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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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Java Talk: If You Suddenly Became Rich...



Do you sometimes think what you would do if you suddenly became rich? How you would live your life? If you would help loved ones? Travel? Help beloved charities?

Well, let's just pretend today. We've just been given a windfall of a heck of a lot of money. Now what do you think you would want to do with it?


Here's mine: I would buy up some land and build tiny homes (not teeny-tiny, but about 500-600 square feet) for displaced divorced women like me to live who aren't old enough for social security. 

There would be a real community feel to it. A common room for sharing meals, but only if you want to. A common garden to tend and share. Women helping women. 

I wouldn't buy another car unless the one I have was worn out. Why waste money?

I'd put some in savings to get me through the senior years so I'd be able to pay my bills. 

And then I'd start giving. First up would be targeting women's shelters. When women run, most of the time they won't leave their children behind. But if their children are grown and gone, they won't leave their pet behind. 

A problem I hit was that you couldn't bring your pet/pets. So that meant I wasn't going. 

It's simply unrealistic to think an abused woman is going to leave behind the one ally she has in her life: her pet. So I would build facilities so that women wouldn't have to leave their pet behind. Wondering if the man would be angry enough to hurt them. (Which does happen.)

They could take their pet/pets, head for the women's shelter, and not have that worry. Isn't that the least we could do for women in that situation?

Next I would target the libraries that have been losing funding and having to close. Along with that I'd target the literacy councils. 

And last but absolutely not least, I'd work hard on creating "no kill" animal shelters. The thought of a pet being put down simply because no one wants them breaks my heart. It shouldn't happen.

Yet animals don't get a voice. I would try to be that voice. 

Okay, it's your turn. What would you do?


Cozy Little House
71 Comments
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71 comments:

  1. Everything you said plus something to help abused and/or abandoned children. My heart goes out to women, children, the elderly and all animals.

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    1. Of course! Abused children. Should have thought of that one. And the elderly too who are abused, often by family members.

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  2. I hope I wouldn't go crazy! sometimes you read about those that have won the lottery - huge amounts and within a couple years they are broke. I would like to pay off the motorhome or possibly sell it, sell my home and buy something that I really would like & where I would like to live. This might be two or three small homes (small not large) - so I could live part of the year near my WI daughter, one in AR near my other daughter and then one in the mountains of WY or CO. At that same time I would need to settle an outright gift to both daughters and set up college for the 2 grandkids. Then it would be time to think of the extended family. Hubby has 5 siblings and I have 9 - none are well off and some have medical problems. I don't think I would even think about charities until we had looked out after our own - sometimes I say we don't need to donate to charities as we have such a large extended family that we always seem to be helping out family first and that is the way it should be in our case. (by extended family I mean all the siblings/their children/and their children which combined equals close to 200 people) - I hope people don't always think you have to donate to charities first - when people in your own family have medical problems or are unemployed through no choice of their own you need to think of them first.

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    1. You're absolutely first. Help your own first. What is that old saying? Charity should begin at home? Then charities of your choice.

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    2. K: Put all the money in interest drawing or dividend paying accounts and hire a good lawyer and a good financial advisor. THEN figure out with them how to meet some of the needs you see while retaining enough income-producing savings to keep on helping people a little at a time. Otherwise, and I speak from experience, your money won't last long. Hate to be a wet blanket, but it takes either experience or good advisors to manage sudden money to leave enough for you to help all the people you want to.
      Three homes, though? That's a lot of driving and a lot of gas money and maintenance and taxes for places you'll be in for only 4 moths a year. Maybe you could just rent an apartment for four months in each place? See what I mean? And why aren't the rest of the family members helping the ones who need it? Why do you need to do it all? Think beach. Think cruise. Think taking care of yourself first.Or you will wear out and be broke too...... If you ever get that big inheritance, I wish you well, and wish for you a darn good lawyer and money advisor.

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    3. Cozy, your dream of a group of little places for single women was my dream. Then I realized that I didn't have enough money to hire architects, attorneys, etc to make it happen. Still a dream, but someone will do it. Judging by the numbers of old women (and some men) warehoused in various kinds of fee charging facilities (mostly profit making for a group of investors) there will be an obvious need for small house groups. I pictured four houses and a common garden and kitchen/laundry. Flat paths for stable walking, a yard/maintenance person to keep the place up. Oh, well. Someone will do it. Maybe a group of women with inheritances and the connections to get the project built. But I wouldn't want to be the person deciding which applicants get a place and which are turned away!!!!

