I remember when my kids were young and they would do a half job cleaning their bedrooms.  I would complain to my Mother.  I would tell her that I was sick of their trying to be slick.  I was divorced so there was no male intervention available.  My Mother would say Okay.  Then one day my kids came running into the house and into their rooms.  Lo and behold, my Mother walked into my house.  She did not knock on the door neither did she ring the doorbell.   She had a belt around her neck and walked straight into my kids bedrooms.  I remember following behind her because I was wondering “what the what?”

Well she went into my son’s room first and immediately looked under his bed.  Under his bed was clean.  She then looked into his closet, the closet was clean.  He was standing in his room looking mortified.  Next she went into my daughters’ room and looked into their closet and under their beds.  It was clean.  So she told them that from now on she would be doing unexpected drop byes because she knew they were being hard headed.  With fear in their eyes, they started keeping their rooms clean.  After the first unexpected visit by my Mom, I could never figure out how my kids cleaned their rooms up so fast.  My Mother kept her word and she continued to make those unexpected visits to my house until she got sick with cancer and passed away at the age 0f 57.

Okay, when my kids became adults and thought they could disrespect me I had another ally in my corner; their other grandmother.  Boy she would really get on their case.  She did not play that.  But unlike my mother who rode into town with the belt around her neck to scare them, their other Grandmother talked to them and made them feel guilty.  They felt so guilty that they would repent and apologize to me for their misbehavior.

In 2006, I needed to get the heck out of St. Louis for New Year, I was stressed out.  I had so many problems because I had won the lottery that year, and people were pulling at my coat tail wanting me to give them some of my winnings, and stirring up trouble that me and my finance decided to drive to Las Vegas Nevada.  You see I have Lupus.  Lupus and stress are enemies.  When I get stressed, I have to get away.  My kids who were used to Mama always being home had the nerve to leave St. Louis to travel after Christmas!  My son who has traveled a lot, asked not to drive to Las Vegas in December.  Of course I ignored him because my mind was made up.

The day came when we headed for Las Vegas, when we reached Texas my cell phone rang.  It was their Grandmother!  She asked me was everything alright because she felt it was not wise of me to drive to Las Vegas in the month of December.  Darn I said to myself.  My kids told on me!  I assured her everything was fine, I just needed to get away.  So she asked me what was going on.  I told her that I needed some peace of mind.  She listened to my story and told me that she just wished I had flown to Las Vegas instead of driving.  She also prayed for my safe return.

Well I needed that prayer.  We went through snow in New Mexico, road closures over four inches of snow.  There was an avalanche in Colorado and to boot; it was freezing cold in Las Vegas.  But New Year’s Eve was fun. On our way to Las Vegas, we stopped and explored the Petrified Forest.  Was it worth the experience?  Yes, but from now on I will fly to Las Vegas.




My offspring have named me the runaway mom.  Why, because when I am stressed out I do go out of town for a couple days of without telling them where I am going and how long I will be out of town.  I have Lupus and I am easily stressed out.  Pressure that may not affect normal people, but affects those who have Lupus.  Many people do not understand this but those who have Lupus do.

Stress is a killer it may come in the form of a heart attack or a breakdown for people without Lupus but for people who have Lupus stress will show up as an episode.

An episode means that your body is off beat and something bad is going to happen to your physical body.  So whether I am stressed out about people trying to get money from me, or those who have received money or some type of gain from me who have failed to keep their word, it affects me.  Also what affects me is; the sun, the cold weather, but the right sun and temperature makes my body feel good.  So off I go!

So when stressed I leave St. Louis and travel.  The problem is that I did not tell my offspring where I am going.  They have a problem with that fact.  At first I would tell them, “so what!”  Now I understand.  I now will let them know where will be and how long I will be gone.  Of course when they presented their case to me with the utmost most affection, I now understand.  I will no longer be a runaway mom.



microsoft clipart

During the last six years I have met different people who have won a windfall of money both in the United States and in other countries.  It amazes me as to how the majority of those people have the same story to tell.

It is funny how when someone comes into a windfall of money, you experience life changes and all it has to offer.  Yes it is true that people come out of the wood works expecting you to give them your money.  This usually happens during the first two years after the windfall.  A lot of people know my story, saw my reality show, and shared my pain.  I went through many changes.

Those changes sometimes caused silent tears to come from my heart.  I spent many nights talking to God about what I was going through.  I asked him to open my eyes and help me to understand the people who were trying to hurt me.  How do I handle this, how do I walk the path that God has given to me?  I asked God to help me weather and go through the storm.  The storms consisted of many trials, tribulations, and tests.  I feel that God answered my prayers by sending people into my life who stood with and beside me.

