Bath Salts

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)

I heard the news few days ago. I was still tired from working this past weekend and my mind kept processing all the things that happened that were new to me. I was talking about the mandatory test we all had regarding increasing our knowledge with another form of substance being abused out in the streets. It’s called “bath salts.”

The headline was that the man was naked and kept chewing out of another man’s face. It took a lot of bullets before the police officer was able to stop him. The Miami cops believed the man they killed was under the influence of "bath salts".

I dealt with one when I went to work this Saturday in the prison. He was housed alone for his weird behavior. He was so unpredictable that the deputy who asked us to re-evaluate the said inmate, refused to open the main door in his cell. He opened a tiny window from the door and I had the inmate stretched his left hand so I could take his blood pressure. Though might not that be accurate but was safer to do. He was cooperative. Only to be so upset next minute. He kept changing his answers. Suicidal at one point then later denied. He was so restless. Pacing in his tiny cell, he would get up and started washing his shirts. Then, he took a shower.

“He’s not having an alcohol withdrawal,” I told the deputy.

“But he definitely needs to be assessed by the Psychiatrist. Good thing he’s still here. I’ll let him know right now,” I reassured.

The Psych Doctor sensing the urgency from my demeanor didn’t refuse my request for him to see the inmate though he was not on his list for that day. He agreed with me. His bizarre behavior was drug-induced. Next thing we knew, 4 deputies were trying to hold him down, their strength unmatched with his despite him being in a handcuff. He was thrown in another cell at Intake part of the prison where he could be monitored intensely by other deputies after he ripped off something in his previous cell. There, he started banging his head and ended up cutting his right hand from the metal door. We went ahead and sent him out to ER to be evaluated and treated with high alert to the deputies that they might need to restrain him for the risk he posed against himself and toward staff. Few minutes later, he was calm and cooperative as the deputies put him in the Sheriff's car to go to ER. I had never seen any psychotic changes like that in my career. It was either one was crazy or faking it but not on and off symptoms. It was something harder to deal with. And how dangerous it looked, especially for the health status of that person abusing bath salts.

Currently, there are no clear tests to determine bath salt use. The symptoms are way worse than other known abused drugs. They are known as “Ivory Wave”, “Purple Wave”, “Bliss” and “Vanilla Sky”. Don’t confuse them with those things one puts in their bathtubs. By calling them “bath salts”, those who are selling them illegally are able to put them out in the market under this name.

I just want to share that with you and to watch out for those you might suspect are abusing “something”…As one’s mind is clouded with the drug use, I believe the spiritual enemy can gain his ground in someone who doesn’t have a clear perception of things. It is sad that one got killed and the other man got hurt pretty bad because his face was eaten. Some thought the other man was a “zombie”. No matter what we hear, the act done was so evil.

“And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”
– Genesis 9:5-6 (ESV)

5/31/12 - Here's another link from ABC news if you have time and want to know more about this dangerous drug:

A Soldier- Father

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
~ Psalm 119:45 (NIV)

“Has it been 22 years already?” I thought silently. I was pondering about my husband being involved in the war against Iraq in the 90’s. How fast the years had gone by. As if they were sand that slipped through our fingers.

I remembered those times. Of facing fears. Whether we would still be seeing each other. Whether he’d be coming back in one piece or not. Of worries. If he was safe. Able to eat. Able to get some rest and sleep that was hard to come by, perhaps, as him and fellow soldiers were always on high alert.  Of wondering. If they were safe as they trusted on the security from the battleship that tried to avoid scattered mines being tossed by the Arabian waters.

I remembered praying harder. For God’s protection. Comfort. Courage. Strength. Endurance. And most of all, His provision to safely bring him back, along with the other soldiers who were willing to risk their lives. And bring him back, God did. Except he was a changed man.

A soldier by career but also became a father who from past experiences, became eager to build than destroy. His heart that loved to see life despite the risk of death. Not taking things for granted. The man who learned that he needed to tackle a much bigger war than the war he was in. And that was to hold his family together, despite the adversities that he faced and still face in his home.

He is now a “father-soldier” who teaches his son to look up to the One Who heard his prayers and my prayers. The One Who comforted him during those lonely moments as his turn came to searched for mines, miles and miles up ahead to keep their battleship intact and lives protected from dangerous blasts. The One Who gave him the courage to face each day and gave him hope despite the dangers that surrounded him. The One who protected them and provided for their needs in a foreign land.

As wars continue nowadays, some died young. Well…a lot…They knew that sacrifice. And they knew that freedom was worth fighting for. May we remember our courageous soldiers in our prayers. For those who had departed. And for their families' comfort and strength. Like what Gen. Douglas McArthur said, "The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war."

