Posts Tagged ‘fortune’

         Up, Up, and away, in my beautiful, my beautiful balloon…that is how the old song goes (with a much better voice than i will ever have).  This was how i envisioned Michel Fournier’s scientific experiment starting off…with that little song running through my head, as i watched the replay on the evening news!  No such luck. 

          It was reported today that the balloon somehow became detached and floated into the sky without the capsule.  How in the world could this have happened?  That balloon cost something like two hundred thousand dollars or so.  How could it have become detached without someone noticing, before this could derail Mr. Fournier’s attempt to lift off?

         The poor man, yesterday his experiment of going up in a capsule attached to a special made helium balloon, to set a few records, was cancelled due to the weather.  He had already had a couple of other attempts that were aborted in 2002 and 2003 due to the balloon being ripped apart before it could even get up into the air.

         Now this experiment, that he was attempting was important but, extremely dangerous and never before been attempted by anyone else, to my knowledge.  He was going to go up in the capsule attached to the helium balloon to then skydive from an amazing heighth…something like 131,000 feet if i remember correctly….planes fly at like 39,000 feet.  That is wild to someone like me who is afraid of heighths.  But not for Mr. Fournier who is a former paratrooper…this would have been a dream.

        It wasn’t just for “fun”…the experiment was also to document data for astronauts and scientists to see the effect on the human body in the highest altitudes.  Michel would also be wearing a pressure suit much like they wear in space because at a certain height…a person can develop a blood clot…or ewwwww, the blood can “boil”.  Yuck! 

          Mr. Fournier wanted to set four records by setting the fastest and the longest free fall (he is a skydiver) as well as the highest documented balloon flight & the highest parachute jump on record. 

           I can’t begin to imagine the extreme disappointment he must be feeling.  He has spent a fortune trying to make this happen over the years.  He has run out of money from the sounds of it…so this could have been his last attempt.  Maybe …just maybe…it was the big guy up above, looking out for him…maybe he would not have survived such an attempt!  Still, i do feel for him…his disappointment must be immense.


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       Raising children is one of the most important things a person can do.  It not only impacts a family; it impacts communities, businesses, organizations and individuals.  Raising children well; it is an art form.  In our world today, there are many things pulling at a family unit trying to divide it and conquor it.  It’s become the norm to expect families to break up; it is almost extra-ordinary to see a family survive all that life throws at it.

       There are those around us who struggle in ways that we cannot see.  There are stresses that are normal; and then, there are those which have the ability to wreak havoc on our inter-personal relationships. 

        Un-expected pregnancies are one such stressor.  Un-planned pregnancies, no matter the age or marital status of the parents, can overload those involved; due to financial pressures, health issues, as well as, the emotional well-being of the parents. 

        Making a choice to become a parent is an important step; whether you become a parent biologically, or through the adoption process.  Each life that is conceived is precious and full of promise.  A pregnancy should be cause for celebration; however, sometimes circumstances can complicate the miracle of life.  Those type of situations are when the adoption option becomes a lifeline for those affected.

         Organizations such as Bethany Christian Services are just, such a lifeline.  Of course, they offer more than just adoption services; there is counseling, foster care, estate planning, pregnancy counseling, post adoption care, orphan care, infertility ministry and embryo services.  They are all about building, healing, and restoring families here in the United States and around the world.

        If your heart if full of blessings…or if you have a need…go to this link and check them out.  If your heart has been burdened by the complications of life; and, you have been touched by something greater than yourself…can you find a way to give back?  Support Bethany Christian Services either through a financial donation or maybe just by volunteering your time.  Check them out here:  www.bethany.org.  

          Do you see the suffering of those all around the world and feel helpless to do anything about it?  Those who are lonely, without the basic necessities of life, poor, starving, homeless or just without someone to love them; they need help.   Many of us do see the conditions of the world and suffer a sense of guilt at our own good fortune.  Do you feel something within your heart calling you to make a difference?  We all do…don’t turn off that sensitivity to the hurts in the world.  You can make an impact!

          Maybe you already have the gift of making an impact; but, you wish to find ways of increasing that skill…may i suggest a book that will open windows into the system or skill set that will broaden your abilities to impact the world in a positive way?  It was written by Ken McArthur…a man who has felt the need from childhood to impact the world in a positive way.    The world is a big place with lots of needs.   You have a lot to offer, even if you don’t think that you do.  Find out what it is that you were created to do and be.  Read the book, make a commitment to channel positive energy into some kind of a lasting legacy…and make it happen!

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        Wow, who knew that it mattered, when you were born, which side of the blanket you were born on when it comes to getting your birthright inheritence or whether your rights will be denied?

         Is a child’s birthright not automatic when that birthparent gives the child up for adoption?  No, it can be denied in the state of New York, anyway. 

          Today, i read in the news that a woman born over 50 years ago to a direct descendent of the jello fortune was denied by the highest court in New York the right to a portion of that said fortune. 

           It seems that the estate of the woman’s birthmother denied that she was entitled to a third of the estate; because, she had been put up for adoption and, because the laws of the state said that a child put up for adoption wasn’t considered a child of the person for whom the trust was established.

        The mother of the “child” went on to get married later after putting up the infant for adoption and went on to have two additional children who were entitled to their portion of the estate because they were born during her marriage.

         Does that seem fair?  The child did not have a say about when she was conceived or to whom she was born; she was born to the woman and allegedly, to a man who was married to someone else.  Is it her fault about the circumstances of her birth?  No.  Was it her choice to be adopted?  No.  Still, i guess legally…the decision has been made.

