To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy! (Today's "My Raw Story" is also a special installment for our Diabetes Awareness Week!)

Hi everyone! It's Wendi here, back to updating the blog and giving Jim a much-needed break. ;-) He did an amazing job with all he did while we were away (his full time corporate job; assisting me with a part-time computer job; keeping the house ready for realtors and potential buyers to stop by; dealing with some sad issues around our dog, Julia; connecting with our hosts and those requesting meetups/talks across the country; catching up with KDcat and I for a bit each evening to hear how we were doing; collecting pictures/videos/notes from me to then go through and create blog posts for all of you; helping friends fix up their attic into a useable place; and so much more)! He missed us a lot, and we missed him a lot, too.

So, here we pick up from where we left off with our travels yesterday...

It wasn't easy leaving Arizona. KDcat and I both wished we had more time to play on the rocks in Sedona. But, we'll keep that for a time when all three of us (next time with Jim) can be there to experience the wonder of that beautiful place. So, it was off to New Mexico! Since our host in Albuquerque was going to be busy until the evening, we slept in a bit before leaving Arizona.

In Albuquerque, NM, we stayed in the home of the beautiful Darshanie, who was out of the country visiting her daughter and attending the wedding of her brother. I met Darshanie at the Peaceful Valley Ashram a few years ago (the same ashram where I held a raw food spiritual retreat). She's one of Leela Mata's beautiful and talented daughters, creating candles which she sells as well as offering intuitive readings [click here to learn more about Darshanie]. It was wonderful to be invited to stay with Darshanie during our travels, and I was a bit sad that she wouldn't be there when we arrived, but who would ever miss out on the chance to attend an Indian wedding ! If you're ever invited to attend one, consider it a huge honor and accept the invitation. Indian weddings are breathtakingly beautiful in so many ways.

It's Friday already! Today marks a whole week of exploring just a little bit of the All Raw Directory. We hope you've enjoyed the exploration so far, and also that you're inspired not only to use the A.R.D., but to contribute to it as well -- adding not only your own links, but any other raw foods links you think others would enjoy. The mission, after all, is to gather and maintain a current, comprehensive, community-run, categorized, searchable, 100% free-to-use resource guide to every single raw and living foods link in existence.

To accomplish this goal, the A.R.D. launched with 20 main categories, arranged alphabetically from Blogs to Vlogs. Of the 20 categories, 19 are rather straightforward (blogs, books, equipment, etc.). But one stands out as special:

Ahh, yes... Ginkgo Biloba. What a distinctive tree, don't you think? So easy to identify, and so many reported health benefits. This one belongs to a neighbor that seems to have an affinity with Asian landscaping motifs. They also have gorgeous bamboo growing in their yard, and other Asian elements. I would have liked to have harvested some leaves to dry for some Ginkgo tea, but the owner wasn't around to ask. Perhaps some other time.

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.

Mistakes are bad, right Well, not always. Here's an example of a great one, and it's something that demonstrates a conviction I have about raw foods! You see, in all of this talk of moving to Portland, I made a huge gaffe recently in my thinking about finances.

You see, I was pondering the terms of a home loan one afternoon -- percentage rates, down payments, monthly payments, tax escrows, etc. It was all really dry, boring material. Suddenly, I thought to myself, "Wow, here we are about to buy another house, after owning this one for so many years. In less than 10 years, we would have owned this one outright, but now we'll be starting over again with a 30-year mortgage."

Did you know that, among the handful of programs I continually have running, there is always a dictionary program active on my laptop Oh, sure, there are tons of great web sites out there for looking up words -- and I do use those regularly. But, I just like my handy-dandy dictionary program. It's instant (no waiting for pages to load, etc.), it's ad-free, and it and has a great? -- no, scratch that, a tantalizing! -- thesaurus as well.

Anyway, here's what my trusty friend, the American Heritage Dictionary, has to say about the phrase "will power":

We at Pure Jeevan enjoy eating salads. Each of us has our own way of dressing our individual salads, but we all thoroughly enjoy very large bowls of them at least once a day.In the past, salads were those "diet" meals that I'd consume when I was trying to lose weight. I'd sit at the table staring at my small plate of greens, feeling like I was missing out on the "great" food everyone around me was eating. I'd feel hungry after my meal and extremely unsatisfied.

This retreat has been planned for quite some time, and we are very excited about it! It's going to be three days of feeding your body, mind, and spirit. We've kept the cost as low as possible, so that more people can afford to take the time to get away for some quiet time.

All the food is organic and raw, prepared for you with lots of love! There are yoga sessions, meditation, and even a beautiful bonfire if the weather is nice. I've taken some personal retreats at this ashram, myself, and it is so peaceful (it is called the Peaceful Valley Ashram, after all). ;-)? We've created a schedule of suggested activities, but everything is optional. This is a great opportunity to simply get away and calm your mind.

There's a peculiar yet recurring kind of argument I get from a number of people from time to time when the subject of diet or health arises. Basically, it goes like this: "Yeah, all of those vegetables and exercise might be good for you, and all of that meat and fried food I eat might be bad for me, but what if you get hit by a truck tomorrow "

This sort of perspective is interesting to me for at least two major reasons.

Last year when I organized a raw food spiritual retreat at an ashram, I met some very lovely people. Two of those individuals were Patty and Denny (you can visit their blog to say hello to them). They were new to gourmet raw foods, so they were enthusiastic learners at the retreat. When they returned home after the blissful weekend, they began using their new raw food knowledge. Here are some excerpts of emails I have received from them since the retreat last year:

Well, you said you're motive in putting on this retreat was simply to pass on this valuable information and to help others; you were very successful where we're concerned - it is no exaggeration to say that you have changed our lives forever.

We've been almost 100% raw since the retreat. ... We're so excited about this new way of eating that we bought a new Vita-Mix. ...We can actually say that this has been our most notable and enjoyable dining experience - ever, in our entire lives! No one would ever put that much work into something if it were just for money; it is obvious that you did it from your heart. We feel blessed to have received such a gift.