Lying In It

She showed me the bruises that were developing in random places. It looked like she had been in a boxing ring and not on her bed.

“Let me see where else.”

I couldn’t believe the purple marks that were on the backs of her arms and legs.

She had purchased a new mattress from a retailer with locations all around us. We had gone to a furniture store together, but there wasn’t anything that interested her.

I tried to dodge the salesperson at first, but he eventually caught up to us like a heat-seeking missile. He wanted me to understand how forgiving the mattress was by having me lay on my keys.

“You can’t even feel those, right?”

“I do still feel them,” I said.

“Well, you are small, so a heavier person would probably have a better result of what I am trying to demonstrate.”

Who sleeps with their keys underneath them anyway? That’s like the commercials where they cut a tin can in half with a kitchen knife to show how sharp it is. What crazy person would do that?

“This reminds me of the princess and the pea story,” I said.

A potential wife for the prince is put to the test by the queen to see if she is sensitive enough to carry on the royal blood. So a pea is placed under twenty mattresses, and if the would-be bride feels it, she is approved for marriage.

My house key was leaving a mark.

He launched into a discussion about his own back problems and medical issues. Meanwhile, my daughter and I were stretched out like we were in a therapy session, except we were forced to listen instead of baring our souls. Generally, I am sleep deprived, so I ran the risk of falling asleep during his rundown of all of his physical ailments. My keys kept digging into my back, keeping me from drifting off.

We left the store, and she decided to seek out something else the following week. And she had done a great job of it. What she picked she was happy with financially and comfort-wise. Within days, I opened the door to two workers who whisked her new purchase down the stairs.

Everything appeared normal. The adjustable base made it so she could sit up straight or sleep comfortably and not wake up with stiffness.

“What is causing the injury to you?” I asked, perplexed. It appeared she had been sleepwalking and falling repeatedly. I had never seen a person get up in the morning as if they had been in a street fight.

She explained that springs were pushing into her skin the entire time she slept. It wasn’t difficult to see that this was a design flaw that the company would have to resolve.

I went with her to the location where she bought it. I stood by as she explained her case. She wanted to return all of it and get a refund.

The man assisting her looked at the paperwork regarding her items and said,

“You could upgrade to a better bed. You bought one that isn’t the highest quality that we sell.”

It took everything within me not to unleash on this person. The day she had been in the store, her choice was praised, and only good was said about it. He was giving the impression that she hadn’t spent enough money to receive a regular functioning product. In other words, she was the problem, not their faulty bed. I saw the scam, and so did she. Sell a damaged piece of furniture, convince the customer that it’s their fault and rob them of more money.

“Do you want to look at another one?”

“No. I want my money back,” she said. I was grateful she was going that route with the mattress mafia.

He looked at his calendar and said they could pick it up in a couple of weeks. There was no urgency in this for him. I am sure the truck was booked, using it to dump off other beds to victims. And he hinted that there might be a restocking fee. I stayed quiet, but inside I could not believe that he thought we would fall for the bait and switch game that was going on.

Within the week, I helped her move the mattress off to the side while she went with a completely different company for something better that wouldn’t inflict pain on her.

After speaking to the original salesperson, her attempts to return it revealed that a portion of her money would not be given back after they came to retrieve the mattress.

She felt terrible about her decision, even though none of it was her fault. She discovered others who had the same problem. We began to see that in their business model, they were peddling beds that, to some, were perfect, but then, like in her case, they would try to upgrade when the consumer had complaints. Blaming and shaming were the key to keeping business flowing.

A friend of ours decided to take matters into her hands and started a formal complaint, acting as my daughter’s aunt. I followed up by helping my daughter write an email with threats of contacting agencies that could investigate and shut the business down. All of this worked in her favor.

She received a call from the corporate office and another call from the guy who helped her purchase it. They could not move quickly enough to get their product out of my home.

And she slept happily ever after.

The biggest struggle was that she felt she should have seen the warning signs before signing on the dotted line.

“How would you have known that?” I asked her, trying to help her understand that while it wasn’t a pleasant experience to go through, she had gained new insight into how to deal with an issue. She had come out of the entire thing with a full refund, plus she ended up getting a fantastic deal on her second option. With pillows included.

