Alexis Letter to Friends — June




Scholar-Ship Craft for Girls and Boys

Scholar_Ship Craft

What you’ll need

  • Half-gallon carton
  • Heavy duty large straw
  • Tape
  • Cereal box
  • Glue stick
  • Paper
  • Your A Papers from school
  • Crayons or Markers to color your design

My Scholar Ship is a modified version of a boat craft I found online at: .

How to make it

  1. Love Boat - Step 1Start with a clean carton. Cut off the plastic spout or tape the cardboard spout shut.
  2. For the bow, cut a 3¾- by 10-inch strip from a cereal box, fold it in half, and tape it in place as shown.
  3. Use tape and a glue stick to cover the carton with paper. Cut a mail slot in the ship’s top to store all your A papers from school.
  4. Use a glue stick to add stripes to the sides  (Be sure to color a design on them first.)
  5. Poke a small hole the deck and insert the straw.  Now tape your best A paper to it making a sail for the boat.

Be creative and have fun!

Don’t forget to send me a picture! Email it to Or Post your picture on My Friends’ Stuff Art Board on Pintrest. (You first have to follow the board before I can add you to make your own posts)

A Journey of Passion

IMG_0090Passion may be just another word for crazy and Vision may take many straight to the poor house.  I write to you today about my journey to survive building a business in the middle of a recession.  Why now?  Why not wait for better times?  The answer is fear.

I fear for today’s young.  Media has run amuck and toys are no longer designed for children’s well being.  As an educator of marketing for a highly regarded world-influencing university, I can’t turn off my understanding of what big business is doing to our young.  The mother inside of me hurts and is angry.  It is like watching a movie on the big screen knowing the plot will end tragically.

I’m not grandstanding.  Take a look around.  Pregnancy under the age of 15 is increasing; boys bring guns to school to create mass murder, education has become so expensive that many are now telling our youth that higher education is a poor return on investment—they will be no better off with a college education.  Even our own government is so busy with their own interest they fail to see what will be left for the children.

So call me crazy but I have to do something.  Via E is not about making money…although I hope I can stop having to use garage sales and creative money management to pay my bills…

Via E is about:  EDUCATION – fun learning that will build solid futures, RESPECT – for yourself and others, COMPASSION – for those who need help, LEADERSHIP – because God knows we need more good leaders, SAFETY – a place girls can play where parents know their best interests will always be put before profits.

Miley Cyrus feels she is a good business person because her shocking behavior will sell.  I don’t know which makes me more ill…the fact that she would sell herself in this manner or the fact that she is right—she is hitting the top of the charts.

We have to stop this…one girl at a time.  They deserve better…they are better…Miley is better, she just was never told so and now millions of girls will follow.

I care…I can’t stop from caring so this passion, this vision… even when I’m on my last penny, when I’m so tempted to just get a normal job…  will cause me to fight to make a difference.  I hope you will too.  It won’t be easy but it will be worthy.

Car Rides—memories for a lifetime

iStock_000008293787XSmallThe older our children get, the less one on one time we seem to find with them.  Between schools, sports, tutors, work…the minutes, hours, days speed past us.  We don’t even realize it, until we happen to glace at a precious photo sitting on the mantel, wall or refrigerator door.  You know the one…last year’s photo that now looks like it was years past because today’s face has the evidence that they are growing too fast for your comfort or heart.

Today while driving my youngest son and my new international student son to the high school of choice, I began …, “Nick, your sister Casey has made a case for a promotion at work…” I continue to tell him how she proactively crafted a solution to a problem and presented it to the new owner of the company where she works, “Don’t wait to be chosen as opportunities are usually too little and too late.  Build your own opportunities.  You have to act like a leader, before you will become a leader.”  In the silence, I could see his now 14 year old mind considering my words.

Moments later glancing in the rear view mirror, I address my 18 year old international student son who’s in a Business program, and asked him what he thought about Apple’s new iPhone 5s product strategy.  A fun discussion about the successful technology company ensued.

In these moments, there was more than teaching, there was bonding.  The process of teaching and learning is just as powerful as gift giving and receiving.  Some days we talk about girls and relationship concepts, football, basketball, difficulties at school, driving tips for new drivers…etc.  In moments like these we can show we care and that we want to help our children achieve their goals.  It’s the tone of your voice, the twinkle in your eyes, perhaps a squeeze of a knee…the language of love.

