Taking my heart to Ireland

This week I am setting out on a great adventure, one that my husband Joe and I have planned for nearly two years. Our goal was to bring my one-woman play “The God Box, A Daughter’s Story” to an extended tour of performances in Ireland and now it’s real. Below are the facts though at the m0ment, I am more consumed by my feelings.Clover-Green-Leafs-Water-River-214x161

October Tour Schedule
10/13 Dunamaise Arts Centre PORTLAOISE
10/14 The Everyman CORK
10/15 Watergate Theatre KILKENNY
10/21 Siamsa Tire, TRALEE
10/22 Lime Tree Theatre LIMERICK
10/27 Hawk’s Well Theatre SLIGO
10/28 ROSCOMMON Arts Centre
10/29 Backstage Theatre LONGFORD
10/30 Pavilion Theatre DUN LAOGHAIRE outside DUBLIN.
All shows begin at 8PM. All tickets available through the theatres at 18 euros/15 concession and all proceeds support Local Hospices through the Irish Hospice Foundation.
So, those are the facts. Here are my feelings. My heart is bursting with expectation, hopes and memories of my mother and father. Joe and I love Ireland so much. We’ve visited over 20 times over the years and I can almost inhale the sweetness and grace of that God’s green gift to us. I cannot help but wonder what my parents would say to the idea that I am sharing our family’s story of love and loss throughout the homeland of both their own mothers. I can only know that I will bring my heart to the stage every night and that the hugs I may give and receive on this beautiful Isle will stretch all the way to heaven. Hands on, Ireland! Joe will be with  me and Martha too and of course, Mary! Here we come!

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Now, what?

Do you ever feel that, just as you have accomplished something, people ask, “Now, what?” Happens to me all the time. “What’s your next book?” “Now what are you doing?” My first instinct is to want to fill in their blank with more goals. As I say in my one woman play, “pen, paper, check, check, check, that’s me!” And if I don’t have an ambitious answer, I feel that I am letting someone down.  I do have some terrific plans in the works for the fall God Box tour.

But sometimes, especially as this long-awaited summer finally arrives, it’s okay to be grateful for “now.” My friend, director and co-writer Martha Wollner always tells me to “pay yourself on the back.” Martha literally makes me stop and put my hand over my shoulder and give a good pat. I laugh but it’s true that too many of us don’t stop to acknowledge what’s good. Instead, we look in the mirror and wonder why we haven’t done more. It’s great to set high goals but it’s also important to take a breath.

I am so proud that The God Box Project has raised more than $150,000 for cancer, hospice, women and family causes and education. We have helped thousands of people find peace and hope even in loss. And we have made so many new and wonderful friends along the way. Let’s celebrate the ‘now’ and let the ‘next’ come in good time.

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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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From Page to Stage

I guess it’s kind of unusual for a writer to decide to turn her book into a play…at the same time she writes it. But I did. There was just so much more MOM to share!  If you’re curious why I felt I needed to tell  Mom’s story onstage, watch this little film that tells the tale…with love. My dream is now a reality. On February 16 and 17th, I will be performing “The God Box, A Daughter’s Story” off-off Broadway in NYC and would love to see you there. Write to GodBoxtickets@gmail.com to reserve tickets in NYC!

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A Bouquet for Mom

When I turned 21, I gave my mother a bouquet of 21 daisies, each marking a happy and grateful year since she gave birth to me…I figured October 22 was kind of her birth-day, too. Daisies reminded me of the simple childlike love that I felt for her from day one. When Mom wrote her own memoir called “Mary’s Beautiful Memories,” she put daisies on the cover, perhaps as a wink back at me?

This week in Chicago, I will perform “The God Box, A Daughter’s Story”  as a way of taking her gift forward. This photo was shot during last Sunday’s show at Saint Joseph’s University. I hope you will join me at future performances or maybe, if you still have your Mom, you’ll give her a thank you bouquet just because.

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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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Acting the Part

Ever wonder what it’s like to become an actor, not that making powerpoint presentations at work isn’t a thrill? Check out my new blog on Huffington Post and the backstory on Mom, the woman backstage behind me all the way. Click here for the full story.

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MONDAYS WITH MOM: Take a Bow, Mom

My Mom was always encouraging me to go onstage. She wasn’t a stagemother like Mama Rose but she was certainly ready to stand behind whatever talent I could muster. She was the architect of my theatre ambition, signing me up for tap, ballet and jazz lessons (my faves thanks to the costumes and the shoes!),  putting me in the choir (a weak soprano), and sending me to the convent for piano lessons.  I’m a good dancer but just an okay singer but that never stopped me from belting out “Funny Girl” and believing I was just a hair off Barbra. A grade school friend who reached out on facebook told me that once I actually walked up and down the aisles of our classroom, singing to the students. I was a Gleek before there was one.

The piano lessons never worked. My Mom and Dad put the old upright down in our basement so that they could shut the door on me while I practiced. I can remember banging away so badly that even our dog Andy would climb to the top of the steps and scratch the door to be released from musical prison.

But my acting bones grew strong from high school and college plays and then morphed into a career of making new business presentations and speeches–not exactly theater. Mom never gave up though. With every book I wrote, she used to say, “You should get on Oprah!”  “You should have her job!” Yeah, right.

Now, six years after losing my Mom, I am going for it. I’ve been working with a terrific playwright and director named Martha Wollner who’s with the LABYrinth Theater in New York. And I’ve been developing and rehearsing the script of the “The God Box” with her. This blog on today’s  Huffington Post tells the tale.

Hey, Mom. I did it. Thanks for all those years of waiting in the wings. Your turn to take a bow.


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press & praise
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  • "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"
  • "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
  • "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"
  • "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"
  • "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 15, 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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