It’s easy to beat ourselves up over mistakes and decisions that we wish we could go back and undo. I felt that way when I moved to Arizona for eleven months. I had come from a bitterly cold climate into a land of sand and heat. Everything that could have gone wrong did. And scorpions.

A lot can be said about the blizzards and harsh temperatures in Minnesota, but the scorching sun can be just as bad. It would be before noon with the air conditioning running full blast, and I would break out in a sweat just making my bed.

The water never ran cool in the shower. Your choices were warm and hot even though there was a cold icon on the label. I had so much to learn and adapt to.

It seemed there was something new every day. We had an exterminator come once a month, but I kept finding scorpions throughout the house. They were small and tan, the same color as the carpet. I wore flip-flops everywhere.

I was given excellent advice to freeze them with hairspray and then send them to eternity. But caution had to be taken even in that process because apparently, the others know and seek revenge if you kill one.

The worst was the night my daughter was sitting at the kitchen table and happened to look up. Directly over her head was a rather large one crawling along the ceiling.

I was across the room with my back to her, but the rapid repeating of “mom” always indicates that horrific things are occurring.

I had heard that the bigger they are, the less poisonous. Like everything that causes me alarm, I study it to know every detail so I can face it. Being in the dark only adds to the fear.

I had gotten to the point of reassuring myself that it wouldn’t kill me if it did sting me as she darted away from it, potentially falling into her hair. I grabbed my can of spray, jumped up, stood in the middle of the table, and blasted nearly the entire contents. It was necessary. I was exhausted by this never-ending war. If I had a gun in my hand, I would have had no problem blowing a hole right into the sky.

The stain it left would just have to come out of the deposit put down during the signing of the rental agreement. It wasn’t as bad as a bullet hole.

I took care of the intruder, but more eye-opening experiences surfaced, like the hornets that would dive into the pool and swim alongside us, undeterred by the chemicals and chlorine. Not to mention the photo I received in the mail of a tiny weed growing in the front yard with a warning that there would be a fine from the HOA coming quickly if I didn’t eradicate it.

Then there were the gunshots and police that showed up just houses down frequently, the neighbor next door who let their dog bark below my bedroom window all night long until it finally slept when the sun came up, and the cockroaches that materialized out of thin air.

A cattle ranch nearby caused the worst smell to drift into your lungs and massive hordes of flies that enjoyed taking up your personal space.

The final nail in the coffin was when we visited a dentist who claimed we all had cavities. It was the weirdest experience after coming from one who we trusted completely. I had made sure our insurance would cover the one visit, but then the bill came. Nothing was covered, so I decided not to pursue the treatment that the three of us had been told was imperative.

After losing the battle over the money, I decided it was time to return to my house in Minnesota and leave this experiment behind. I was in the wrong place, and every door was slammed shut.

It was not easy to pack up everything again in less than a year and return. It cost a lot, it was labor-intensive, and it messed with me mentally for a long while. I thought I was doing the right thing, but it failed. Decision making for me became tough as this incident would rear its ugly head and remind me how stupid I had been. What else could I mess up?

In time, I reestablished myself and found that one error in judgment does not make a person. I saw how my elderly parents needed me back close by, there were other people that God wanted to bring across my path in Minnesota, and my dentist saw us and confirmed that our teeth were perfectly healthy. Not a cavity in sight. Had I stayed, that would have been trying to make something work that was long over. You can choose God’s way or yours, which is your ego.

If you find yourself in a circumstance where you realize that you cannot turn back the clock or just flip over the mattress, realize that this is something everyone has experienced. It can feel isolating, as if no one has ever been as screwed up as you are. But that’s a lie.

I did find in Janes 4 a good piece of advice to implement regularly to avoid future problems for myself.

You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.”(Message)

That sounds a little harsh, but when it comes to making a decision, it’s good to realize it shouldn’t be done without asking for some divine guidance. And then you will see this from Proverbs 3,

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! (Message)

Don’t automatically react or respond to something out of obligation, peer pressure, or mass hysteria. Above all, don’t disregard the help from the unseen realm. This is the way of regret.

But if you take a minute to ask God what to do, an answer will come, and it will be the best one. Gone will be the days of remorse for making your bed and lying in it.

