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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Noah: The Power of Loving More

At his funeral, slain kindergartner Noah Pozner’s courageous Mom Veronique recalled that as she tucked her little boy into bed, she said, “I love you.” And Noah would answer “Not as much as I love you.” How can someone speak about such unspeakable loss? Veronique did it at the hardest possible moment– to keep Noah’s spirit alive. Sharing stories of those we have lost is a step toward healing our broken hearts. I do that with my memories of Mom.  Like Noah and his Mom, we had our own language. We would be talking and one of us would say “More” and then the other would say, “more” again and again, riding over each other. It meant “I love YOU more.” May we never, ever forget what we have lost.

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What’s in your God Box?

 

Last night in Lake Forest, I was so grateful to perform The God Box on behalf of the BCureful Foundation. Photos coming of the beautiful, packed house who came to the show filled with love for the host and mom in charge Julie Scroggins of Waukegan, Illinois. With her trusty genius artistic friend Teddi, look at the God Box centerpieces she created with antique boxes, each holding one of my Mom’s little messages. Pure joy! What do you place in your God Box?

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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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Letters to The God Box: Heaven Sent

I received these wonderful words from Britta Jicks whose memories of her Mom and whose approach to the God Box might just make your day. Made mine!

Dear Mary Lou,

My Mom was a kindred spirit much like yours and my best friend. I was so upset on Saturday. It was the first time her birthday came since her passing on March 3, 2012. I was there to do the hospice for her at her home along with my siblings. Anyway a wave of depression settled on me, and I needed an answer. I found it in the God Box on Sunday with your app suggestion.

I am carved of the same cloth as your Mom… I attract people and listen but I always prayed and then didn’t let go. That has been me since college, eventually leading me to a break down at age 21. I had been listening and worrying for all my sorority sisters, they felt better but I held the weight of all on my shoulders. My Mom knew, because I have had this my whole life…

When my Mom was diagnosed with AML, I quit telling her all the problems/prayers I started talking to Jesus/God. Before I had told Mom and after I’d share or she would share we would pray and she was my prayer release. We would, and when we came up with a plan/prayer, we’d say,”The rat is on the wheel” and then laugh. I have found cards, notes, stories etc from my Mom too. Thank you for sharing your Mom and helping me find a way to let go and let God. The notebooks and journals…I never felt that I had let go. I do in this way, I love it and it was so great to have this blessing from your Mom. Thanks Mary Lou.

Your sister in Christ,

Britta Jicks

God Bless

PS I told my Bible study group about the God Box.. They are very excited about it too. My husband is writing his prayers and putting them in there too. There is something about the act of putting your prayers into the box that frees you. My husband cracked me up, he said, “Oh I like that!” Then later, after I put his prayer in the box, he said “Well, what I really want to see is just how you plan on mailing that box to God?” I said, “Oh silly, it’s God! He already has it, it’s as good as mailed.”

 

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A Skype book party and a question to ponder

 

Last night I joined in a book discussion with the wonderful women of the Berwyn Presbyterian Church in Berwyn Heights, Maryland, just outside Washington DC…without even leaving NYC.  Denise Troeschel had written and asked if I could speak with them about “The God Box” so we set up a Sunday night Skype call.

Denise (who was born exactly three days before me and whose mother had the exact same handwriting as mine!) was a terrific host. She even made a God Box out of a cigar box, big enough to hold lots of prayers.

I loved hearing examples of other mothers and families and the way they loved and what they missed and remembered. Here’s one question they asked that stopped me in my tracks: “Since your Mom is gone, if you could ask her one more thing, what would it be? “

I am still thinking about that. Curious, how would you answer that question?

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Letters to The God Box: Rediscovering the comfort of letting go

Here is another letter I received about how Mom’s story inspired someone to start her God Box again. Sometimes it’s hard to accept what life brings us and easier to abandon hope, but there is a comfort that comes from having help along the way to get us through. I find that the more I ask, the more often I feel that I can power through anything with courage.

 

“Dear Mary Lou Quinlan,

I’m not sure how I discovered your book but it seemed it was from another
email I had subscribed to and was curious as to what your book was about.

You see days earlier I had been so hurt by some life events that I refused
to believe there was such a thing as God and also got rid of my God Box
as a result and threw it in the trash. I didn’t see the purpose anymore and
also with dealing with ongoing health challenges.

