Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Issue 52 - A Memorable Birthday

Quote of the Month

“Love withers with predictability; its very essence is surprise and amazement. To make love a prisoner of the mundane is to take away its passion and lose it forever.” -- Leo Buscaglia

A Memorable Birthday

Renee’s husband, Patrick, is anything but predictable.  As her 60th birthday approached, Patrick and her best friend Paula put their heads together to come up with a memorable plan.  Paula suggested a surprise trip to New York City.   Paula and Renee had spent one day in the city in 2010.  After their whirlwind trip, Renee mentioned to Paula that she would like to go back some day and spend more time there. Since Patrick liked Paula’s suggestion, he got busy on the Internet researching activities and accommodations. 

One morning several years ago Patrick announced to Renee, “Guess what! We’re flying to Las Vegas this afternoon.” Since then she has insisted on a one-week notice on future trips. True to his word, one week before their scheduled departure, he gave her a birthday card that told her to pack her bags for New York City. She was surprised and had a thousand questions, most of which he would not answer.  He simply said to pack everything from tennis shoes to evening dress, and left it at that.  She wanted to know if he had anything planned.  He said he had things planned every day.  Each morning she would wake up and open a letter with that day’s activities.

They saw Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway, went on a dinner cruise by the Statue of Liberty, went on a food tour in Soho, and toured Rockefeller Plaza and the Empire State Building. Renee loved it all. On the last day she opened the activity letter that announced a  5-1/2-hour bike tour.  She looked at him and asked, "What were you thinking? Are you trying to kill me on Manhattan’s busy streets?" Despite initial protests, Patrick reported that “she was a trouper and rode the entire bike route.”

Renee and Patrick had a great time in New York.  When she returned home to Denton, Texas, she assumed the celebration was over.  Patrick had one more surprise in store her her, one that he had been planning for six months with friends and family via email.  Paula gave her a gift of a massage, which got her out of the house for a few hours.  During this time the margarita machine was delivered, a Mexican buffet was spread out, and the mariachi band arrived. 

When Renee returned from her massage, she was expecting to go out to dinner with her children.  She was standing in the front yard of their house in their adult (55-plus) community when she noticed a parade of "old people" coming toward them. It was led by a person playing a guitar, singing “When The Saints Go Marching In.”  She said, "Let’s go in the back yard until they pass."  Her granddaughter said, "Grandma, you really don't want to do that."  She looked at Patrick and asked, “What have you done now?” Patrick shrugged and grinned.  With rising excitement, Renee recognized the faces in the crowd. The party was on!  About 200 friends and family had arrived to celebrate this special occasion. Renee felt very loved and honored.

Art of the Spark Relationship Workshop - October 27, 2012 

Patrick sure sets the bar high for husbands everywhere, right?  Not necessarily!  You can relax, guys.  And gals, too, in this world of equal rights. 

Not everyone is comfortable with surprise, or has the budget for something like this.  While this adventure was perfect for Renee and others who love surprise, some might not want such an elaborate production. How you react to the unexpected can be predicted by your Surprise Tolerance Type.  This is something I developed to help people figure out how much surprise is wise when planning romantic adventures for their beloveds. 

To discover hundreds of way to express your love and celebrate your sweetheart -- with and without surprise, many of them for $50 or less -- attend the next Art of the Spark Relationship Workshop on Saturday, October 27. It explores love, romance, and fun for couples in committed relationships -- married, engaged, dating or partnered.  You’ll find out how easy it is to have romantic adventures on any budget. 

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: October  27, 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 October 20

$129 per couple if paid between October 21 and 26

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

A very romantic light lunch

To register, click here. 

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).  Click here to get your copies today.

Food for Celebration

If you read my last newsletter, you heard about my niece Caley Coulson, her bike trip across the US with two classmates, and the food I made for them to satisfy their voracious appetites. When she graduated from medical school two months later, she took the opportunity to feed her family.  The day before graduation she and nine other young women in her class treated their mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters to high tea at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. 

After the graduation ceremony, she hosted a picnic in the park for the entire family -- she felt bad about slighting her father, brothers and uncles the day before. In the midst of all the hoopla, she found time to make two appetizers, five salads, and a dessert.  

I’m sharing three of my favorite recipes with you. Caley likes to tinker in the kitchen, substituting favorite ingredients in published recipes, not measuring anything, and stopping when it tastes right.  I made her recipes, carefully measuring so I could share them with you.  

Mango Chicken Salad with Agave Vinaigrette

Edamame Corn Salad

Apple Kale Salad

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