(It didn’t win)


I hate chain letters where you have to forward something or face dire consequences. Out of nowhere, someone in your contacts has a weak moment and falls for the mafia pressure. They make the poor decision to hand off the matter to all their acquaintances so they can sleep at night. 

Along the same lines, I don’t appreciate multilevel marketing schemes where your friends suddenly are known as your ‘upline’. When they call, you stop answering, and you can’t take another meeting that costs you your entire savings account for a supplement made from a rare botanical plant grown in a foreign country. 

Another life invading moment I don’t care for is the bread recipes where a freezer bag of tan liquid is put on your counter without your permission. 

“I’m giving you this nice starter bag.” They say. “It’s so easy to do; just follow the instructions.” 

It appears to be benign, but then you find out you have to stir it for ten minutes each day for ten days at the exact same time, add flour fifteen days in, squish it around in the bag until day twenty and swear yourself over to a new religion at the end of thirty days for the bread to bake.  

Then you have to take the two cups of the liquid you separated and plague someone else with the mess. That’s time you just can’t get back.

And the biggest cringe worthy scam is the one that comes with the promise of a direct connection to heaven by using various gimmicks so you can advance spiritually and unlock all the treasures that are hidden away in a vault.

I was watching something I had recorded and fast-forwarding through commercials when I saw an infomercial for a seed packet. I paused, went back, and watched pure fraud marketed for those who were in desperate situations. As if asking God for help isn’t enough, this flashy segment used words such as “miracle power” and “special blessing” to gain the emotions of the vulnerable. Planting and harvesting ancient sprouts is a sure-fire way to have it all, was the claim. 

They paraded out one paid actor after another, singing the praises of these tiny seeds that produced results that rivaled the parting of the Red Sea, Noah’s Ark, and Lazarus coming back to life. 

The real catch is that no money is needed to obtain the Jack and the Beanstalk beans, but just a simple giving of your home address to get added to the hit list. 

I clicked past it, glad I wasn’t that gullible. 

A few days later, my girls and I were watching something, and the same ad came up again. I had them see how ridiculous it was. Then I forgot all about it until I got a gigantic packet in the mail.

If you have ever attended a closing or refinance on a house, that’s the amount of paperwork that was stuffed into this oversized envelope. I looked at the return address and realized I had somehow been caught in the seed pusher’s snare. 

I said to my daughter, 

“How did they find me?”

She came over to see what I was holding in my hand.

“What is it?”

“It’s from that ministry that promises fake results. How did they get this to me?” Were all the conspiracy theories right about our televisions being one extensive computer database that could be used to infiltrate our lives? How did this happen to me?

I opened it and took out three different colored envelopes along with multiple pages of rules. It would take hours to follow all the steps, so I decided to rip into the red envelope, which held more instructions.

I glanced over at one of the other pieces of paper and saw this written in bold lettering: 

“Do not open the red envelope! This will cause a curse to come upon your house! Open that last!” 

What if someone receiving these were color blind? Would that rule still apply, or would there be an exemption? 

Since I was already flirting with unleashing eternal damnation upon my house, I started opening up all the envelopes to skim read. Why not keep this game of Russian Roulette going? 

The central theme of it was to send in a prayer request and money. The simple message was camouflaged by threatening remarks, intimidation tactics, and arm twisting. It was a “let me help you, help us” type of approach.

Everything was time sensitive. Specific actions and rituals had to take place, or you would miss your “moment of visitation.” Each statement was backed up with a scripture verse as solid proof this was a life changing moment. 

Sprinkled throughout, there was the ego rewarding phrases such as “you have been chosen” for this, and my first name was strategically placed so that I would feel like they knew me. 

Just when I had seen it all, I found a small, clear plastic packet. Holding it up to the light, I could see beads of moisture inside like something had been in it but had evaporated. Looking further through all the material, I solved the mystery. I had not been lucky enough to get a seed packet, but I had been selected to receive healing water that had dried up or leaked out before getting to me. 

I was supposed to place it under my pillow and watch everything I had ever wanted continuously stream to me. 

That was it. I gathered it all up and threw it away, imagining a gasp from an invisible audience. 

Later, I pulled one sheet of the disposed of paper from the trash and showed my other daughter when she came home from work. 

