Enzymes

Okay, I’m ready to take the leap and write this post. I have been putting it off because I have been doing some field testing and didn’t want to jump the gun. So here goes…

The Subjects

Doug is 44 years old, and displays textbook Asperger’s syndrome. He has sensory overload, food intolerances, terrible people skills, a love for animals, and awful meltdowns.

Sadie is 4 years old. She likes routine, and gets very quiet and hides when strange people are around. She has fits for seemingly small reasons, like falling behind on a walk or getting bumped in the hall. She refuses to talk and stares when she is frustrated, and sometimes growls, barks, or flaps her arms.

The Test

I have finished the book Enzymes for Autism, and was very eager to buy some enzymes and get started. However, in my hopes to give Sadie a chewable enzyme, the potency ended up nowhere near strong enough. The results were definitely unsatisfactory.

I upgraded to a swallowable enzyme which contained a broad spectrum of enzymes at a much higher dosage. There need to be a variety of enzymes, because each enzyme digests different kinds of food. I was able to find vegetarian capsules, which need to be taken 20-30 min. before every meal.

Doug quickly got into a routine and is currently taking two before every meal. He also keeps a bottle in his truck, so that he can take some before he even comes in the house in the morning. Then he can go directly to the kitchen, get some breakfast, and feel much better. (Mornings used to be a tremendous struggle. We tried to just stay out of the way for about 30 min. to give him a chance to eat. Otherwise, the landscape was not pretty. :)

Sadie was a bit trickier to figure out. She tried to swallow the pills, but it dissolved in her mouth, and after a few tries, she refused. So I tried emptying the capsule into a spoonful of jam, and giving to her before meals. But this became very inconvenient, and sometimes got skipped. The enzymes really only work well if they are taken with all food. Undigested food slipping by is contributing to the problems in the brain. (See the book for great explanations!)

Then I rechecked the book and found a great idea. I made up very simple chocolate “frosting” and emptied 24 capsules into it.  Then I spread the frosting into a circle on a plate and put it in the freezer. With a butter knife, I cut it into 24 wedges and scrape one of for her at every meal. Presto! She takes them beautifully. Who wouldn’t, when they get their dessert before the meal?

The Results

Amazing! I am truly thankful to YHVH for showing us a better way to live. Life is not perfect, but He didn’t promise that, now did He?

Sadie is talking in full sentences and telling me things that I can understand. She is working on a math workbook and doing very well. She can color in the lines and draw with precision. She isn’t writing letters yet, but I’m optimistic. She is getting along better with her siblings. There have only been a couple incidents of screaming, and they were very shortlived. Tonight, I prayed before her (wrong order) and she got a bit upset, but  I was able to settle her down in a couple minutes and she was fine. I have even seen some new facial expressions and her whole demeaner seems more natural, rather than copying other people. Actually, sometimes I think I was crazy to think anything was wrong with her, when I see how she is now.

With Doug, we waited for the shoe to fall, but it didn’t. Something would go wrong, and we all would hold our breath, and nothing happened! He has been able to come home from work in a pleasant mood. We had my parents over and everything was great fun. He interacts with the kids more. He helped me clean out the fridge! He has just been so much more easy going.

He still yells sometimes, but it is more appropriate to the situation. He still gets frustrated, but the obstacles are overcome easier. He feels the meltdown welling up, but often he is able to swallow it. Life is not perfectly smooth, and he still has bad times, but everything is toned down. It’s easier to deal with.

I think perhaps he is still struggling some because he is so much older, and more damage has been done. More habits have been ingrained. I also think he doesn’t always remember to take the capsules 20-30 min. before a meal. They may not be having a full effect like they should. It may just take a bit longer for his digestive system to get back on track.

Conclusion

If you are dealing with ASD in your family, please, please give enzymes a try! Elimination diets do help tremendously because the problem begins in the digestive system. But enzymes can catch what we might miss! I feed my family kosher and as healthy as I am able, but I have not removed any foods, aside from working on preservatives.

