A is for April: And 3 Other A’s

It’s amazing that we’ve plowed into April, already a fourth of the year 2010 behind us!  This past weekend I’ve been saturated in three other things starting with April’s first letter: Alithos Anesti, Agave and Aveda.

ALITHOS ANESTI!

Yesterday and for the next few weeks, Christian Orthodox all over the world will greet each not with hello, but with “Christ is Risen!”, to which the receiving colleague will answer “Truly He has Risen!”.  In my Greek language the phrase is “Christos Anesti!”, response is “Alithos Anesti!”.

It is a religious tradition that to me is infectious. We not only celebrate our belief in the conquering theme of eternal life with our Creator over death, but we continue to remind ourselves of it as we proceed in the days following Easter (or in Greek known as Pascha).

As a family we attended several Holy Week evening services and on Saturday, my husband and I were able to leave our son with his Great Aunt as we went together for the Anastisi service that begins at around 11:30pm and didn’t conclude until sometime after 2am.  He helped the priest and deacon along with the acolytes behind the altar while I served as a chanter in parts of the service.  The beautiful tones, smells of incense and general euphoria of watching the candle light proceed forth from the altar and spread from person to person until the entire church was alight was very moving.

If you are not Christian or just don’t care for Easter, please don’t be offended by my saying that it truly is the best Christian holiday in my heart.  Although Christmastime commemorates the arrival of God in flesh, the celebration of His conquering death with renewed life offers so much hope to us all.

No matter what our cultural, racial or religious differences, I do believe that most humans sense there must be more than just this physical life experience that has limitations. Easter/Pascha marks the mysterious veil of death in our life cycle with the Joy that there is Life and Love ever after in His (He, She, It…whatever) Creation Eternal. Christos Anesti!

AGAVE

Random right? I was first introduced to Agave Nectar by a beer my husband brought home one night. Was pretty tasty, didn’t think much of it afterwards.

Recently, however, in my personal endeavors to learn more about the food my family eats and how to manage our nutrition better I have come across the notion of sweetening foods with agave nectar instead of sugar or honey.  Apologies that I can’t even think of the magazine that I recently stumbled upon a quick sentence or two about agave’s benefits because of its classification as a low glycemic sweetener-so I did I quick internet search to offer some links in case you’re interested.

No joke that there is a website called www.allaboutagave.com and I found it to be quite informative and extensive in specifics that you may have questions concerning agave and its possible health benefits.  Also it turns out I wasn’t the only one on the agave mind wavelength: evidently yesterday Ms. Karla Heintz posted a blog entry about using agave over sugar at http://www.parentdish.com/2010/04/04/should-you-use-agave-nectar-instead-of-sugar/  And then for you seekers of feel-good newspaper articles, here’s one from a day ago about a Colorado man finally hitting gold with his new soda invention containing agave as the sweetener: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/economy/colo-man-hits-sweet-spot-with-agave-based-soda-89862337.html

The common refrain is that agave is considered a low glycemic index (GI) sweetener that is therefore is slowly absorbed into the body that helps prevent the standard spike and crash that we encounter with table sugar.  Another claim is that it’s 25% sweeter than sugar so less amounts are needed for recipe conversions.

I’ve only just picked up the double-pack of Organic Blue Agave that was available at my local Costco and since used it in my morning coffee.  Definitely found that it had a lighter taste than the honey I’ve been trying to use instead of sugar in my daily cup of joe.  Couldn’t resist trying a drop of it on my finger as well and it seems to resemble a color of honey with a consistency of maple syrup but not as sticky.

If you are into gluten-free and low sugar nutrition, I recommend trying agave as it seems to be the new product becoming more available in our merchant centers.  If you’re curious for recipes containing agave, this was a fun site: www.OrganicSyrup.biz

AVEDA

As some of you may have read or heard from me personally, I have recently endured a miscarriage.  It has been a rollercoaster ride in terms of the physical, the hormonal, the emotional (not helped by the hormone frenzy) and probably the spiritual as well.

As a personal believer that all our senses are connected and can transcend even to our souls, I felt that this was a good time to take myself to a place where my physical body would be attended to so that my mental state could just relax and begin to heal.

I called my local Aveda spa that I’ve been to once before for a pedicure and manicure session that I took my mother-in-love to in recent months.  Having come across their literature before, I noticed that they had min-spa packages available for 3-4 hours that you could customize.  Given that I’m mother to a toddler, that seemed like a plausible scenario for this past Saturday.

I selected their Night on the Town package and got with that a peppermint manicure and pedicure, a light lunch, wine and tea to my heart’s desire, my hair washed, dried and put up, ending with a make-up session.  Usually I scoff at the idea of spending money on myself for such services, but having weathered one tough week as a woman, I welcomed the doting and the coddling by these generous Aveda women at Aveda’s Aspen Falls Spa in Jupiter, Florida: if you live here and would like to check them out http://www.aspenfallsaveda.com/

I’ve been loyal to Aveda products over the past decade since I was first introduced to them through a store that opened in one of my local Florida malls. Admittedly, they can be pricey, so I really tend to buy 2-3 products a year from them.  However, in my personal quest to seek the more natural, less synthetics ways to pamper or maintain my skin and hair, Aveda has come into my buying habits more often.

It seems that the company has made much headway in terms of expansion in America and has done a great job of committing to charities like those supporting clean water initiatives for those in other countries that lack it.  Their products have an uncanny way of smelling so good and even better in your mind as you read what the ingredients are and actually know what they are (like clove or bergamot oil instead of cocamidopropyl betaine?).

So, as I appreciated the light buzz after two glasses of wine along with a pedicure and manicure session, I enjoyed the sounds of Enya and other ethereal music in a quiet room with my rabbit salad and ginger vinaigrette–washing it down with the Aveda tea that is seriously addictive (sweetened by licorice root-who knew?).  I actually read through some of the Aveda product line and company information pamphlets and found that I really was glad that I was paying them for these services as they certainly served me and also contributed to a business whose practices I support.

If you’ve never walked into an Aveda store, check out their website at www.aveda.com if you’re interested in learning more about what they have and what they’re about as a company.

As for me, it was wonderful, simply awesome to walk out of Aspen Falls having been polished, catered to, a fun up-do and make-up on my face that smelled so good for hours afterwards. I was able to greet my husband afterwards on his birthday as a refreshed wife, lover and friend and go out and enjoy our Easter midnight service where we shared with our brothers and sisters in Christ that though we suffer death, there is Life.

RVSB

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