“Do you remember this? We saw this advertised?”

She smiled.


“They sent me an empty packet of tap water!”

“What?” She said, taking a closer look, laughing. 

“How did these people find me?”

Without hesitation, she said, 

“I signed you up.”

Just like that, very matter of fact.

“You did this?”

So much for being tracked by an evil entity through the TV, thank goodness! 

“Do you know how much junk I am going to get now from this?”

She laughed more. Oh, she knew pretty well what would happen! And she also was very pleased with herself for getting me all rattled. 

“I’m going to take every single thing they send, put it in a box, wrap it and give it to you for Christmas!”

She knew she had done a great job on this and wasn’t threatened in the least. 

I came home a few months later to more correspondence from the dreaded prophet.

“Oh no!”

This one was just as bad as the first with extra pleas because I hadn’t responded. Maybe I was just about to hand over my offering if they coerced more. 

“How are you enjoying your water packet?” was one of the lines. 

I clipped out the stock picture of the guy who said he had such a burden to help me and taped it directly across from my daughter’s bed. He has his arms outstretched and eyes closed, sending that extra special prayer that she needs. 

I haven’t received any more, so maybe he got the hint that I wasn’t such an easy mark. 

The counterfeit is aggravating because you know people fall for it. They think that to gain God’s attention and favor, there has to be something materially given to receive. And those who are hurting can be talked into anything. Their want for a better life isn’t wrong, but it is preyed upon by those who gain financially.

God loves a cheerful giver, not a dragged-out, beaten down, out of guilt and obligation giver. 

And in John 6:35, this verse sets you free from accepting empty promises from water packets and time-consuming recipes: 

I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (NLT).

There are no mountains to climb or steep obligations to meet. Divine messages may come that you don’t understand at first, but it’s never complicated, allowing you to cut out the middle man. God’s recipes for life are simple; Follow Him for more. 

Trouble Is Brewing

The aroma of coffee beans permeated my hair and clothing the second I walked in the door. Like a warm, friendly hug it engulfed me. The tables were loaded with drinkers of all sorts sipping on frothy concoctions that were worth every inflated dime. I saw my good friend standing by the counter eyeing her choices on the board.  She was having a hard time deciding what she wanted because this wasn’t her usual drive thru order.  This was a legitimate experience that required more from her than just saying,

“I will take the number 1.”

No, this was a face to face encounter with another human being versus hanging out the car window yelling into a box.  A treat this great comes with much contemplation.

“I love coffee. I love it,”  she said as I watched her eyes scan the board.

“What are you having?” she asked.

“I am having a medium iced peach black tea with a shot of raspberry.”

“That sounds good.  But, I love coffee. ”

After much travail, in which I thought she was going to opt for a fancy whipped up drink on steroids, she said,

“Coffee.  Black.   With a little cream.”

I think she went back and forth on the cream, but I was preoccupied getting out my card to pay.

Both of us were ecstatic to be meeting not only because we hadn’t seen each other for awhile but because it was free time.  No responsibilities and pure freedom.

It wasn’t difficult to find ourselves quickly wrapped up in discussions over writing, talking about God, and how our lives were progressing.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman enter the shop. It was one of those subtle things that happen but you don’t really recall the details of it until later.

We continued to talk, and she began telling me a story from her childhood.  Usually most of our time together is spent telling our true life stories.  Some funny, some sad, but we always leave each other feeling better just for having been together for a little while.

I was slightly aware that the woman who had come in was going table to table and talking to the patrons.  I was listening to my friend speak, but I was somewhat distracted as I watched people get out their wallets and go into their purses and hand her cash.

As she made her way closer to us, I didn’t give my friend any indication that I was overhearing or seeing what was going on around us.  My mind and eyes went from the thief making her way to our side of the room to trying to stay focused on what was being said.

I watched stealthily as she hit on a couple next to us.  Again, I made no mention of this to my friend who continued on talking.

When she sidled up to us, I kept my eyes locked straight ahead.  I refused to give her eye contact.

“I need gas money,” she barked.

She was glaring at my friend who responded by gulping and grabbing her purse to rummage for loose change.

I moved my head in slow motion so I could take in her attire. Her attitude was in full broadcast.