And a lot of times, those unseen battles in their hearts are what they must fight harder against... 

The Power Outage

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. ~Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

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The tea lights flickered, creating a dancing form of ember lights upstairs at the loft. We had an unexpected power outage last night. It seemed like just the houses in our street were the ones covered in darkness. Thank God for my husband’s preparation for times like those, each of us was able to get a flashlight within reach. I love tea lights so I lit up some and in no time, we, three, were able to see, able to let go of keeping the flashlights in the palms of our hands.

The power returned by almost midnight, a little over 3 grueling hours of darkness, perhaps, for some of the neighbors. My family and I took advantage of telling each other stories, sharing laughter and enjoying the not-so-often incident.

“So, how did you like it last night?” my neighbor hollered as he passed by holding on to the leash of his beloved pet as they started their morning walk. I was sweeping in the front yard.

“Oh, I guess it was okay. Thank God, I love candles and tea lights so I just lit up some,” I replied.

“Man!!! It took us a while to find a flashlight. It was awful! That was a good idea what you just said. Guess I’d be doing that,” he uttered, trying to keep up his pace with his dog that started to have quicker steps from his 4 paws.

“Well, since we don’t know what happens anymore, it’s good to be ready. But you have a nice day!” I added as his form slowly disappeared and wished me back the same with a waned volume.

I shared my encounter with my neighbor to my son as we both were having breakfast before he went to school. I told him how spiritually, it was the same. How awful it must be to not have the Light (Jesus) in our lives! It would be hard to see like the blind ones. But to be able to see yet, see things falsely must be more awful than being blind!

“But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” – Matthew 6:23 (NIV)

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” – Isaiah 5:20 (NIV)

“Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.” – Luke 11:35 (NLT)

Home Is Where He Is...

"Jesus said, "Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father's house; I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you. After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am."
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- John 14:1-3 (NCV)       

I wiped a tear or two that fell from the corner of my eyes. As my husband, child and I embraced each other after our morning prayer.

“Remember that song?” I asked my child.

“Yes, Mom. We were in a hotel,” he replied.

In 2003, we sold our first house after living there for 10 years. We stayed in the same area but just found a house on the other side, newly-built homes and the reason why we needed to leave the previous house was the backyard was close to a major freeway. When the place boomed, the noise from the vehicles became unbearable. On top of that, we believed our child was sickly because of the fumes. I never believed in coincidences anymore since being found by Jesus. The move, though seemed to be full of hurdles and that was from the enemy, but committing it with Him from the beginning, actually went smoothly. The house that we applied for, was no longer available as another couple had gotten it first by the time we checked it out. Then, all of a sudden, my husband needed to go to Vermont for a special training.  But by God’s grace, everything was truly in His perfect time. After my husband’s training, we put the old house in the market. After 1 week, we already had interested buyers. We geared to apply for another house, but with the same tract like the first house we wanted. Then, we heard good news from the lady who managed the sales. The other couple’s escrow fell and we were next in line, so we were qualified to get the house we originally wanted.  She summoned us to go to their office so we could still opt for the flooring that we wanted.

We ended up staying in a hotel for 2-3 weeks as the sales of our old house closed and the buyers moved in. The new house was not ready at that time. I kept playing the song. My child, at that time, would sing it with me. Inside the hotel room.

I cleared my throat as my child hugged me again….

“So true…We can live anywhere…but our true home is where He is…”

“Where Jesus is…”

I pray that this song will encourage you that no matter how tough your journey is, He is always with us, never leaving us. Until we reach Home...Just have FAITH....and BELIEVE...

Wound Care

“I haven’t really seen your wound from the start. How is it to you?” I asked the middle-aged, male inmate with a haggard-looking face.

“Actually, it looks much better,” he quickly replied with a positive tone.

If not for my strong stomach, perhaps, trained during my nursing school years, I held my breath as I slowly opened the dressing on his left, inner thigh. Nursing staff usually changed his dressing everyday during the morning hours specifically scheduled in their unit. He missed that day’s dressing change as he was included in the doctor’s sick call follow-up.

His wound was so deep. A big piece of muscle missing in the center as the surrounding tissues appeared pinkish. There was no more bleeding that was previously charted in his notes. A wound as a result of a dog bite when he tried resisting his arrest.

I cleansed it well with a wound cleanser and packed it with a special thin strip of dressing. I asked him to take a deep breath as I applied the gel that would aid in the wound’s healing. As I was applying the big dressing that would cover the wound, he started whining.

“Don’t use that! That’s not the dressing they used,” he uttered.

