Sunday, October 30, 2011


One of my favorite things to watch on television is old re-runs of Little House on the Prairie on the Hallmark Channel. The other day, I saw an episode from the first season of the series that I had seen several times before. However, as I watched it, I found myself moved more deeply than I had been in prior viewings. In this episode, Pa Ingalls had planted a successful wheat crop that was about to be harvested. Pleased with the fruits of his efforts, he has his daughters calculate how much money the wheat will bring when taken to market. Then, they begin making a list of the things they will buy with the money earned from the wheat. In a terrible twist of fate, that night a hailstorm comes and ruins the crops along with the hopes the Ingalls family had of selling the wheat so that they can buy necessities. Disappointed but not defeated, Pa must leave town and go in search of a job to earn money. Staying behind with her three young daughters, Ma decides to rally her women neighbors to glean the grain from the damaged stalks by hand, salvaging some good from the devastation the hail brought. By pulling together, the family did not allow the destruction of the crop to destroy them.

Life with autism is like that. As parents, we sow seeds through various therapies and interventions, hoping that our children will flourish and grow. Sometimes, we have such high hopes for a great harvest and even start planning what we will do when the harvest finally arrives. Other times, we face droughts where nothing seems to be growing, or we cope with infestation by grasshoppers, such as allergies or illness, that attack. Perhaps most frustrating, however, are the sudden hailstorms, those unexplainable setbacks, that appear to destroy all the progress achieved. Last year, Ed and I were figuratively standing in the middle of our fields, thankful for the abundance we had witnessed with Alex’s progress. His behavior had improved significantly; to the point we could take him to restaurants, concerts, and stores confidently, knowing that he would act appropriately. Moreover, his cooperative attitude made teaching him new skills and working on his weaknesses, namely his speech and social skills, easier. We knew this was an opportunity, and we made the most of the situation.

In the late spring, a hailstorm in the form of allergic shutdown threatened to destroy all we’d worked hard to reap in that Alex became less cooperative, less talkative, and less interactive. Despite our best efforts to reclaim what could be lost, we have had to work at trying to get Alex back to where he was previously. Essentially, we have gone back to the fields to glean what we can recover so that everything the three of us have worked diligently to achieve will not be lost. Stepping around Alex’s anxiety and obsessions, we have tried to engage him in activities that interest him and encourage him to develop and improve while trying to avoid upsetting him. At times he reminds us of the old joke: "What happens when you cross a gorilla with a parrot? I don’t know, but when he talks, you’d better listen!" While we’re glad that he’s talking again after some self-imposed silence a few months ago, we hope he starts talking more about things he likes than things he doesn’t. In the meantime, we keep picking through the battered crops, gleaning the good that we can find along the way and refusing to give up on the hope for a good harvest eventually.

"And she said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ So she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house." Ruth 2:7

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Dance

Recently, Alex has been spending time engaged in a new activity--dancing. As I've mentioned in previous blog entries, he really likes music: everything from jazz to country, so long as it's not rap music. He's been listening to our cable television's Music Choice channels lately, especially music from the 70's, 80's and 90's. A few nights ago, he heard Chumbawamba's 1997 one-hit-wonder song, "Tubthumping," which has now become one of his favorite songs. Apparently its catchy lyrics ("I get knocked down, but I get up again") and driving beat inspire him to dance. After hearing the song on Music Choice, he found it on You Tube and played it over and over, having his own little dance party in the family room that evening.

Perhaps the inspiration for Alex's sudden interest in dancing can be traced to his watching the movie Saturday Night Fever last weekend. Fortunately, he was watching the edited-for-television version, so instead of imitating the profanities, he could try to imitate disco dancers' moves. Since Alex has always liked the Bee Gees' music from listening to their CD's with me, I wasn't surprised that he enjoyed the dance sequences. What was surprising was that he watched the entire movie and then watched it again when it was repeated another night.

