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The God Box: Sharing My Mother's Gift of Faith, Love and Letting Go Hardcover – April 17, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


''The God Box is such a beautiful story of love, faith and family. It reads, from beginning to end, like an intimate and familiar prayer.'' -Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

''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.'' -Reba, musician, author, and actress

''In the little slips of paper that carry this sweet story forward, all of us can see the love in our own families, the yearnings in our own dreams, and the great possibilities of simple faith.'' -Jeffrey Zaslow, coauthor of The Last Lecture

''A beautiful and profoundly human book. The God Box tells the story of an unbreakable bond between a mother and daughter, and about the lifelong lessons our parents bless us with. It is a book I will keep in my heart for a long, long time.'' -Laura Schroff, coauthor of An Invisible Thread

''Mary Lou Quinlan's tender conversion from an inconsolable daughter to one who takes 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

''The God Box is a book that you will want to keep by your own bed with your own new God Box. 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, author and executive editor and former anchor of The PBS NewsHour

''For anyone trying to move past life's difficulties, 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

Quinlan's mother was a woman of strong faith who wrote notes to God during the last 20 years of her life, dating and signing many with ''Love, Mary.'' Although her family was aware of these notes, when they discovered ten containers of them after her death, they were astonished at the revelations, hopes, and memories contained therein. An inspirational speaker, Quinlan reminisces about her beloved mother and details the pleas, prayers, and thanks she presented to God on napkins, scraps of newspaper, coasters, and business cards. The supplications span a wealth of emotions and quotidian concerns--from asking that Oprah might pay attention to her daughter's writing (it worked), to begging God to ''Please take care of poor, sick, gentle Mandy,'' the family dog. Interspersed with Quinlan s narrative are color photos of Mary's notes, which the author maintains helped her to understand the ''breadth of her empathy,'' explaining that her mother ''inhaled a worry'' and ''exhaled a prayer.'' Though sometimes overly sentimental, the book is saturated with Quinlan's mother's charming personality--Mary would even caution family members that ''if you think you can handle it better than God, [the note]'s coming out.'' Even for readers not inclined to bow their heads and pray, Mary's God boxes speak to the power of faith, hope, and family. --Publisher's Weekly

''Mary Lou Quinlan's tender conversion from an inconsolable daughter to one who takes 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

About the Author

Mary Lou Quinlan is an inspirational speaker, author of three books and an expert on how women think and buy. She is the founder of Mary Lou Quinlan & Co and Just Ask a Woman and appears frequently in national media. Her proudest achievement is her A+ in daughter, and she hopes her mother would be especially pleased with this book.

Mary Lou and her husband, Joe, live in New York City and Bucks County, Pennsylvania, along with their dog, Rocky.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press; 1St Edition edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608323609
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608323609
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #790,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Mary Lou Quinlan is an author, actor and advocate for women. She has written inspirational features for Real Simple, O, the Oprah Magazine, and MORE magazine and is the author of the books Just Ask a Woman, Time Off for Good Behavior, and What She's Not Telling You.

Mary Lou's latest venture is The God Box Project, led by her keepsake memoir of her mother, The God Box: Sharing my Mother's Gift of Faith, Love and Letting Go (Worthy Publishing, October 2012.) She also co-wrote The God Box, A Daughter's Story, a solo show she has performed around the US and is taking to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014. The God Box Project also includes a free mobile app on iTunes, a series of short films and a vibrant online community, all built around Mary Lou's remarkable discovery of her mother's unique ritual for resolving her most heartfelt wishes and worries.

She is the founder of marketing and production agency Just Ask a Woman. She has keynoted hundreds of conferences around the world; has appeared on The CBS Early Show, Good Morning America, and the Today show; and has been profiled in The New York Times, the Wall St. