Thursday, January 3, 2013

How to Make and Use a Business Success Gris Gris

It's the beginning of the year and a time for reevaluation of things. Many folks continue to struggle and look to all sorts of ways to increase their chances of business success. One of the ways this can be done in the realm of New Orleans Hoodoo is by making a gris gris bag for your business or job. Before you do this you should perform a house, shop and office cleansing for the New Year. You can find an example in my blog post How to Perform a House Cleansing. In addition, you can try Marie Laveau's Floor Wash for Business Success shown in the image below from the Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook that appeared in Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly #2.




Making Your Business Success Gris Gris

Gris gris is a system of magic brought over form Africa by the traditional Bambaran Africans as well as the Muslim marabouts.  Jean Montenet, aka Dr. John, himself a Bambaran, utilized gris gris in his healing practice and was considered a master at his craft. Some speculate Marie Laveau was an apprentice of sorts to Dr. John for awhile and learned the art of gris gris from him. It has also been suggested that her mother was from the Congo, and so she likely learned the art from her mother, as well. Wherever she learned it, and however it ended up in New Orleans is secondary to the  influence it continues to have on New Orleans Voodoo today, thanks to Marie Laveau's business savvy. And all of us professional rootworkers owe a debt to the Mother and Father of New Orleans Voodoo - Dr. John Montenet and Mamz'elle Laveau -  for making a business out of Hoodoo in New Orleans and all along the Southern Bayous.

If you haven't seen my other blog Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, you should take a look at the excerpt on gris gris there for a more in depth background of the practice. You should also refer to the article How to Make a Gris Gris Bag for details on the process that I won't repeat here because I have already written about it in the other article.

So let's make a business gris gris in the Marie Laveau tradition for the New Year. You will need yellow or green flannel or a piece of leather and the following items:

  • Solomon's Seal
  • High John the Conqueror Root
  • Devil's Shoestring
  • Silver mercury dime
  • Black eyed pea
  • Palm ashes
  • Dragon's Blood
  • Personal effect of your own such as fingernail clippings or hair
  • Material effect from your business like a business card or receipt
  • Lodestone
  • Dried toadstool
  • Small piece of pound cake offered to St. Expedite

Copyright 2013 Denise Alvarado
Light a green, yellow or gold candle and hold your bag while focusing on the need or desire you have. Say Psalm 8 twenty-seven times while imagining yourself accomplishing your goal. Once you can say the prayer and have a clear vision of your goal in mind (this does take practice), your gris gris will begin to attract the changes you seek. Do this exercise daily, first thing in the morning or right before bedtime. Feed your gris gris every Friday evening by placing it on a dish of sugar and pouring a few drops of Crown of Success conjure oil onto the ingredients inside the bag. Leave it to sit overnight. It’s okay for the oil to leech into the sugar. In the morning, put the sugar in a bucket of soapy water and wash down the entrance of your business. Keep your gris gris with you if at all possible; women keep it on the left side while men keep them on the right. Anytime you need extra blessings, hold the gris gris in your hands and breathe into it while reciting the prayer.



Psalm 8(KJV)

God's Glory and Man's Honor

To the chief Musician upon Git'tith, A Psalm of David.


O LORD our Lord,
how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength
because of thine enemies,
that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,
the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

what is man, that thou art mindful of him?
and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels,
and hast crowned him with glory and honor.

Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands;
thou hast put all things under his feet:

all sheep and oxen,
yea, and the beasts of the field;

the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea,
and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

O LORD our Lord,
how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

Find a complete selection of authentic New Orleans Gris Gris at Planet Voodoo.
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All text, images and graphics Copyright 2013 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Do not copy without my express permission.

Friday, December 7, 2012

13 Creole Hoodoo Recipes for Le Bon Appétit: Louisiana Money Greens and Magic Money Lamp



Greens of all kinds are popular among Southerners, particularly in rural communities. My grandmother and my mother grew all of greens in their gardens – mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens... There is nothing like the taste of fresh greens cooked down in ham hock gravy or bacon drippings.