“I know, Sir. But as I removed your dressing, I noticed the redness around the edges of the former dressing. I wanted to make sure your skin is not getting irritated from that kind of dressing. I want to try this non-allergenic one. But you need to trust me. If you don’t like it, you can tell the nurse in the morning to change it when they do your dressing change.”

He didn’t know what to say. His mouth did not protest anymore. He finally realized that he needed to let the nurses have their way in treating his wounds. Things might not be the same. Things might change because it would depend on the needs of his wound.

How often we also resist the leading of the Spirit? He is quick to reach out and never holds His arm to save us. But we must come to His presence, broken and willing to surrender. Everything. Daily.

“We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” – 1 Corinthians 2:12 (NIV)

Happy Mother's Day

12 years ago, in my son’s Kindergarten class, the teacher had them write something about their moms in sort of “fill-in-the blanks” styles. I was sure that must be challenging for their young minds or imaginations.

One question out of about 5 fill-in-the blanks struck me the most:

My mom__________. (My son’s reply: “knows everything.”)

As we both recalled that time as we happened to take a tour back to those old paths by looking at the pictures I had kept all those years, I asked him what he thought about that now.

Oh, he was quick to give me a reply with a 17-year old wisdom:

“That isn’t true, Mom!” As he gave me a hug and a kiss as if to counter any potential harm to this mother’s heart.

I hugged him tight and I said, “That’s right! Only God knows everything!”

“I know,” he replied with a big smile, perhaps with a sense of relief that his “mama” didn’t get emotional!

As time goes by fast, year after year, I often reflect on those memories I share with my child. As a mother, I want to be better, help him in any possible ways with the hope and prayers that he will always walk in that right path. The narrow path that isn’t easy but leads to the eternal.

As mothers, we are a part of our children’s journeys. We have a part in their history even when that time comes that they have to create their own.

So, as my last words at that time when I was talking with my son, I added:

"Your mom may not know everything but by God's grace, He tells me a lot so I end up knowing a lot!"

He nodded his head in quick agreement.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, friends and sisters in Christ! (And I’m not only talking about those who have children. I know many also who never have children but have a loving heart like that of a mother’s)…May God’s wisdom and discernment continue to guide us as mothers to our children, and not only to them but to others as well. For this journey is not easy. But with God’s help, we can always make it! We can endure.

What will your child say about you as a mother?

Frozen Drinks (My Treat!!!)

Nurses started complaining after a very busy shift. Charts with doctors’ orders still piled high from the previous day became a burden for that day. We labored and hardly breathe until we leveled those bins. My hands were achy and my neck from endlessly using the computer, as it was for the others who had no choice but work harder that day. That was not including the inmates requesting to be seen for their ailments.

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I asked for the Charge Nurse’s permission if I could go to a nearby Starbucks as the thought of a frozen coffee sounded good. A little reward so to speak for a hard day’s work. I knew she might not allow me but I chose to use my 15 minute break that way. She was surprised to hear that I would like to treat everyone for the drinks that they liked. The list grew. Some of them were embarrassed to order what they wanted. But I insisted. They knew I worked lesser hours and knew it would be expensive for me to do such an act of kindness. I told them I would rather give, not that I always expected for something in return, but because God was the One Who gave bigger blessings. I would always be grateful for what I had knowing He always provided. And I was very sure at that time that I wanted to buy my co-workers a drink!

Most of them didn’t work hard. Some of them stabbed me in the back. But my decision to buy them a drink anyway would originally not be my choice. Hypocrite you would say! I wasn’t being one… God reminded me at that moment that He was always fair about everything. About giving blessings to both good and bad people. Deserving or not. (“In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” – Matthew 5:45 NLT).

One I hardly knew because I worked lesser came often to thank me and truly was touched by me buying her a cold drink for free. She said she needed that to quench her thirst. She was grateful that anywhere she met me: in the hallway, inside the Clinic or whenever I would go to the Pharmacy where they were just kept thanking me. Others didn’t. I expected that.  

I took a sip from my frozen drink and how it seemed to wipe away the soreness from my achy body. I glanced and saw the others enjoying their drink and smiling at me.  While others I couldn’t see and didn’t hear from them.

“Thank You, Lord,” I softly uttered. Thank You for giving me lessons every time from everything in my life. Thank You for reminding me how fair and just You are. Never leaving anyone out. Inviting everyone to come to know Your love and grace.

And I know…like that nurse who kept thanking me, only those who come to accept and truly believe that His offer of drink is “free” will be the only ones to enjoy it!  

