er than EY ONE.

See for yourself:

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This and thirty two more pages of funny and…
One laugh guaranteed or your money back!


P.S. Any questions just let me know.

A funny thing happened on the way. . .

Hi Everyone,

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I don’t know if you know this – I didn’t.

When editing a book you must do it yourself 1000 times (or what feels like…) AND have others also edit. I did that.

Espresso Yourself Too has more stories in it than the first book, so editing has been much more work. This is exciting to do this because you get to know your book intimately.

EVERY SINGLE TIME I re-sent to someone after fixing an edit I would reread and find or I would get ANOTHER email finding another mistake, flaw or change. I then edited again. One mistake I kept fixing, I swear I did, kept coming back from editors as a mistake.

PAGE 4: “I am awesome”, I thought.

Can you spot the mistake? This is a grammatical error I refute all the time. And because it doesn’t make sense, do you think I subconsciously did not correct?


Each time one of the editors would say, “still not fixed.”

After the last time one of them finally said, “Listen, I will NOT purchase the books unless that is fixed!”

I now stand corrected.

Espresso Yourself Too is going print soon!

Here is a preview…



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Thanks for stopping by, darn glad your here!

When people started asking about the how and why of
Espresso Yourself – Wisdom From the Coffee Shop,

I decided to journal my experience.

Peek inside the journey of self publishing and Espresso Yourself.
I will share:
*Funny/sad/amazing things that happened along the way.
*shortcuts to self publishing.
*overcoming resistance and barriers.
*tips on staying motivated through the process.

Stay tuned!