Saluting a Master of Life

Today, the love of my life, Joe Quinlan receives his Masters degree in Irish and Irish American Studies from NYU. Joe likes to joke that he is the Bluto Blutarski of NYU…his Animal House laugh about his five years in school. But I feel serious today.  Seriously proud. I have watched Joe as he researched and read, studied and wrote. Joe was a sponge for everything Irish. He loved the learning, the faculty, the sessions of music and poetry, politics and thought. Joe found his greatest joy in the stories behind the stories…the family of Eugene O’Neill, the untoldsecrets of the Draft Riots of the Civil War, the unsolved murder of police detective Jerry McCabe. There is always a backstory. After all, it’s Ireland.

So many students hoot when they cross the stage…both victorious and relieved. But I know that Joe will walk straight and tall, enjoying the journey that he is privileged to take, remembering that long, long ago, his great grandmother Cecilia Cox left a tiny stone farmhouse in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh in Ireland…simply a young woman daring to find new hope in America. Who could know that her grandson Tom Quinlan, Joe’s Dad, would someday hold a Masters degree and teach poetry, even still in his 67th year as a teacher? And who would know that Joe would inherit that love of Ireland, pursuing a career in journalism, always learning and now walking across this stage today?

This connection of mother to son to son to son…lives on today. From a little farmhouse to the Lincoln Center stage. Here’s to Joseph Patrick Quinlan, son of Ireland, Class of ’13. I will hoot and holler with pride…to this Master of Life.

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Thinking of Mom, Godspeed Institute Radio Interview

Better late than never! NOW….

If you are thinking of your Mom today, whether she is with you or is in your heart, hope you enjoy this interview airing this afternoon on The Godspeed Institute for spiritual learning radio program on PRN-FM. Host Caer Hallundbaek was a terrific and insightful host!

Listen HERE!

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Thank You St. Mary!

The show for St. Mary Medical Center’s Healing Ministries meant a lot to me because last Christmas, my mother-in-law Ginny Quinlan arrived in their emergency room in very bad shape. We thought we were going to lose her but once in the kind and expert hands of the team there, day by day, they found the source of her pain and here she is five months later holding hands with her husband of 63 years, Tom Quinlan. So, the thank you letter below from the leader of the event Heather Procaccino works both ways:  St. Mary, I love you!

Hi Mary Lou,

I am still basking in the glow of the event.  Everyone was so moved by your presentation and your story.  The event helped us to raise several thousand dollars which will help our Holistic Center provide services to cancer and stroke patients who are in their final stages of life.  I will reach out to  Boni Riether with the good news.  She is the manger of the center and I know she will be so appreciative of your generosity in time, talent, and financial support.  All of which were above anything we could have expected.

I am sure through your book and performance you touch so many people who see themselves and their mothers in your story.  The universal message of love, loss, and grace is certainly conveyed every time you are on the stage.

Thank you again for sharing all of this with us and supporting St. Mary Medical Center. You helped to bring a new group of people into our orbit who we now have the opportunity to continue a conversation with them about our hospital.

I wish you all the best, and if there is anything I can do for you  or your family, please Mary Lou just ask.

Heather

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A Performance to Benefit Hunterdon Hospice

Please join me tomorrow as I perform “The God Box; A Daughter’s Story” at North Hunterdon High School at 7 PM. All proceeds will benefit Hunterdon Hospice. I hope to see you there!

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Open Doors to Hope

This door represents the Cancer Support Community program at the Greenville Health System’s Cancer Institute. Last Tuesday, as you will read in the article HERE, “The God Box” performance raised $10,000 to support a new Mindfulness program to help cancer survivors cope with strength and awareness. What a beautiful door to walk through!

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The God Box in the Greenville News!

The God Box made the news in Greenville, SC! Read the article HERE.

Excited for tonight’s performance at 7 PM at the Warehouse Theater. If you are interested in the show, or know someone who lives in the area that may be, visit HERE for more ticket information.

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Making a big leap after 40?

Writing and performing my mother’s story is a dream come true for me. This piece published today on LearnVest.com shows how it came to be! Read it HERE!

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Every show, Mom and Dad are closer to me

The question I am asked most often is: How do you do this, again and again? Aren’t you emotionally exhausted or just ready to cry?” No. Every show, Mom and Dad are closer to me. And nothing makes me happier. Hope you will check out the events tab on the home page to see when the show is coming to your area! Or write to me at hello@thegodboxproject.comand perhaps I can travel to your town!

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What we do for love!

What we do for love! After I perform the play, the question I am asked most often is: How do you do this, again and again? Aren’t you emotionally exhausted after reliving their deaths?” No. Every show, Mom and Dad are closer to me. And nothing makes me happier. Except helping others. We raised over $3,000 for the Connelly Center, a school for girls under the poverty line in NYC. LOVE!

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“My Mom was just like yours!”

Last weekend I performed “The God Box” play at the Connelly, an Off-Off Broadway theatre in NYC. The overflow audience told me that the story brings back the memories of the “Mary” or “Ray” in their lives, such as “My Mom was just like yours!” A friend said that the show was particularly moving to see on the one year anniversary of losing her Dad. Check out the events tab on the home page to see when the show is coming to your town, HERE.

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sample chapter
Enjoy a free selected chapter from The God Box.
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reading group guide
Invite your book club to join this engaging conversation about Mary Lou’s book.
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printable mini cards
Share these mini note cards or write notes for your God Box.
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mobile app
The God Box app makes it easy to write notes on the go.
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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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  • "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
  • "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"
  • "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"
  • "A beautiful story of love, faith and family. It reads like an intimate, familiar prayer."
    – ELIZABETH GILBERT, AUTHOR OF "EAT, PRAY, LOVE"
  • "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
  • "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"

From the Bottom of my Heart

December 20, 2014
by Mary Lou Quinlan

At our Thanksgiving table, as so many families do, we go around before we eat to acknowledge what each of us is grateful for. I always got teary when I spoke because the memories would flood back one over the other, making it impossible to list all the gifts from those I hold dear. Even the hardest years have moments of light (and bold-faced names!) to remember. This year I would like to thank the thousands of people who came to The God Box Project--whether through the book or the play or the app--particularly those who hosted events so that...

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