“I ran out of gas.  I need gas for my car.”

I saw her lick her lips as my friend handed over cash just like all the other people had done.

She turned to look at me.

“You don’t have cash?  You don’t have anything to give me?” Her annoyance was running high because I hadn’t moved into action to do her bidding.

I felt like I was in a school play yard and the class bully was attempting to take my lunch money. There was no humility or even a ‘please’.  Her approach was aggressive and intimidating.

I looked at my wide eyed friend who had conformed, and I saw the unspoken pleading for me to hand over what was being demanded.

“What color is your car?”  I asked.

She took a slight step back.

“What?” she asked with a sneer.

“I asked you the color of your car.”

“Ah-Ah-Ah-Bl, I mean red,” she snapped.

“What type of car is it?” I said immediately trying to limit her time to think.  Most people are able to say the color and make of their car without much thought.

“Ah- Ah-Ah-What difference does this make?” she snarled.

“What type of car do you drive?” I repeated not blinking.

“I uh, drive a red Pontiac.”

“Where are you stranded?  What are you going to use to put the gas into?  You don’t have a container.”

“I am going to buy a gas can!  Are you going to give me money or not?!”

“There are no stores around here to buy a gas can from.”

As she continued to retreat, her voice was becoming so loud that conversations ceased as we went back and forth.  My questions were making her lies come to light.

“Before I give you money, I am actually trying to help you solve your problem.  I don’t know how you are going to put gas in your car without having something to put it in.”

Realizing that I was exposing her to all those who had just believed her sob story, she shouted,

“I don’t need your money!”

Then, she looked at my friend and screeched,

“Thank YOU for helping me!”

Like that was supposed to make me feel embarrassed in public for not helping.  She ran as quickly as she could out the door and that ended her shift working the room.

When I turned back to my friend, she was shaking her head in disbelief and the couple at the table next to us began to argue.

“Why did you give that lady any money?”  he asked.

“Because she said she was out of gas!”

“She was lying! Why did you listen to her?!  You gave her a lot of money!”

“How was I supposed to know she wasn’t telling the truth?”

They had overheard my entire interaction with the petty criminal and realized they had been scammed.

“So many things get triggered when someone talks to me like that,” my friend said.  “I have had experiences in my past where people have bullied me so I just give them what they want so they will go away.  That is why I gave her the money.”  I could tell she felt bad about her decision now that the dust had settled.

“She was pretty intimidating, so I could see why you did what she wanted you to do.”

I sat for a moment and thought back over the entire exchange.  From the time she walked in the door, I knew that something was not legitimate about the lady.  That still, small voice inside of me was saying: Don’t do what she says.  The line of questioning I put her under was not preplanned and happened spontaneously.

It was similar to breathing. I don’t consider where my next breath is coming from.  It just shows up.

To live like this is the ultimate way to peace because it takes the dilemma out of things.  I like to help people who are in need, but I do not like to assist those who are ripping off the public.  Her yelling at me as if I was a cold hearted individual not willing to help was meant to humiliate me, and I have to say for a couple seconds she did make me feel like a low life. However, I had uncovered so many falsehoods in her story, I was easily able to shake off that notion of myself.

In this day and age of media, we are being told what to believe and how to believe it in the hopes that we will make our decisions based on what we see with our physical eyes and hear with our ears.

Proverbs 20:12 says,

“Ears to hear, and eyes to see-both are gifts from the Lord.” (NLT)

To embrace this wise saying means a wonderful thing.  We all have a powerful second set of senses connected to the spiritual realm that if utilized will help us separate the authentic from fabrications.

We know that God loves us, and we know that prayer helps to lead us on the right path when we have a decision to make.  The combination of that unfailing help of heaven and being willing to take a minute or two to quiet down and wait for an answer to come can make all the difference in the world.  Many times we are blinded by the raging noise from our televisions and radio.  We listen to all the voices telling us what to do instead of going inward and having the honest answer surface.

I didn’t have time to sit and ponder my decision as this person made her way over to our table that day.  However, I had been regularly practicing the quieting of my mind when faced with options to choose from.   With that in operation, I was able to easily identify the truth from fiction.  According to the verse above, we can tap into that supernatural vision and allow God to work on our behalf when trouble is brewing.