Winning the Lotto – What Would YOU Do?

There’s been much media “hoopla” lately over the big New York Lottery. There’s buzz everywhere…the grocery store, the parent pick-up line at school, and of course, all over the news.  I’ve never been a  lottery player.  I’m not a negative-Nelly, but it’s always seemed to me a waste of money, because the odds of winning are miniscule. (I prefer to think of myself as sensible. I’d rather take that $5.00 and buy a magazine or a couple packets of seeds for the garden). But, when you hear of someone winning, whose life is gonna drastically change, you can’t help but wonder, “What would I do if it were me?”

In our suburban household, we don’t all get to have dinner together every night, but we do sit together every morning: my hubby, daughter, and me, while my husband and I drink our morning Joe.  Whenever the news flashes about the lotto, the conversation comes up as to what we’d do if we won some gazillion-dollar prize. First: pay off any debt!   I know what my daughter would do: live out the dream she’s had since she was a wee-small child in preschool: to become a veterinarian and open up a vet hospital, but with a large no-kill animal shelter in back.  She’d offer no-cost or low-cost animal treatments to those in need, turning no one away.  Recently, we walked through one of those traveling cat-adoption buses.  We learned they don’t have a mortar-and-brick shelter, but a network of loving souls who foster animals until finding a “fur-ever” home.  Our furry-love-of-our-life dog also came from a shelter that didn’t have a physical building, and we’re “fur-ever”(sorry, couldn’t help it), grateful to them for bringing us together. She gives our family so much love and devotion.  So, yes, I’d open and support animal shelters.

Once a “rescue puppy”, she’s now a full-time “pampered pooch”

If it was some giant, obscene amount of winnings, I’d want to help as many people, too, as I could. There’s an infinite amount of people in our world that could use help. I’d want to make people happy. Can you imagine the possibilities?

Every April, in our small town, every child enrolled in our school system, (that wants one), gets a baby tree to take home and plant.  This tradition has been going on the past twenty-four years, from an anonymous donor. The Christensen household gets very excited when our new “little baby” arrives.  I’ve signed up as a volunteer at school this year to help distribute the trees.  Instructions come with each little sapling, and I’m touched at whoever it is out there who makes this happen.  Wouldn’t it be great to be in a position to do something like this?

I’ll never forget a stranger’s kindness last year after Hurricane Irene.  We’d been without electricity or water for almost a week, and on this particular day, the three of us had worked very hard in the yard to start the cleanup. Feeling worse for wear, after a week of grilled food everything started to taste the same, so we decided to treat ourselves to dinner out.  We went to our local “Outback Steakhouse”.  We were tired, achy, worn out and almost feeling defeated, to be honest.  That evening, for our meal, we splurged on an appetizer, full meals, and dessert!  When our check came, the waitress came to our table with tears in her eyes.  She explained that some other diner in the restaurant had already anonymously paid our bill!   She waited, as instructed, until they exited to tell us, so we couldn’t even thank them! Of course, this moved me and my husband so deeply.  This stranger’s act of kindness couldn’t have come at a better time.  I’m not sure if they picked us because they overheard me talking to the waitress, or if we were chosen at random. Perhaps it was divine intervention.  I know I’ll never forget it as long as I live.  It’s also something I can pay forward without having to win a lotto!

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Have you ever won anything ? A decade ago, I won a contest through Oprah magazine, winning a tote filled with cosmetics. That was fun. I also won second prize in a dog-food sweepstakes, winning a small folding director’s chair.  Alas, so close to a “big” prize!  For most most of us, winning something life-changing is nothin’ more than a dream.  But someone wins. It’s said the odds are against those winners; that within a few years most winnings are foolishly gone.  I’m not saying if it was me, I wouldn’t have fun…perhaps buy a real farm and move all my family close-by?  I miss them. (If you have family near, you’re a winner, for sure). I’d like to think if a jackpot winner was me, I’d stay the same person. What would you do?