It is funny how people will try to manipulate you, try to make you feel guilty, talk about you badly to other people call you names.  If they cannot move you, then they try to alienate you.  Nothing you do for them is appreciated.  They feel that they are entitled to what you have.

I thought that I was the only winner who experienced this. Like I said earlier, other winners shared their personal journey with me.  I was amazed as I heard many stories.  The stories I heard were stories of being stalked, harassed, intimidated by strangers, having to move out of the state just to get a peace of mind.  I listened to the story of a person who became very sick and was not expected to survive.  That person did survive and made a full recovery, only to find out that the family was discussing among themselves how they were going to divvy up that persons assets and property.

By the way for informational purposes; most winners, not all, have estate planners and a will made out by professionals that are filed with the courts shortly after receiving their windfall.

Through all the adversity and by the witness of our individual testimonies, we learned to have a greater faith in God.  We have learned to take life one day at a time.  We also, most of all, learned how to stand up for ourselves!  We are not the bad guys, we have been blessed.  We are not long term knights in shining armor. We cannot save the entire world, what we do for the world need to be appreciated.   You have to save yourselves through hard work and living within your means.

Reality check!  Just because you have a windfall of money now, you also can go broke in the future.  This reality and simple common sense is what has helped us to “stand up” and appreciate life without fear and false pride.

I honor the many new people who have come into my life.  They understand me.  I appreciate their advice, support, hugs, and encouragement.  Life feels good when you are around positive people who are concerned.  Life is too short to sweat the petty stuff.  You can have a lot of money or a little money; you can have fame, fortune, and power; you can even have the world but have no peace.  Peace of mind is priceless. To all the people I have met in this world who has contributed to the positive in my life, by sharing, giving, and making me feel special in a loving way, I just want to say……

Thank You!

Wooden Nickels and Long-Handled Spoon

wooden spoon

This week I will talk about experiences I received after winning the lottery that I am sure many of you can relate to. You do not have to win the lottery to experience what I am going to talk about. What am I talking about? Envy! defines envy as a noun, the plural form is envies, and the verb form is envied or envying. The U.S. Thesaurus also states that envy is also means jealousy, greed, desire, resentment, and spite. Today I will talk about the noun form. The definition of envy is “a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc”.

Before winning the lottery, I was blessed. I had a job working for the Department of Social Services, a house, a car, degrees, and some money in the bank. Nobody cared, nobody bothered me, and nobody talked about me behind my back. My life was simple, my life was free.

However, after winning the lottery, my life became complicated. People came out of the woodwork wanting money. I remember one person asking me to donate fifty thousand dollars to their pastor. I eventually had to change my home telephone number because of all the calls asking for money. When you tell some people “no” that starts a war. People you thought liked you become your enemy. I use to feel guilty when I said no, because everybody had a sob story. Some people I did help. Others asked to borrow money only not to pay me back as they said they would. Some people thought I was their personal bank. I did give some money to people but it was never enough. Others began hanging around me just to see what they could get from me and how they could use me. Some people felt that I should kiss their butts because of who they were, which to me the truth is they are NOBODY. I had to deal with the lies and the gossip that were spread about me.

When I won the lottery I had a financial plan, a budget, and a goal in life. That goal was not to go broke. Yes, that money would have to last me for life. No this is not a sob story but a story of victory. Although I went through many emotional and psychological changes, the LORD bought me through it all!

It took me five years to develop the following attitude; do not accept “WOODEN NICKELS” and treat negative people with a “LONG HANDLED SPOON”. I have learned to gravitate around positive people who help to bring out the best in me. I now listen to that inner guide within me that lets me know; this is not who you should be around.

Sandra Hayes’ definition of Wooden Nickels is; those fake people who act like they are your friend, when they are not, who envy what you have. They really do not wish you well because they are just thinking about themselves. Remember Cain and Abel?

My definition of a Long Handled Spoon are those who make it known that they do not like you but for some reason by association you have to tolerate them. You are cordial when around them but you will not kiss their butts just to get them to like you. Who cares about the thought process and attitudes of simple-minded people?

I have feelings just like you. I laugh, cry, and get angry for I am Human. What I will not tolerate is being used, lied about, and being told by people who do not have a clue what to do with my money. Yes Wooden Nickels and Long Handled Spoons are my armor and shield that I use to keep my peace in this sometimes cruel world.

Once again, for emphasis, I love being around positive people who really love me and sincerely want the best for me. You know the diamond people with hearts of gold.