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  4. I'm not surprised Brenda of your choices. True to your heart. Me? Pay off debt and help my family and friends who helped me go through these recent stressful years. Of course, like you I'll have money to see me through my aging years. I too, will help charities for all animals, women, children and see who else needs help. My little ones (my pupsters and kitty) seen me through some very stressful times. Also reading some really inspirational blogs too, like yours. Feels right to give, Kathleen in Az

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    1. There might have been a time in my life, when I was young, when I would have splurged. But I'm at the point in life where material possessions mean little to me. I would want to help those who need help most. And are overlooked by many social programs that are improperly operated.

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    2. But money talks and you would be able to influence the people who operate those programs. unless they are govt. then you'll need to influence elections.....as my dad used to say..the road to hell is paved with good intentions..One good turn leads to needing another..LOL
      But i love your spirit and determination to care for others. From your earlier posts, I'd expect no less from such a classy woman.

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  5. Oh! Good picks! I would pay off our home and other debt, set aside a fund for my daughter's college and future, begin a scholarship fund, adopt from the foster system (my dream!), buy a vintage travel trailer (probably an airstream), and sponsor several families (single moms that need a home/food). Do you ever get a chance to watch Ellen? I LOVE the way she helps others.... she finds such deserving people, and she pays it forward. I would love to have the ability to help others the way she does.

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    1. I haven't turned a TV on in the daytime in many years, so I've missed that. I love your picks! (Also wanted you to know that I was on your blog this morning and noticed you have a linky party, and I put it on my parties to join on my nav bar.)

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  6. Brenda, if you would ever do this, I would love to help. Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing to do? My ex had my dog put down when I went to visit my terminally ill uncle and he almost did the same to my cat. This all happened right before he walked out on my daughter and I. Laura and I had no place to go, no money as I was not allowed to ever work in the 33 years I was married. He had filed for divorce and didn't even have the courage to tell me. To know that there would be a place to go and be safe would have taken away some of the fear for us.It has been 4 years and he still does things to terrify us. He is being brought up with charges on 3 different accounts, so maybe we can finally have peace. The horrible things that happen to women would be a tad bit better to handle if there was a safe place to go. We could also have a small library in the compound that runs on donations and we could homeschool the children, which I love to do. Brenda, this would be a dream come true for so many women. You have given me tons to think about with this idea. Thank you.
    Hugs,
    Deb

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    1. I love the ideas you added, Deb! A library and a place to home school. Maybe in one building so the children get more social interaction. The elderly would be respected and taken care of on our "compound!" Abused women need to know there is a place to go. That is usually the biggest fear and problem. Where do they go? Also, if the men were predatory, I would figure out an "underground women's railroad" type of thing where we channel them through the ranks of many volunteers till we get them to a place where he doesn't know how to find them. Then they could start a new life in peace.

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  7. I ' d like to see a very homey but state of the art shelter for animals in the women's community. If one of us died our pets would be lovingly and expertly cared for. Or if one of us became too ill or fragile to care for our pets, there would be helpers that would come to our home to walk then, change their litter boxes etc. so we could all stay together until the end. I worry now who would care for my elderly and infirm cats. Not strangely, the thought of the women's community is bringing tears to my eyes.

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    1. Oh, what a fantastic idea! Boy, we ladies are smart. Think of all the good we could do in the world if we were financed!

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    2. God bless you, Kari.

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  8. First, I would make sure my whole family was taken care of. Then I would get my house completely fixed (I would't move)... outside walls and trim painted, fix up the backyard, put back original looking wood windows (instead of the crappy ones that were the replacement), etc... I would also buy an old 50s truck (like the ex convinced me to get rid of) and build a place to keep it on the property. Maybe even buy the lot next door to me, so I could have more land to grow food.

    Then I would start a company that rescued old homes and buildings all over the country that are falling down or in disrepair, so that we wouldn't lose anymore of our history.

    After that I would help out all the charities that you mentioned Brenda, including setting you up in your tiny home compound and making sure there were no more kill shelters.

    I think that's it, but I'm sure there's more :)

    xo,
    rue

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    1. Rue, I have a suggestion for your idea. All those old buildings around the country in disrepair that someone will come along and tear down? Have them turned into senior apartments for low-income seniors. There are not nearly enough places to house our Baby Boomer seniors.

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    2. Think of the money it would cost to make doorways wider, bathroom big enough for wheelchairs etc. And elevators, fire escapes, new modern electrical service.....Make mine a new building facing the best view and every room with a sunny window. It all does start with and idea and someone building on it....and you all have some good ideas.,,,,I;d love to follow you as you build on it and make it happen. If you start a web site, sign me up. Meantime, I'll be working my behind off to wash 26 windows/storms & screens, get the gutters cleaned out and the driveway leveled, so I can offer my old house to someone at a price that makes me wish I'd taken that world tour when I had the chance, cause this old house ain't a gonna bring in enough for that now. Drat. note-nite.