Greens are associated with attracting money; hence, the name money greens. Before making this dish, prepare an olive oil money lamp that you can burn in the kitchen while you are cooking. Olive oil is a great choice for making oil lamps because it doesn’t smoke or smell bad like commercially prepared lamp oils. It is also not combustible so even if you drop a match into the oil, it won't catch fire.

Magic Money Lamp

To make your olive oil money lamp, you will need:

  • A small glass jar like a miniature jelly jar
  • or small minced garlic jar with a metal lid
  • A wick
  • Olive oil
  • Money herbs, i.e. basil, mint, cinnamon, sassafras
  • Money drawing conjure oil
  • Petition
  • Piece of pyrite
  • Personal concerns

    1.      Prepare the vessel by washing it with Florida Water or salt water and dress it with Louisiana Van Van Oil. Breathe into the jar and fill it with your breath and say a few words of intention. If you use the Psalms in your work, say the 23rd Psalm.
    2.      Write your petition on a small piece of parchment paper and attach it to the wick with a safety pin or straight pin. This part of the wick should be at the bottom of the jar.
    3.      Poke a hole in the lid of the jar and pull the wick through it so that about a quarter of an inch of wick is coming out of the top of the lamp.
    4.      Place the bottom of the wick with the petition attached in the bottom of the jar.
    5.      Add the herbs, pyrite and personal concerns to the jar and cover with olive oil. Do not fill the jar to the top—you have to leave about a quarter of an inch space from the top. Add a few drops of conjure oil. With each ingredient you add offer it to the four directions and say a short prayer or statement telling each ingredient what you want it to do for you.
    6.     Place the lid on the lamp and light it. Once your lamp is together, say the 23rd Psalm if you do Psalms or say a heartfelt prayer of your own that asks for what you need and offers gratitude to the powers that be for all that you have. 

    Once you have set your lamp, choose one of the following recipes for making your money greens. One is made with ham hocks, and the other with bacon. Either one is absolutely delicious so you can’t go wrong with whichever one you choose. Remember, when you cook greens they will wilt and reduce a lot, so you will have to add more than you may expect if you have never cooked greens before. Another thing is that some folks say greens tend to be bitter. Well, if you pick them when they are young and tender you won’t have to worry about that. Furthermore, it’s a little Creole secret to add a tablespoon of sugar to just about everything and that takes care of any slight hint of bitterness.
    -->


    Here are two recipes for money greens - one with ham hocks, and the other with bacon. Either one is absolutely delicious so you can’t go wrong with whichever one you choose.
     

    MONEY GREENS WITH HAM HOCKS

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 cup wheat flour
    • 2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
    • 1/2 cup chopped celery
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
    • 8 cups Chicken Stock
    • 3 pounds ham hocks (about 4 medium-size hocks)
    • 2 bunches (about 2 1/4 pounds) each of collards, mustard, and turnip greens, thoroughly washed, picked over for blemished leaves, and tough stems removed
    • 1 cup spring water

    DIRECTIONS

    Combine the oil and flour in an 8-quart pot over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, to make a blonde roux, about 8 minutes.

    Add the onions, celery, salt, cayenne, bay leaves, garlic, stock, and ham hocks. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, until the hocks are very tender, about 2 hours.

    Add the greens, by the handful, until all of them are combined in the mixture. They will wilt. Add the water. Simmer until the greens are very tender and the mixture is thick, about 45 minutes.

    Remove the bay leaves and serve warm. Yield: 8 to 10 servings    

    MONEY GREENS WITH BACON

    Some folks say to barely cook the bacon, but I like to cook it through. Also, I cook some extra crispy for sprinkling on top of each serving.

    Ingredients

    • 6 strips thick-sliced bacon
    • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 Tbsp sugar
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • Several dashes hot sauce
    • 1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar
    • 2 pounds collard greens, stems removed, sliced into 3-inch-wide strips (can substitute kale or chard)
    • 1 cup chicken broth (or water)*
    • 2 bay leaves

      DIRECTIONS

      1 Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Cook the bacon in the skillet until it just begins to brown around the edges, stirring occasionally. Add the onions and cook until they have softened and are just starting to brown.

