Years ago, my best friend called while I was studying for a test and told me that the lottery was at \$200 million.

I told her I had \$5.00, gave her my numbers, and she bought my ticket.

That night she called and said "girl you won, not the big one but you have 4 of the six numbers.” I thought I would have at least \$50,000 or \$100,000.00

The next day, she called, “how's your studying?”

I said “ok, how's my money?”

She kept saying “how's your studying?”

I asked, “what did I win?”

She said “\$59.00, you better study. There were a lot of people who had four of the six.”

I said “is that all?”

She said, "Well, really, all of that is not yours. Remember, I loaned you the \$5.00 to buy the tickets."

So four out of six gives me \$54.00 only because she wasn’t charging for her gas or her time.

I kept saying \$59.00.

She said, “don't worry, I'm giving you every penny because I know you need to stay up late to study to make up for the time you lost dreaming about that \$50,000 or \$100,000.”

I was so close yet so far away with four of six numbers.

When the lottery dollar amount is huge, it brings a lot of excitement. Everyone talks about it. The postman told us, if we win, no mail on Monday, my entire office was in a pool. If we win, my staff says, they won't be in on Monday. “If you win,” I told them, “at least come by and say goodbye and take us to lunch.”

But I have learned it is difficult to win the lottery.  This is a game where practice does not make you better.

The recent megamillions lottery was worth \$640 million, this was a big one, and I believe it is worth a \$5.00 investment.

Americans spent nearly \$1.5 billion for a chance to hit the jackpot. With the jackpot odds at 1 in 176 million, it would cost \$176 million to buy up every combination.

Three people won, one in Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland.

So I learned at a young age, that the lottery doesn't pay most of us. However, I won the lottery that truly pays off: the lottery of life. I passed that test, and later graduated from school. That was a sure bet.

Will we all play again? Yes, but in the meantime, we should keep believing in ourselves and strive to make good things happen.

You can't wish or hope that good things will occur. You have to stay prepared, and work your plan. This is the way you win the lottery of life.

So my prescription for you on how to win the lottery: play the 854, work eight hours everyday, five days every week, four weeks every month. Yes, it takes hard work to make dreams come true, but it pays off.

We must keep an attitude of gratitude, and remain grateful for our children, spouses, extended family and good health. After all, these are the priceless things in life. Reminding ourselves of these things will reinforce that “I won the lottery and you did too.”