Common Law Marriages and money: I want to know!

Marriage liscense

I have been reading a very interesting book written by Donald Trump and Bill Zanker. Most of us know who Donald Trump is. For those of you who don’t know, Bill Zanker is the present and founder of The Learning Annex.

The book they wrote together is titled, Think Big and Kick Ass. This book is truly a book after my own heart! One of the many pieces of wisdom Mr. Trump spoke of follows very closely to the advice I gave my readers on my blog post, “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing“.

You remember when I advised all single people who have fallen into a windfall of money and are considering marriage to consider a prenuptial agreement? The reason for doing so is that it serves as insurance, a way to protect your assets should the marriage not last.

In Think Big and Kick Ass, Mr. Trump discusses this idea, too!

What also occurred to me, thanks to the television show Divorce Court, is that some states consider people cohabiting together as having a “Common Law Marriage”.

I believe 16 states in the U.S. allow for Common Law Marriages. Luckily for me, Missouri is not one of them. For the states that are common law states, different conditions apply that determine the legality of common law marriages. There are certain factors that must be met per the state in which common law marriages are allowed.

When watching the Honorable Judge Lynn Toler examine and make her rulings on Divorce Court, I thought to myself, “Wow! Do you mean you have to the get relationship dissolved in the same manner as those who actually had a legal ceremony?”

Well, I thought about the people who may not be aware of this fact with a twist. If you are living in a state that is a Common Law state and you meet that state’s criteria to qualify as Common Law Marriage, I believe if one party wins the lottery, you both win the lottery! Would that be considered Common Law Martial property?

On the other hand, if you live in a Common Law state and you win the lottery or come into a windfall of money before you (in my words and an old school terminology) “shack up” with someone for 7 years or more and you meet the criteria for Common Law Marriage. The question applies will the party who had the money before the Common Law marriage: Would they need to ….


This is a very interesting question for me.

Source: The common law fact sheet.

Winning the Lottery, Is it Luck or Blessing?

Four Leaf Clover

I remember when I found out I won the lottery, I was in total shock and disbelief. I felt as if I was in a dream and it was only a matter of time before I was going to wake and be back to living my normal life.

People would actually pinch me for good luck. I didn’t like getting pinched and the look I would give them spoke for itself. I remember talking about winning the lottery with another individual who was part of the group of my former co-workers who won the lottery with me.

This individual made the comment that her husband bought the winning lottery ticket by pure luck. She said he bought the ticket at the right time at the right place. You see, we paid five dollars each to play the lottery. I believe fifty tickets were purchased.  I also believe the winning ticket was number forty-five.

I have been asked by many people if I believe that I am lucky. I also have been asked if I would share some of my luck with them! I have been asked to pray for people so they can win the lottery as well. I often joke with my fiancé that I believe I was the last person asked to play with the pool of co-workers who won the lottery with me. So I call myself the lucky 13th. As you may know, thirteen people pooled money together and played the lottery that day. Two people split their tickets. They received half of what those of us who put in the entire five dollars received. Another joke I share with my fiancé is the fact that my birthday is March 17, St. Patrick’s Day.

I remember I participated as a guest panel speaker on the Diane Rehm NPR show in April, when there was concern as to whether or not people who cannot afford to play the lottery be allowed to play. On the panel was a lottery commissioner who stated anyone who wants to play the lottery has a right to play. I personally do not play the lottery every week, I play every now and then.  I will play when the payout is high, but I will buy no more than a few tickets.  I do not have particular numbers to play but just like winning in 2006, I play quick pick. So far, the most I have won is two dollars or free tickets.

Bottom line is this for me, I believe winning the lottery is pure luck. You have to be at the right place at the right time. Some people play some do not, whom am I to judge?

A wolf in sheep’s clothing

Last week I spoke to you about simple ways to protect yourselves financially.  This week I am going to dig little deeper with more advice regarding your finances.

Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

The Wolf in Sheep's ClothingIt does not matter who you are, whether you are young or old. It does not matter if you male or female. When you come into a windfall of money and you r marital status is single; watch out for the wolves.  In my day, we refer to the wolves as gold diggers and users, but I believe the term is “opportunist”.

That’s why a good attorney will advise you to prepare a prenuptial agreement. But don’t freak out when the idea is suggested—just because you are smart enough to listen to sound legal advice does not mean you are planning for a divorce.

You get a prenup to protect what you accumulate before marriage.  You work out a prenup not to protect not only you, but your heirs.