Although we're pleased that Alex seems to enjoy dancing so much, it's too bad that his moves aren't too smooth. Ed has a terrific sense of rhythm that makes him a good dancer, and I won a disco dance contest when I was Alex's age. Poor Alex, however, didn't inherit any natural ability to dance, and so far, he hasn't picked up any of John Travolta's grace on the dance floor from watching the movie. Somehow Alex seems to sense his awkwardness, as he'll immediately stop dancing if Ed or I walk into the room. I think he knows that his dancing is more like Elaine Benes on Seinfeld than John Travolta on the lighted dance floor.

Even though Alex seems to have two left feet, Ed and I enjoy secretly watching him dance because he exudes such joy moving to the music, so long as he doesn't know that anyone is watching him. Perhaps he exemplifies William W. Purkey's quote best: “You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.”

"Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp." Psalm 149:3

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"These Days"

The other day, I was listening to Glen Campbell's Greatest Hits CD, which both Alex and I like. While he and I share a love of country music, our reasons for enjoying this CD are probably different. For me, listening to Glen Campbell is nostalgic because I remember several of his hit songs from when I was a little girl in the late 1960's. I suspect that Alex appreciates Glen Campbell's songs because several have geographic references, such as "Wichita Lineman," "Galveston," and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," and he probably pictures in his mind these places on a map. My favorite song on the CD, however, is one Glen Campbell more recently recorded, a cover of Jackson Browne's song "These Days." [Click here to watch the video of this song.] Besides the pleasant melody and beautiful arrangement, I find the lyrics appealing in their simplicity. In listening to the song again the other day, I realized that some of the lines apply to Alex, which makes the song even more meaningful to me.

"I've been out walking. I don't do too much talking these days. These days."

"I'll keep on moving. I'm bound to be improving these days. These days."

"And if I seem to be afraid to live the life that I have made and sown, it's just that I've been healing so long."

As we watch the leaves change colors, we also watch for changes in Alex and keep praying that his healing will soon be complete.

"The Lord is my strength and my song; He has given me victory." Psalm 118:14

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monitoring Log

I’m not sure if it’s the teacher or the list maker in me, but I’m constantly making mental notes about changes in Alex and the progress he makes. Often, at the end of the day after Alex has gone to bed, Ed and I will compare notes about what we’ve observed in Alex’s behavior, and we nearly always come to the same conclusions in our interpretations. The past few days we’ve noticed that he has reverted to some old standbys and come up with some new material for us to monitor.

For months, he’s been telling us that he never wants to use his typewriter again, even though he hasn’t used it for several years. The typewriter is a frequent topic of his meltdown ramblings as he repeats over and over that he used the typewriter in 2002 and 2003, but he retired it because it was boring, so he doesn’t want to use it ever again. As he rants about this during his anxiety attacks, we calmly reassure him that he never has to type again. Over the weekend, I heard a vaguely familiar clicking and clacking coming from the basement. As I came down the stairs, Ed was sitting in the basement family room and pointed to our spare room, where Alex was typing away happily! For someone who never wanted to use the typewriter again, he seemed to be enjoying himself. Maybe facing his demons will help him get over the obsession he’s been driving us crazy with for the past several months. Another old pastime reappeared this weekend, as well. I found a stack of catalogs and magazines strewn across the couch where Alex usually sits, and Ed told me that Alex had been enjoying reading and looking at the various periodicals that had arrived in the mail over the past week. While Alex used to like reading magazines and looking at catalogs, he hasn’t shown much interest in them for quite a while. Similarly, he also started writing lists in his notebooks again, something he hasn’t done in months. After deciphering his barely legible handwriting, we discerned that he’s been recording oil prices over the years, an interest he had a couple of years ago. We always find it intriguing whenever he reverts to earlier interests that we thought he had abandoned. So long as he finds these new/old activities enjoyable, we’re pleased to see him entertaining himself.