      2 Add the garlic, salt, pepper, sugar and hot sauce. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about a minute. Add the vinegar, bring to a simmer, and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by half, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

      3 Add the collard greens and the chicken broth (or water) and bring to a simmer. Reduce the temp to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the collard greens have wilted and have lost their brightness. Season to taste with hot sauce. Serve with some of the pan juices from the pan. Serves 6 to 8.

      *Excerpt from the book 13 Creole Hoodoo Recipes for Le Bon Appétit by Denise Alvarado. All content and images on this blog are copyright 2012 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Do not reblog or reuse without my permission.

      Thursday, December 6, 2012

      Custom Devotional Altar Dolls



      Mad busy this time of year with Custom Voodoo Devotional Altar Dolls! Tell me who you want and I will make it for you! These custom devotional altar dolls are lovingly constructed from a base of sticks and Spanish moss in true New Orleans Voodoo folk art tradition. They are self standing and measure around 10 to 12 inches tall. No spirit is off limits, we are inspired to create sacred spiritual art from any tradition to suit your needs. We use the finest fabrics, lace brocade, ribbons and fancy yarns, feathers, beads, leather, fur, and semi precious stones. The faces are hand sculpted out of polymer clay and painted. All of our dolls are anointed with highly perfumed, exotic oils. Put the icing on your favorite altar with one of our one of a kind devotional altar dolls. Order now and get your order by Christmas! Pictured is Serket. You can see all my dolls at Planet Voodoo www.planetvoodoo.com and purchase from that site if you prefer or crossroadsmojo.com.






      Tuesday, December 4, 2012

      Indian Spirit Hoodoo: Working with an Indian Medicine Bag

      A few of my medicine bags


      In order to understand how to work a medicine bag, we need to define medicine as it is understood in the Indian worldview. To the Native American, medicine refers to anything mysterious, magical, spiritual and supernatural. It is the roots, stones, sticks, and bones of conjure. The three most powerful forms of Indian medicine are water, tears, and laughter (Gene Thin Elk, personal communication, 1994).

      A medicine bag is very much like a mojo bag. They are worn or carried on the person for any number of purposes and often the same bag is used for a multitude of purposes, i.e. protection, healing, dream enhancement, and empowerment. Medicine bags can be made for yourself or for other people, just like a mojo or gris gris bag.

      Medicine bags are used somewhat differently than mojo and gris gris bags, however. For example, once a mojo bag or gris gris is made, we don't open it up and mess around with the things inside unless we are taking it apart or recharging it. With your medicine bag, you can take an object out, talk to it and ask it for guidance. Ask it for its medicine. For example, if you are feeling scared or apprehensive about something and you have a bear claw in your medicine bag, you can take the bear claw out of the bag and ask the bear for its medicine or protection, strength, and courage. When you are done, place the claw back in the bag and carry the bag with you as usual.

      As you can see from the photographs, medicine bags come in all shapes and sizes. I have quite a few medicine bags, these are but a few. I have a special medicine bag that holds corn pollen and a separate one that hold my tobacco. I have several smaller medicine bags that are held inside a larger medicine bag, and those inside an even larger medicine bag. The different bags contain different medicines that I use frequently and are not to be mixed with other herbs. When I am sitting in the darkness of the sweat lodge for example, I cannot see, but I can feel which bag has my cedar when I want to sprinkle some on the hot elders (stones) inside.

      Medicine bags will contain special objects of power or "tokens" given to a person as well as power objects found in the natural environment that speak to the person finding it. Unlike gris gris bags which typically do not have more than 13 items and always an odd number in them, a medicine bag can contain as many items as a person wants. Sometimes people will consciously only keep as many items as a sacred number, but that is not a hard and fast rule. Sacred numbers for Indians are 4 (for the four sacred directions - North, East, South, West) 7 (for the seven sacred directions - North, East, South, West, Father Sky, Mother Earth, and Self),  21 (seven times 3) and 28 (seven times four).

