Powerball ticket

A woman fills out her Powerball ticket Wednesday inside Bluebird Liquor in Hawthorne. (Susannah Kay / Los Angeles Times / August 7, 2013)

A two-year job search has come to an end for one Californian.

No, she didn't get a job. Better: She won the lottery.

Linda Stephens, 60, of Huntington Beach purchased one of nine Powerball tickets in the state with five of six numbers -- all save the Powerball number -- that matched the jackpot combination. She was first Thursday morning to claim her $289,341 prize.

While Stephens has been searching for work, she said she and her family have been barely scraping by.

Her two daughters are grown -- one is 36 and the other 34 -- but she adopted her 17-year-old nephew, who still lives with the family. Her husband cannot work, she said.

The money should arrive in six to eight weeks, she said. In the meantime, Stephens keeps glancing at a symbolic check given to her, reminding herself the prize is real.

"When you've been out of money and you've been struggling, struggling, you just don't believe it," she said. "We don't have anything else going for us."

Stephens used to play the lottery often, she said, but had largely stopped because she didn't feel that she could afford it.

On Monday, the potential to win such a large jackpot proved too tempting. When she went grocery shopping, Stephens decided on a whim to buy five tickets.

When she woke up Thursday morning, her husband reminded her to check the numbers, she said.

"I got my ticket out of my wallet and looked at it, and they were all there," she said, "and I looked at it again and the tears started rolling down."

Now, Stephens said she can focus on a company she started about a year ago that sells Hawaiian shirts for dogs. 

The company hadn't been bringing in enough money to pay for all their needs, she said, but she believes the Powerball money will allow her the proper time needed to focus on it.

Twitter: @emfoxhall

emily.foxhall@latimes.com

Foxhall writes for the Los Angeles Times.