MONDAY WITH MOM: Holding On and Letting Go

I just received the very first copy of “The God Box” from the printer. I look happy because I am. But inside, I feel so much more.

I have worked on this story in one way or another since my Mom died in 2006. First, it was just a little family tale I shared, then an article in Real Simple magazine and then beginning January of 2010, a full-fledged commitment to what’s grown to be The God Box Project. The past year and a half have been the most intense, digging back through my memories, back through the little scraps of paper she left behind. I’ve laughed and cried and best of all, reconnected with Mom in the process.

Writing about my family has been one of the most rewarding , difficult and joyful things I’ve ever done. The reward is that I’ve started to dream about my Mom. I was always a vivid dreamer-full color, action, music!- and yet for years after  I lost Mom, she never turned up at night. But while writing this book, she’s front and center on my pillow, showing up in all kinds of happy, funny, beautiful moments, as if she were just part of my life. So, while some friends have commented, “I could never re-live such a sad time in my mother’s life,” it’s actually been rejuvenating for me, like having her back every day.

The difficult part of creating this book is that I want it to be perfect, as she was to me. I want to honor her legacy and tenderness for my brother and his family and for her many friends. Knowing that it’s printed and real, means it’s time to let it go and believe that it is enough. Mom was never about perfection. She was just about love.

And if the God Box helps others learn from her life and perhaps start their own God Boxes….well,  that is the happiest thing of all. Here’s to you, Mom. Hands on.

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{ 2 comments }

Rachel

March 27, 2012

Mary Lou,
You look radiant! And so does that stack of books! I always find it so nerve-wracking to look at a final printed piece I have worked on. A vision made real – and beyond my ability to change – one – more – thing. But real trumps perfect. As the Skin Horse said to the Velveteen Rabbit “Once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.” Here’s to the beautiful, permanent legacy you have created in your mother’s memory. Cheers!

Mary Lou Quinlan

March 27, 2012

Rachel, I love what you wrote. Thank you for the Velveteen Rabbit memory. And more than that, for giving the book it’s beautiful look, as heartfelt as you are! Love and thanks, Mary Lou

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press & praise
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  • "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."
    – GAIL SHEEHY, AUTHOR OF "PASSAGES IN CAREGIVING"
  • "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."
    – JIM LEHRER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF PBS NEWSHOUR
  • "A beautiful story of love, faith and family. It reads like an intimate, familiar prayer."
    – ELIZABETH GILBERT, AUTHOR OF "EAT, PRAY, LOVE"
  • "Mary Lou Quinlan shares her mother’s handmade and heartfelt gift of how to persist, believe and move forward with joy."
    – LEE WOODRUFF, AUTHOR OF "IN AN INSTANT"
  • "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."
    – JEFFREY ZASLOW, COAUTHOR OF "THE LAST LECTURE"
  • "What a beautiful and profoundly human book....I will keep The God Box in my heart for a long, long time."
    – LAURA SCHROFF, AUTHOR OF "THE INVISIBLE THREAD"
  • "A wonderful legacy…Keeping a God Box is an incredibly moving and hopeful ritual that we should all consider adding into our daily lives."
    – REBA, MUSICIAN, AUTHOR, ACTRESS

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

December 14, 2017
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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