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Don't scratch your life away

By Jennifer Hauser, Special to CNN
updated 12:47 PM EST, Fri February 17, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jennifer Hauser claims a $1 million lottery ticket after winning $100,000 last year
  • Hauser says it's like a miracle and she feels extraordinarily blessed
  • She doesn't recommend scratching your life away at a lottery machine
  • Instead, she says people should have faith, work hard and give happiness to others

Editor's note: Jennifer Hauser is a producer at CNN.

(CNN) -- I am a two-time lottery winner. I claimed a $100,000 lottery ticket in November and a $1 million lottery ticket on Monday. Both came from scratch off. Everyone has been asking me what it's like to win and so I'll tell you.

A big win is an amazing blessing that I still can't believe is real. And then to be blessed more than once is just extraordinary.

But nothing comes easy. We all go through rough times in our lives, and people don't know the road that one must walk to reach a happy destination finally.

I believe that this blessing came to me because I have worked very hard. I am so fortunate to have a full-time job that I enjoy and co-workers who are good friends. I am thankful for this every day.

But in the last few years some personal circumstances caused me to acquire more debt than I ever thought I would have. Facing a lot of debt can be a real nightmare. It's a good thing that I enjoy working or I might not survive the triple shifts I sometimes take on.

We play lottery every once in a while. It was my husband's idea to buy the ticket for me both times. The $1 million ticket was around our seventh anniversary and Valentine's Day. He thought it would be a funny way to celebrate our love, but little did we know how it would change our lives.

When the first lottery ticket came in November, I was flabbergasted. My car had a big dent in it, and it needed a tuneup. It came just at the right time so that my husband, daughter and I could buy a new sparkling car and finally pay off that evil debt that was plaguing us.

Then, to win a second time and for that amount was a bit of a miracle. The quote that's been going around the Internet is that I was "numb" when I found out. This is true. I just could not believe it.

Perhaps what is even harder to believe is the wild reaction that everyone had and how the story spread like wildfire. I thought that I would just chat with the woman at the lottery claims office, she would write a little blurb for the lottery's website, and no one would really know about it except for the people who check the lottery website. Well, I am a journalist, and I should've known better. The minute it hit the press, my phone and e-mail blew up with congratulations from all over the country and parts of the world.

What's my advice for all the curious folks out there? I want you to know that you must always have faith, always work as hard as you possibly can and do your best to do what is right. I do not recommend scratching your life away at a lottery machine, but rather, focusing on making those around you happy every day.

Now, I am certainly no Mother Teresa, but this quote from her really inspires me and I'd like to share it with you so that you can remember it when you're trying to win in life.

"Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God -- the rest will be given."

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jennifer Hauser.

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