Thursday, January 7, 2016

Powerball

              
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             So this week the Powerball Lottery is up to five hundred million dollars.  I don't generally play the lottery as having two dollars in certainty, is usually worth more to me than a lottery ticket.  My view has also been hardened by scriptural cautions against gambling.  Thirdly, one of my brothers-in-law not so laughingly calls the lottery a "Tax against stupid people, who don't understand what the odds 25 million to one really mean"  Despite the slim odds,  I do know a couple of people who have won smaller lottery jackpots.  One woman won a smaller jackpot a few years ago, and after taxes, was able to pay all her debts, her mortgage in full, fix her car, and allocate funds for the education of her children. She reports to work each day with joy. In her case, the lottery was a lifeline, and I am so glad she won and for the positive changes in her life.

              This week, when the television announcer said that we were all more likely to be struck by lightning than win this lottery, I gave it more thought. In 2011, one of my adult sons was struck by lightning and has the long term medical issues which go with that.  So, we have that type of one in a million luck, albeit usually bad. Besides, I could help my son with some of the winnings, so I broke down and bought one ticket.

                  There is one thing a two dollar lottery ticket does give you. It provides a couple of hours of imagining what such a windfall would do for your family.  For some of us, we would change a great deal our lives and for others, we would not, choosing instead to fortify the educations, safety, security and futures of our loved ones.  One of my friends, if she won, would buy new cars for everyone in her family since car repairs have taken a big chunk out of the family budget last year.  She would move to a place nearer work and install a swimming pool for the hot Virginia Summers.   I have different plans. If I were to win, I would change very little about the externals of our lives.  I would have the vehicles maintained in perhaps a more timely manner.  I would pre-pay some ongoing bills to simply know several months of breathing room.  Rather than traveling in to see the vet with so many animals, I would pay the equine vet, the large animal vet and the small animal vet to come out to the farm and take care of my aging animals of all species. They have all been with me for a long time, and they deserve the best care available.  I would maintain a few things around the farm a little better than I have been. I'd gravel the farm roads more often. I'd look at solar panels and put in geothermal heat. I'd probably stock more freeze dried emergency food.   I'd get a better financial planner, but keep my accountant.  Then, I would pay off my children's university debts. I would start a foundation honoring both my father, and start one honoring my youngest son Daniel, who has passed. I would make a sizable donation to the Salvation Army in the name of my mother, who always donated to them because she said they were as frugal as she. I might write more books and worry less about their commercial outlook and more about their positive message or how they aided people reading them.  I would be very hands on regarding any charitable activities and scholarships.  Then, I would place reasonable amounts in trust for my children and grandchildren......enough to back them up for the future, but enough that they would need to work and not be shielded from the life God sent us all to live.  Anyone looking at our lives would still see the frugal family we always were. I would also help some of our friends who have struggled with serious chronic health issues for years.

                 I awoke this morning to find that no one won the five hundred million dollar Powerball Lottery. I got my two dollars worth above in the form of the dreams in the paragraph above and this blog post.  Will I buy another one ?   No, I think this time I will go with the sure thing, and keep my two dollars.