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” – Isaiah 55:1 NIV

The Lord inspired me to write this song on 12/31/03 after my oldest brother had shared the Good News to our two other brothers when they were in Japan and both had accepted Jesus into their hearts. The second part of the song, the Lord didn't give me until 2/22/04:

The Good News
(-rcubes 12/31/03)

How will people know about You?
How will people know Your love is true?
How will they learn that the word is on their mouths?
And hearts if only will believe....

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring
The Good News to all the ends of earth
You have done wonderful things for us, Lord
And victory is ours, when You opened Your arms and gave Your life...on the cross...

Lots of souls don't know You
Some don't care You're the Son of God
But when they surrender and place their faith in You
The Good News, their hearts will surely know...

(Glory be to God!!!)

(Romans 10:9 - If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved)

I Failed

He was one among the others I had dealt with before…In need of help from the medical staff as they battled the symptoms that plagued them for years. Being locked up made it even harder for them to deal with ever growing loneliness behind those thick prison walls. The moment the heavy, metal doors slammed behind them, males or females, they had to face a lot of other battles immediately: isolation, rejection, harassment, intimidation, bullying, shame, hopelessness, onset of sickening withdrawal symptoms from abused illegal substances, mental torture and hearts slowly being drowned with waves of current troubles they carried with them from home.

The female deputy wheeled in a young, male inmate from her unit. About to fall off from the wheelchair she was pushing, his body was obviously rigid, his mouth constantly opening yet it failed in producing complaints that he wanted to say. He was shaking uncontrollably. His heavy, very rapid breathing like that of a car racer’s engine was going on, unstoppable with the verge of collapsing on the floor.

All of a sudden, he grabbed my right hand. The deputy and the other nurses stood nearer to make sure he was not going to hurt me with his "not welcomed" behavior displayed. I sensed the tight grip of my fingers from his rigid hand as I met his eyes, which started to turn red and filled up with tears.

“It’s okay,” I told him and the staff on alert.

“Are you scared?”

“I…just…needed…to talk….to someone…” he uttered in broken words as the tears flowed from the corner of his eyelids, struggling to produce each words.

“You can tell me anything you wanted to share…if you feel that it will help you…” I reassured, his grip loosening a little bit.

No words came out. He never turned his head and just stared at me. Eye to eye.

I had seen that look before. My spirit sensing his need. Not for our help from our physical hands. But a need for a Savior. I felt like a failure every time. With others surrounding us, I couldn’t bring up about “Jesus”.

There were 3 of us, nurses, who surrounded him and tried to calm him down. We knew he was having a severe panic attack. I called the ER doctor to get an order for a calming medicine. I told him we needed a “shot form” to make it work like “Stat!”. He understood the desperation as I barely knew his medical background. I could only relate the symptoms I was witnessing. I looked at the syringe again, filled with the clear medication that would oppose his symptoms. I aimed for his right thigh. We watched the improvised “vomit bag” to cover his mouth and saved some of the carbon dioxide he was exhaling at a rapid pace. His rigid body made him grimaced time to time, complaining “pain” as he or we tried to move him to get his comfort. A few minutes passed…he began to relax his breathing, his muscled, tired from being rigid and perhaps from spasms became relaxed.

As we kept and monitored him for a few hours, he was able to sleep and kept thanking us. In between those moments of rest, he was able to tell me that he caught his best friend with his wife having a relationship but they were not the reason why he was jailed. He was there because he was a “parolee” and during one of the officers’ routine checks, they found the 3 guns he was keeping. Then, he got worried about his 2 little sons so he wasn’t able to sleep since he was incarcerated. That was when the anxiety attack hit him hard. I reassured him that I would have the Mental Health Doctor see him as we transferred him to another unit capable of caring for those individuals who had mental health issues.

“Good job, Rcubes!” the Charge Nurse hollered as she saw me let go of the inmate from the Clinic.

“You handled the situation very well,” she added.

“Thank you, but you were also there,” was all I could say.

She would never know. It was the opposite for me. I felt like a failure and unable to help that man. Spiritually… Every time I waited for that perfect place…For that perfect time to share about the Good News...It was always wrong…Because there was no such thing! Oh, I pray that God may give me more courage to plant that seed from Him even with the expectation that the ground about to receive it is never ready. For Jesus alone is the One Who will till that soil. I am only to plant. And I fail…every time I don’t even try to throw that seed. Same seed He planted in my heart. Forgive me Oh Lord!

 "And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation."
Mark 16:15 ESV

 "And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."
Luke 10:2 ESV

A 911 Emergency Call you will never forget from teamjesusconnect on GodTube.
All posts/composed songs copyright by RCUBEs.


The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]

Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.

Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.

All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.

When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.

The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.

When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himself and ended up injuring his attacker severely.

[Source: NLT Bible ]:

We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.

“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14

Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].

Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.

Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.

Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].