From my observation, their brain does seem to process the world a bit differently than mine. But with the enzymes, they are able to handle what life dishes out without breaking down. They can interact with people and actually enjoy it lol! Well, at least most of the time, which I’m thrilled with!

 

Categories: battleplans | 11 Comments

Torah and diet

Torah definitely affects the way we eat. One of the first changes made as a person begins keeping Torah is the switch to kosher food. No more ham, pepperoni, or shrimp! For some people, this is an easy change. For some people like my husband, it can be very difficult.

But how far does kosher reach? I’d like to point out a few areas of life where we need to be concerned about kosher.

Supplements

The first thing I’d like to point out is supplements. Are your vitamins and supplements kosher? Many capsules are made with gelatin, usually pork derived. It is becoming easier to find vegetarian capsules that are acceptable to use. In my experience, pills labeled vegetarian tend to be cheaper than those labeled kosher. If you can’t find a supplement in a vegetarian form, consider whether you should be taking that supplement.

We purchase our supplements from Vitacost. They are affordable and offer a vast array of vegetarian options. If you click on this link, new customers will receive $10 towards their first purchase.

Vaccinations

The  next thing to consider is vaccines. Many people do not vaccinate for medical reasons. We made this decision for an entirely different reason. Our first three children were selectively vaccinated, meaning they only received the shots where we felt the benefits outweighed the risks. We left the church and began keeping Torah when I was pregnant with Sadie. We soon learned that vaccines were filled with very unkosher ingredients like monkey organs and human fetus parts! No more vaccines! Sadie never received a shot.

By the way, I have been disturbed to occasionally run across claims that autism does not exist in families that do not vaccinate.

Sadie never received a shot, yet she has Asperger’s Syndrome. Let’s be careful about blanket statements and broad claims. It can be very easy to look at a family and assume that they made bad choices and are paying the consequences. It is always best to keep our concerns within the confines of our own four walls.

Special diets

We also need to be discerning when looking at special diets. I have been researching diets that are known to help with autism. One of the better known diets is the GAPS diet. I believe this diet is helpful to many people. But we have decided it is not right for our family for two reasons.

  1. Pork and shellfish are not only allowed, but considered beneficial. This mindset concerns me when I look at a diet. The reasoning of the diet has not been built on the proper foundation. This does not make the diet wrong, but it makes me watch very closely.
  2. kosherMilk and grains are not allowed. This also greatly concerns me because milk and bread are both praised in Scripture. Israel is a land flowing with milk and honey. Hebrew society revolves around the grain harvests. More than one feast celebrates the wheat or barley harvest and Yahshua is called the Bread of Life. I believe these elements are an important part of a balanced diet based on what we see in Scripture.

Our choice

We as a family are actively pursuing enzymes as treatment for Aspergers because we feel that they line up with Torah much better.

  1. They are plant derived and vegetarian.
  2. YHVH gave us plants and herbs for the healing of the nations.
  3. We are able to make much broader choices in our diet, such as retaining dairy and gluten, because the enzymes will properly digest these foods and promote healing of the digestive system.

Each person and family needs to make choices that affect their diet and health. We must keep Torah at the center of any decision we make.

What other choices have you had to make in connection with a kosher lifestyle?

Categories: Featured, Torah, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Trial and error

I have spent the last couple of weeks doing some experimenting. I am just about done reading the book Enzymes and Autism. I now know more about the digestive system than I ever thought possible. Did you know that your intestines are wrapped in nerves to the point that your digestive system is called the second brain?

If you are dealing with autism spectrum disorders in your home, I highly recommend this book. It explains the idea that many neurological problems are a result of problems in the digestive system. This is why many diet changes can show good results. Enzymes help us digest our food properly and help tremendously with nasty symptoms.

We have been giving enzymes for about two weeks and I think it looks very promising. However, we are switching to a more potent enzyme this week. I had hoped to be able to use a chewable, but it just wasn’t giving the results I was looking for. When I asked Doug how he was feeling, he felt miserable without the enzymes and tolerable with them. Well, we want better than tolerable. :) So, I’m anxious to give the new enzymes a few weeks to see how they do.