When I clicked on your link and read the first chapter…it was as though
something was whispering me to believe again…I was very inspired by
your mother’s love for so many and her faith for simple requests to larger ones
and what a gift she left behind. I believe with you sharing her story you are
not only keeping her love alive but you are also helping to rebuild other’s lives,
faith, and love in their own lives.

I made one God Box, have another, am going work on one later in the week
and follow by your mom’s example. I hope to get the book soon.

I am also grateful that you have a blog where you are sharing how so many
people are being inspired by The God Box and the depth of richness it has
brought to them.

Thank you so much!

Sincerely,
Lisa”

 

I would love to hear your story too, please write to hello@thegodboxproject.com or comment here! 

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Letters to the God Box: The gift of giving and letting go

This letter from Janice meant so much to me. I’m so grateful when Mom’s story touches others..

 

“Hello!

My mother died one week ago and my coping mechanism has always been reading.  Since  she was 85 years old with some young grandchildren whose parents were concerned about how much to allow them to be involved, I went to the bookstore. In addition to buying many children’s books, I found The God Box.  I read it overnight and finished it in church the next day.  What a treasure!   I have since purchased 6 copies as gifts to siblings and many friends.  Wish I had known of this book years ago.

There are only 2 entries in my God Box since this week, but I have to say, I do feel some relief.  There is incredible sadness over my mother’s very peaceful, quick death, but I just think that the lessons will help in all aspects of my life. Your book was a gift to me and I thank you for that.

Most sincerely,
Janice Malavarca”

 

If you have a story to share please write to me at hello@theGodBoxproject.com or please post comments here! 

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Letters to the God Box: How The God Box Helped Through Trials

I love receiving letters like these, it makes me so grateful when Mom’s story touches others..

 

“Dear Mary Lou,

I picked up the God Box book as a gift for my son’s phenomenal third grade teacher,  Joan, who has been teaching for over 30 years.  Her mom is 91 and she has been very ill this past year.  Her mom – Anne, says a rosary each day and has been doing so since the age of 20.  I have a special fondness for the Blessed Mother and was so touched to hear this.  I believe Anne is still alive.  I thought your book may help Joan through her mom’s transition to heaven, whenever that may be.  It may be a while as I recall a day toward the end of the school year when I asked Joan about her mom just after they shared a discussion about possibly moving her mom to a facility where she could receive constant care.  Anne’s response to her daughter was along the lines of although she seemed to be ready for heaven, God still had special plans for her.  I am hopeful that Joan has read your book over the summer and that it brings her some comfort.

I have since bought several more copies to share with friends who are going through difficult times now.

It has also brought incredible comfort to me.  After I finished your book, our family was struck with many challenging situations.  I truly believe that it was God’s plan that I read your book as a way to let me know that although there would be some dark days ahead, God had better plans for me than I could imagine.

My mom was recently hospitalized for three weeks due to OCD, anxiety and depression.  Although a woman of great faith she has struggled for years.  She has tremendous difficulty letting go and letting God truly guide her.  She was just released a week ago and has still had some challenges.  I am encouraged that she will slowly recover and be able to be more faith filled.  I think your book will be a blessing for her.  After reading your book, I sometimes wished that I had a mom as strong as your mom to guide me as many times I have felt like a mother to my mom.  But I now understand that God has different plans for us and we need to let go and follow them.  Thank you for helping me to better understand this.

Two weeks ago today, my husband was laid off.  He did not see this coming as he had just booked a trip to Disney World for our family around Christmas.  He was shattered.  I however had great peace.  I knew the stress of his job was killing him physically and emotionally.  I even asked during the weeks prior what I should do about his mom should he die.  I wasn’t sure I could handle the grief of losing him while raising our two sons without him and take care of his ailing mother.  I truly believe that your book somehow inspired me to look at things differently.  I did not fall apart when he told me he lost his job, I actually felt blessed.  So many miracles have happened since then, that I am certain that this is God’s plan.

I see that you will be at St. Joseph’s University in the coming weeks.  I hope to meet you then if possible to thank you personally for touching me in such a special way.

Thank you so much for reading my story and I hope to meet you in person.

Gratefully,

Bernadette”

If you have a story to share please write to me at hello@theGodBoxproject.com or please post comments 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
View All
  • "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 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
  • "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"
  • "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"
  • "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 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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