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  9. I would help my daughter and her children first. Pay off their mortgage and their bills. I would buy myself a little cottage home and put aside money for repairs and maintenance so I wouldn't have to worry. Help my oldest daughter with something she wants also. Charities I would help would be abused and homeless women and children and also animals with a no kill shelter. I'm sure there are other things but those would be my main one's.

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    1. Sounds good to me. Abused and homeless and displaced women shouldn't have to worry about a roof over their heads.

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    2. I would do pretty much what you said, Linda. But first I would tithe at church, then the house, then help my children, etc. But if I ever one a giant lotto or something, I would get some people to help me set up a foundation for giving. I would not be the one to dole out the money, I'm to soft and would give it away really fast. I would want a board to look at different charities, and plan each year what they would give. There would be something for troubled teens - that's very important. They are our future. Love you guys.

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  10. I'd move to our dream house..no bigger than this one but exactly the way I envision. Big enough for our extended family but not too big. I want enough outdoor space to have big dogs again. I'd want gardens and a pond.

    Then I'd want to help further research into cancer, Alzheimer's, and vision loss. All of these have effected our family profoundly.

    We do have a no kill shelter in our town and that's where our Belle came from. We like to make donations there whenever we can. I'd love to help with that too.

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    1. Great ones, Stacey! You know how much I love animals. And yes, the monster that is Alzheimers and cancer needs to be researched until it can be eradicated. I also agree about those with vision loss. I can almost see myself not being able to hear. But I can't imagine not being able to see. How frightening!

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  11. As a former teacher, I would use my money to help the schools by putting the money in the hands of the people closest to the kids - the teachers. Teachers spend a ton of their own money for their classrooms.

    I loved exposing my underprivileged students to "the world" beyond the ghetto in which they lived. Thus, I would fund field trips to broaden their horizons. One of my students was accepted to every university she applied to, but she chose UC Santa Barbara. I took her, as one of my ASB officers, to a Leadership Camp one summer at UCSB. She told me that the experience shaped her life and she had vowed that she would one day be a student at UCSB.

    Oh, if only I played the lottery so this might become possible.

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    1. Carol, as you know more than anyone, teachers form our youth. I have the highest of esteem for anyone who is or has been a teacher. They are under paid and under funded. And it is terribly sad that in this day and age, they have to use money from their own under paid pockets for their classrooms. What a shame. I so admire you!

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  12. Hi Brenda

    I have a son who was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when he was 12. He is now 31. I will ask how many million they need for a cure.
    Next... Fully funded college funds for my granddaughters.
    And I will move to your new neighborhood! How fun! Can we have it built on a lake?
    Now I'm off to buy a lottery ticket! Ha!!!
    Mj

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    1. Well, why not? Then those who like to fish can bring the main course to dinner!

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  13. After I buy my beach house and do for my kids and grandkids, my charity would be to set up a program for young mothers and their children, using the model of http://www.houseoftimothy.org/ . The program would provide support to families, starting with pregnancy, through labor, and into early childhood.
    Also RISE ABOVE FOUNDATION... Rise Above Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to providing Massachusetts children in foster care with enriching activities, opportunities and experiences.

    CAMELLIA NETWORK... a support network for youth aging out of foster care.

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    1. I know there is a real need for helping youth aging out of foster care. That sounds like a good one too!

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  14. If I had the means to do so, I would buy the 3 elementary school buildings here in town and renovate them into apartments. One for senior ladies, one for senior men, and the other for a soup kitchen, library, meeting place and whatever else the community would need. (maybe a place for people could spend the night or take a shower.) I would also buy some land where I could build a shelter for homeless animals.

    I love the idea for a women's community where they live and help one another.

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    1. I sure wish somebody had some land and we could build our little houses. I think your idea is just wonderful for the 3 elementary school buildings.

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  15. If I were in those circumstances, I would announce to all animal abusers, inhumane factory farmers and dog fighters that I am looking for you - and I WILL find you!

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  16. It is funny because I was thinking that I would buy up some trailer/rv parks since they already have the hook-ups, and put small 600 sq. foot cottages on them instead of trailers. They would be much safer and solid in case of bad weather. And of course there would be a library, swimming pool, clubhouse for activities and pot lucks, all which is usually already a part of a trailer park. I would add a community garden, where depending on how much you help out, you would be entitled to a share % of the produce, which would be available and/or sold very cheaply in a weekly the community's own "farmers market" every Saturday morning. There would also be a little general store. My own little Utopia I guess.

