Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Issue 50 - A Gift of the Heart

Quote of the Month

“It isn’t the size of the gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it.” -- Eileen Elias Freeman

A Gift from the Heart 

Jim and Martha Cannon have been married 34 years.  When they were dating, Jim did forest management for a church camp in Colorado.  Once when he was cutting down a a tree, he noticed the unusual cross section at the base.  When the tree was young, it had been hit by lightning, creating a scar that the tree grew around to form a heart. It reminded him of Martha and how much he loved her. He saved a cross section and gave it to her for Valentine’s Day.  He said, "When God sent this bolt of lightning down and hit this tree, He knew it would form this Valentine’s Day card from me to you!” For 34 years, it has hung on their wall.  To this day, it remains her favorite gift from him.

Art of the Spark Workshop - July 7, 2012

Any gift from the heart is likely to be appreciated.  Receiving gifts is one of the five love languages, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages.  Couples in thriving relationships are fluent in multiple love languages, especially the ones most important to their beloveds.  Are you expressing your love in a way your sweetheart understands?  Do your efforts ever go unappreciated? 

To find out how to make sure your loving efforts are appreciated, attend the next Art of the Spark Relationship Workshop on Saturday, July 7. It explores love, romance, and fun for couples in committed relationships -- married, engaged, dating or partnered.   

If you are not in a relationship and still want to add more fun to your life, bring a friend. The creative approaches and techniques can benefit all your current -- and future -- relationships. 

In this workshop, you’ll learn how to avoid five common mistakes couple make:

    • Expressing love in ways their partners don’t understand
    • Using surprise when it’s ill advised
    • Staying so busy with other responsibilities that their relationship gets lowest priority
    • Focusing on all work and no play
    • Thinking they can’t afford the time or money to invest in their relationship

Special guest Molly Lord, creator of Tuned-In Workshops, will teach how to use music as a tool to rekindle fun and passion.   When I took Molly’s Tuned-In Workshop last fall, I realized how much music influences all our relationships.  Naturally, I was most interested in how music can enhance our romantic adventures.  After two successful field tests of my own, I asked Molly to join me for the next Art of the Spark Workshop.  To find out more about Molly, go to

Date and Time: July 7, 2012 10:00 am to 4:30 pm

Location:      Pilates Plus Studio, 42 South Raven Mine Drive, Colorado Springs

Cost:       $99 per couple if paid before May 31

               $109 per couple if paid between June 1 and June 30

              $129 per couple if paid between July 1 and July 6

Includes:      The Art of the Spark (one per couple)

              A very romantic lunch

To sign up, click here. 


Schedule Your Own Art of the Spark Workshop

It's easy to host your own Art of the Spark workshop tailored to meet your needs. You provide space for the workshop in your home, office or church, tell your friends about it and I do the rest. When a church or non-profit sponsors the event, 20% of proceeds will be donated to that organization.  

For more information, click here. 

Rave reviews from past participants Art of the Spark Workshops

“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 

“Mary has a wonderful presence and a wealth of information that is invaluable to any relationship.” — David Thomas

“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.”  —Dr. John Daugherty

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

Announcing The Finance of Romance by Leon Scott Baxter

Last year Leon Scott Baxter asked me to write the foreword for his latest book, The Finance of Romance: Investing in Your Relationship Portfolio. I was familiar with his previous books, including A Labor with Love: A Dad’s-to-Be Guide to Romance During Pregnancy. Long time readers of this newsletter may remember Leon from Issue 17 in 2007. After I reviewed The Finance of Romance, I readily agreed to write the foreword.  

Leon applies sound financial principles to relationships: begin investing today, get rid of debt, change spending habits, invest regularly and diversify, assess risks, maintain good credit, and reinvest profits.  No one would doubt the wisdom in this financial advice.  With logic and humor, Leon explains the growth potential by investing in your “relationship portfolio.”   Even small financial sacrifices can result in significant gains.  He makes packing a sack lunch sound downright sexy. 

Reading Leon Scott Baxter's The Finance of Romance is like having a conversation with a very funny, very smart and helpful friend.  You'll laugh out loud, but best of all, when you're done reading you will have a solid plan for romance and finance that will pay beautiful dividends throughout your life.

Buy The Art of the Spark and The Finance of Romance for $20

For a limited time, you can buy The Art of the Spark and The Finance of Romance for $20 (a $30 value). 

Go to to get your copies today.

Food for Celebration

Chile rellenos fans will enjoy these recipes.  The first one is the real deal from old Mexico.  I made them several times to rave reviews.  Then I got lazy and started looking for shortcuts. I added pork and pecans to an old favorite, a chili relleno casserole.  My Americanized version doesn’t look as pretty as the famous Cavazos rellenos, but it took less than half the time.

Maria Eugenia Cavazos’s Chile Rellenos with Pecans and Pork

My dear friend Edna Fallstead and her brother Eduardo Cavazos loved their mother’s chili rellenos. When Eduardo made his mother’s chili rellenos with pork and pecans, I took good notes. They were delicious.   

Chipotle Salsa

Eduardo Cavazos made this tasty salsa to go with the chile rellenos.

Chile Rellenos Casserole with Pecans and Pork 

I love the taste of chile rellenos with fresh chiles, pork and pecan, but I don’t alway have the time to make them.  My Americanized recipe is quick and easy. Using prepared Del Real Carnitas from Costco makes short work of this dish.  If you can’t find prepared carnitas, make pork according to alternate directions.*  Vegetarians can omit the pork.

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 your a life of romantic adventure,

Mary Zalmanek