  1. Norma says:

    Nicole, you are right. Many of us may never win a Lotto, yet we can pay it forward, in small ways perhaps, but over a lifetime, well, that turns out not to be so small after all. Bless you in your paying it forward as you are lead. Blessings & Hugs

    Norma, Thank you for pointing that out…what a beautiful sentiment. I never looked at it that way before, but it’s so true! Thank you for reading and commenting.  Farmgirl hugs back at ya! Nicole

  2. Adrienne says:

    I’ve thought about this for years and I don’t even play the lottery. However, I too would support animal rights groups and the Humane Society so people would need to have a lottery to adopt the few animals that were left. Imagine every animal with a forever home! Also, I would ask my local PBS station what their annual operating budget is and write a check so they would not need to raise funds. I would fund women’s shelters and veterans services; gardens at every school that the students would plant, care for and harvest (every child needs to bite into a warm tomato s/he grew); teach every child 10 recipes before high school (per Jamie Oliver’s program); raise the salary of every teacher so s/he never has to fund school supplies; insure that every cancer patient has the care s/he needs (since I just finished radiation, this is personal to me); fund field trips from schools to city, county, regional, state and national parks (get the kids outside); fund nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities so seniors can be lovingly cared for there or visited at home by nurses (enabling them to live in their own homes); too many more to list. It’s a good start.

    Wow! Adrienne, that is an impressive list. What a big, sweet heart you have (and such AWESOME ideas). Thank you for sharing. I also hope that you are feeling better and get stronger every day! Farmgirl Hugs! Nicole

  3. Laurie Dimino says:

    Oh Nicole, As always your blog catches my attention and holds it. I think we all had a day or two of "dreaming" what we would do if we won the money! LOL. We had a pool at work, and my boss even matched it- so we had over $200 in tickets (needless to say we didn’t win). But as the days leading up to the big drawings came and went, all I could think of was what an insane amount of money that was, and how much I hoped that LOTS of people won it. Of course I wouldn’t mind being "comfortable" in life financially, but I think that money is, unfortunately, something that changes people, and not always for the better. I hope that the "3" winners of that money do alot of good with it, not just for themselves, but for others around them- perhaps even strangers. Paying it foward will make their lives richer than any amount of money ever could. Farmgirl Hugs, Laurie, Farmgirl Sister#1403

    Laurie, isn’t that the truth…a rich life is when you do for others, for sure! Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Patricia says:

    Hi Nicole, It’s your farmgirl sister in Indiana, have I told you lately I really, really enjoy your blogs (you’re my favorite!) Ahh, the lottery, like you I do not play, BUT if I did and I won, I have always fantasized about doing good in this life! Why not leave the hard working waitress who does an awesome job a $100.00 tip, how about paying for the person behind you at the grocery store, etc. etc. About once a week I change the water in my windowsill glass and when I do I change the color, it’s a fresh look for no money, hope your daughter is enjoying hers as much as I enjoy mine!!

    Hi Patricia! You are too kind! Thank you! I am so glad you enjoy my blog. I enjoy hearing from everyone – it means so much. Love your comment. Such awesome ways to make someone’s day in a big way.

    We are still loving your colored water idea, too. Such a neat thing to do, and does look very cool with the sun coming through. My daughter’s window gets a good amount of sun, and she has delighted in the colored ‘prisms’ that have come in through the sunbeams at different times of day. Big hugs to you, dear farmsister. Hope you have a wonderful week. Nicole

  5. Jeanne says:

    I love your ideas about helping others. I have thought about it and I would help my family first and then reach out to others. When I have noticed an elderly person in the market checkout line behind me, I would write my check over the amount I owed and tell the checker to give the remaining money to the elderly person in my line. Then I would quickly grab my children and hurry out of the store. It is wonderful when we can bless someone else as we have been blessed.

    Oh, Jeanne, what a wonderful thing you have done! I love that! I am sure the person behind you in the checkout line was so amazed and grateful. Hugs to you! Nicole

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