Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Issue 45 - Peaks and Valleys

Quote of the Month


"In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony."  -- Eva Burrows


Peaks and Valleys 


When Alex Valentine married Mary Peak, they called their combined family the Peaks and Valleys.  Alex's twins Natalia and Nick were 7, and Mary's son Cameron was 9 and daughter Kelsey was 7.  Mary became a stay-at-home mom. She is a constant presence in the children's lives. 


Alex has a job that requires a lot of travel. With so much going on at home and in the office, he started to feel like his special relationship with the children was slipping away.  For Christmas one year, he gave Natalia a coupon for a daddy-daughter date of her choosing.  She chose a ski date, and a tradition was born.   


The next year, he began doing coupons for all four children. He invited each child to state his or her first, second and third choice for an activity to do sometime in the upcoming year.  Alex and Mary would look over the requests and decide which ones fit best into the budget and the schedule.  The dates have included such things as snow skiing, water skiing, white water rafting, camping, live theater, paintball, concerts and amusement parks.  


Part of the gift is a download of each child's 15 favorite songs.  Alex participates in the process, which allows him to interact one-on-one and learn about each one's music preferences. 


When Alex described this heart-warming tradition, he said one of his favorite times is when he sits down to prepare the coupons.  He starts off by telling each child what he appreciates and loves about him or her.  He reminisces about last year's daddy date and includes a photo of the activity. 


Alex and Mary have been married for 5 years.  Their newest addition to their family is 4-year-old Chloe.  Last Christmas, Chloe had her first daddy date, Disney on Ice.  When Alex got home from work, Mary had Chloe all ready to go, dressed in a princess gown and tiara. 


Even with all that special attention devoted to the children, Alex doesn't forget to make time for Mary.  They buy season tickets for the local theater.  That time is reserved for them alone. 


Art of the Spark Workshop - October 22, 2011


The next Art of the Spark Relationship Workshop open to the public is scheduled for Saturday, October 22. It explores love, romance, and fun for couples in committed relationships -- married, engaged, dating or partnered.  


In this workshop, 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 
    • Have a complaint-free relationship
    • Present gifts -- large or small -- in memorable ways


Pilates Plus Colorado Studio is sponsoring this half-day Art of the Spark workshop (10:00 to 4:00). The cost is $99 for couples if paid by October 15, and $119 per couple after October 15.  A copy of The Art of the Spark and an afternoon snack are included in the cost.  The Pilates Plus Colorado Studio is located at 142 South Raven Mine Drive in Colorado Springs. Sign up at or call (719) 649-3201.


Kathleen Haden is the owner of Pilates Plus Colorado Studio.  In addition to many outstanding fitness classes and massages, she offerers a session called a Couples Float.  This hour-long romantic candlelight float is a perfect way for couples to experience total relaxation in the water.  You can choose your favorite romantic songs to be played through underwater speakers while both of you are being floated by your Aqua Motion practitioner.  Aqua Motion sessions are offered in Colorado Springs and Mount Princeton Hot Springs in Colorado by appointment.   Call 817 938-7552 to book your session. 


Speaking Engagements


I'll be speaking at the second annual SpiritWoman: A Journey of Love, Light and Laughter sponsored by The Center for Spiritual Living in Colorado Springs on October 15.  This women's conference opens on Friday night with Rev. Jody Stevenson, Rev. Cynthia James and Lucy King, Certified Laughter Leader.  I will be leading one of six breakout sessions on Saturday. Three sessions will run concurrently in the morning and three in the afternoon.  Conference tuition is $155 ($135 if registered by October 2), and includes Friday evening soup and salad dinner and Saturday lunch. SpiritWoman will be held at The Center for Spiritual Living, 3685 Jeannine Drive in Colorado Springs.  To register call 719 596-6894.


Schedule Your Own Art of the Spark Workshop


It's easy to host your own Art of the Spark workshop tailored to your needs. When a church or non-profit sponsors the event, twenty percent of proceeds will be donated to that organization. 


For more information go to


Rave reviews from past participants


"I was deeply touched by the things that happened that afternoon.  My husband, who has always been a great husband but never particularly demonstrative, totally blew my socks off... He's been so warm and considerate since that afternoon -- I'm just elated!" 

— Linda Lauck


"On a scale of 1 to 10, the workshop was an 11.  It was filled with substance and depth, yet still playful and easy."  — Ronna Vigil 


"It really opened up my mind to things I have never thought of before."  — Les Simpson


"LOVED YOUR WORKSHOP!!!! Thank you for bringing an extra spark to our relationship. I know the next 10 years are going to be that much more amazing!!" — Noelle Arbon


"I not only endorse and recommend this class, but feel that Mary has put a creative and fun approach to a subject we sometimes take for granted in this fast-paced world of ours."  —John Daugherty, Doctor of Chiropractic


"The course brought together many new ideas and all the things that have worked for us but were forgotten."  —Tom Saponas


Romantic Adventure Kits


Romantic Adventure Kits provide a unique way to express your love for your sweetheart.  The kit entitled For a Romantic Couple contains six cards that guide a couple through heartfelt, intimate conversations. These are not your typical cards.  They're specialized art constructed with raised accents and jewels. Each person fills out his or her own cards.  The cards will be used during a date or as part of a bigger adventure.  

      2 cards prompt you to recall good times in the past

      2 cards focus on the qualities you admire in your sweetheart

      2 cards explore hopes and dreams for the future



Cards in From a Romantic ManFrom a Romantic Woman and For a Romantic Couple are based on concepts in The Art of the Spark.  From a Romantic Man and From a Romantic Woman each contain six cards:

2 cards say "I love you"

1 card makes a date

1 card builds anticipation for an adventure

1 card kicks off the adventure

1 card says thank you 

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



Food for Celebration


This month's recipes include a favorite salad dressing from a friend, a soup I'd never tried before, and an old favorite for dessert.


Poppy Seed Salad Dressing


Friends from Illinois recently visited us in Colorado Springs.  Over lunch Mary and BJ Rowlison told us about several recipes that sounded so good that I bought the ingredients on the way home.  This is one of her recipes.  


West African Peanut Soup 


While looking for a new recipe to make for company, I came across one I'd cut out of a newspaper years ago.  I compared it to a few recipes I found online, and picked out my favorite ingredients in each one.  The resulting soup was a hit.


Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake 


This rich dessert is as pretty to look at as it is delicious to eat.  Use a high-quality chocolate for this cake.  I've tried several kinds, most recently Bissinger's from Whole Foods.  If you prefer milk chocolate, substitute 6 ounces milk chocolate for the 75% dark chocolate. 



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 


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