      There is a lot of misinformation on the web about Native American spirituality and culture, including misinformation about the basics of a medicine bag. According to one website for example, "A Native American medicine bag doesn't necessarily contain medicine. Instead, in Native American culture, items are placed inside the small bag that holds a spiritual significance to the wearer." This statement was obviously written by someone who doesn't have a clue as to what constitutes Native American medicine. The contents inside the bag ARE the medicine. The medicine comes from the realms of animal, plant, mineral, and human and yes, they hold spiritual significance to the wearer, but they also heal and empower.

      "To enhance the supernatural and spiritual abilities of the wearer, healers often use the contents to perform the ritual known as vision quest." Again, a misinformed writer. The Vision Quest ceremony has nothing to do with the contents of your medicine bag. The Vision Quest has everything to do with increasing one's own understanding of self/community/the world and one's relationship to the community and the world (meaning Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants, great and small, four-legged, two-legged, eight-legged or no legs, as well as all of her processes). The Vision Quest or hunblecha is one of the Seven Sacred Rites of the Lakota people. Traditionally, this ceremony is conducted in places considered sacred such as The Black Hills and the Badlands. Bear Butte is a traditional site for hunblecha. Often a person will discover their animal spirit guides during the ceremony, but the contents of a medicine bag are not used to perform the ceremony itself.

      The Thunder Beings (Wakinyan) live in the Black Hills according to Lakota tradition. At White Horse Mountain, where I participated in my first vision quest, the ancestors still dance and they can be seen and heard in the stillness of that ceremony.

      Anything that speaks to you strongly can go into your medicine bag. Some typical tokens found in medicine bags include:

      Plant Kingdom 

      • Sage 
      • Cedar 
      • Sweetgrass 
      • Corn 
      • Beans 
      • Seeds 
      • Tobacco 
      • Corn pollen 
      • Corn meal 
      • Roots

      Animal Kingdom 

      • Bones 
      • Teeth 
      • Scales 
      • Lock of hair or mane 
      • Claw or nail 
      • Feather 
      • Shell

      Mineral Kingdom 

      • Stone fetish 
      • Arrowhead 
      • Stones 
      • Crystals
      • Dirts

      Human Kingdom

      • Coin 
      • Key 
      • Photo 
      • Bullet

      In order to find your medicine, you will have to take regular Nature Walks if you are not the outdoorsy type. Don't just pick up anything, there has to be a strong and clear connection between you and it. You will know when you hold it in your hands and see it. Talk to it and ask it what lessons it has for you. Then, write down any insights you receive in your medicine journal. 

      To learn more about Native American concepts and their connection to Southern Rootwork and Hoodoo, check out the course Indian Spirit Hoodoo: Working with Black Hawk and Indian Spirit Guides in the Southern Conjure Tradition. In addition to learning about how to work with Black Hawk and Indian Spirit guides, this course teaches about Indian medicine, herbalism and curios, provides and Indian conjure formulary, several tutorials and a variety of works. It also discusses working with other Indian Spirits such as Red Hawk, White Eagle, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and Sitting Bull. In addition you will learn about Thunder Medicine and how to make Thunderbolt Powder and hands. I guarantee you you will learn things in this course you will not find anywhere else.



      *The above article is excerpted from Indian Spirit Hoodoo:Working with Black Hawk and Indian Spirit Guides in the Southern Conjure Tradition by Denise Alvarado.

      *All contents of this article including text and photos are copyright 2012 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Do not copy and reuse without my permission.

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      Sign up for the Indian Spirit Hoodoo Course now and get started within 24 hours! Cost includes the book and a kit. Questions? Feel free to post them in the comments section below or email me.

