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Posts Tagged ‘prescription’

When I got the call from Special Agent John Riley of the Drug Enforcement Agency who left a message saying he was involved in an ongoing federal investigation I wasn’t too concerned. I work for a chemical dependency treatment facility and it wouldn’t be the first time a client was under investigation. However, I got the shock of my life when I returned the call. Special Agent Riley, of the booming, intimidating and very rude manner was investigating me!

He let me know the agency had been tracking illegal prescription drugs shipped from outside the country to my address. I explained to him that he had the wrong person because I had never ordered medications online as he suggested. The conversation went something like this:

“Are you telling me you have never purchased medications over the internet?”  This asked in a very loud, disbelieving manner.

“No, sir, I have not.” This stated in a very meek, frightened manner.

“If you are not being truthful with me this will not go well for you, Cheryl.”

“I am being truthful. I don’t lie and I don’t buy medications over the internet.”

“Your name is Cheryl Thorp, correct?”

“No, sir. My name is Cheryl Dale.”

His immediate response, “Well it may be Cheryl Dale now, but I know you’ve used the name Cheryl Thorp in the past. When did you change your name?”

“Ummm – never – er – actually when I got married 45 years ago but it wasn’t Thorp back then either.”

“Your address is PO Box 2324, correct?” Much irritation in the agent’s voice.

“No. I have no idea whose address that is but it’s not mine.”

“If you are not being truthful with me this will not go well for you, Cheryl.”

I pull the phone away from my ear to keep his loud, demanding voice from damaging my eardrum. Then I get a flash thought – I have many strange friends who might play this type of joke on me.

“This is a joke, right?” I chuckle.

“I guess if you consider a warrant for your arrest a joke, Cheryl. I’m holding one in my hand right now.”

Gulp. “I swear I’ve never purchased medications over the internet.” I want to tell him also I’ve never shoplifted, smoked, skipped out without paying a bill, had premarital sex or folded over the corner of a page in my Bible either.

Finally Special Agent Riley stated, “I will do some more investigation on this, Cheryl, but I’m telling you right now that if you are not being honest with me it will not go well for you.”

Yeah, I get that, I mutter after he hangs up. I know I’m innocent but I start feeling guilty anyway. Then I get nervous. I’ve heard of innocent people being thrown in prison and forgotten for years. I can’t let that happen. Orange is absolutely my worst color!

I decide to bounce this off the Operations Director at work. I tell him the story and he falls out of his chair laughing. He starts to say something but breaks into another fit of laughter. Finally he chokes out, “You of all people?  Me maybe – but you? If this guy only knew!”

I bounce it off my boss who is reserved enough not to fall out of his chair when he laughs. He suggests I Google the number and verify the authenticity. So that’s what I do.

Total scam, people! If you get a call from Special Agent Riley tell him to take his warrant and put it where the sun doesn’t shine. Do not fall for his line. The scam comes when you admit that you may have at one time purchased medications over the internet. Or, you are intimidated to the point that you are afraid and just want them off your back even though you haven’t done anything wrong. The agent explains again about the warrant for your arrest, the prison sentence for drug crimes and the very large fine attached to the conviction. Then he suggests that if you want to pay the fine they will give you a break and not prosecute. Your first clue should be the suggestion that the federal government has a heart and is willing to give you a break.

How in the world do people live with themselves when they make their living taking advantage of others? I’ve heard so many stories of people being ripped off through some type of dishonesty. Where did the idea come from that you could lie and act intimidating to get people to do things that work to their advantage?

Actually, it may have come first in the Garden of Eden when a snake (probably looking and sounding a lot like Special Agent John Riley) lied and coerced Adam and Eve into thinking he was doing them a favor.

Scamming is not new, it’s just craftier and more technology enhanced today. Never has it been more necessary to pray for discernment. Snakes are out there doing everything they can to deceive. Don’t take a bite of their apple!

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1

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I didn’t sleep well last night. Instead I tossed and turned and fretted over my employees. I am an HR Director and we are offering a great new benefit with a deadline for signing up. For the employees who missed the informational meeting, they don’t know that. So I worried about them. I came to work at 6:00 a.m. to make sure I met with all of my night shift staff.  I’ve been calling and tracking people down all day. I’m so afraid someone who really needs this benefit will miss out.

I also tossed and turned all night because of a little girl in our youth program at work with a very tragic story that was just revealed to us. I want to grab her and take her home and protect her for the rest of her life.

