The tightrope…

Many people are finding today’s times to be challenging.  The tightrope between where we were and where we yet want to be is longer than we first thought.  Like many I was push onto a tightrope.  Once I balanced I found that there are many ropes crossing the chasm between where I once was and where I hope to be.  Some of the paths offered tightropes bridging shorter distances—those with small islands of reprieve from the stress of rope walking.  There were ropes lower to the ground so that if I fall, the flight and landing would not be too scary or damaging.  Then there were the high ropes…the long ropes and the ropes that were unclear to what trials would be endured during the journey.

tightropeSmThere are times you may find yourself balancing over a chasm before you had time to choose which rope, which path, to take. To switch under these circumstances will require a leap of faith.

Some have recently lost a job or incurred a health problem and with a not so gentle push, you are now walking your own tightrope.  The first instinct when pushed onto a tightrope is to look down.  Our arms shoot out to both side for balance and our gut wrenches….until….our sights locate a safety net.  The strength of that net combined with cheering supporters gives us the courage to cross the tightrope or even use the moment to climb higher.  The larger the group of people cheering us on…the less reliant we become on the safety net.

I think life is a perpetual series of tightrope walks. With balance, cheering fans, appropriate safety nets, we are able to cross each chasm and maybe even climb to new heights.

So if you are crossing a tightrope that at times feels like it is too far above the ground or too tremulous, my suggestion is…don’t look down.  Listen to those who are cheering you onto the other side and stay focused on the next step to where you are going vs. where you have been.  You may have less of a safety net than what you would like, but if you stay focused, stay balanced and keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will reach the other side.

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.

Crafts for Girls–Make a Journal for your Dollfriend

Here is a quick and easy craft that will delight your dollfriend loving girl.  There just are not enough books for dollfriends to read, so here is a dollfriend sized version of Alexis’ Journal.  You can find the girl sized version on http://via-e.com/alexis-character-counts-journal.html.

CC Journal

 

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.

Craft for Girls–Dollfriend Spa Headwrap

While visiting the factory in July I had to find a way to protect Alexis’ hair so it would stay beautiful for her arrival to your home.  I made this terry headwrap out of things I found in my hotel room. It occurred to me that you could have after water fun with this headwrap too!  I made mine out of white wash cloths but I bet it would look terrific in flower, bright colors…send me pictures of your head wrap at Ellen@via.e.com.

headwrap

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.

Thankful for the hard times…

I was married at 18 and idealistic about the world.  We were poor but it was a reasonable price for building our own life.  I remember our reclaimed refrigerator, old with rust overtaking the remnants of white paint.   But it was clean and kept the food as if it were new.  My dad painted Cadillac White over the beat-up Toyota that was gifted to us in a show of support of a decision that pained him so.

Casey was the first, a little girl with bright red hair which gave way to golden locks.  Then came Timmy, a boy so sweet he’d melt your heart with one look.  It was their love that made each day one to remember.

The lessons came one after another, a divorce, a subsequent marriage to an abuser and soon I wondered where the girl who was going to change the world went.  How did I get here?  Where was I going?  What have I learned?

Shannon, big blue eyes and a mind faster than lightning itself…the love, the lessons, the hopes for her future to be reflective of more than mine.  Yes being a mom was always the greatest honor, my greatest joy.

I found myself again in my thirties.  Worked hard and never stopped believing that I could do anything I set my mind to.  The path was now much harder, a single mom with two failed attempts of finding the one.  It wasn’t going to stop me.  Every moment with my children made me happy to be alive.

By forty I finished my business degree, climbed to a financial safe ground, married a good man and gave birth to little Nicholas.  This one was my super hero—never a moment without his cape flying behind him.  Black for Batman, red for Superman and a blue cape just to give me a chance to wash the others.  After all the mistakes I made, I was still blessed beyond my fair share.

The economic recession liquidated my banking job and left me with another transition to contemplate.  I knew I had unfinished work yet to do.  I’ve learned so many things.  I finished an MBA, continue to teach for the local university with a passion to build up the young; prepare them for the flurry of decisions yet to beckon them to multiple possibilities.  Choose well, be exceptional, and know you can do anything to which you set your mind.

There is so much talent in each and every child…so much promise.  If they don’t discover it, it will be dormant for a lifetime.  My dream, the job I am fighting for is the chance to create a company that will nurture, give light to the talents and dreams of as many as I can reach.  If they want to sing, let them sing.  If they want to write, let their writings be read by many.  If they want to dream, let them dream that there is nothing they cannot do just as long as they believe.  Then let’s watch them and smile.

Here’s to mothers everywhere.  We are not perfect, but love makes the imperfect perfect to our young.

My warmest of wishes always,

Ellen