Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Issue 41 - Pay-It-Forward Time

Quote of the Month

"The manner of giving is worth more than the gift." -- Pierre Corneille


Pay-It-Forward Time


In Issue 38, I wrote about an act of kindness I'd received from my amazing friend Kelly.  I promised to pay it forward, and the time has come. 


Last summer Jim and I were driving through Iowa.  We stopped in Grinnell, a small town of 9,000 people just a few miles north of I-80. It's the home of Grinnell College where Nicole would be a freshman in the fall.  Nicole is the daughter of our dear friends Debbie and Deane, and we've loved her from the day she was born.  I wanted to see the campus and do something nice for her.


Since it was in June, the campus was quiet.  We spotted two girls working in the student garden.  We asked them the name of their favorite restaurant.  They both agreed it was the Phoenix Cafe.  We went to the restaurant and bought a $50 gift certificate for Nicole and left it with the owner.  


That night I emailed Nicole a picture of the campus and asked her if she recognized it.  She was excited that we'd seen her school.  


I asked Debbie to let me know when Nicole needed a pick-me-up, had something to celebrate or was homesick.  The call came in mid September.  She missed her boyfriend and family, but was also happy with her successful audition for a school play. 


I emailed Nicole to tell her I'd arranged a scavenger hunt.  She was instructed to take one friend and their appetites, locate a mural in an attached photograph, then ask the owners of the establishment for something held in her name. It didn't take her long to identify the tile mural outside the restaurant.  A few weeks later she took her friend there for a delicious dinner. 


Setting up this surprise for Nicole was so much fun, I wanted to do the same for my granddaughter Brynn who would also be going off to college this fall at the University of Colorado in Boulder.  Kelly and I went to Boulder and set up a similar scenario for Brynn.  While she knows there's a scavenger hunt in her near future, she doesn't know where yet, so I can't tell you more. 


Announcing Romantic Adventure Kits!

Whether you want to show your love for your favorite college freshman or refresh your love life with a romantic adventure, part of the fun can be building anticipation to the big event.  Now there's something to help with your love life.  


We're introducing three Romantic Adventure Kits.  Each one contains six gorgeous greeting cards handcrafted by Connie Gallo. These are not your typical cards.  They're specialized art constructed with raised accents and jewels.  

Cards in From a Romantic Man, From a Romantic Woman, and For a Romantic Couple are based on concepts in The Art of the Spark.  


If you've read The Art of the Spark, you know about the Romance Pyramid -- frequent loving gestures, regularly scheduled dates, and romantic adventures. From a Romantic Man and From a Romantic Woman contain the following cards based on the Romance Pyramid:


  2 to say "I love you" 

  1 to make a date  

  1 to build anticipation for an adventure

  1 to kick off the adventure

  1 to say thank you

The following two photographs contain sample cards for From a Romantic Man and From a Romantic Woman.

For a Romantic Couple guides a couple through a heartfelt, intimate conversation. Each person fills out his or her own cards.  The cards will be used during a date or as part of a bigger adventure. This kit contains three cards for each of you.


  2 to reminisce about the good times in the past

  2 qualities you admire in your sweetheart

  2 hopes and dreams for the future

Here are three sample cards contained in For a Romantic Couple.



Romantic Adventure Kits are $25 each, plus shipping.  Complete instructions with suggestions for giving are included.  Quantities are limited. 


Art of the Spark Workshops 


If you are in the Colorado Springs or Denver area, it's easy to host your own Art of the Spark workshop.  This highly interactive and entertaining workshop can be scheduled over several evenings or a weekend.  You'll learn how to:


  Build a foundation for romantic adventures 

  Speak your sweetheart's Love Language

  Know when surprise is wise ... or ill advised

  Customize your own Couple's Playlist with six types of Couple's Play 

  Plan romantic adventures ... on any budget 

Workshops can be scheduled for 3-, 4- or 6-hours sessions.  The cost per couple is $79 for 3 hours, $89 for 4 hours and $119 for 6 hours.  Singles can attend the 3-hour workshops for $49.  One copy of The Art of the Spark is included with each registration.  The 3- and 4-hour workshops also include a light snack.  The one-day 6-hour workshops will include lunch.  A 6-hour workshop spread over two days will include a light snack each day. 

Four- and six-hour workshops can be customized to include couples massage with Jenny Domingue and romantic gift giving. For more information or to schedule your own workshop, call me at 719 649-3201.  


Ronna, a recent workshop participant said, "On a scale of 1 to 10, the workshop was an 11. It was filled with substance and depth, yet still playful and easy.  Thank you for your wonderful workshop that far surpassed my expectations. My honey and I left feeling even more connected and affirmed!"


If you want to arrange a workshop at your own church, email me at  Twenty percent of the proceeds are donated to the church.


Buy The Art of the Spark

Have you read The Art of the Spark You can get one for yourself, or buy copies as gifts for friends.   


If you are hosting a party and want a fun and unusual icebreaker, try Romance Bingo.


Food for Celebration


Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies


Prepare these cookies and store them in the refrigerator. When you don't have time for a bowl of oatmeal, heat a cookie in the microwave for thirty seconds.  You've got a tasty breakfast-to-go. 


Warm Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Greens


If beet greens are fresh and plentiful, they'll make a good base for this salad. Swiss chard works well, too.


Until Next Time


If you enjoyed this free newsletter, please forward it to friends. I care about people and how they celebrate.  If you have any stories you'd like to share, please send them to me at


Wishing you a life of romantic adventure,

Mary Zalmanek