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    1. Oh and a dog park, of course. Pets would be welcome.

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    2. It does sound like a real utopia! An even better idea than I had.

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  17. I love your generosity! The first thing I thought was I'd travel all over Europe, and I would!! I would first help my children in any way they needed but they would not be getting handouts, that's not conducive to them learning to get by like the majority of us.

    Charities are important to me. I used to do a lot of volunteer work. Now I have three charities that I donate monetarily to every month. Sometimes it's the "little people" like us that make a difference...every little bit counts. I'd love to save the oceans and the animals and the birds going extinct, I think we all have our calling. Doing some legwork and spreading the word is really great if you can't donate. Anyway---have you ever checked to see if there is some sort of organization that deals with homeless women as you've described? I can see you getting involved in that.

    Great topic! I'd still do the Europe thing though!! ;-)

    Jane x

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    1. They do have some places now for homeless people transitioning.

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  18. I hope I get suddenly rich right away. We have a lot of fence to replace after the fire. Several miles. Then I would fix up my Mom's historic house, and figure out something to do with it. A daycare, a retreat, a wedding venue, something, a museum maybe. Next would be projects to better our small community. I like projects that help people to make their lives better themselves, not just give stuff and then walk away. But the one fun thing I would like to do is take the Columbia River Cruise.

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    1. Just like the "give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime." Or something like that.

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  19. Because I'm disabled and like my privacy, I would first buy a secluded wooded lot and then build a very small cottage for my husband and I that was totally handicapped accessible. I would also help my children out by paying off their student loans and mortgages. I would also fund my grandkids' college educations. Brenda, I would contribute to your small house compound as well for Senior women.
    My heart really lies with those elderly pets that wind up in shelters for whatever reason. I think they deserve a comfortable and loving home for their latter years, so I would fund rescue centers that had a homelike environment and were staffed by caring people that hopefully would try to find them a better new home. But if not able to find them a new good home these elderly dogs and cats would still live out their last years in a good environment in the rescue center in comfort with love and affection, along with good vet care.

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    1. Sounds like a great idea. Once I volunteered at an animal shelter. There was this little dog they thought was about seven years old. He'd been brought back several times. I think he didn't do well with children. I fell in love with him and adopted him, and he lived six more years. I adored that sweet dog and miss him so much.

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  20. So many good ideas. First we need a car badly. I had to borrow one to get to my mom that is in the hospital. Besides helping abused children and adults, group homes for kids like my son.I would help with my grandkids college. Love the idea of tiny cottages that are affordable. I would to help people I care about live a little easier. I might have to get a vintage camper.

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    1. Well, I didn't mention my grandkids because Andrew's parents are pretty well off. And my oldest grandson has it all paid for plus money after. Before he was born his mother was in a car wreck. This kid rammed into her, but somehow it worked out that, because my grandson was born early, he does have that insurance money and won't have to worry. Now if the only one left, my granddaughter, needed help, I would give it. Whatever I have when I die goes to her.

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  21. That is AWESOME Brenda !! I hope YOU win LOTTO!! Have you ever thought of getting investors and philanthropy groups to start this? Maybe women's group and animal support groups? I love your thoughts on this. I would retire early, help animal shelters too!

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    1. I've thought of it, but not sure how to go about it.

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  22. What a great group of loving, generous, and thoughtful followers, you have Brenda!!! Well done......

    How do we define "rich", btw?

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    1. I don't know. I didn't put a number because I didn't want anyone to feel limited in their dreams.

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    2. I know your request relates to winning the lottery, but some people equate the term "rich" in terms other than $ numbers. However, the responses you have received surely indicate that the world would be a better place if even some of these folks, including yourself, could win a lottery. The odds are against us, but remember, to win, you've got to play!

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  23. Ok, so if we're not limited in any way, I'd buy a big island and put anyone and everyone who has ever abused an animal on it. Then I'd drop a bomb and obliterate the crap out of them. (I wonder if Marge still thinks all your readers are loving and generous now!).

    Then I'd look for old homes that need some love and attention and give it to them. I hate to see a beautiful, old home go into disrepair.

    I would build and fund animal shelters, making sure no animal would have to be put down because they're not wanted.

    I'd build a couple of dream houses in different parts of the world...near a beach, the mountains, and I'd buy a penthouse in Manhattan.

