The little book that just wants to help

Page from bookOver the past two plus years, one of the most delightful things about “The God Box” book is its way of bringing comfort to people it has never even met. The entire God Box Project started that way, when I wrote an article for Real Simple Magazine in November 2010 and I started to hear from readers who were touched by it. Even now, after a performance, someone will approach me with a torn page from that issue because the piece ‘brought  back’ their own mother or because they had started a God Box after reading it. But the true heart of this project is my Mom Mary Finlayson. She’s the one who just wanted to help others and felt that tucking a message into her God Box would bring some measure of joy or hope or relief to family, friends and even strangers who never knew. Someone wrote to me recently, “I’ve read and re-read portions of the book that gave me particular comfort and I will continue to apply hot compresses of Mary Finlayson on my bruised soul, because now I have a model for what unconditional love looks like.  I hope you don’t mind if I adopt your mother as my spiritual guide.  She seems to have plenty of love to go around, and maybe she won’t mind throwing her beneficence over another stray.” So now “The God Box”  is like a mini-Mary, finding its way into other hands and hearts. And in a few days, it will find its way across the ocean. The book has been set free. Will you find it?

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What Makes Mom “Mom”

Sometimes our mother’s quirks are what makes them so memorable. Here is one of my Mom memories. What little odd things does or did your Mom do?

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Touched by an Angel

This weekend, I pay tribute to Sister Alice Edward Strogen, SSJ, longtime chaplain on the oncology ward of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She died over a year and a half ago and though we never met, I can never forget her. And I promised I would bring the show to the aid and comfort of the patient families she so dearly loved. On March 9, 10 and 11, I will be performing “The God Box, A Daughter’s Story” in Philadelphia theaters in her honor. We will dedicate all ticket proceeds to a Tribute Fund in her name to support Spiritual Care services at CHOP. I have only one regret: that she will not be there to see it. But then again…surely she will. It’s a chance to give back a little to a woman who gave her life to love.

Here are details of the shows:  www.giftofchildhood.org/godbox  Tickets available at the door while supplies last.

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Bring The God Box to your Community!

Bring The God Box to your Community!

I am sticking to my promise to spend this summer off the road but planning the next seasons of The God Box show. Each day I speak with amazing charities about how I can help them raise needed dollars for cancer care, hospice, healthcare and education. How about your special cause?

So often I hear, “When are you coming to the southwest?” Or “how come you haven’t been to (fill in the blank)? Here’s my answer: Just Ask! If you are associated with a school, a hospital, a hospice, or a women’s group, please write to me at marylou@thegodboxproject.com  Describe your organization, location, whether you are interested in the full play or a special book reading/speech and I can share details of what it takes. Simply put, you get the audience and we bring the show. Our team works with yours to make an experience that your community will always remember. The ticket revenue goes straight to your charity, with only minimal staging costs deducted (and if you are far from NYC, travel for me and our technical director.) I take no fee.

Check out the play on this site under ‘performance.’ Bring The God Box to your town in Fall ’13 or Spring ’14. (And a hint: If you live in the sunny south/southwest/west coast, talk to this New York girl about a January or February show.) Hope to see you!

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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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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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Letters to The God Box: A hopeful way to honor Mom

What a touching letter I received from Jim…a beautiful way to love and remember your mother at the holidays.
“Mary Lou,
Wanted to let you know that I presented my wife and sisters with  copies of The God Box and their own personal God Boxes that I had made from the dress our Mothers wore to our wedding. Needless to save there were some tears of joy shed around the table. This was our First Annual “Let’s Celebrate Mary Party” as this is the first Christmas without her and her birthday is December 18; she would have been 91. Now you have God Boxes throughout the tristate area. I have attached some pictures so you can see the festivities-they were thrilled to hear you also were a “Cardinal Dougherty” girl!
Merry Christmas From The Curtin Family!”

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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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  • "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"
  • "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"
  • "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
  • "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 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"
  • "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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