Just to keep us on our toes, however, he came up with some new things this week, as well. The other evening during one of his verbal tirades, he began talking about not liking “dee-does.” We have no clue whatsoever as to what he means by “dee-does,” but apparently, they really make him mad. In trying to discover what they were and why he didn’t like them, I asked him some questions. All he would volunteer about them was that we had them at the old house. Since we moved from there more than nine years ago, I have no memory of “dee-does,” but Alex remembers them unfondly enough for all of us. While I’d like to get to the bottom of that mystery, I’d rather that he just forget them since they seem to upset him so much. Another new trend this week was that yesterday when Alex woke up, he informed Ed that he was sick. This occurrence was odd for two reasons. First, Alex is blessed with good health and rarely sick. Moreover, he rarely voices any physical complaints; he usually only complains about stupid obsessions, like typewriters. After Ed ran through the gamut of typical symptoms (headache, sore throat, tummy ache, etc.), none of which Alex seemed to have, he insisted that he had a fever of 130 degrees. From reading all of his medical books, I’m sure that Alex knows that a body temperature of 130 degrees is impossible, but I guess he thought that sounded dramatic. In fact, he had no fever at all, and once he was reassured that he was fine, he happily bounced down the stairs. We’re hoping hypochondria isn’t something Alex plans to add to his gamut of behaviors. Of course, as Ed reassured me the other day, the good thing about Alex and his phases is that they only last a little while. On the other hand, as I reminded Ed, every phase always seems to be replaced by another equally perplexing one. At least life around here is never dull.

“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. “ James 4:14

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Making Lemonade

Dealing with Alex’s autism has been a true test of our faith. Watching Joel Osteen’s televised weekly sermons from Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, has helped strengthen my faith tremendously, and reading all of his inspirational books has offered encouragement and hope I have needed. Currently, I’m reading Joel Osteen’s newest book, Every Day a Friday: How To Be Happier 7 Days a Week, and finding that his words help me put things into proper perspective. As a matter of fact, the chapter I most recently read, entitled “The Right Perspective,” focuses on the idea of being thankful, no matter what the circumstances, thus taking lemons and making lemonade. He suggests that people “look at what’s right, not what’s wrong” because “seeds of discouragement cannot take root in a grateful heart.” To develop this gratitude, he recommends making a list of all the things that are right in life and thanking God for what He has given. With that in mind, I began thinking about all the things that are actually good about having a teenage son with autism. Even though I envy parents of typical children, I realize that they face problems we don’t, and I’m thankful that we don’t have to deal with certain issues because Alex has autism.

For example, I’m thankful that we don ‘t have to worry that Alex will engage in underage drinking because he doesn’t hang out with peers who might tempt him, as many young men his age must face. We’ve also been spared the various dramas of the teen dating world, which Alex has no interest in pursuing. I’m also grateful that his motor skill issues have prevented him from getting a driver’s license. We don’t have to worry that he’s out driving one of our cars, and we save a fortune in not having to provide auto insurance for a teen male. Another benefit we enjoy is that Alex has no interest in wearing more expensive clothing brands that carry status among young people, such as Aeropostale or Abercrombie and Fitch. For one thing, he doesn’t care about impressing others, and he also doesn’t like clothes with words or logos. He’s content to wear clothes I find on sale at Target, Penney’s and Kohl’s, so long as they’re soft and logo-free. One benefit of his sound sensitivity is that Alex never listens to his music at an annoying volume, as I did as a teenager, driving my parents crazy. Moreover, his taste in music is quite similar to ours, so we wouldn’t mind even if he did play his music loudly. Because he doesn’t care what other people think about him, he never minds being seen in public with us, unlike many teens who would be mortified to be seen somewhere with their parents. While many parents have to nag their teenagers to do their homework, we’ve been blessed that Alex actually enjoys doing schoolwork and includes reading as one of his favorite pastimes. We’re also fortunate that once he got past his early teen rebellious behavior of using profanities to get reactions, he outgrew this stage and rarely ever uses curse words. Every night when Alex goes to bed, we realize how lucky we are that he willingly and happily goes to his bedroom at 10:00 and falls asleep soon after that, instead of staying up all hours, as many kids his age do. What I count among our greatest blessings, however, is that Alex holds an unwavering faith, trusting in God at all times.

As I count my blessings, I realize that I have so many reasons to be happy. Besides Alex and his unique take on life, I’m fortunate to have the unconditional love of my husband and parents, the support and loyalty of my friends, good health, secure finances, a job I enjoy, and the faith in God that sustains us. I have often thought that without autism, my life would essentially be perfect. However, I’m realizing that autism has taught me lessons that I would have missed without it, such as finding joy in spite of obstacles. As I continue to work on my patience while I wait, I know that until Alex overcomes autism, we can always find some reason to be grateful.