      $74.95

       


      Monday, December 3, 2012

      Cute Puppies and Sons of Bitches


      So, many of you know of the falling out between myself and my former business partner earlier this year which I have laid to rest a long time ago. I have refrained from publicly assassinating her as she did me, and only wish her well. After all, I have way too many things going on to focus on nurturing negativity. And that god awful rip off report full of lies, well she did issue somewhat of an apology and indicated she would like the initial report she made removed. Unfortunately most people don't read through the entire dissertation of a report...but if you did, you would find this at the end of it all:
      But in the end, this is all too mean-spirited for me, it`s not at all descriptive of what I`m really like. That`s why I`ll endeavor to remove any and all negative comments I`ve made about her and her businesses or work. The truth is that I do admire Denise`s artistic talents, and I`ve always found her to be an intelligent and congenial person. I do not want to feel this kind of anger or pain any longer, and I don`t want to block Denise`s ability to make a living. And so I would urge others to go ahead and order from her.
      Truth is, that site is a scam in and of itself. The only way you can have reports removed is if you pay the owner $2000.00 and even then all they do is "amend" the report, so it stays there. I don't know how they get away with it. The site may have some legitimate complaints, but there has been an alarming trend of people using it to air dirty laundry between personal relationships, as a means for getting even with an enemy or simply used as a means to discredit someone for whom they have a chip on their shoulder.

      Take this recent report, for example, written by one transparent little man under the name  "New Orleans Internet" about me:
      Denise Alvarado Planet Voodoo Crossroads University, Hoodoo Almanac, Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly ...psychology Internet

      How can this woman be allowed to get away with what she does? I sent her lots of money for voodoo dolls and hoodoo spell products, all of it worthless. Took months for me to get this crap also. The dolls are cheap looking. Other stuff just didn`t work but I was desperate when I tried this. She claims to be a "pipe carrier" of a native american tribe that has no pipe carriers. http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=3857.0  She`s a member of professional organizations that take anybody who will pay the entrance fee (e.g. one organization of "native american" "anthropologists"). Her books are full of stolen or inaccurate info. Next I`m filing a better business bureau report. I suppose in some ways I deserve what I got. What kind of idiot believes in this stuff right? I can be happy even if I have been ripped-off so long as I can help others to avoid her and those associated with her. Oh that is a "madrina angelique" (crossroads mamas is another con site they run).  
      Baron Samedi on Blue Bloods

      First of all, if this were a real customer, I would have heard from them and they would use their real name. Legitimate complaints are typically done by people using their real names, especially those who threaten to file BBB reports. This person did neither because they never were a customer and therefore cannot file a BBB report. That in and of itself is proof of THEIR fraudulence. Secondly, anyone who has ever bought a doll of mine knows my art is nothing cheap....they are very well made, very powerful, and full of spirit, so much so they have been used by several TV shows including National Geographic's Taboo, Blue Bloods and Vampire Diaries as well as thousands of satisfied customers over a period of 8 years.

      The issue of being a pipe carrier is simply a matter of the person distorting my words to suit their agenda. I am indeed a pipe carrier, but I am also Cherokee. Most tribes have sacred pipes, you imbecil. The title of Pipe Carrier comes from the Lakota religion, the Way of the Sacred Pipe. One of my teachers was Lakota, and I have been to Sundance. I am not Lakota, so I do not call myself a Lakota Pipe Carrier...THAT would be fraudulent. I do admit that folks who are unfamiliar with Native American traditions could easily be confused and so I have clarified the language on my site. However you slice this loaf of bread, there is nothing that this person can say or do to change the fact that I am who I say I am and I have LIVED the life of a native person. Not something someone who dresses up like an Indian on Halloween can ever do or change. It must really irk him to know that I am what he wants to be so his way of dealing with that is to trash my name.

      "She`s a member of professional organizations" - another idiotic statement. Like this is something bad. Of course I am a member of professional organizations, I am a member of the American Anthropological Association and a member of the Association for Indigenous Anthropologists. Professional organizations are something most academics subscribe to...this is evidence of the professional academic keeping up on the latest research in their area of expertise and affiliation with said profession. The Association of Indigenous Anthropologists seeks to advance anthropological study relating to Indigenous peoples, both past and present among other things. To join the AIA Section of AAA, you have to be a member of the American Anthropological Association. "Anyone" can not just join. My professional life has been for years dedicated to the advocacy and support of indigenous peoples; my thesis  and dissertation are both on Native American issues. Native American issues is my area of professional and personal expertise. There is nothing fraudulent about that, nothing shameful about that...except on the part of the person who wrote this report. I guarantee you this person has never been where I have been, seen the things I have seen, and helped as many people as I have helped from the third world areas of the country called reservations. So before you slam me for being a professional, do your homework.

