Jim here... A little over a month ago, we couldn't contain our excitement about an online contest to win the best job EVER -- living as caretaker of a tropical island in Queensland, Australia, on the Great Barrier Reef for 6 months (and being paid $100k for the task!).

The deadline has come for this and, as we promised, we BOTH applied. My video was the first to be processed. So, we posted a screenshot above, which you can click to go view it (or just click here) -- and also please vote and rate it a 5!!! (I've heard that the rating system can get a little screwy on that site -- that you need to wait for it to load and maybe mouse over the rating part first. But, a 5-star rating would really help, as would the traffic, even if you don't watch the entire video.

For the past twelve years I've been doing some monthly freelance work for a nonprofit company. I've done other work in addition to the work for this company, but for the past few years I've solely been working with them. The work is sweet---straight-forward desktop publishing for a legal advertising publication. I don't have to read, write, edit, research, or anything else---simply format the pages. The pay is great, too!

Well, I just received a call a few minutes ago notifying me that the publication will no longer be printed. I'm overjoyed for the trees---I wish all publications would go digital. However, since it's going digital, they won't be needing my services much longer.

Today we bring you the last of our personal video interviews conducted while at the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF East 2009). I'll have one other highlight reel to run next week, just to round out this series by showing some of the additional ambience there.

So, we've finally come to the "infamous Viktoras video"! I smiled as I wrote that because it was quite the topic of discussion around our camp site. You see, one of my fellow campers, BH, was with me as we interviewed Viktoras (she filmed the interview, in fact) -- and, well... let's just say he strayed a bit from the expected raw food subject matter. I was worried that poor BH would be scarred for life after witnessing the discussion, but she did seem to get a good laugh out of it, and I suppose she's fully old enough to attend an R-rated movie.

Recently I've been to three potlucks in the span of four days. They've all been wonderful for different reasons -- one was a birthday party for a lovely young woman, Bethany, another was part of a women's circle that my friend, Melissa, invited me to attend, and the other was at my home as a meetup when Kevin and Annmarie Gianni were here visiting. Lots of fun, connecting with people, and raw foods to eat.

Sounds perfect, right? Well, something's been happening with me and raw foods over the past year. It became even more evident after eating at three different potlucks over four days. I've noticed more and more that when I don't eat something that I've created, I many times have reactions to the foods I've eaten. The reactions have ranged from flushed facial skin, slight headaches, hives, full-blown headaches, upset stomach, water retention, achy joints, etc. All signs of being sensitive to something I'm eating, right? I've narrowed it down to a few things, but it doesn't seem to be an exact science to knowing what's going to cause the reaction.

At home I know that I feel better if I don't consume garlic even though I love the taste and smell of it. When I eat too much of it I experience headaches and sometimes flushed cheeks. I gave up raw vinegar a long time ago because it makes my joints ache. Recently I noticed that whenever I eat Nama Shoyu I get a headache, flushed cheeks, and sometimes some hives. So, at home I can control my reactions to foods -- I simply avoid eating the things that sometimes trigger problems for me. I feel great most of the time because I eat more simply and my body doesn't experience any problems.

Jim here... Wow, we haven't posted in a few days. That calls for some action! Hmmm... how about taking a look at some delicious mini pizzas Wendi whipped up the other day:

We went absolutely nuts for these little "pizzas." They were both tasty and fun. If memory serves, I believe she made them by taking slices of firm roma tomatoes, spooning on some improvised pesto sauce that she whipped up, sprinkling on some chopped basil leaves, sprinkling on some "cheese" that she made with ground Brazil nuts, garlic, and salt, and then topping each "pizza slice" off with a half cherry tomato. No recipes necessary here; just take a look at the picture & go try it!

Jim here... Whenever I want to learn how to do something new, here's how I go about it:

>>> I practice. <<<

This isn't one of our normal blog posts. It's more of a journal entry, than anything else.

You see, I'm a bit sad today. The Raw Spirit Festival in Santa Barbara, CA, started today and I'm not there. We've been working really hard on many raw food projects, trying to sell our home, etc. So, spending the time and money to travel to the other side of the country for a weekend event just didn't seem like a good idea.I don't think we made the wrong decision, but I do admit I was hoping that somehow the Universe would conspire in some magical way to arrange for me to attend the festival this weekend.

For those who have never been to a Raw Spirit Festival, you might wish that you could attend something so totally awesome---to be surrounded by raw foodies you've met online, to attend the various speeches and events at the festival, etc.---but you probably aren't feeling completely sad that you aren't there. To have attended a Raw Spirit Festival, had your entire life altered by the experience, and then to not attend the next one is almost heartbreakingly sad.

?

Well, it's nearing the end of 2009, and I've been unwell for half of the year. (To make a positive statement out of that, I'll add that I've been well for the other half!) It's hard to believe so much time has gone by and about half a year of my life was spent in pain, tears, and sometimes fear (mostly in the beginning of the lyme disease). I'm definitely looking forward to the new year, to leaving this disease behind me while taking the lessons I've learned with me into 2010.

As many of you know, I was very proactive in finding a "cure" to the disease as soon as it was identified. I tried allopathic remedies (antibiotics for about three months), alternative remedies (herbal protocols, vitamin/mineral/supplemental protocols, aromatherapy techniques, healing massage, hands-on-healing, water fasting, prayer/meditation/positive visualization), and so much more. Nothing completely cured my body from the lyme bacteria that seems to have spread throughout my body and found favorite spots to multiply (particularly in my shoulders and arms).

I've been holding on to some things to share here on the blog, and today feels like a good day to share this particular inspirational gem, below. I hope it speaks to some of you in a way that brings about a deeper love for yourself. Many times I have a feeling, based on emails I receive, that I love some of you more than you love yourselves (and I deeply love all of you). That's okay, though. Your time will come to blossom into the self-loving individual that you know you are at your core. Perhaps today what I share will trigger a deeper sense of self-love for you, as it did for another friend.

Back in October, a friend in an online raw community sent me a message about how she was having a tough time with cravings. I responded to her, as follows:

... You CAN do it, too! For me, it took finally loving myself to make the change. I had to KNOW that NOTHING was going to stop me from loving myself. And loving myself meant never putting harmful things into my body EVER AGAIN! So, once I made that decision, I moved forward. I'm not saying I didn't have cravings, but I loved myself through them! ...

Many times in the online communities, the messages you share with others will also be read by individuals stopping by the pages of your friends. That was the case with what I wrote, above. I received a lovely message from another friend in that community, who had read the message I left for someone else. Here's what she wrote to me:

Last night, we watched a movie called Barney's Version which, among many other things, touched on the issue of Alzheimer's (or dementia). (It also touched on the issue of painfully awful movie titles, in my opinion.) But, I have to admit: Movies like that (or, even being around people affected by this) cause me to seriously look at my own life and reflect upon how I might be doing in terms of preventing not just Alzheimer's, but all major diseases.

My grandmother had severe dementia, and we witnessed the full progression of this awful condition for many years. I felt awful for her and readily admit that it scared the hell out of me to know that a formerly sharp, witty human being could end up this way. If you've never been around it, trust me: You do not want this for yourself or anyone.

I know this is our Fun-Filled Friday post, but I have to admit that most of today isn't going to be all that much fun. But, this weekend should be very enjoyable! We have some very special guests arriving tomorrow for a SUPER SPECIAL evening tomorrow night! Leela Mata, a beautiful spiritual teacher, has offered to visit my home and hold Satsang here. One of her extremely talented students, Devaki, will be joining her (and bringing a harmonium to play at Satsang!).