I received something from Dr. Oz recently.   Here it is, exactly how it arrived in the mail....

I was one of the first 1,000 entries received.   Which is pretty amazing, considering Dr. Oz has a gazillion viewers.  

The first 1,000 entries got a sixty-day supply of fast absorption, omega-3 krill oil for cardiovascular health that contains powerful antioxidants and no fishy odor.  Or, so I read.

I need fish oil, because, despite having given up tasty animal fat, I still have cholesterol issues.  That got me thinking....

I've not won many things in my life - and never first place - but the few prizes that have come my way have actually been beneficial, or just been divinely timed.  

My first "win" was in eighth grade.  I was one of fifty runners-up in a radio station poetry contest.  I won a six-pack of 7-Up.   My poem started like this.

Life is a field of flowers...

I don't remember the rest of it.  It was flaky, I'm sure.  It was the 70's.

As a rule, I don't appreciate poetry (except for Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss), so why I was motivated to enter this contest, I don't know.  

But, being one in fifty to "win" was a real boost to my gawky, young self.  I began to write other things, and in ninth grade, my English teacher took me aside and told me I was a good writer.  She urged me to stick with it.  

As an adult, writing spawned a career for me in non-profit work that lasted twelve years.  It's also granted me a few honorable mentions in Florida State competitions.  To this day, when I get writer's block, I look at a few dingy awards in my scrapbook and say to myself, "I know I can, I know I can."

My next (second-place) win, probably fifteen years later, was a quilt.  A woman's group I belonged to had a raffle, and I had a lucky ticket.  I was excited to receive a hand-made quilt, but found the colors a bit loud for my eyeballs.  

I "gifted" the quilt to my sister-in-law.  She must have found it loud too, because it's hanging in her basement, which she calls "the dungeon." 

Don't you just want to put on sunglasses?  

Anyhoo...it was this blanket that originally piqued my interest in quilting.  (I would make a normal quilt.) 

A decade later, I took a quilting class and sewed my little heart out for several years.  That hobby took my mind off missing my daughter, who had just left for college, and provided many gifts for loved ones. (I suppose it's possible some of those quilts are hanging in their basements.) 

Two years ago, I won $1,000 in a church raffle (first place was $5,000.)  That was a thrill.  My husband and I had participated in this particular raffle for seventeen years, accumulating an output of $425.  Subtracting our long-term investment, the prize was $575. 

That win was a timely blessing, because our son was getting married in four months.  That money covered the macaroni & cheese, Caesar salad, and dessert tarts at the rehearsal dinner. 

Even though I've never hit a home run, these non-first prizes have very much enriched my life.  They've encouraged me to hone some strengths, discover some new ones, boost my health, and enabled us to celebrate more freely. 

I've often thought how awesome it would be to win the Florida lottery.  We buy tickets when the cookie jar gets up past 10 million.  

I've repeatedly assured God I would be a trustworthy steward of such a gift.  I would share with family members and donate to charity.  I would be very generous after I paid off my mortgage, student loan, and Visa card. 

I've never won the lottery, so I guess God sees it differently.  Maybe He suspects that with 10 million, I'd turn into a crazy person.  

He's smarter than me, so He might be right. 

For now, it's fish oil.  Which is OK, because I need it.

So, I've decided you don't have to hit a home run to win. 

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