I think it’s interesting that Torah says so much about food. What we put in our bodies is important, and keeping our bodies in good shape is also important. Of course, I had to spend a while finding enzymes that were vegetarian, rather than pork based. I also am trying to put the best food I can into my family’s bodies.

I also have learned a lot the past few weeks about my husband and what’s going on in his brain. So many quirky little things are now making sense. As I understand him better, Sadie is making more sense. She has been communicating better, which is wonderful!

The greatest part about seeing things improve is seeing a lot more of that wonderful sweet guy I married. Sometimes he’s hiding and I miss him, but I’ve seen quite a bit of him lately. Praise YHVH!

I’ll keep you posted on our progress with the enzymes!

 

 

Categories: battleplans, Praise!, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Character training?

There are six children living in my home. There are also two parents and two dogs. Throw in two people with aspergers, and you have a recipe for conflict.

“Mom, she’s keeping me awake!”

“She just gave my toothbrush to Elisha!”

“Isaac, get off your sister! You’re crushing her!”

“I don’t like her. She’s a baby!”

Oops! Maybe I should have warned you first. I know you have probably never heard these things before. (grin)

The truth is that we all have a bit of friction in our homes from time to time. Some evenings offer me a bit extra tension and I get a bit frustrated. So I come running to the computer to search for character training materials. If I can just get some worksheets, or flashcards, or maybe an object lesson, then all will be better. But YHVH is always guiding, always shining the light. He guides me to a very unexpected article. It is titled “Character Training is Unbiblical.” Well, of course I click on it, out of curiosity if nothing else.

We want our children to have godly character. We want them to behave. We want to avoid conflict in our homes. But how do we do that? In my heart, I know the answer. But I don’t like it. In Torah, we are told to teach our children all day and all night. We are to fill them with YHVH’s commands. Precept upon precept, line upon line. It is hard work to till the soil of a soul. The work is never truly done. If the soil is left unattended for a period of time, it grows weeds. As parents, we must work to teach our children the principles of Scripture. We must take the little opportunities to show them Biblical responses. When the friction comes and rubs up against our face, we must address it.

But can’t I just have them color a picture and write a poem about kindness? Well, sure you can. But don’t think that coloring a picture will ensure a kind child. Your work is not done. I don’t think there is anything wrong with teaching good qualities systematically, but I think there is a far better way.

If I see one of my children pushing a sibling, I have the opportunity to ask them one question.

“Would you want them to push you?”

There is only one answer to that question. NO. “So don’t push them.”

Done.