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


The other day, I had an interesting conversation with two good friends about how mothers enable their sons instead of asking them to step up and do their part around the house. One friend told about how both of his grown children, who are thoughtful, responsible, and capable adults, were visiting over the weekend but seemed oblivious to the messes they left around the house where they had grown up. My other friend then told about how her husband, who is also quite responsible and capable, leaves messes around the house when they go to visit his parents in the home where he was raised. She commented that his mother never seems to mind picking up after her grown children, which my friend finds unbelievable. Since my friend doesn’t want her mother-in-law to have to pick up after her guests, she comes behind her husband cleaning up his messes, which reinforces his belief that he doesn’t need to pick up after himself because someone else will do it for him.

Because the only child I have raised has autism, I tend to assume that any of his annoying habits are related to the autism, rather than just being typical behavior. When I hear about other people’s children exhibiting similar traits, I find strange comfort in the camaraderie. I know that through the years I have babied Alex in some ways for various reasons. Sometimes I have felt sorry for him because he struggles with issues typical children do not, such as socialization, language, fine motor skills, and sensory issues. I can still remember him as a little boy pleading for me to help him, saying, “It’s too hard for little hands.” How could I resist that kind of earnest logic? Other times, I have not wanted to risk his wrath when he was in an unpredictable mood. Specifically, I’d rather pick up his belongings than potentially have him hurl them at me in anger for telling him to clean up his mess. Often, my need to have things done the way I want them done and when I want them done has led me to do things for Alex instead of insisting that he do them himself. My need for organization has at times made me guilty of being an enabler for Alex when I should have pushed him harder to take on tasks around the house. Not only would he gain a sense of accomplishment from doing things for himself, but he would also learn to be more independent. This self-sufficiency is something we need to encourage him to achieve so that he can do more things for himself.

In training Alex to be less dependent, Ed is much better at teaching him than I am. As Ed has pointed out to me, I tend to ask Alex to do things, such as, “Could you please pick up your dirty socks off the bathroom floor?” instead of just telling him to do things. In other words, I’m much more likely to give requests than commands when I want something done. Ed notes that I probably get this from watching the game show Jeopardy, where every answer must be posed in the form of a question. (I just like to think that I have nicer Midwestern manners than my New Yorker husband.) By contrast, Ed tells Alex directly to do things: “Go get your sunglasses” or “Go take a bath.” His system of communication works much better than mine because Alex never ignores him, as he does me at times, and he immediately complies with whatever directive Ed gives him. Since Alex has lately viewed Ed as the favored parent, I’m hoping that he’ll learn to do more tasks with Ed’s guidance. In the meantime, I must let go of my need to take care of things for him and remind myself that Alex, who towers over me at nearly six feet, will turn twenty in two months. The next time he wants my help, I think I have the perfect excuse to get him to do it himself: “ You’re bigger than I am, and it’s too hard for little hands.”

“My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instructions.” Proverbs 1:8

Sunday, October 9, 2011


As I was attempting to re-organize our home office yesterday, I discovered that we have a fair number of geography books. Although Alex loves math best, and science comes a close second, he also has enjoyed studying geography over the years. Like me, at an early age he memorized all of the U.S. states and their capitals, and I would bet that he still could identify all fifty states on a blank map simply by their shapes and locations. If asked to name his favorite state, he would pick our home state of Indiana, but for some reason unknown to us, he also holds great affection for Texas. No one we know lives there, nor has Alex ever been there, but he likes the Lone Star State. He even says “Texas” with a big smile and an enthusiastic yet soft voice as he emphasizes the last s of the name. He gets especially excited if he sees a Texas license plate, which is pretty rare here in the Midwest.

