Birthday wishes ...

Happy 26th Birthday, Jared!

Happy 25th Birthday, Ashley!

12.29.2008 - Winding down ...

Well here's hoping that you all had a happy Christmas and that you found that Red Ryder BB gun, Chatty Cathy doll (or it's grownup equivalent) under your tree. (Man, I dated myself on that one, huh?)

I love Christmas and all the things that come with it -- the baking, the decorating, the seeing friends and family. But I'm just as happy to lay off the sugar, undecorate the house and go back to being a hermit --- (but, shhh! don't tell anybody!)

This was a really good Christmas. Four years ago we took Jared to Phoenix to attend school and only a few short weeks later, we lost my dad. So two of my favorite men were "gone" from my life in a way I was used to having them. This was the first Christmas Jared was "home" and the big bonus was that he brought Mikey and Hannah home, too! I loved it .. it made me happier than I can express but I couldn't help but think about all the Moms (& Dads) who were still missing their boys and girls who spent Christmas in Iraq or Afghanistan or any of the other places we send our military in times of (so much!) trouble. Worse yet were the families who won't ever share Christmas with their loved ones again ...

My favorite Christmas moment this year was surprising my mom (circa 1925) with an electric keyboard. Three years ago she sold her home and moved here, to the country, with us. Many of the "treasures" she had acquired over a lifetime shared with my dad were sold or packed away. One of the things she parted with was her antique piano. All my life she has enjoyed playing the piano and we thought the keyboard would give her something to do, keep her mind alert and bring a fair amount of happiness. To say that it was a hit is a major understatement.

There was another first this year -- TREY had his first Christmas and I think he had a pretty good time. Boys of all ages love Tonka trucks, just ask Trey's daddy. Ashley surprised us this year with a floor show while dressed in her red footy pj's (a gift from Papa Dave). Who knew she could lip sync so well to "Say A Little Prayer For You"? It's all on video ... and is bound to be used as leverage at some point in the future. Blackmail .. it does a body good!

We got so many nice Christmas cards this year (thanks everybody!) -- it made me feel extra guilty that I never actually got around to addressing and sending mine. (And I was so proud of myself last year when I bought them on sale after Christmas.) I am a big Card Junkie -- and this year the winner, hands down, came from a collector friend in Montana. This woman's attraction to raven anything is borderline compulsive (but in a GOOD way!) and it's clear that she spends a lot of time searching for just the right card. - CHECK them OUT!
You have to look closely but the requisite raven is there. I just love the creative birdiness of this card. It's called "OOOOOH ... SHINY!" and it's a block print by the talented Rick Allen of Kenspecklepress. You MUST visit this site if you love the outdoors and creative, funky art. Also -- they are really nice people. I wrote and told them how much I LOVED this card and Rick wrote me back. I love it when people write me back ... So CHECK them out.

So here we are at the end of another year. It's been a year of changes and blessings for Dave and I. We moved (for the last time, PLEASE God) into our new house on the hill. In April we received the most precious baby grandson and in July we got Jared & crew home. We survived Ike! And Dave managed to avoid having any medical emergencies all year long and Darlene didn't get snakebit or attacked by wild pigs (like Dave was SURE she would while tramping around in the woods) and Mom's health is pretty good for an "old chick". Oh sure, there were challenges and we lost some dear friends .. but it's all part of life .. and it's about how you handle the challenges, right?

I try to remember on a daily basis that we have much to be grateful for. And I make every effort to express that gratitude to God, to the man who carries my groceries, to the lady at the post office who always seems happy to see us (even when we arrive with an armload of parcels!), to Dave who makes me laugh every day ... Life is so precious and so short so don't waste it being miserable, grumpy or sad!

This is the last missive until we launch the updated & we have new Zuni fetishes ready to share, so I'll end this by saying Dave and I wish you all a healthy and happy New Year. We're thankful for each of you - our collector buddies and our carver friends - and all that you bring to our lives.
Peace to you and yours in 2008
Be well and all the best in 2009!
12.29.2008 - Darlene

12.24.08 Merry Christmas from Dave & Darlene

Christmas Eve, 1881
Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures.

But Pa didn't get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity. Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard.

"Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight." I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what..

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn't happy.

When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said. "Here, help me." The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on. After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood - the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something.

"Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?"

"You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I'd been by, but so what?

"Yeah," I said, "Why?"

"I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out of wood, Matt." That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him.

We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

"What's in the little sack?" I asked.

"Shoes, they're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little candy."

We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?"

"Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?" Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

"We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children - sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, butit wouldn't come out.

"We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said. He turned to me and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up."

I wasn't the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd never known before, filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us."

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it. Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine. At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell." I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, May the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will."

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that,but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand."

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children. For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.

Origin Unknown

Dave and I send you and your family our warmest wishes for happy, healthy and safe Christmas season and a New Year filled with blessings!

“Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”

- Oren Arnold

12.19.08 Collecting Zuni Fetishes

In an effort to continue educating folks about the joy and wonder of collecting Zuni fetishes, I have just published this article to Your comments and suggestions are always welcome!

12.17.08 Merry Christmas, Ya'll!


Twas The Night Before Christmas: Texas Style

'Twas the night before Christmas, in Texas, you know.
Way out on the prairie, without any snow.
Asleep in their cabin, were Buddy and Sue,
A dreamin' of Christmas, like me and you.

Not stockings, but boots, at the foot of their bed,
For this was Texas, what more need be said,
When all of a sudden, from out of the still night,
There came such a ruckus, it gave me a fright.

and I saw 'cross the prairie, like a shot from a gun,
A loaded up buckboard, come on at a run,
The driver was "Geein" and "Hawin", with a will,
The horses (not reindeer) he drove with such skill.

"Come on there Buck, Poncho, & Prince, to the right,
There'll be plenty of travelin' for you all tonight."
The driver in Levi's and a shirt that was red,
Had a ten-gallon Stetson on top of his head.

As he stepped from the buckboard, he was really a sight,
With his beard and moustache, so curly and white.
As he burst in the cabin, the children awoke,
and were so astonished, that neither one spoke.

and he filled up their boots with such presents galore,
That neither could think of a single thing more.
When Buddy recovered the use of his jaws,
He asked in a whisper, "Are you really Santa Claus?"

"Am I the real Santa? Well, what do you think?"
and he smiled as he gave a mysterious wink.
Then he leaped in his buckboard, and called back in his drawl,
"To all the children in Texas, Merry Christmas, Ya’ll"

Last (????) Mark Down

All of the sale items have been reduced AGAIN .. I think we're just about as low as we can go but who knows how this limbo dance will go! There are some nice fetishes here guys .. don't miss this opportunity to snatch up some good deals while we're in a 'git er done' mood!


Look for a fresh coat of paint and all the furniture to be rearranged after the new year. I have a low boredom threshold and as much as I have enjoyed this particular design for Zuni Spirits, I decided it was time for a change. Soooo, all thru the holidays I will be working my little coding fingers to the bone to make things all fresh and bright for the New Year. Don't worry it won't be DRASTICALLY different. You'll still recognize the place but,as usual, if you find a bug (or two) .. please let me know. I make every effort to be PERFECT ... well, just think how BORING that would be! HA!

Guess that's it for this week. I can't believe that Christmas Eve is just a week away. Don't forget to remember how magical and joyful you were at age eight. Let's all be EIGHT again!

Merry Christmas!

December 12, 2008

Bear Brochure for Nepal

I had a request to post the brochure that Dave and I made to accompany the bears on their journey to Nepal. These images are clickable so that you can see the fullsize document. One side is a letter from Governor Norman Cooeyate with the Nepali translation below. The other side is the briefest description of the six directional animals as well as a little bit about Zuni Pueblo.

Click me to view larger - Letter from Governor Norman Cooeyate to the girls in Nepal Brochure accompanying the Bears on their journey to Nepal

SNOW in Texas!

I know it must seem strange to all of you who deal with this stuff for months on end -- but snow in Texas is a HUGE event and makes little kids out of all us. Yesterday we had quite a bit of snow in SE Texas and today I received this photo from my cousin who lives in Galveston - GALVESTON! He actually received more snow that we did up here in the woods. It's nice to know that we all have a little childhood left in us and all it takes is a little snow to make it come out and play.

Snow in Galveston, Texas Dec. 10, 2008

A few more items on SALE

We've marked a few more items for discount on the site so this pretty much wraps it up for the year. We will continue to ship via priority insured through December 17th. After that, it's probably best to ship via express mail if Christmas arrival is desired. Remember that we're happy to gift wrap at no charge and ship with a gift card to your recipient!
We thank all of you who "found" us this year .. and we especially thank all of you who have been part of the Zuni Spirits Family for years. As I have often stated, Dave and I feel really blessed to have this opportunity to share Zuni art with all of you. Our gratitude to the carvers and their families and to all our friends in Zuni. Merry Christmas and a healthy Happy New Year to you all!
WAS - $175. - NOW $135.WAS - $125. - NOW $75.WAS - $48. - NOW $36.WAS - $75. - NOW $54.WAS - $60. - NOW $45.WAS - $75. - NOW $48.WAS - $65. - NOW $45.WAS - $65. - NOW $48.WAS - $54. - NOW $42.WAS - $60. - NOW $45.WAS - $165. - NOW $125.WAS - $65. - NOW $45.WAS - $65. - NOW $48.WAS - $75. - NOW $45.ROCK BOTTOM PRICE is $24.WAS - $95. - NOW $75.WAS - $125. - NOW $85.WAS - $60. - NOW $42.

My Daddy, 1947
8.24.19 - 12.11.04
For Daddy