Since it is THAT time of year, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I can give my own daughter, Helen, this holiday season.  She is 14 years old now.  We are in the thick of it.  The potentially negative influences are everywhere.  On average girls connect to some form of media over 8 hours per day.  We are not immune to this in our household…texting, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube.  It’s all I can do sometimes to intercept all that incoming data with a unified deep breath together with her.

Sure… I plan to, once again, provide all the typical stocking items, fun girl stuff, clothing, books and the annual new journal (she is a writer), but I’m going to do something a little different this year.  I’m going to Finish Strong by going a bit off the beaten path and give her a homemade “Power-Girl” coupon book.   Remember when you were a kid and you made coupon books for your parents… the likes of which included coupons to “clean my room,” “walk the dog,” and “do the dishes?”  This is similar to that, but with a slightly different “Power-Girl” twist.

Molly & Helen

My guess is, she won’t appreciate the coupon book, until she is older, but the conversation that is sure to emerge as a result of it will plant seeds that I believe will last a lifetime.

The coupon book will be composed of 12 “intentions,” actions I promise to make on a monthly basis throughout 2013.  At the beginning of each month she can pull a coupon, hand it to me, and I will pledge to follow through on that promise for the entire month.  She can pull the coupons in whatever order she wishes.  I will invite her to participate with me, but won’t expect it.  This is MY gift to her.

I invite you to join me.  If a 12 month commitment is too large, consider 12 weeks or even 12 days! If you don’t have a daughter, give the coupon book to a friend. I can’t think of anything more beautiful to give than a series of intentions which honor the feminine divine!

So here goes…


Month 1:  I pledge to not link to or pull anything up on the internet which includes negative talk about a female.  This includes “fat talk,” gossip, glamorized girl drama, cat fights or other portrayals of girls and women that demean or objectify them (us).

Month 2:  I pledge to go one full month without using make-up.  We are all beautiful just the way we are…really.

Month 3:  I pledge to speak positively, as best I can, of all girls and women.  I will go OUT OF MY WAY to seek and speak the good that rests within the spirit of others.  I will, when drawn to a negative remark by others, speak a positive in response.

Month 4:  I pledge to be a vigilante about the products I purchase.  I will explore, before purchasing, what advertising strategies are used and make decisions about what I purchase based on whether the advertising tactics used by the company placed women in a positive light or instead portrayed them as less than, broken or not good enough.

Month 5:  I pledge to send one gratitude email or text per day to a girl or woman who has positively influenced me.

Month 6:  I pledge to stop all negative self-talk.  I will NOT bring to voice any commentary that would diminish who I am, how I look or what I bring to the world.

Month 7:  I pledge to greet all I meet with something other than a commentary on their appearance.  Rather than a “Wow, you look great” or “That dress makes you looks so pretty” I’m going to open with something more enriching:  “Wow, you seem so happy.  What’s going on in your life?” or “Tell me something about you I don’t know.”

Month 8:  I pledge to not read, purchase or even glance at the celebrity magazines, websites, and gossip columns.  I will instead spend 30 minutes per day reading a book, either fiction or non-fiction, that feeds my intellectualism and ignites my soul.

Month 9:  I pledge to consciously walk tall.  This means I will be very aware of how I show up!   I will joyfully push my shoulders back, open my heart and walk with strength and dignity.  There is nothing about me that should be contained, withheld from the world, or closed away.  I am beautiful, powerful and strong enough and I am going to, with intention, move into this truth.

Month 10:  I pledge to keep a gratitude list.  I will post a long piece of paper on the fridge or in some prominent place in my home and at the conclusion of every day, write down one thing, person, or trait for which I am grateful.

Month 11:  I pledge to take quiet time for myself every day of the month.  This means I will give myself permission to make space for 30 minutes of downtime.  This could show up as running, meditation, a walk, a long bath, yoga, trip to the gym…whatever will allow me to breath, be present and provide for me the peace of mind and the courage to be the best mom/woman I can be.

Month 12:  I pledge to dance at least once per day. Dancing is, as far as I’m concerned, the union of three of life’s greatest gifts:  acceptance, joy and enthusiasm.  I promise to dance unabashedly and as if no one is watching.

Come on now!  Let’s get this party started.  Who knows?  Maybe this will joyfully incite not a revolution, but a “SHEvolution.”