If we skip the forty character qualities and the accompanying flash cards, stories, coloring pages, copywork, memorization, and essay questions, we are left with one rule.

~~~Love your neighbor as yourself.~~~

Teach your children that one rule, and apply it to every situation. That is the sole teaching of Torah on human relations. I think my children will have no trouble remembering that.

Why would we care what Torah says? Because Yahshua is Torah wrapped up in a human body. He kept Torah perfectly. He showed us how to love our neighbor as ourselves. He died as a sacrifice because He knew we couldn’t do it. When we trust Him and his atoning sacrifice, he gives us the power to obey. We are thrilled to obey because of our grateful heart.

His way may seem harder. I have to keep at it 24/7. I have to be watching for opportunities to challenge my children to obey Torah. But His way is guaranteed. He promises to bless those who obey Him. When we teach our children to love our neighbor as themselves, they will be blessed.

Tonight, I told Naomi, “You can keep Sabbath, eat kosher, and keep the feasts, but if you don’t learn to love your sister, it all means nothing.”

YHVH, please help me to be diligent in teaching my children. Help me to see the teachable moments when their hearts are more open to instruction. Help me to love my neighbor as myself. Help me to follow your way, the best way, instead of the easy road. Thank you for your faithfulness, your example and your love.

Categories: love your neighbor, Torah | Leave a comment

A good day

Some of you may remember that months ago, we set out to install a windmill in our backyard. We have been working a little at a time on preparation. Today, we asked my Dad to come over to help us assemble the tower and test run lifting it up. In the past, this would have been a recipe for disaster. If anything went wrong, Doug would have been so overwhelmed and frustrated that much “yuckiness” would inevitably follow. He eventually stopped asking for help just to avoid the blowup.

But now we are beginning to understand the whys. We are learning about his differently wired brain. We are learning about the problems with his digestive system. He has been taking digestive enzymes every day to help. He knew he would need the help, so we took a deep breath, prayed, and started to work.

We made sure to take time to think things through and work systematically. We got the wire strung through all the poles and took a break for coffee. Then we tried to lift the tower to see how things would go. As Doug carefully lifted the tower with the tractor, the second pole snapped. And NO MELTDOWN! Doug breathed and lowered the pole. Then we began to design a new tower.

Then we praised YHVH for a wonderful victory and a peaceful day!

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Lifegiving Psalms

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
(Psa 139:13-18)

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side. The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
(Psa 77:11-20)

 

 

 

 

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Battleplan

After much research, I think I can safely say that there are good things and bad things about autism spectrum disorders. My husband has been so helpful in giving me his perspective. He grew up in the days before aspergers had a name, and he was labeled learning disabled. Now that I have been able to get a pretty clear picture of what aspergers looks like, he has been able to confirm that he struggles with those exact things. So here is a sample list of pros and cons.

Pros

  • honesty
  • black and white view of the world
  • loyalty
  • efficiency
  • hard work and devotion to a task
  • connection with animals
  • self motivation
  • ability to work out problems systematically
  • Torah is easy to follow
  • high intelligence

Cons

  • sensory overload
  • loss of self control
  • self centered egotism
  • difficulty with empathy
  • inability to read social cues
  • frustration in groups of people
  • difficulty maintaining friendships
  • meltdowns
  • difficulty with compassion

Doug (my hubby) really appreciates some of the pros and doesn’t want to lose them. He definitely wants to get rid of the meltdowns and sensory overload, though. So we are working on a custom battleplan to help him achieve this.

The main place where I feel that standard medical protocols fails is the failure to realize that we are complex people. Our physical health affects our emotions. Our spiritual health affects our physical well being, etc. We are interconnected. That’s why Torah teaches us to love YHVH with our minds, soul, strength, and heart. Only changing his diet may not be effective. Only studying Torah and praying may not be effectice. We need to build him up as a whole person to truly help him.

  1. I feel that diet changes are crucial to his physical health. We are working hard to eliminate all preservatives. This is no small task! I thought I was doing quite well making our food from scratch, but I still have several foods to eliminate. I also am exploring the importance of enzymes in healing and helping the digestive tract. I’ll have more info on that as I learn more.
  2. I am trying to help Doug identify “triggers” that usually lead to frustration or even a meltdown. (Yes, a 44 year old can still have meltdowns. Not pretty.) For example, we have decided to not tackle any projects on Preparation Day. There is too much stress and time pressure. I need to be free to prepare food and the home for Shabbat. Also, he has asked that the entrance to the home be tidy when he gets home from work. He is usually overtaxed from dealing with people at work and needs calm when he gets home.