This week’s blog is going to be short but straight from my hip: A prenup is like insurance: It’s there just in case you need it.

P.S. Also, be sure to watch out for states that honor common law marriages.  Luckily Missouri is not one of them.

Do not get me wrong, there still good, genuine and decent loving people whom you may consider marrying, but please, be smart.

How to protect yourself financially


As I reminisce about my experience as a social worker working for Child Support Enforcement, I am reminded of advice I would give to the spouse of non-custodial parents. I would receive telephone calls and office visits from those spouses, who would ask the question “What shall I do?”

The reason that question was asked is because the spouse found out that their husband or wife owed back child support. They would tell me their story of filing taxes jointly and monies from the tax return was taken. Upset and even angry, the spouse would ask me, “Do I have any rights; what shall I do?”

I would provide the answer according to Missouri Statues. My reply to that question would be: File an “Injured Spouse” claim with the IRS and be prepared to provide the IRS with the documents they request.

I even had a few spouses tell me that were not ever filing with their spouses again because last year their taxes were taken. Empathic, I could feel their pain. What was even more amazing is when I would receive complaints about their savings and checking accounts. I would be informed that due to back child support issues their joint accounts would be frozen and monies taken. Of course not the entire account, but enough to put a dent in the balance. I would explain to them that there was a procedure to protect their money. Have separate accounts. That is how life works.

Well, guess what? When I won the lottery my attorney gave me the same advice and because I was single when I won the lottery, I was advised to have a prenuptial agreement. The prenuptial would protect my assets.

Wow, the adviser now has become the advisee!

Why did I come out of the closet?


The better question would be why did I choose to expose who I am? The answer is simple; I chose to share my life because I want to let people know about the experiences that make me who I am today. I wanted to clear up the way people think and the stereo-types that people associate with when an individual receives a windfall of money. That’s right–expose the truth. As I have spoken in my many interviews regarding winning the lottery, people feel that you have all the money in the world and that you can simply go to the bank and withdraw what you have to spend frivolously. They feel you owe them something. The term I believe is called “Entitlement”.

I have been asked by many people, “Why Did I Come Out of the Closet?” Well, the truth is, the fact that when you win the lottery and chose to become public (via media exposure) you came out of the closet and the public knows who you are. However, after a couple of years the public forgets about you–with the exception of close friends, some neighbors, and family members. Those who have won a windfall of money come out of the closet in various ways. Whether it be paying the bill for everyone in a restaurant, over- tipping a server, or spending huge amounts of money for special occasions–those are small ways of coming out of the closet.

What is my definition of coming out of the closet? That definition is to let the world know who you are. Whether your coming out of the closet was completed quietly or in an explosive manner, it doesn’t really matter. I simply chose to write a book about my experience of winning the lottery.

Not shy, I have never been one who is quite; I have always been outspoken.  Never fake but real.  I shoot from the hip.  So the person you read about in my book is real. The next book will be detailed so you will get to know me better.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Find out what it means to me!

money and savings

This week I would like to talk about trust and respect in a different light. Trust and respect go hand-in-hand. Before I won the lottery, I knew nothing about investing. The day the “Lucky Thirteen” won the lottery, we were sent to an attorney in Clayton, Missouri. At that office we were advised to invest our money with a bank or financial institution, and we were also were advised to hire an accountant and establish a trust.

This was excellent advice, but I had no idea who I would hire or how to find these people! At that time, I did have prospective financial advisors literally knocking on my door, but I was lost!. Feeling overwhelmed, I did my homework by looking up each company and learning more about how they operated. If there were questionable doubts in my mind, I would choose not to do business with them.

I was used to having a bank account, like a typical checking and savings. I was careful because I knew whomever I decided to do business with would have to have patience with me. That patience consisted of my naive understanding of investing. My knowledge of stocks and bonds was zero. The person I chose would have to be able to explain my financial statements in simple layman’s language. Boy, I thought, why didn’t one of my degrees include finance? That would have been cool! After meeting with several people, I finally made the decision of who I would hire.

The second major decision I had to make was to hire an attorney who specializes in trusts and wills. That task was an easy one because my financial advisor recommended an attorney. Once I met him, I knew we were a match. He explained the process of trusts and wills very clearly, and we began the long process of compiling all the paperwork and information needed to prepare the trust and will.

The accountant was also an easy choice; once again they were hired by recommendation. But you have to understand one thing, hiring an investment firm, attorney, and accountant costs money. Thus, I had three new bills. But I wanted to get to the bottom line: Do I trust them? Do they respect me? Those questions will determine all of my relationships in my life.