Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Issue 51 - A Family Reunited

 Quote of the Month

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” -- Walt Disney

A Family Reunited                                                                                    

Sally Hancock Ruport has had one life-long dream, one ever-present longing. In April, 2012, she mustered up the courage to pursue it. 

Sally was born November 19, 1958 and adopted in February 1959.  She and her younger sister, adopted from different birth mothers, grew up in a loving home.  Despite having "everything," she always felt an emptiness, not knowing who her birth parents were.  This feeling was magnified during every special occasion: her 18th birthday; her weddings (first and second); and most recently, her 50th birthday.  Not wanting to cause any hard feelings, Sally decided not to pursue a search until her mother -- the one who raised her -- was gone. Last year, however, her mother encouraged her to find her birthparents before it was too late. 

Sally registered with She made a New Year's resolution in January 2012 to start the search by requesting a copy of her true birth certificate from Massachusetts Vital Records.  When it arrived, her mother's name was there but not her father's.  She started searching her mother’s name online, knowing full well that she had probably married and changed her last name.  After a few weeks of this, she made the decision to hire someone to find her.  Coincidentally, the very next day a thick letter from Brewster, Massachusetts, arrived in her Colorado Springs mail box. It started off "Dear Sally, I believe I am your mother.'  Sally said, “I swear, my heart stopped!”

Long story short, Barbara, who had turned 16 the day Sally was born, had always been looking for her firstborn.  Barbara’s companion, Dave, had been searching adoption sites online for years. Finally, he found Sally on  He suggested they look at Facebook (since EVERYONE is on Facebook).  There she was.  Since Sally didn't have any privacy settings, they could see everything she had posted.  Barbara sat down to compose the most important letter of her life.

 From January until mid-April, their communication was strictly through email.  They sent pictures to each other, shared details of their lives, and grew to know each other gradually.  On Saturday, April 16th, they met at a restaurant in Massachusetts.  They felt more like girlfriends than mother and daughter.  They exchanged gifts and gabbed for a couple of hours.  Then it was time to meet the rest of the family.  

Sally followed Barbara to a welcome-to-the-family party.  Waiting in the front yard were her two half-brothers, a half-sister, four nieces, a nephew, and an aunt and uncle, who had driven from New Hampshire for the big day.  She greeted the youngsters first, working her way up to the adults. Sally had memorized all the names from photographs,  which endeared her to her newfound family from the start. Her brothers gave her big bear hugs. Her sister Cheryl told her she had always wanted a sister. Her siblings had known about her since they were teenagers.  Sally saw pieces of herself in all of them. 

Sally's birth family reunited

Through Facebook, they knew purple was her favorite color. Purple balloons were tied outside the front door.  They made special dishes and served the food on purple plates with matching napkins. Having seen a glass of red wine in one of her Facebook pictures, that’s what they served her to drink.  They made a champagne toast.  She was touched by the pictures her new family members had brought of them growing up.  After reading that she had lost all her Red Sox golf balls, they gave her a new supply. Her siblings presented her with four silver dollars bearing their birth years.  Sally Skyped with a niece, who was away at college.  

“I am now fulfilled,” Sally said. ‘“I see where I get my love of animals, my desire to help others, my ability to turn strangers into friends.  I am so lucky.” She has a big, beautiful new family, and she is proud to be a part of it.  Next month she will attend their annual 4th of July gathering.  

In October, the mother who raised her will meet the mother who birthed her.  This story just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?

Life doesn’t always give us what we want, but in Sally’s case her dream really did come true.                                                   

(In the photograph, Sally is kneeling behind Barbara, her birth mother.)

Art of the Spark Relationship Workshop - July 7, 2012

Whatever your dream, pursue it. If it’s to live happily ever after with your sweetheart, do it. It’s easy. Really. All it takes is undying love, great communication, mutual respect, steadfast commitment, and the ability to have lots of fun and romance with each other. 

Well, maybe that’s not as easy as we thought it would be when we said “I do.” Sometimes life gets in the way and before we know it, we’ve lost that spark. 

To discover hundreds of new ways to reignite the spark -- or keep it lit -- 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. 

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

    • Expressing love in ways their partners don’t understand
    • Using surprise when it’s ill advised
    • Being so busy with other responsibilities that their relationship gets lowest priority
    • Becoming bored because the focus is on all work and no play
    • Thinking they can’t afford to invest time or money 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.  Recently acknowledged as an elite teacher and visionary, Molly was featured in the human potential film, The Keeper of the Keys, with authors Jack Canfield, Marci Shimoff and Dr. John Gray.  

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.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see Molly in an Art of the Spark Relationship Workshop!

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:          $109 per couple if paid before June 30

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

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

                  A very romantic light lunch

To sign up go to

Schedule Your Own Art of the Spark Relationship 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 go to

Rave reviews from past participants Art of the Spark Relationship 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

Last month, my 26-year-old niece Caley Coulson and two of her classmates at the University of Colorado Medical School rode their bicycles from San Diego, California to Saint Augustine, Florida. Jim and I met them with our motorhome in east Texas and tagged along with them through Louisiana. We cooked breakfast and dinner for them, lightened their loads, provided occasional showers and washed their very stinky clothes.     Lest I make it sound like this was all work, I must tell you we had plenty of free time to play golf, kayak, ride bikes and explore local sites.

Since they were burning up to 6,000 calories a day, they had ferocious appetites.  Most of the meals I made for them are posted on my website.  I’m sharing two of their favorite breakfasts that weren’t already there. 

Caramelized Bananas and Pecans over Oatmeal

You can use old-fashioned or steel-cut oatmeal for this dish. This dish is kind of like Bananas Foster, without alcohol, ice cream, or the dramatic presentation with fire. 

Rather than simply slice the bananas, I like to split them down the middle.  I’ve done this ever since I learned that they easily split lengthwise into three sections. Peel the banana, and stick your finger into one end. The banana will split into three as you gently  press it apart.  It’s a great party trick for non-believers.  Then I break sections into bite-sized pieces. 


Nacho Everyday Eggs (also called Migas)

Migas, mis amigas, is a Mexican dish that uses corn tortillas fried in oil, eggs, cheese, salsa and what ever else sounds good, like onions, jalapeños, green chiles, chorizo or cilantro. Nacho Everyday Eggs is my shortcut using ready-made tortilla chips.  When I’m making breakfast for one, I call it good with two eggs and a handful of chips, topped with cheese and salsa.  It’s almost as easy as plain old scrambled eggs.  For company, I’ll sometimes jazz it up with the optional ingredients listed below. 


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

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