MONDAYS WITH MOM:The Sparkle in my Step

Do you believe that things happen for a reason? I do. Yesterday I started the day in overdrive. The book is one week from its official launch date and my head was spinning with undone “to do’s.” Did I finish revisions to my play script in time for my mid-day rehearsal? Did I remember to send advance books to friends? Did I write my Monday post for No, no and no.

And the big question, did I have a pair of sparkly shoes that would save me from hemming my new dress that I planned to wear to the kickoff at the Coaches Vs Cancer Gala in Philadelphia this coming Saturday? No time. Shoe store closed till 10am. How to fill the precious seconds?

Every Monday, Union Square Park, right near our apartment, becomes a wonderful farmers’ market—flowers, fruits, vegetables. With the book in full bloom, I hadn’t visited it for a while, so I thought I’d walk around and sniff the goodness till DSW opened. That’s when I met Etta.

I had stopped at the wheatgrass stand. I don’t have a cat. I can’t believe people drink the stuff. I buy it as ‘grass decoration.’ (Don’t laugh, it’s only $3 a patch.) But this lovely older woman chatting with the wheatgrass guy, and she looked at me and said, “You have beautiful eyes.” Huh? Only my Mom would have said that to me. “Do you have a juicer?” she asked. “No, I don’t drink this,” I said. She was appalled when I said that I only bought it for its looks. “Give her a shot,” she said to the vendor. “This is Stewart, I am Etta.” And she handed me a plastic shot cup of green liquid. “This tastes like grass,” was the best I could offer. “Gets rid of toxins, swirl it around and it’s good for your gums, good energy!” she grinned.

Etta and I left together, talking and laughing. A new friend. She kept turning to smile and wave as she walked off. Me, too. And I walked back to the shoe store and bought these even though I was already happily walking a foot off the ground. Was it Etta? The wheatgrass chaser? Or…Mom?

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DAY OF REST: On the road today with Joe and Rocky

Here is my backseat companion, Rocky. We are on our way to pick up Joe’s Mom and Dad in Levittown to go to Easter Mass and brunch and then heading up the NJ Turnpike to NYC to celebrate in New York with Joe’s sister Ginny, brother-in-law Tony and their children and grandkids (all our nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews.) Easter peeps, here we come!

And in between, Rocky and I are studying my lines for upcoming performances of The God Box, my one woman, one act play. Well, I’m studying. Rocky is, well…resting!

What are your plans today? Enjoy in every way!

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FUN FRIDAY: The Story behind “Hands On”

This week I am sending friends my first copies of “The God Box” and more often than not, I sign them, “Hands on, Mary Lou.” I guess that seems odd, compared to the typical “Enjoy!” or “Warm regards” but it means more to me. Because every time I sign a book, I think about Mom, the woman I will always love best.

Here’s an excerpt from the book that explains the story behind the phrase.

“For years, Mom and I shared a code for our closeness: “Hands on.” We ended every nightly phone call by pressing our palms to our receivers and saying “Hands on,” which meant that we were always together, even when living apart. She had retired to Florida with Dad twenty years before her death, and whenever I left her at the airport, I would drop my luggage on the curb and press my hand to her car window. She would place her palm on the inside glass, her fingers lined up against mine, and we’d both mouth the words, “Hands on.”

I whispered it to her that last sad night we had together.”

I just can’t say it (or sign it!) enough. Hands on, my friends.


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FROM @PINTEREST: Mom shining in her garden

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like Mom’ s light and spirit are shining in her garden in the morning. Peace!

I added the photo of Mom’s garden to my  on @Pinterest here. Join me there.

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DAY OF REST: God Bless Reba!

Put your cowboy boots up on the coffee table, wear a little sequined something and tune in to CBS tonight at 8PM EST to the 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. The event is dubbed Country Music’s Party of the Year and it will be hosted by country music legend Reba McEntire who is part of the God Box project.

She kindly shared these words about The God Box:

“Mary Lou Quinlan’s mother left a wonderful legacy when she wrote such heartfelt prayers and wishes for the people in her life. It is an incredibly moving and hopeful ritual that we should all consider adding into our daily lives.”

Signed copies of the book will be given to all the celebrities appearing in the telecast. Just think, Taylor Swift or Kenny Chesney could be reading the God Box this week or giving it as a gift for Mother’s Day. How cool is that?

And to Reba, star of the night and favorite singer, actress, musician for millions, thank you. You are a dream come true! Enjoy, everyone!

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sample chapter
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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.

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Ask how Mary Lou can support your local cause with the book and play.
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press & praise
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  • "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."
  • "A beautiful story of love, faith and family. It reads like an intimate, familiar prayer."
  • "Mary Lou Quinlan shares her mother’s handmade and heartfelt gift of how to persist, believe and move forward with joy."
  • "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."
  • "A wonderful legacy…Keeping a God Box is an incredibly moving and hopeful ritual that we should all consider adding into our daily lives."
  • "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."
  • "What a beautiful and profoundly human book....I will keep The God Box in my heart for a long, long time."

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

April 11, 2021
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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