I thought to myself on the way home…why do I always do this–fill the quiet with learning?  I’m a mom, I’m a teacher…but that’s not why.  You see, my father did the same with me and now I share similar moments with my children that will last a lifetime…and more as they pass on the same to their children.

To become your child’s mentor, start with the little things they find important.  It doesn’t take much time…just a car ride.

I dedicate this post to my 85 year old father.  Thanks Dad for our many car rides together.



Compulsive? Or focused energy?

I often wonder why we Thinkerallow medical marketing to convince us that the only way to happiness and social integration is by being “normal’.   To whom is it to determine what is normal?  How far can one deviate from the norm before it becomes a problem?   When is the behavior reactive to environmental circumstances versus a chemical or mental deviation worthy of medical intervention.  This last question is the scariest because that answer is left to millions of individual doctors all with different perspectives on when to medicate.

Though these thoughts apply to many behavior deviations from the so called norm, the one I wish to address is compulsive behavior.  Why?  Because it’s thumb-print is evident on individuals found all around us—maybe even within ourselves.  My mom was a compulsive eater, my brother a compulsive drinker and me…well, I’m a compulsive worker with an insatiable desire to learn.

As we get on in years it affords a different lens to which we can look.  Being reflective I find myself trying to understand and then ponder how to apply forward to help others.  My observations led me to some conclusions that I’d like to share with the parents and guardians of our newest generations.

I believe compulsion is energy.  A tightly wound ball of wonder.  As it spins through its environment it seeks to pull all that it can from the point of interest.  When set to a positive activity, the world is blessed with an individual powerful enough to leave a mark on the world.  Steve Jobs is one of the most current examples but there are many, many more.  When the energy is not directed, when it cannot be released, it becomes destructive to the bearer of the energy and even those within its circle.

Some may self-medicate through alcohol, drugs or food.  Depression may set in, a feeling of being misunderstood, out of control behavior may become the release to a person who feels unable to relate to their environment…and the path to medical management starts.

There is a different path, one that does not quiet or disable the energy, but one that provides room for the energy to explore, grow and produce the wonderful results that only this type of energy and focus can.  It is hard to raise a child with such energy.  It may be hard to understand him or her much of the time, but these children were gifted an ability to climb the tallest mountains for a reason.

Help him or her find an outlet such as sports, art, music, academics…etc.  It may be that these young ones have as many interests as there are days of the month…let them explore.  Childhood where there is freedom to explore and learn allows for finding a purpose, interest or talent that will last a lifetime.  Once this happens, these miracles of God will accomplish what few have the ability to do.

Revolution!—Fighting for the right for her to become all she can be.

BoxIt is everywhere: sports, music, dance, various clubs, working environments…a box. A set of boundaries that dictates what is allowed to be contributed.  A select few elected by another group of select few are the gate keepers to who gains access and what contributions can be made within the box.

As a girl my dreams were boundless and energy unrelenting…the box never fit.  As an adult, my goals were merely to use all of my talents to help, build, fix, and achieve…the box never fit.

Raising my four children and watching the box form around them angered me.  How can anyone justify limiting young potential?  Economist will explain supply and demand principals telling us there are only so many spots for talent and creativity, thus only a select few will rise and the rest will reside in the box of the “normal” distribution.

Enough!  There is so much talent, creativity, wonderment and curiosity in each child, each person—we were not created to fit into a box.  We need a revolution!  A talent revolution.  Dare to sing; dare to draw, create, solve, explore…be a visionary.  Refuse the box and live unbound and always exploring.  There is not a normal because each and every one of us is unique with gifts meant to be shared and developed.

We live in a world of boxes and gate keepers and we do need to teach our children how to navigate this reality, but let us teach them that they can create their own path.  Help them to avoid boxes with limits to their growth…find pools of people who believe in the inalienable right for them to be all that they can and should become.

Via E is my kick in the knee to those who build boxes and those gate keepers who dare to say yes to some and no to others.  Via E is a platform for every girl to showcase her talents—a place where there are no boxes.  In just a few more weeks, we will re-launch the Via E website.  Here there are no boxes to be found…just a celebration of her. There are never too many stars in the sky…my dream is to give them space and then sit back with you and watch them shine.

My heart to yours, always…Ellen.