         My question is…morally is it a correct decision?  I wonder how the birth, half- siblings feel?  I mean, obviously the estate felt that they had a right to fight paying a portion of the trust fund to this woman; but, personally, if it were me….i would feel that she was entitled to a sum of money. 

         The woman started searching for her birthparents when she was 19.  She spent lots of money and time searching.  She didn’t start her search thinking that she was going to discover she was born to a family with incredible riches that she could inherit.  I am sure that she began searching strictly for the purpose of finding out more about herself personally. 

           Whatever her personal reasons for searching; I hope she found some kind of answers to her questions when she met her mother.  She did get to meet her and find out about her birth circumstances.  Hopefully she was able to heal those parts of herself that were filled with questions when she discovered she had a NEED to know about her beginnings. 

           It seems that these questions about the trust fund came up after the birth mother died.  Who knows what the birth mother’s feelings were on the subject.  That wasn’t reported in anything i have heard about this trust fund issue with the courts.  Was the woman and her siblings able to develop any type of postitive relationship?  If so, why the issue of money went before the court is curious. 

            If the half siblings contested sharing the money…i then wonder, what makes them in their own minds feel more entitled?  It is kind of sad.  Who knows how much richer their lives could have been otherwise.  I mean, i wonder if they would find joy in knowing their sister had there not been money involved?   Maybe it isn’t just an issue of money; could it be some other reason that they feel she is not entitled to a share of the wealth?   I wonder is the sister the kind of person that would not be welcome in a family whether they had money or not?  Is she a good, friendly, moral person?

             Some how, it feels like an injustice.  I mean, the half siblings got to grow up with their mother.  The woman did not.  They were born to a comfortable lifestyle; did the woman live in comfort?  Should she be compensated for being rejected at her birth?  I don’t know.  But regardless, it just feels a little unfair to me. 

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        Choking on the silver spoon is the title i chose for this post after hearing for years about children born to weathy parents who continue to struggle in their lives. 

         While those who are living in the category of a “have not” existence often wonder how different life would be if they were included in the exclusive membership of those who  “have (and, have “it” in a big way)”.   I am talking about wealth, privilege, and status beyond the average person’s ability to achieve.

        How often do we hear stories of children who have been born to the ultra rich who seem to appear out of control; in legal trouble, lonely, but on a continual rotation of personal relationships, lost in addictions, at a loss for a professional direction of their own, suspended from one educational academy after another or just unmotivated to do something positive in the world?

         Have you ever heard of the “poor little rich (boy or girl)” phrase?  A few years ago, there was a big media flap over the friction in the family of Tori Spelling when her father died.  Many of the issues were there before her father died but much of it was complicated by money issues after he passed away.

           It seems that Tori has now written a  book talking about the idea of being raised in a family of privilege and continuing to live that way without the advantage of having the finances to back it up, once she became an adult out on her own. It supposedly talks about her struggles and what she has learned; and, how she is applying that knowledge in her marriage and in parenting her own young family.

            Then, i remember many years ago a woman by the name of Christina Onassis who lived a colorful and lonely life.  She went through four marriages.  She lost all of her family members in a 24 month period.  She was lonely.  She was starved for a connected, affectionate relationship…yet she had tons of money.  She gave birth to one child, Athina.  Who, upon Christina’s death, became one of the richest children in the world.  We don’t hear much about her these days.  She has tried to stay out of the limelight.  A few years ago there was some publicity about a romance she had with an older man; there was speculation about that relationship.  She later married him. 

         You have to wonder what kind of pressure is put upon a child who is born to that kind of wealth to live a successful, healthy, and an emotionally fulfilling life.  How do they grow and mature, while at the same time develop the ability to discover who is in their lives for the right reasons?  How do they know if they are adored because of who they really are or because of what they “have”?

         How does a child live up to expectations of their family members and the public when they have to live in the shadow of a well-known parent who is enormously blessed financially?  How do they carve out a path of their own?  It surely must not be easy.

         I think about people like Christian Brando the son of the famous (and rich) Marlon Brando.  He alledgedly lived a life surrounded by privilege and neglect and turmoil.  He at times was accused of murder, spousal abuse, patternity claims, and drug and alcohol abuse.  He struggled in all areas; only to have gotten to a point where others claim he was making serious attempts to straighten out his life.  He died a short time ago before he was able to realize his full potential.

          Then this week, word comes down that little Danilyn Smith the 18month old daughter of Anna Nicole Smith and Larry Birkhead is the sole legal heir of Anna’s present and (future depending on the outcome of legal proceedings from Anna’s previous marriage to billionaire J. Howard Marshall) fortune.  Having money, alone, doesn’t guarantee happiness.

           Some of the present fortune has been put in trust and Danilyn’s father and Howard K. Stern (Anna’s lawyer and lover) have been put in charge of administering that trust fund.  As she grows into a teenager and into a young adult this judgement of being a sole heir of possible millions of dollars will help to shape and form what kind of a life she will have. 

             It makes a person wonder whether the silver spoon will be a blessing or a curse in her life.  It would be a wonderful thing if those who raise her will also influence her personal growth to be strenthened by good character, good decision making and have a strong sense of boundaries that are guided by common sense.  Maybe, just maybe this young person can grow up in a relatively normal environment and turn the silver spoon into something from which good things can grow. 


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