I think Alex’s love of geography is directly related to his fascination with maps. Like my dad, he can spend hours poring over maps in atlases. I would guess that a lot of the appeal behind these maps lies in the various numbers, such as interstate, national, and state highways; distance scales; charts indicating mileage between cities; and tables listing populations of various towns and cities. Those kinds of statistics amuse Alex as he studies them. In addition to road maps and atlases, Alex also likes large world maps. In fact, he has had several world maps over the years because from his frequent handling of them, they’ve become worn, torn, and battered, and they needed to be replaced often. He likes to spread the maps out on the floor, then sit or lie on his stomach, gazing at the countries before him. For a while, he had a particular interest in the smaller countries of the former Soviet Union, particularly those that ended in –stan. As I recall, his favorite was Turkmenistan, probably because it reminded him of turkey, one of his favorite things to eat. However, he also found talking about Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan entertaining, too.

In addition to his traditional maps, Alex also has electronic interactive maps of the United States and the world. These electronic toys not only contain maps of the states or countries, but they also teach various facts about the places by pushing buttons that activate sound to tell about places or ask questions in a game format. While these high-tech maps have kept him engaged for hours over the years, he also has enjoyed studying the inexpensive place mats that I found at Kmart with a map of the United States and one with a map of the world. He especially liked that the world map placement included degrees of longitude and latitude, and the United States map designated the various time zones, which combines his love of maps and clocks. Besides his maps, he also likes globes; he has two globes of the world in his bedroom that also double as lamps because they are illuminated by a night light bulb. For many years, he kept one of the globe lights on all night long as a night light for his room, perhaps comforted by the idea that everything in the world was right so long as it were lit. Ironically, though Alex loves studying various places far and near, he hasn’t traveled much because his unpredictable behavior makes him not a good traveler. Maybe the maps allow him to venture in his mind to places he’s not ready to go. On the other hand, I like to think that he’s planning trips to places he’d like to see in the future, once the obstacles of autism are a faint memory for all of us. I hope so.

“As the men started on their way to map out the land, Joshua instructed them, ‘Go and make a survey of the land and write a description of it. Then return to me, and I will cast lots for you here at Shiloh in the presence of the Lord.’ “ Joshua 18:8

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Recent Trends

Although I’m almost afraid to comment for fear of jinxing things, Alex’s obsession/anxiety/frustration about the computer game Monopoly Junior seems to be fading. On Friday, we took him to McDonald’s, where large posters advertised the current Monopoly sweepstakes, yet he did not seem fazed by the reminder of the game that currently annoys him so much. On top of that, as I waited in line, I saw promotional placemats with the Monopoly character Uncle Moneypenny and decided to get one for Alex, stupidly forgetting that his former love of the game has turned to hatred. As I brought him the placemat depicting the Monopoly logo and main character, Ed shot me a look as if to ask, “Are you crazy?” Trying to avoid the wrath of Alex, I suggested that I hold the placemat for him, but he seemed amused by the placemat rather than incensed. Thankfully, he accepted the Monopoly placemat in the spirit I had intended and didn’t hold my foolish gesture against me. However, that placemat found a home in the garbage soon after we came home—I wasn’t taking any chances that reminder might upset Alex.

Besides being pleased to hear less complaining about Monopoly Junior, we’re also happy to see that Alex has completely returned to his energetic self. During his bout with lethargy in the late spring and early summer that his chiropractic internist diagnosed as allergic shutdown, Alex would sleep twelve hours every night and lie on the couch most of the day, too tired to do much of anything. Over the summer, he gradually regained his former energy levels and now sleeps normally at night and acts as though he feels much better, bouncing through the house as he did before. Despite these positive changes, we’re also somewhat perplexed by some other recent trends we’ve seen in Alex. For example, his eating habits have changed a bit. Specifically, Alex has always savored his food, taking his time to enjoy a meal. We figured this was a trait he inherited or learned from Ed, who also takes his time to eat a meal. As one who eats rapidly (which I blame on childhood years of eating in the school cafeteria, where I had to inhale my food to make sure I finished lunch in the short amount of time we were allotted), I find myself constantly waiting for Alex and Ed to finish a meal. Lately, Alex has also taken to eating rapidly, downing his food as though someone might steal it from him, then looking earnestly at Ed to gain permission to be excused from the table. I’m guessing that he hurries to eat so that he can go do other things he wants to do, such as watch television or use his computer. Although we’re surprised by this sudden change, we’re thankful that he has a hearty appetite, eats a good variety of foods, and never complains about what food is put before him.