    Then I'd do some serious traveling throughout Europe.

    And I'm wondering if Clooney can be bought?

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    1. I sure like the way your mind works, Doreen! Clooney? I don't know. Does it seem like he's getting shorter to you?

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  24. I read this yesterday afternoon but wanted to take some time to think about this. My hubby and I have often had this conversation over the years - if we won the lottery, what would we do? My first priority was to buy a home somewhere other than where I was - but that changed 2 years ago when I found this place. Now - my first priority would be to buy the 175 acres of woods that surround me. Then I'd build a home to my specifications somewhere further into the middle of it. I'd carve out 2 spots for homes for both of my kids and their families (when they decide to settle down). I'd put money away for both of the kids to go back to college if they chose to. Otherwise, that money could be used for training programs, continuing education in the field of their choice, etc. That would pretty much be all we'd need. With the rest of it? I'd help fund food banks, shelters (animal and people), educational/training programs, legal aid to those who can't afford it and anything else I can think of that would help. I love the idea of a fleet of vans that drive around in the evenings and hand out food/blankets/books/vouchers for programs that could help them. These are all things that I have needed over the years and was often not able to use because of regulations regarding my income/ my kids ages/a pet I wouldn't leave behind.

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    1. Vans that would drive around in the evenings and hand out necessities. What a fantastic idea!

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  25. I would do the same as you, Brenda, except I would include older women who might have social security but who have very little and have to get on long waiting lists. xo Laura

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  26. Since I've been caring for 2 orphaned kittens, I've been telling my hubby that I'd have a no-kill animal shelter if I won the Powerball. I seldom buy a ticket, but I'm dreaming here. Of course, first of all I would take care of any family member or friend that had a need. I'd make sure there was a sizable sum in savings, then I might splurge on a vacation home somewhere warm to go to during winter. It would take more money than the Powerball to do all the things I wish I could do! You've mentioned many of them.

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    1. Good for you for caring for those kitties. We also need a free program to spay/neuter pets so there aren't as many unwanted animals due to irresponsible people.

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  27. It is fun to dream! I love your ideas and your community would be lovely!

    I would love to have a log cabin in the mountains with awesome views. Maybe a creek running through the property. I would probably invest some money so that I wouldn't have to worry about the future. Help my kids with college or job training.

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    1. I'd love a log cabin. Always been enamored of them. We all need some money tucked away.

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  28. Can we talk you into running for president? I've been following your blog for about 1year. You are so filled with I've and compassion. There is always that touches my heart. Keep on blogging.

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    1. Well, how sweet you are! Though I don't think I have what it takes to be president. There are far, far more qualified women who would do a fantastic job, I think, if only we could unearth them!

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  29. From what I have read here Brenda..you and your readers are already rich..in loving hearts and giving spirits...I would definitely be in on your little house community plan..and I'm always ready to help pets in need..

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    1. You have always been a faithful reader, Nancy, and I so appreciate you. Yes, we women in this community are truly rich in loving hearts and giving spirits.

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  30. The first thing I would do is invest it wisely for a couple of years and make some money off of it. Then I would make sure family is all taken care of as well as setting aside funds for my grandchildren to go to college. Then my husband and I would purchase a summer home... someplace cool by the ocean... and then we would travel. I trust very few charities as so many are corrupt and the money does not go where it is supposed to go. There are probably good things I would do for people in need with some of the money as well, but I'd really have to think hard about what those things would be, ie: how best to spend it.

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  31. First, I would donate back to my church the scholarship money they gave my daughter to attend a private college and get her degree.
    I would pay off my 3 daughters homes..and mine.

    I would give to health care in the USA in the very poor parts of the country....Appalachia areas...fund the nurses who have the bus that goes around to the different areas and help them with meds, and needs for care of the poor. Eye exams, and glasses. Dental care.
    I would give to many charities...but I have to see the need first hand. My money would stay in this country.
    I would set up a trust to carry on after I am gone...if I had a lot of money.
    Also I would pay for my funeral and decide on where I would be laid to rest.
    Education funds for the Grandchildren who want to attend college, or trade school.
    My car is just fine. I might consider a small place in Oregon, near the ocean, for the summer.

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  32. I have seen some very productive and effective ways to disburse big money....me I would have to say is with the animals. We have a lady in town who takes in cats with positive feline leukemia she is an angel, she hardly has the means but she manages .I would give her property , buildings and meds . I would open a no kill animal center with all the frills. At least you have given us thought if we were to become rich but we must remember that money can bring out evil. Lisa @ Sweet Tea N' Salty Air

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I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you!

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