  3. We are studying Torah on a daily basis, not just on Shabbat. The more his mind is filled with Torah, the more capable he is of keeping everything in perspective. He is able to have more of the heart of YHVH and thinks less of his own priorities.

Sadie is 4 1/2 years old, so my approach with her is very different.

  1. My diet approach with her is pretty much the same as with Doug. It will apply to the whole family.
  2. I am giving Sadie more schoolwork rather than less. She talks better and behaves better when she is being challenged academically. She has been working diligently on her letters and I have seen significant improvements in her drawing and writing abilities. She has also taken great interest in jigsaw puzzles.
  3. I am teaching Sadie appropriate responses to situations through stories and simple explanations. When we read Torah together as a family, we make practical application. When we read about Rebekah at the well, we pointed out that Rebekah was quick to help others. Remember that Torah is the foundation, but all of Scripture teaches us YHVH’s principles for living. We also are holding Sadie accountable for her actions. She gets in trouble for mistreating others just like everyone else. Most of the time, I am able to get her to stop screaming if I am quick to act, but not always. :)

So, that’s our battleplan right now. We want to enhance the good qualities and minimize the negative ones. We want to treat the whole person. We want to emphasize that the choices we make should please YHVH.

 

Categories: battleplans, Torah | 4 Comments

a prayer

YHVH,

I have so many questions. I don’t understand the decisions you make. You are so wise, and you understand everything. I have been tempted to go to others for help. If I just search for the right words on the internet, then I’ll find answers. Someone will explain to me why I have been blessed with not one, but two people with asperger’s syndrome. Someone will tell me how to help them.

But no one has any answers. They try, but their answers are so empty. They give their canned responses, but they don’t understand. They don’t know what it’s like to watch a grown man scream in frustration because something isn’t going as planned, and feel like he’s screaming at me. They don’t worry about how to teach my daughter to have compassion for others when she can only think about herself.

But You understand. Please help me. Please show me the way. Give me wisdom and patience, oh so much patience. I cannot model Your ways if I am frustrated, too. What would You do?

You showed us how to love. Yahshua spent 33 years showing us how to love. But He is sinless. How do I show love, when I get upset, too? Joseph returned good for evil. How do I show love to a selfish egotistical person who doesn’t understand other people’s feelings? How do I return good when I don’t always get it in return?

Please give me your strength. Help me to be patient in the face of impatience. Help me to be calm during someone else’s meltdown. Help me to be happy when they are mad. Help me to reach out when they want to withdraw. Help me to remember that love is a choice I make every day.

Helping my family is not a ten step process. Show me the little actions I need to take every day. Help me to remember that even Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not have perfect little lives. Real life is sometimes messy. Torah brings order, but it comes a little at a time. Remind me that real lasting change takes time and hard work.

And can I come to you and cry every now and then? You understand my tears and know exactly what to do. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for my family, every single one of them. You must think I’m pretty tough since you promise to not give me more than I can handle. That makes me smile.

And, YHVH, please help all those mommies in the same boat as me. They smile and get up every morning and give it their best shot. Give them strength and patience and show them compassion when they are overwhelmed. Give them lots of hugs. And show us all that our struggles are no different than anyone else’s. You use everything in our lives to make us more like you.

Thank you for listening to me. You are such a good daddy!

Categories: heartcries | 2 Comments

The beauty of routine

I have struggled with the idea of routine for years. I would start one and then fall flat on my face. I guess I don’t like the perceived rigidity. I want to be able to accommodate my lazy inclinations. (Did I just write that out loud?) But I have learned to embrace the concept of routine. You can guess that Torah did it!

We began with our evening routine.

I would like to point out that the pictures work really well. Sadie can recognize all the pictures now. She doesn’t always remember to follow them in order, but she has siblings to help her. This one thing has completely changed our evenings. I am on my own most evenings, so chaos tended to be the general practice. It’s not that I ignore my children and let them get away with murder, but the evenings have always been hard for me. I’m tired, and more likely to hide in a corner. Our routine has changed that.

Torah gives us an example of routine, because Torah is full of cycles, like the moon, stars, seasons, feast days, Shabbat. Routine and predictability is very good for all of us. It is particularly good for people with autism or aspergers syndrome. I wondered why that is. Here are my thoughts:

  • People with aspergers tend to take everything very literally.