I will not sleep well tonight because I spent my lunch break listening to a precious friend who is in a really bad situation and needs out. However, her options are limited by her ability to financially do what she needs to do. She feels alone. She feels trapped. She feels discouraged and defeated. I want to load up her things and bring her home. I want to give her money. I want to take away all the pain.

I have a friend who is in pain all the time and I want to fix that. I have a friend who has a difficult situation at home along with health problems and I’d love to make that better. The list goes on and on.

I could go to a doctor about my inability to sleep, be diagnosed and put on medication. But that would cost me time and money. It seems a waste when I believe I know exactly what my condition is. I have an chronically enlarged heart.

I also know the carrier of this disease, the One who gave it to me. His name is Jesus and as I get to know Him better, my condition worsens.

I’m finding soft spots where I used to be hard and sensitive spots where I used to be tough. I can no longer shield myself from the germs of love and caring that make me so susceptible.  I find I’m compromised – unable to fend off an attack of overwhelming compassion.

When your heart is enlarged because of a physical condition, it’s not a good thing – it’s life threatening.  But when your heart is enlarged because of a spiritual condition – it’s life affirming.

How will you know if you have this condition?  Here are some symptoms:

  • Arms that ache to reach and comfort someone who’s hurting
  • Sudden bouts of crying out to God on behalf of another
  • Watery eyes, sympathy pains, and blistered knees from long periods of intercessory prayer
  • Love that leaks from every pore in your body
  • Empathy that makes your heart rate increase
  • Limited movement – you are unable to walk away

 

As bad as it sounds, it is a condition everyone should long for. There are so many benefits that come with Christianity and one of the greatest is being able to love with the heart of Jesus. It will hurt and it will cause you to lose a lot of sleep. But it will make you kinder, gentler, and believe it or not – it will lead to excellent spiritual health.

But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled my soul with fasting; And my prayer kept returning to my bosom. I went about as though it were my friend or brother; I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother. Psalm 35:13-14

 

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One week ago she stood in the church foyer, greeting arrivals and welcoming them with her typical bouyancy.  Today she stands at Heaven’s gate and is greeted by the Savior.  Unexpected and shocking for those of us left here to mourn but celebrated by the angels.

We know life is fragile.  We know our days are numbered.  We know that for each one, an appointed time will come.  Still we walk around after it happens, shaken and surprised.  In the case of my friend, Tammy, a few days ago we were making plans expecting them to be accomplished.  She was only fifty. On the outside she appeared robust, healthy, filled with energy and life.  But on the inside she was damaged.

Who could have known that her big, happy, generous heart was about to stop beating?  When she called me Saturday morning begging me to come to the emergency room because she was having a heart attack I was  a bit skeptical.  I was in denial.  When the hospital called me a few minutes later urging me to hurry a dose of reality hit.  This was really happening.

A few hours later, after heroic effort on the part of the surgeons, she was pronounced a miracle.  Speaking to her later in CCU we discovered she had actually suffered a major heart attack two days before.  She suspected that was what was happening but talked herself into a bad case of indigestion.  She chalked the next two days up to a bad case of the flu.  She was in denial.  But her dose of reality came quickly when she was slapped on a gurney and attached to a myriad of tubes and monitors.

Her status as a survivor lasted only through the night.  Sunday morning she died.  The monitors, the doctors, the nurses, the medications – none could override her appointed time.  We have cried and verbalized our shock.  We have asked why and what could we have done.  But there are no answers.  In the end we must accept that some things are out of our hands.

The good news is she had made a commitment to the One who numbers our days.  Her journey this morning was assured.  And even as I grieved today, I praised God that I had the privilege of leading her to Christ a couple of years ago.  She knew I loved her and she knew God loved her.

I can’t help reflecting on the fact that most of us look robust and healthy on the outside.  But on the inside our hearts are damaged.  There is a treatment available.  It doesn’t take a trip to the hospital.  It takes a trip to our knees.  It will not keep us from suffering a fatal heart attack. But it will keep the soul alive after the heart is dead.

We all know life is fragile but we are still in denial almost every day.  We live as if we will never die.  And that’s okay as long as we die knowing that we will forever live.  I pray that’s where you are today.  And if you aren’t, you can be.  Accept that your heart is damaged by sin.  Believe that Jesus Christ died to repair that damage.  And ask for healing.  It’s that simple.

For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

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As a follow up to my pedicure post of last Friday, I have further proof that they are biblical.  I did finish up my conference by treating myself to a relaxing, refreshing pedicure. I took my 14 year old granddaughter, Bailey, along because it was her turn for time with grandma and I invited my sister because she had helped me out at the conference.

