Thankful for Mary

This morning I walked over to St. Francis Xavier Church to the tiny room upstairs called “The Mary Chapel.” I wanted to attend morning Mass because today, May 29th is the 7th anniversary of my mother’s death. The Mary Chapel lives up to its name. As humble and warm, inviting and hopeful as she was. There are two stained glass windows, each capturing a moment of the Blessed Mother’s life, both donated long ago by the ‘Ladies Sodality.’ I love that.

And the people who come each morning are a mix of what makes our neighborhood beautiful—diverse in age and background, unified in their shared need for peace, even as the growl of NYC construction and traffic pierce in the silence. Inside, we are one, each asking aloud for help—for someone sick, for homeless people, for lost souls. My request was one of thanksgiving for the gift of my Mary.

The priest said that sometimes God speaks to us in subtle ways, little ways. My Mom’s handwritten notes, her helpful sayings, her soothing voice, her ready laughter—that’s what I hear in the subtle quiet of the chapel. And in my heart always. Mom once wrote to me, “You will always be in my God box.” You, too, Mare… you too.

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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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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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Watch my 700 Club Interactive

Wanted to share my interview with Terry Meeuwsen on the 700 Club interactive show. Note to self: back away from the Skype camera! Watch it HERE, The God Box appears a little after the 9 minute mark.

 

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February 24th was my Mother’s birthday

Today February 24th was my Mother’s birthday. I’d tell you her age but I know better. When I would visit her in Florida for her birthday (I never missed a single one), she would say, ‘Don’t tell people how old you are, or else they will know how old I am!”. Mary Boales Finlayson was never old. She never said, “Oh, I’m just an old lady,” or “Well, you know how it is at this age.” She was ageless, always young in her way. Had a Mac way before anyone else. Constant emailer. Always in search of a cool hairstylist. I see her in this picture, sitting on my grandparents’ sofa in Philadelphia and think, “Oh, Mary, did you know how loved you would be…even then?” You were, Mom. You are. You always will be. Happy Birthday from your…29 year old girl.

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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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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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  • "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"
  • "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"
  • "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
  • "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"
  • "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
  • "A beautiful story of love, faith and family. It reads like an intimate, familiar prayer."
    – ELIZABETH GILBERT, AUTHOR OF "EAT, PRAY, LOVE"

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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