      The other place where this issue was raised was at the new age fraud forum. Again, pretty transparent as to who the folks are doing the "reporting". I have written the owner of the forum disputing the report, and like most scam sites, I never got a response. Obviously they don't do their homework. One person there even said I was confused about my Aztec ancestry. Really? No my friend, you are confused.

      Next, "her book is full of stolen or inaccurate info". Funny how the trio of my main haters have all accused me of this yet no one has been able to produce a single substantiated example. The reason? There's nothing to the accusation. I have cited my information like a scholar even in my popular books that don't require such stringent citations.  I have given credit where credit is due. Next...

      Filing a Better Business report...where is it my dear hater? Well, in order to file a complaint with the BBB you have to have made a purchase somewhere along the line and of course, this person has never made a purchase so they can't file a report. 

      And the "what kind of person believes in this stuff" comment, need I really address that? Obviously a poor attempt at trying to present themselves as a victim. Anyone who lives a spiritual life believes in something spiritual, even the person who wrote the complaint. Sad they have to resort to such low life tactics in their attempts to get even. Not very spiritual behavior for someone supposedly so spiritual.

      And finally, "...help others to avoid her and those associated with her." The mention of Madrina's name is a dead giveaway for who this person is. Stupid fool can't even get the name of our supposed "con" website right. It's not crossroads mamas you idiot, our website is Crossroads Mojo  and our Etsy shop is Crossroads Mojo as well (and we are having a 50% off sale now until December 22, by the way so check it out). Yet another example of acting with a hot head, not doing your research and simply acting out of meanness. This reflects YOUR character, not mine.


      Now, the million dollar question I have been asked is, why? Why are these people writing this crap about you? Well, it all started when I kicked him out of my FB group and forum for being disrespectful.  That's it. I never said anything publicly, I never made a big deal out of it. People remove people from groups all the time, but to hold a grudge about it like this and 8 months later still playing this character assassination game? Really?

      And a little tidbit of information...let's see how can I put this...well, the title he once held is not longer his because...of the very same arrogant and disrespectful behavior he displayed in my group. Now it must have been really bad to lose your t-t-t-title. That almost never happens. And it all could have been avoided with a simple apology...not to me but to his elders. But when people are more concerned about being right than doing right, well it'll bite them in the ass in the end every time.

      Now, how has this dishonest rip off report affected me and my business? Fantastic! I have just signed another contract with Weiser books for my second book with them and I couldn't be happier. ALL of my websites are doing fabulous, I am making more friends with wonderful people on a daily basis, and I have learned who my real, true, close friends really are. My FB group Hoodoo and Conjure Magazine is an incredible group of supportive people...more like family than just a group (if you want to join, pm me on FB and I will add you). My forum boasts more than 1300 people, our student body is growing every day, and I have more trail blazing projects on the horizon that are going to make 2013 even better. A famous author once told me, if they aren't writing negative reviews or hatin' then you aren't doing something right. So thanks, my haters! Because with as much as you hate, I must be doing a whole lot right.







       * Article and images are copyright 2012 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide.
       * Image of demon coming out of the man's mouth from http://www.fantasy-workshop.com/faw/image-files/demon-clip-art-13.png and is in the public domain.


      Oh, I almost forgot! I had originally wanted to share some photos of my cute puppies and how to bless your animal friends but then got sidetracked. So, I'll save that for another post. In the meantime, here's one of my favorite pics of Zephyr. Oh, and he does have a Facebook page if you want to head over there and show him some love by liking it;) Zephyr's Facebook page