Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Issue 35 - Vision with Action

Quote of the Month


"Vision without action is mearly a dream.  Action without vision just passes the time.  Vision with action can change the world." -- Joel A. Barker


A Vision of Good Things to Come


In keeping with the format of my newsletter, I'm telling someone else's story before I announce my own good news, but be sure to read through to the next section to find out what I'm so excited about.


Vision with Action


Jim Young is a man of vision. When he bought the 400-acre Rancho San Carlos in southern Colorado in 1996, he could see beyond the farmhouse without running water, the rat-infested garage and the dilapidated barn.  He focused on the virgin ponderosa forest, the nearby Signal Mountain and the North Saint Charles River that runs through the property on the north side.  He could imagine his family and friends hiking, exploring, picnicking, relaxing and playing in this little slice of heaven. 


Jim is also a man of action.  Never one to shy away from hard work, he was eager to turn the rustic ranch into the retreat of his dreams.  His first step was to ask a dear friend to bless the land.  From there, he installed plumbing, raised and leveled the floor in the farm house, razed the old garage, and built a new one in its place. Over the next several years, Jim not only made the place livable, but he offered it to others for spiritual retreats, often at no charge.


About this time, he started dating Kelly Connor.  Together they tackled the barn, originally built around 1905. The old barn was restored and painted red.  Through Kelly's efforts, the barn was placed on the Colorado Historic Register.  In 1999, they started hosting their annual barn dances.


Rancho San Carlos had become so popular among his friends and family that when Jim and Kelly wanted to spend time at the ranch, they sometimes had to stay at a hotel in Pueblo.  When they say a friend's restored log cabin with all the modern amenities in Texas, they knew how they wanted to solve their problem.


Jim was from Tennessee.  He mentioned to his sister-in-law Pat, who owned an antique store in Tennessee, that he would like to buy an old log cabin.  Several months later, Jim was back in his home state.  Pat said sh knew of a Civil War era log cabin for sale.  They went to look at it, but no one was home. People leave their doors unlocked in that part of the country. They stepped inside and took a quick look around.  Within five minutes, Jim was ready to make an offer.  The next time Jim saw the cabin, it was in a pile.  Each 150-year-old log had been carefully numbered, the cabin dismantled, and the entire stack was delivered to Rancho San Carlos on a flat-bed truck.


Nine months later the cabin was done.  The fireplace was built using rocks collected from the ranch.  As with the windows and doors, the floors in the cabin did not meet code.  Jim searched for old wood floors that would match the look and feel of the cabin. The upstairs floor was replaced by a 3-inch poplar floor from a barn in Ohio and the downstairs floor was made from old oak.  The cabin was furnished with antiques. Kelly and Jim finally had a place of their own on the ranch.


The cost of buy the cabin, transport it from Tennessee, and rebuild it was much more than it would have cost to build a comparable cabin with new materials.  In spite of that, Jim has no regrets.  He said it was "the most fun thing he's ever done."


Jim and Kelly have recently decided to share their slice of heaven with a wider audience.  They've put it on a vacation rental website (


They say it's perfect for weddings and special getaway weekends, and I can attest to that. When Jim and Kelly got married at the ranch in 2002, I was honored to be Kelly's matron of honor.  Kelly and I stayed in the cabin the night before her wedding.  They chose a western-style wedding.  Kelly arrived in a horse-drawn carriage, and Jim and his son rode in on horseback. 


Anyone who's ever spent time at Rancho San Carlos has been touched by Jim's vision and action.   Isn't that a lovely way to change the world?



A Few More Memorable Quotes


"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral." — Antoine de Saint-Exupery


"Cherish your vision and your dreams, as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements." — Napoleon Hill


"Vision is the art of seeing the invisible." — Jonathan Swift


Drum Roll, Please...


Here's my exciting news. I'm partnering with Jenny Domingue, a lovely lady who's worked as a massage therapist for seven years.  Jenny will teach massage techniques as a way to help couples de-stress and reconnect.  Through caring touch, couples can learn to deepen communication, intimacy and their ability to express love and appreciation for each other, all of which are part of nourishing the spark.  Jenny also offers private couple's massage lessons at the Better Health and Wellness Center in Littleton.  In Art of the Spark workshops that are six hours or longer, Jenny will add a couple's massage component.


Art of the Spark Workshops


And speaking of workshops, three workshops open to the public are scheduled for February and March.  All of the workshops are highly interactive and entertaining.  Each couple will need a copy of The Art of the Spark, which can be purchase at any workshop or online by clicking here.  In all of the workshops, you'll learn the five basics.

  • 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 100 with six types of Couple's Play
  • Plan romantic adventures ... on any budget

In the six- and seven-hour workshops, we'll explore four additional topics.

  • Reconnect through massage techniques
  • Present gifts — large or small — in memorable ways
  • Express your love through words of affirmation
  • Have a complaint-free relationship

In the longer workshops there is time scheduled for a short lunch break. 


Here's the schedule and some additional details.


February 13, 2010

High Plains Unitarian Church is sponsoring a 3-hour Art of the Spark workshop.  The cost is $25 for couples or $15 for singles if paid by February 6.  After February 6, the cost is $35 for couples or $25 for singles.  Childcare will be provided by High Plains.  The church is located at 1825 Dominion Way in Colorado Springs. Twenty percent of the proceeds from registration and book sales will be donated to High Plains.  You can register at the church, online at or by calling Mary at 719 649-3201.


February 20, 2010

The Better Health and Wellness Center is sponsoring a 6-hour Art of the Spark workshop at the community meeting room at Schomp BMW at 1190 Plum Valley Lane in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The cost is $79 for couples if paid by February 13, and $99 per couple after February 13. Register at online or contact Michelle at 303-586-5230.


March 13, 2010

The Old Town Guesthouse, the best bed and breakfast in Colorado Springs in 2009 according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, is hosting a seven-hour Art of the Spark workshop and overnight stay. The cost is $89 plus lodging if paid by February 27, and $109 after February 27.  Old Town is located at 115. South 26th Street. Book your room early to get one with a hot tub on the balcony or a steam shower in the bathroom. You can see how nice the rooms are at Call Old Town at 719 632-9194 or 888 375-4210  to reserve your room. To register call Mary at 719 649-3201.  


Valentine's Day is coming soon


Do you want to make this Valentine's Day extra special and budget friendly?  The Art of the Spark has lots of love-friendly anecdotes and inexpensive suggestions for expressing love and creating fun.  Couples who play together stay together. 


If you're looking for an idea for a Valentine's party, consider Romance Bingo.  It's a lively icebreaker for parties and showers.


Celebrating with Food


This month I'm remembering an old favorite, and thinking about eating lighter after the calorie-rich holidays.  This soup and salad makes a tasty winter dinner.


Date Nut Bread                   


Twenty-some years ago, someone gave me this recipe.  For years it was a favorite, but then I eliminated wheat from my diet. Recently, my sister-in-law Roxanna mentioned how much she liked making this for special occasions.  I decided to try it with gluten-free flour.  Not bad!


New England Clam Chowder 


A New England clam and fish chowder without wheat or dairy?  Yes, it's possible, and tasty, too.  It will have a thinner consistency and darker color, but the flavor is excellent.


Warm Portabella Salad     


In the winter, it's especially nice to have warm mushrooms to top a green salad.

Motorhome Magazine

The February issue of Motorhome magazine, on newsstands now, has an article I wrote about Alabama's Gulf Coast.  If you're looking for a beach-side getaway that won't break the bank, consider this sandy southern sojourn.

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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