Jim here... I'm back from Raw Spirit Festival East with roughly 4 Gigs of pictures and videos to sort through, as well as 17 pages of handwritten notes about my rawsome experiences. So, tomorrow, I'll begin the task of sorting through it all and posting all sorts of fun stuff (photos, videos, and tales of adventures).

For now, all I'll say is that Rawbin Anderson, RSF East Manager, did a spectacular job in orchestrating the whole event. Here's Rawbin:

Well, I hope we're finally approaching the true end-game of our whole move. We now have our home listed with a new realtor (no longer going it alone as a "for sale by owner" scenario), so we're hoping that a renewed effort (and a lower price) will attract a buyer. The market seems to be perking back up a little as well, which certainly can't hurt anything.

Thanks to everyone who sent in suggestions for places we should consider moving to. I assure you that we researched each and every one to an almost ridiculous degree. There are more amazing places to live than we ever knew, and we were delighted to learn about some areas with which we weren't very familiar -- funky little enclaves in Texas, Tennessee, New Mexico, etc. I think we've hinted as to our inclinations before, but I can tell you that, after so many months of intense deliberation, we believe the best domestic home for Pure Jeevan is probably in Oregon.

What fun it is to share a fun day with like-minded people at a special location, sharing good times, laughter, and delicious, nutritious raw food wonderment. Here are some pics from our outing -- hopefully the first of many such unique outings blending the Pittsburgh raw group with the D.C. one.

We hope this also provides some inspiration for other meetup groups to consider holding joint meetups in some geographically central location.

If you're new to raw foods, you're probably aware that eating this way isn't exactly mainstream. And, while we've talked here before about the importance of connecting with others for inspiration and support, it's true that a lot of that lends itself to participation in virtual worlds such as Twitter, Facebook, Give It to Me Raw, and other communities, blogs, and sites where raw foodies hang out.

Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will - his personal responsibility. ~Albert Einstein.

Jim here with another wonderful edition of Weird Wednesday. Here's something I find a little weird about food (and, I apologize in advance if this comes off a little preachy).

See, I work in an office and sit rather close to the corporate kitchenette. Routinely, people bring in junk food to set out for everyone -- cookies, donuts, cakes, pastries, pies, candy bars, nut rolls, cheesecakes, summer sausages, cheese cubes, fondues, etc. The thought seems to be that, in putting these things out for everyone, you're showing you care for them.Offering large servings of concentrated fats and refined sugar is viewed as a favor, as an altruistic service for your fellow coworkers. But this odd fact isn't even the weird aspect of my post (although, now that I think of it, that is pretty weird).

Above is a quick camera-phone pic I posted to our Facebook group lately. I did talk about making raw parfaits on that page, but want to talk a little more about them today, as it's just the perfect time to be talking about delicious raw parfaits (at least here in America, in any case, where many of the fresh berries you'll probably want are cheap and in season). I'll share a brief story about them, and then share my own basic recipe, and then we'll make some plans for MORE parfait talk really soon, okay?

I'm almost hesitant to talk about raw food parfaits here because, well, if the government found out how unbelievably healthy and ENJOYABLE parfaits are, I'm sure they'd make them illegal. But, I'll take a chance...

... just a quick interruption of "Crazy Week" to do two things:

1. Congratulate Natural Zing on their 8th year in business!

Hi everyone!? Sorry for the late post tonight. I had a busy day, and even met with a new realtor to help me sell The Luck House! (Wish us luck on that front -- but I have a super-great feeling that this new realtor is 10x more professional and knowledgeable than the previous one.)

Today I thought I'd give you a peek into Wendi's rather fascinating Inbox. While she's away, she asked me to monitor her Pure Jeevan mail box and field as many of the questions as possible. It's been ... interesting! :-)? I never realized the volume of email that she receives! It's almost a full-time job to keep on top of it (which I haven't been able to do as well as I'd hoped -- although I now have it down to just a ?hundred or so unanswered ones, so that's progress!).

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.

Wendi's initial observation about Santa Rosa was that, at first glance, it seemed similar to many of the places they'd visited in Oregon. However, once the sun came out, she said you could feel that California sunshine starting to warm up your body. This is Northern CA, so it's not overly hot; it is, however, much sunnier and a bit warmer than the parts of Oregon they visited.

Wendi and KDcat were hosted by a lovely couple, Shea Lynn Baird and Stephen Barlow (and their adorable dog, Bella, pictured above). You might be familiarwith Shea already, as she and her husband launched the popular Monday Night Live series, broadcast Monday nights from Cafe Gratitude. Shea is a long-term raw foodist, so Wendi interviewed her and asked some questions about what she's been doing. It's a really great, highly interesting interview. Wendi also asked Shea to offer some helpful advice for our Pure Jeevan family members. I think everyone will enjoy the video:

Here they are!! Images from the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat! There were more taken by the ashram staff; once they are sent to me, I'll include those, as well.

Page One: Guests

Page Two: Raw Food

It turns out that planning a 40-day/40-night cross-country trip is a LOT of work! (Who knew ??!) Wendi and I seem to be spending every waking moment planning this thing, which may explain why we've missed a day or two's posts here on Pure Jeevan. But, we're gearing up for something absolutely amazing -- and it all starts next week!? So, if there is a quiet day or two this week, just keep in mind that the rawsome content is going to be absolutely insane here starting late next week and continuing through March into early April!

Today, we wanted to extend a huge thanks to Jeff and Helen Rose, owners of Natural Zing, for offering to sponsor the snack portion of Wendi and KDcat's trip. Jeff and Helen understand that, being a raw foodie, it can be a little tough to be on the road for such a long time. Sure, Wendi and KDcat will probably be snacking on a lot of fresh fruit, but it's also nice to have some packaged raw goodies as well while you're traveling. So, Wendi and KDcat will be loading up on some of their favorites -- botija olives, Love Force breads, Gopal's power wraps, some nut butters, some raw chocolates, and more. So, in thanking Natural Zing, we'll be running banners and so forth along with our content during Pure Jeevan's trip.