Today is the beginning of the second three-day focus on the attributes of a different Goddess who is most worshiped during the Hindu celebration of Navratri. She is Goddess Lakshmi, bringer of wealth and good luck. Let's focus on the idea of wealth. When we first hear the word, many of us think about monetary wealth. However, there is a much deeper meaning ... that of abundance. Feminine energy has the ability to bring forth, to birth, abundance that is beyond the imagination, in every aspect of our lives. Female energy is fertile, able to create a beautiful life and future, shine forth and bring wisdom into view, all with grace and beauty. All of these are attributes of Goddess Lakshmi, qualities we all have within us. Qualities I celebrate within myself and within all of you (male and female, alike).

End of Day 3:

Jim here... As you may have noticed, Pure Jeevan was offline for the past week. I wish this absence had been for some pleasant reason that I could now write about. But, in truth, it was because my mother passed away last Thursday afternoon. It's not easy to write about so soon afterward; we're all painfully unprepared to describe my mother using the past tense. Her passing still just doesn't seem real to me or to anyone who knew her.She was without a doubt a remarkably beautiful, happy, and loving person who, for 65+ years, really made a difference in a lot of people's lives.

Beyond her ties to Wendi, KDcat, and me, she was also known to some Pure Jeevan family members as well as others in the raw food community. She appeared here just a few months ago to share a raw hummus recipe. And, I know she had visited and/or joined a few other raw foods sites during the past two years. She really did have an interest in it, and always loved her veggies and a good salad. In fact, she was one of those people who actually ate fairly healthfully, relatively speaking, yet still faced serious health challenges.

Before officially starting the new year, I'd like to acknowledge the changes and growth that took place over the past year. It was a whirlwind of changes, sometimes so dizzying that I wondered what I was doing and occasionally questioned whether, or not, I was making mistakes with my life. I followed my intuition, however, and it served me well. I'm here today, remembering the past year and ready to announce plans for this new year that has just begun. It's a beautiful life, isn't it Even when things seem dark and like there is a lot of pain, there is a tremendous amount of potential for new growth and a brighter life than ever imagined.

I ended 2008, perched on a summit and ready to take flight. Before I fly, however, I'm standing still for a bit and enjoying the view. I feel like the entire past year consisted of climbing to higher and higher plateaus of an enormous mountain. While climbing to each new plateau I stumbled, held on for dear life, saw amazing things, and became stronger.When reaching each new plateau, I'd spread my wings and leap, circling the mountain's circumference. But, I wasn't strong enough to fly straight to the peak. It was a year of gradual growth and change -- and I found myself becoming stronger and stronger as I reached the summit.I'm certainly not the same person who started this climb. I have transformed into a more genuine version of myself, a younger and stronger woman emerging from a lifetime of guilt and fear. As I stand on this summit, I feel youthful and invigorated. What lies ahead may be unknown to me, but I know it's within my ability to fly to the highest heights of ANY mountain, to see and do and experience ALL that I desire. It's going to be an incredible future and I look forward to sharing it with all of you!

In recognizing all of the accomplishments of 2008, I think it's important to admit that it wasn't one steady climb to the point I'm at today.The few years prior to 2008 were almost like my training in mountain climbing. Last year there were a lot of tears shed, along with a releasing of physical and emotional baggage that was still clinging to me. I openly shared what I was going through, however, after learning that keeping things inside was slowly killing my spirit. I think if I had to sum up 2008 in just one sentence it would be: In finally releasing everything, I woke up as my true self.

As I write this, Wendi and KDcat have been en route to Portland for 39+ hours so far (including a long layover in Chicago)! Looks like they still have another 22 or so hours to go. What a monumental trip, eh ! Cross-country travel by rail really gives you a better appreciation for the distance, as compared with air travel or even highway travel. Imagine what it must have been like in the covered-wagon days!

So far, reports from the train have been not so wonderful. KDcat seems to be having a good time roaming around socializing. But, Wendi's experiencing some major motion sickness. Oddly, we never anticipated this problem -- which is incredible, as we spent more than a month planning this trip! But, it just goes to show you that you cannot anticipate everything in life!

How does the following menu* sound for your Thanksgiving meal

Nut Loaf, Apple un-stuffing, Mac Mushroom gravy,

The My Raw Story series was a wonderful success. We had many comments here on the blog as well as numerous emails thanking us for running the extremely inspirational series. Thank you, again, to all of you who opened your hearts and shared your stories with everyone. Sharing our personal stories can bring about remarkable changes in others who feel inspired by what we've shared. In return, they too may one day share their stories to further help even more individuals. It's beautiful how we can all support and motivate one another, isn't it !

Even though the My Raw Story series has ended, we'd be very happy to run it again with more stories. If any of you have your own raw story, or know somone else who does, and would like to share it as part of a future My Raw Story series, please let us know. We are happy to do anything we can to help others share their stories, especially when doing so is a powerful way to continue inspiring others.

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

A while ago, I received an email asking whether I had any thoughts on how old or young a person needs to be in order to benefit from a raw food diet. Yes. Yes, I do have thoughts on that! Lots of thoughts! ... Here goes:

The easy answer, of course, is that people of ALL ages can (and should) benefit from raw foods. I can assert with confidence that, for most people, increasing your intake of raw fruits and vegetables will likely bring about positive changes to your health, regardless of your age, dietary habits, or current state of health. (Naturally, reducing or eliminating the "bad" things is also paramount.)

All this week we're continuing to feature a variety of answers to the question "Are Raw Foodists Crazy " from various friends of Pure Jeevan. If you're just now tuning in, please read the back story and introduction to this, as posted on Monday.But, for now, let's continue with posting the rest of the excellent responses sent in! Enjoy!! :-)

Jim here with a weird little story for today... I was at a business seminar early this morning and someone I know came up behind me at the buffet and said, "I'm getting in line behind you to see what you eat. You've lost weight and I want to lose weight, too."

"Well, it's no secret," I replied. "Just chow down on all of this great fruit they have." (I'd already piled my plate high with honeydew, cantaloupe, pineapple, and strawberries.)

I have enjoyed including information about new people, companies, and sites here in our blog for you to meet each Tuesday. Today, however, I want to do something a little bit different. Instead of someone or something being introduced to you, I'd love for YOU to introduce yourself to ME!

Take the time for ME to meet...