Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Issue 38 - Acts of Kindness

Quote of the Month

"When you carry out acts of kindness, you get a wonderful feeling inside. It is as though something inside your body says, yes, this is how I ought to feel." — Harold Kushner


The Face of Kindness


We've all heard of random acts of kindness, selfless acts people do to cheer up others. Often we think of this as being anonymous, like paying for the person behind you in the drive-thru line.  What happens when that kindness has a face?  When that face is familiar and the act is intentional and extraordinary? In that case, you might have a friend like my friend, Kelly.


March 23 was the fifth anniversary of my dad's death.  It would have been an act of kindness for Kelly to remember it in a conversation with me or a card to my mom.   What she did instead still leaves me misty eyed. 


After fifty-four years of marriage, my mother is still challenged by this sad milestone, which is understandable.  I've made an effort to be with her on this day of memories whenever possible since my dad's passing.  Kelly knew I wouldn't be able to go this year, although we had not discussed it specifically.  She decided to drive from Colorado Springs to Albuquerque, spend time with my mom and drive back home the next day.  I was thrilled that Kelly cared enough about my mom and me to do this. 


As the day approached, the weather forecast promised a nasty snow storm for Kelly's return trip.  She had an important business meeting that she couldn't chance missing.  Both my mom and I assumed Kelly would cancel her trip. 


Not Kelly.


She got up at 5:00 a.m. on March 23 to drive 371 miles to my mom's house, spend the day with her, then drove home that same evening.  That's 742 miles and 11 hours of driving.  No, make that 742 miles and 11 hours of intentional and extraordinary kindness. 


You may assume that Kelly and my mom have a long history and friendship with each other.  That's not entirely true.  They met in the mid 1990s, but I could count on two hands the number of times they've seen each other.  Kelly did this intentional and extraordinary act of kindness for my mother because of her friendship with me. 


Pay-it-forward Kindness


There's also the pay-it-forward act of kindness when someone asks that a good turn be repaid by doing something nice for someone else.  We recently stayed at the RV park at the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa in northern New Mexico.  After an afternoon of soaking in the hot pools, I started thinking about dinner.  I realized I'd forgotten to buy a lime for the ribeye tacos I'd planned to make. With no nearby shopping options, I stopped in the restaurant to see if I could buy a lime.  The bartender gave me a lime and told me the price was to do something nice for someone else.


Flirty Kindness


Do you need a suggestion for a loving gesture on the Romance Pyramid?  (If you don't know what I'm talking about, see Chapter 1 in The Art of the Spark.)


Next time you see your sweetheart's car parked in a public lot, leave a note under the windshield wipers.  Consider something like this.  "Are you the handsome man with the twinkling blue eyes? If so, call 555-1212.  Ask for the Divine Ms. X." 


Chances are when the object of your desire finds the note, he'll recognize your handwriting at a glance. At the very least, he'll get a good chuckle.  To take it a step further and make a date, invite your sweetie to dinner.  To kick off a romantic adventure, the possibilities are endless.


Payback Time


Now it's payback time.  I'm inspired to watch for ways to perform intentional and extraordinary acts of kindness for people I love.  I want to perform random acts of kindness for people I've never met.  There are endless opportunities.  As Seneca once said, "Wherever there is a human being, there is a chance for kindness."


Art of the Spark Workshops in Poetry


JD Barrowclough surprised his lovely wife Emily with a romantic weekend that included an Art of the Spark workshop.  When they arrived at the inn, he gave her the following poem. 


...the day you've been waiting for has finally arrived

And it looks like you have fully survived

So here we are at the Old Town GuestHouse

Just me and my very own lovely spouse

We are here to spend a full day with Mary

And it won't at all be anything scary

We are here to learn about adventures in romance

And that usually means we'll have to take a chance

We'll be using her book The Art of the Spark

This should help keep us out of the dark

We'll talk about romance pyramids and expressions of love

And that'll show us why we fit like a hand in a glove

We'll talk about adventures and even dates

And that's good for those of us who are soul mates

And we'll also be discussing massage techniques

Something we can practice in the coming weeks...


I couldn't have said it better myself.


Art of the Spark Workshops in Reality


If you want to attend an Art of the Spark workshop, here's what you need to know. They are highly interactive and entertaining.  In all of the workshops, you'll learn the 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 with six types of Couple's Play

  - Plan romantic adventures ... on any budget


Longer workshops can be customized to explore additional topics.

  - Reconnecting through massage techniques

  - Presenting gifts — large or small — in memorable ways

  - Expressing your love through words of affirmation

  - Having a complaint-free relationship

  - Enjoying an unforgettable romantic meal


The workshops are reasonably priced at $30 per person or $50 per couple for each three-hour session.  The price includes a copy of The Art of the Spark.  If the workshop is sponsored by a church or non-profit organization, 20% of the registration fee and book sales are donated to the organization.  Three-, six-, or nine-hour workshops are available.  Group size can range from eight to fifty.  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!"


Wedding Gifts

It's the wedding season.  And what do most newlyweds want even more than toasters or towels?  Lasting love, that's what!  If you have friends or family getting married this summer, The Art of the Spark would make a great wedding or shower gift. 


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


Last but not least, include a pair of Fringe Ticklers in your gift. 


Celebrating with Food


In honor of the lime the bartender at Ojo Caliente gave me, I'm sharing my favorite recipes with lime juice.


Jicama with Lime


My new favorite appetizer is simple and healthy.  My thanks go to Judy White for serving this tasty treat.


Ribeye Tacos


Jim made these best-ever tacos for a Super Bowl party.  I never knew tacos could be so good.


Pico de Gallo


Someone once told me pico de gallo should have equal parts red, white and green, the colors of the Mexican flag.  These measures in this recipe will get you close.  When you are done, adjust it according to whatever your eyeballs or taste buds tell you.

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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