  • They don’t like change.
  • They are reliable and dependable, because they do what they say they will do.
  • If I say I will do something, they will expect me to follow through.
  • If I don’t follow through, they will see me as a liar.

(I don’t think I’m very comfortable with this kind of thinking!)

If Sadie comes to me and asks me to read her a story, I can say, “Well, maybe later.” This response is not in keeping with Torah. YHVH does not like luke warm wishy washy anything. I say maybe because I hope that she will forget and I won’t have to do it. But Torah says to let your yes be yes and your no be no. I should make a commitment one way or the other. I should either say no and stick to it, or say yes and schedule it.

My aspies are thinking Torah here. They expect me to keep my word and follow through with what I say. To be completely honest here, this is hard for me. I have grown accustomed to sloppy speech. I have used maybe too many times. I have promised something and then forgot. I have strung them along with tomorrows that never come. I have been wrong. I have sinned.

Knowing that keeping to a routine is Torah has helped me to stick with it faithfully for two weeks now. Knowing that keeping my word about even the little things is Torah, has changed me, too.

So what does keeping my word have to do with a routine? I can stick to what that little picture chart says, and keep my word. I can say to Sadie, “I will read you a story during reading time.” When reading time comes up on the chart, I keep my word and read to her. Somehow, that chart has the ability to rule my life from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm. And I’m actually thrilled about that!

Sadie has not been flapping and jerking her arms in several days. She has been dancing and smiling. She has made progress in her schoolwork. I think I can credit that little blue chart on the wall that brings order to our days. She still baby talks sometimes and stares at us when she’s frustrated. But we have plenty of room for improvement.

YHVH has used my wonderful aspies to refine me. He is teaching me about the importance of order and routine. He is showing me that I must keep my word. These are lessons that we all must learn, whether we are dealing with aspergers or autism or nothing of the sort. And I’m very excited to announce that I felt ready to post the morning routine this morning!

 

Categories: routine, Torah | 2 Comments

A gift or a curse?

Is asperger’s and its autistic cousins a curse? Is it something to be dreaded? Should I fear what the future will look like?

Or is it a blessing in disguise? Have they been given a gift? Is there reason to hope?

I think aspergers is a gift and I’ll tell you why.

In my world: etiquette, manners, and socially acceptable behavior often take center stage. It is easy to be polite at the expense of speaking truth.

But Doug looks at the world in a different way. He reads Torah and he keeps Torah. He is not concerned about how his behavior will be perceived by others. He is not enslaved by the fear of man. He doesn’t ask, “What will they think of me?” He simply does what is right, no matter what. Sometimes I would love that freedom. I have made decisions in the past based on what outside influences pressured me into.

In Scripture, we see people who have stepped outside of social convention and stood up to do what was right. When Moses found the golden calf, he asked who would stand for YHVH. The Levites stood with Moses. They went against the crowd and gained the priesthood. Gideon destroyed the pagan alters and became a leader of the Israelites, even though everyone else pressured him to stop.

An aspie does not understand social protocol, therefore he cannot be imprisoned by it. He can choose to do right against the current. His only obstacle is learning to go against the flow in such a way that others will want to follow him. When he stands, he must only stand for right.

My challenge is to encourage this unique gift. I must teach Sadie to stand for right, even if she stands alone. But right must always mean Torah. Torah is the foundation of right, the foundation of life, the foundation of all other Scripture. And when she stand for right, she must do it in love. Conveniently, Torah also tells us how to love.

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
(Lev 19:18)

You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
(Lev 19:34)

Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
(Deu 10:19)

To love our neighbor as Torah teaches, we must love them as we love ourselves. For example, if I want a big brownie for myself, loving my neighbor means I offer a big brownie to them, too.  Many of us struggle with this. If I give them a big brownie, then there’s less for me. I must overcome my selfishness to truly show love. This goes against my base nature.  There is only one way to overcome my nature. Yahshua came to give us a living example of Torah, for He is Torah in the flesh. When I accept His redemptive work on the cross, and begin to follow His instructions in Torah, He gives me power to obey. He helps me to rise above my selfish nature and “offer my neighbor a big brownie.” A person with aspergers is no different. They must rise above selfishness and, with Yahshua’s power, they must learn to love their neighbor as themselves.

An aspie has the gift of seeing the world in black and white, but they must also learn to love their neighbors. And neighbors tend to come in shades of gray, not all good and not all bad. But that is a topic for another post. :)

 

Categories: love your neighbor, Torah | 2 Comments