Here’s what you need to know about my sister to get the gist of this story.  She is about as different from me as you could imagine.  I am tall, she is short.  I can enter a room and the air will hardly move.  She enters a room and people begin looking around for the hurricane.  I spend a lot of time getting ready to set foot outside my house.  She jumps into the day with a quick comb, a dash of toothbrush and comfortable clothes.  You might never even notice that I was in the room.  She never leaves a room without leaving laughter behind.

As an example of our different take on things, when she showed up to help me for the conference she had forgotten to change out of her old comfortable grey slippers.  Didn’t bother her a bit.  Me – I’d have driven back to my house to get my shoes regardless of the distance or the time crunch.  I would have died of embarrassment if anyone had seen me in my slippers.  She, on the other hand, had everyone laughing and thinking it was the most natural thing in the world and wishing they’d brought their slippers along.

So, I invited her to accompany me for a pedicure.  At first she refused because she’d never had one and she can’t stand to have her feet touched.  I was able to convince her she’d love it never dreaming the treat would be mine and that of everyone in near proximity.

By the time I closed up the conference, loaded everything in my car and shook the last hand of the last participant I was actually thinking of cancelling and just going home to crash.  I’m so glad I didn’t.

The first person I spotted when I walked into the spa was my best friend already sitting in Chair 1.  That was a pleasant surprise.  I grabbed Chair 2, Bailey Chair 3 and my sister, Su, Chair 4.  We sat back, dipped out feet into that wonderful soothing foot bath and proceeded to let Su entertain.  Between squeals and gasps and outrageous comments, she bounced her way through the pedicure while we laughed until we were weak.  The spa staff was laughing, the other customers were laughing – I swear even the pedicure chairs were laughing.

If I had gone home and crashed after my conference I would have gotten up tired.  When I left that spa I was rejuvenated.  I had a smile on my face and wondered when that irritating, obnoxious little sister of our growing up years turned into such a fun, unique and special friend. 

If laughter is truly the best medicine, she should be bottled and sold in pill form.  She might just be the miracle cure of the century.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Prov 17:22

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My wonderful Bible study group had quite a laugh when my good friend Katie shared her story.  She had begun having terrible headaches a couple of weeks earlier and was quite concerned because they had come on suddenly.  The headaches would begin shortly after getting to work and would increase in intensity throughout the day.  She believed it had something to do with her eyes even though she’d recently had them checked.  She finally made another appointment with her vision care provider.  Each day prior to her appointment things worsened and she became more and more concerned as did her husband.  Something was seriously wrong. The day before her appointment she was getting ready for work and spotted a pair of glasses in an unusual place in her bathroom.  She pulled off the glasses she had on only to discover that for two weeks she had been wearing her son’s glasses instead of her own!  The frames were similar enough no one noticed the difference and her son hadn’t said a word (he had switched to contacts).  Only her eyes had figured things out!  The prescription wasn’t working, thus the severe headaches.

It was a funny story but at the same time illustrated how seeing through someone else’s eyes isn’t always the best plan.  When it comes to faith, we need our own prescription so to speak.  We can’t use our parent’s or our pastor’s or our best friend’s.  If we can’t stand on our own and defend what we truly believe deep in our own heart and soul, we are going to be susceptible to some pretty horrendous headaches.

You can’t always rely on someone else’s answers to pass a test!  The foundations of our faith are what get us through.  My ability to weather a storm comes from the experiences I’ve had surviving smaller storms and the repeated assurance that it was God who got me through.  He doesn’t apply the same prescription to my situation that He does to another person’s. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all-crisis.  Every solution and every assist He offers is unique and individualized.

Reading God’s word brings new thoughts and ideas that I’m going to need at some point.  If I only let others tell me what they read, I’m not giving myself the opportunity to allow God to speak to me personally and prepare me for the road ahead. 

When I study the Bible I get inside the characters and the stories.  If I just listen to someone else retell the stories I might miss key points that are there just for my instruction.  I’m influenced by their voice not His.

If I sit back and bask in the retelling of another person’s great Sunday morning worship experience, I miss out on the soul stirring music, the heart healing testimonies, the life lifting messages.  I only get the fringe benefit.  It won’t be enough when I have to withdraw  a big measure of strength and courage.

As a writer let’s just say I need a first person faith.  A third person point of view just doesn’t cut it.  God has prescribed for me a specific lens through which I will be able to see His hand on my life.  I need to make sure I’m wearing my own glasses.  (Of course, cute frames are an added asset!)

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