Today is my birthday!!! I have always loved birthdays---my own, as well as those of my friends and family members. Some people don't make a big deal out of birthdays, but I think they are super special! For me, celebrating a birthday isn't about the cake and presents; it's about the focused attention that is given from one person to another.

Wow, we've been getting a lot of publicity lately.(We'll be writing more about that later.) We're thrilled to be recognized for the work we're doing for the raw food community!

For those newly acquainted with Pure Jeevan, you've already found our blog (this site), and likely our main site. But, we also wanted to highlight another offering we've put a lot of work into -- the All Raw Directory. Here's a screenshot:

Day 7: Happy Navratri! It's the final three days, and today begins the special day of focusing on the attributes of Goddess Saraswati, recognizing those same feminine qualities within ourselves, and drawing inspiration to continue growing and changing in the most wonderful ways.

Saraswati has always held a place of honor in our home. When we traveled to India a very long time ago(*), we purchased a batik wall hanging of Goddess Saraswati and framed it. It's quite large and we've always hung it in places where we wanted to focus on the energy that she represents to Hindus: creativity (particularly in the areas of music and art) and knowledge/intelligence (usually linked with education and literature).

When you're young and learning the letters of the alphabet, anything that starts with the same letter as your name becomes really special. Well, ever since I was a child and saw a Winnebago RV with the giant "W" on the side, I've been enchanted with the idea of one day owning one and traveling the world (at that age, I didn't realize I'd have to cross oceans to see everything).

If you've been following us for a while, you'll know that I was bringing that vision to life. It took years of convincing, but Jim was finally ready for such an adventure and together we began making plans. For more than two years we've been preparing to tour the country, while teaching about raw foods along the way. Our lives changed so dramatically when we found a way to heal our bodies (and more), a way that can also help others, and we just couldn't sit still. We feel called to spread the word about the raw food diet so others can at least hear that there's another way, that there's something different to try in their quest for health. I knew that crossing the country in an RV, planting the seeds about a raw food diet along the way, would be an efficient way of spreading the word.

As we mentioned in one of our first blog posts, Pure Jeevan met with Leela Mata at her Peaceful Valley Ashram to discuss the details for some 3-day Raw Food Spiritual Retreats for you during 2008! The details are finalized and we are proud to announce our first 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Retreat, that will be held at the ashram from May 23-25, 2008. We've set this retreat up so that it's as affordable as possible. There's a significant savings if you sign up early, so be sure to check it out!

Some very special companies have delicious treats for those attending the retreat.

Here's a fun story, with a fun, inspirational, and at least partially dietary conclusion. As I mentioned yesterday, Wendi is in Portland this week. Can you guess what she's doing there? ... She's attending a very important event -- something that merited getting on an airplane with almost no notice (and, wow, are those last-minute airfares pricey!). Still not sure? That's okay; I'll let the cat out of the bag: We found a new home!!

We've been talking about moving to the west coast for literally years now, so it's about time, right? ?In recent times, we've really begun taking action on things in a much more profound and immediate way than ever, and it's been working out amazingly well. This home purchase was just the latest instance of it. We basically saw an opportunity and immediately went for it, without hesitation, and before we knew it we were sending paperwork back and forth across the internet to our realtor.

Many times we are asked about our grocery bill---how much do we spend each month on eating a raw, vegan diet? It's not something that's easy to answer, though. If we just blurted the amount out, people would be shocked (at a minimum) and insist that there's no way possible they could ever eat a raw diet because they can't afford it.

Our monthly expense at the grocery store has continued to climb since I first began eating raw foods. At this point, now that Jim is eating 100% raw, as well, our monthly expense has more than doubled from the time when it was only me eating 100%. That's a huge increase in money being spent each month. But, you know what? It's okay! Yes, I said it's okay that our expense has more than doubled and I'll tell you why after you take a look at what we purchased last week for our home.

In all of our discussion of immune-building lately, we remembered today that we left out one enormously important item that should be present in anyone's "healing toolbox." That item is, of course, laughter. What better time than a "Fun-Filled Friday" to celebrate the healing power of humor!

Years ago, we'd heard a remarkable story about a man who had cured himself of a terrible disease using laughter as his "medicine." According to the story we heard, the man checked himself into a hotel and just watched Marx Brothers comedies for hours on end, and was eventually cured.

Aside from the community-run nature of the All Raw Directory (meaning, the fact that anyone can add or edit the information there, just like a "wiki"), one of the other key concepts of the site is that it is a directory. In other words, the site is not meant to house much information on its own. Rather, it's meant to point people to other sites where pre-existing information may be found.?

So, for example, if you have a recipe for raw chocolate cupcakes, you wouldn't put the step-by-step instructions for making those cupcakes into the All Raw Directory recipes section. Rather, you would put a link to a web site where your recipe already appears (along with a brief description telling people what to expect). See the difference !

For some odd reason, I've had the privilege of "doing Thanksgiving" with a lot of different friends and families over the years. Because of this, and of course just from talking with others and reading things others have posted, I'm fairly certain that Thanksgiving means different things to different people.For some, it's their favorite annual holiday and fills them with joyous memories of Thanksgivings past and incredible anticipation of Thanksgivings to come. Some historian friends of mine seem fascinated by the historical aspects of the holiday -- the whole story of the pilgrims, etc. On the other end of the spectrum, I've actually encountered a few people who take offense at the very idea of this holiday (and they've got some convincing reasons to protest the wider celebrations)!

While all holidays are certainly "food-centric" by tradition, it's arguable that no other holiday (at least here in America) can match Thanksgiving's reputation in terms of feasting. It's kind of funny when you think about it because many holidays (or, "holy days") are actually traditionally observed by abstaining from food. So, there are fasts, and feasts. I think the majority view, based on my own sampling of various friend and family traditions, seems to be: It's mostly about having a huge meal. Yes, there is certainly an undercurrent of being thankful out there. A few families I've been with have had traditional, almost ceremonial, activities that went along with the meal (e.g., going around the room, taking turns stating what you're grateful for).

Jim here... Until our home sells (SOON!!!) and Wendi and I launch ourselves into the world as full-time raw food teachers / lecturers / inspiration providers, I'm more or less stuck in the corporate world during the day. While much of what happens in this Dilbert-esque environment is, as many of you likely know, absolutely meaningless, there is nonetheless the occasional pearl of wisdom to be pried from the clammy jaws of the 9-to-5 world. I was, for example, just reminded of a story I heard at a seminar once. Not surprisingly, the seminar pertained to the art of money making. However, there's another more fulfilling message to it as well.

A large modern newspaper company still uses these ancient printing presses from the 1950s -- huge old monstrosities with enough belts, pulleys, and greasy gearboxes to make any modern-day steampunk enthusiast squeal with delight. One day, not long after the old press manager finally leaves the company, the main press breaks down. Manuals are consulted, technicians brought in, engineers asked to take a peek. No one can bring the beast back to life. But there's a woman on the Internet who specializes in these babies -- and, guess what, she's local! So, they call her in. She listens to their problem and says she can fix it, but it's going to run them $5,000.