Asking for It (or Positive Thinking About Negative Feedback)


Check out my latest blog for the Huffington Post! My new adventure has been taking The God Box on stage, performing in her own one woman, one act play. A a role that requires me to ask audience members and peers for feedback, both positive and negative (well, I prefer the term constructive).

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My mother/daughter memoir is one step closer

Exciting day! Page proofs are in for my upcoming mother/daughter memoir The God Box: Sharing my mother’s gift of faith, love and letting go. Today is my last chance to review the book before it goes to press. Here’s a glimpse…. On one hand, I could keep reviewing it a million times. On the other, this is a way to try  out my mother’s lesson of learning to let go! One step closer to publication which will be April 17, in plenty of time for Mother’s Day gift giving. A hint.

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MONDAYS WITH MOM: What Mom Taught me about Love

Today, February 24th would have been my mom’s 88th birthday if she had lived that long. Of course, if she had lived that long, she’d be pretty upset that I said how old she was. My mother always seemed young. She lived life with optimism and curiosity and genuine delight. She would credit that joy to being married to a man she loved as if she were still his new bride…my Dad, Ray Finlayson. So on her birthday, I’d like to share a blog I wrote this week for which features her tips for a long and happy relationship. Happy birthday, Mom. And Happily Ever After…


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Welcome to a story of the heart

In my family, we have always loved the story of my mom’s God Box, her little container of dozens of notes covered in her familiar scrawl—her personal petitions on our behalf. Mom loved so openly and felt so deeply that she took everyone’s cares into her hands from family to friends and even strangers. Whenever my Dad or my brother Jack or I had a concern or a wish or a worry, Mom would write it down as a letter beginning “Dear God” and she’d simply present what was in her heart. She’d fold the scrap of paper again and again until it was really small and then place it in her God Box. Discovering 20 years of boxes after losing her was like finding her all over again.

I know that I could have kept these notes tucked away, for just our family to sift through on holidays. I could have ‘minded my own business’ as Mom might encourage. But I knew my mother’s mind and heart so well: she always wanted to help others. If by telling her story, I can spread her little ritual for relieving stress and gaining the resolution that only comes from letting go…then I will have taken her gift forward, as a daughter, as a woman, as her best friend.

So, today, I am beginning the journey of the God Box project. I am opening the boxes and my heart and stepping into a world beyond my everyday business life, where words like “God” and “mother” and “daughter” and “love” and “faith” can sometimes feel out of place. But “The God Box” is about living our lives with compassion and hope and admitting that sometimes we all need a place to give over our cares and find release and peace. I hope you will come along.


Mom, here’s to you. Let the story begin.

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sample chapter
Enjoy a free selected chapter from The God Box.

reading group guide
Invite your book club to join this engaging conversation about Mary Lou’s book.

printable mini cards
Share these mini note cards or write notes for your God Box.

mobile app
The God Box app makes it easy to write notes on the go.

giving back
Ask how Mary Lou can support your local cause with the book and play.
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Come meet Mary Lou and experience The God Box: A Daughter's Story at a venue near you.
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press & praise
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  • "What a beautiful and profoundly human book....I will keep The God Box in my heart for a long, long time."
  • "In the slips of paper that carry this sweet story forward, we can see the love in our own families and the great possibilities of simple faith."
  • "The courage and wisdom from the messages left in her mother’s God Box will inspire you to create a God Box of your own."
  • "Mary Lou Quinlan has told the story of her mother in a way that entertains, moves and inspires. The thoughts about life and values will stick with you forever."
  • "Mary Lou Quinlan shares her mother’s handmade and heartfelt gift of how to persist, believe and move forward with joy."
  • "A wonderful legacy…Keeping a God Box is an incredibly moving and hopeful ritual that we should all consider adding into our daily lives."
  • "A beautiful story of love, faith and family. It reads like an intimate, familiar prayer."

The God Box App is shiny new and ready to welcome your cares

November 28, 2023
by Mary Lou Quinlan

Since The God Box book was published in the spring of 2012, so many readers have told me that they started their own God Boxes. I love hearing stories of children creating God Boxes and married couples joining their prayer and cares in a family box. (And my mother would be thrilled!)  A 'real' God box is a constant reminder that we are not in control and that letting go is the first step to finding comfort, hope and relief for life's worries. But did you know that many thousands have gone virtual with their God boxes? To help the many busy ...

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