Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Issue 15 - A Perfect Score


"The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out
love, and to let it come in."
-- Morrie Schwartz


Ellyn sat down to have a heart-to-heart talk with a trusted confidant.

"Dad, things aren't working out with the men I've dated," she confessed.

Her father listened patiently. He suggested she make a list of twenty-five qualities she wanted in a man. When she did that, she rated all of the men she'd dated. The best one scored 7 out of 25.

"That might be why things aren't working out," her dad suggested. "Is there anyone you know who is closer to 25?"

After doing a quick inventory, she said, "My college friend Mark is a 23."

"So what keeps him from being a 25?" her dad asked.

"First, he lives in Canada and I'm in Sun Valley."

"Can't you fix that?" her dad joked.

"Well, the second thing is, he's engaged."

"Oh." The conversation ended, but the seed was planted.

As luck would have it, Mark came to Sun Valley to ski a short time later. Ellyn asked how things were going.

"Not so well," Mark admitted. "I'm thinking of breaking off my engagement." Ellyn did her best to be a supportive friend, but secretly her heart rejoiced. Before Mark left town, he asked if he could visit her if he did find himself single again.

Mark never had the chance to end the relationship. To his delight, his fiancée beat him to it. He returned to Sun Valley at the earliest opportunity, supposedly to ski, but we all know the real reason. This time, sparks flew between Ellyn and Mark. A couple of months later, they were engaged on Valentine's Day. By that time Mark knew about the list. They were married in June.

Every anniversary Mark asks, "Do I still have all 25?"

Somewhere on that list Ellyn specified she wanted a romantic man. Twenty years after they said "I do," Mark gave proof he was still a romantic. He arranged for a very special surprise.

Ellyn loves to cook. Some time earlier, they had attended a cooking class in the wine growing Anderson Valley in California. The good time they had that night gave Mark an idea for their upcoming 20th anniversary. Mark called the chef to arrange a cooking class for a small group of friends. It wasn't easy to book an evening in the height of wedding season, even though he was calling a year ahead. He wasted no time attending to the details.

On their anniversary, they drove to the Anderson Valley. Mark had worked for weeks on a DVD with 250 photos of special times in their lives and some of Ellyn's favorite music. The 3-hour drive from their home in Sacramento flew by as Ellyn watched the DVD, laughing, crying and reminiscing all the way.

Ellyn knew they were going to a cooking class and staying at the resort for the weekend. What she didn't know was that the fellow students were friends who had come thousands of miles to be with them. They came in one at a time. Her maid of honor came up behind Ellyn as she was stemming strawberries and asked, "What can I do?" Ellyn recognized the voice even before she turned around. They spent a few minutes catching up before they returned to the tasks at hand. It wasn't long before another friend stood on the other side of her asking, "Can you pass the oranges?" This went on until the entire group had assembled. By the time they sat down to eat, the group had shared happy memories as they shared the food preparation.

Mark had jumped from a 25 to a 30.


It's the wedding season. Remember THE ART OF THE SPARK makes a prefect shower or wedding gift. Lasting love is what new couples want, so much more than a toaster oven! For those celebrating an anniversary, give the gift that helps keep the spark alive.



The May 2007 issue featured an article entitled 10 Romantic RV Parks for a Summer Escape plus 5 tips for rekindling the spark. I wrote the sidebar containing the 5 tips.


I was a guest on Good Day Sacramento, the morning show on a CBS-affiliate station on May 9. Anchor Michele Kane was as charming off camera as she was on.


I continue to write monthly articles for AFFLUENT, THE AUTHORITY ON LIFESTYLE published in Florida, and PREMIER VALUES in Colorado Springs. This month's articles are on Romantic Road Trips. Let me know if you'd like a copy.


Sunday, June 24
3685 Jeannine Dr., Colorado Springs, CO

I'm the featured speaker at the 9:30 service. In the afternoon from 1:00 to 3:00, I'll do a 2-hour highly interactive, entertaining workshop entitled "The Art of Celebration." This workshop is open to everyone.


2007 RV Rally in Redmond, Oregon
Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center
Wednesday, July 18, 3:00 to 4:30
Saturday, July 21, 10:30 to noon

The Rally is the biggest Recreation Vehicle Show of the year. RV owners from nearly every state and province are expected. That should be around 10,000 people in 4,500 RVs. I learned at a smaller rally last summer how romantic these RVers are.


You can host an ART OF THE SPARK workshop in your home. If at least 5 couples attend, the cost is $30 per couple, which includes 1 copy of THE ART OF THE SPARK, a $16.95 value. The hosting couple attends at no cost and receives a free book. Scheduling is a mutually agreed upon time. Please plan for at least 2 hours.

Additional sessions can be scheduled at $20 per couple for 5 couples if you decide you want more time. Session One covers the basics. In the second session we plan a customized adventure. My husband often comes with me so we can break into two groups and plan surprises for our partners.


If you enjoyed this free e-zine, please forward it to friends.

I care about people and how they celebrate. If you have any stories you'd like to share with others, please send them to me at We can all learn from each other.

Wishing you a life of romantic adventure,
Mary Zalmanek

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