The most surprising difference in Alex has been his current aversion to grooming. Previously, Alex loved being groomed and seemed to crave the sensory stimulation he gained from having his hair combed or his teeth brushed. He actually enjoyed having me cut his hair, even asking for haircuts long before he ever needed them. In addition, he liked getting a shave, to the point he would smile so much as I used the electric razor that I had trouble getting his upper lip shaved. Currently, he is in need of a haircut and a shave, which gives him sort of a rumpled look. Thankfully, he willingly bathes daily and will barely tolerate brushing his teeth, which I insist he must do. As for the shaggy hair and whiskers, I’ve decided this battle isn’t worth fighting so long as he keeps his hair and face clean. While I tend to attribute most trends to autism and sensory issues, I suspect he is probably just engaged in some form of teen rebellion with regard to his hair and beard, and the less we say, the better. I guess it could be worse; I’ve seen pictures of Ed when he wasn’t much older than Alex, and his hair was much longer, or he could be like my nephew, whose mother wasn’t thrilled when recently shaved part of his head to create a Mohawk for his senior football season. Fortunately, phases usually don’t last long with Alex, so I’ll try to wait patiently until he decides that he’d like a haircut and a shave, just so long as he doesn’t start talking about Monopoly Junior again.

“Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.” 2 Timothy 2:25

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Retail Therapy

On Thursday, the media gleefully reported that First Lady Michelle Obama had been photographed shopping at a Target store in Virginia. Since Alex and I had been shopping at another discount store, our local Kmart, the day before, I thought a comparison and contrast of their shopping adventures might be interesting.

Mrs. Obama was photographed wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses in an attempt to shop incognito. Alex, too, often wears a baseball cap and sunglasses in public places; however, he needs them to deal with the glare of fluorescent lighting in discount stores.

Mrs. Obama pushed her own shopping cart; Alex also pushes his own shopping cart.

Mrs. Obama shopped with an assistant and a Secret Service agent. Alex shops with Ed and/or me, his personal assistants who know how to run security detail, should he become agitated.

Mrs. Obama reportedly bought dog food and toys for First Dog Bo. Although we’ve never owned a dog, Alex enjoys going down the dog food aisle and seeing the big bags (40 or 50 pounds) of dog food, so he would have enjoyed shopping with Mrs. Obama. However, this week Alex shopped for athletic socks. Apparently, socks sounded like “sucks,” which led him to muttering and complaining, which led me to put down the socks and lead him out of Kmart before a meltdown erupted.

Mrs. Obama supposedly was not recognized by anyone in the store except for the clerk in the checkout lane. Alex moved through Kmart unnoticed, thanks to my quick response, until he decided to push the buttons angrily on the credit card reader at the customer service desk on his way out the door.

On Mrs. Obama’s way out of Target, customers probably noticed that she was having her picture taken by newspaper photographers. On Alex’s way out of Kmart, customers probably heard the beeping caused by his pushing buttons on the credit card reader and may have noticed my grabbing his arm as we hurried out the door. Fortunately, no photographers were available to record his annoyance or mine.

After all the attention Mrs. Obama received for her Target shopping trip, she may have to limit her visits to area discount stores. After his griping during our last Kmart shopping trip, Alex may find that I’m not terribly eager to take him shopping there again, at least not by myself. Maybe the next time we’ll take along our personal assistant/security detail, Ed. If he’s not available, maybe Mrs. Obama’s Secret Service agent would be willing to tag along with us since he’s a seasoned discount shopper.

I’m just thankful that Alex decided to voice his displeasure at Kmart, which is my least favorite of the “big box stores.” If we were banned from Kmart, that would be no big deal. However, not being able to shop at his favorite store, Wal-Mart, or my favorite, Target--now that would be a loss. In the meantime, we keep praying that we can target (no pun intended) whatever may be causing these irritations in Alex and hope that they disappear rapidly so that we can all enjoy retail therapy in peace.

“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’” Matthew 25:9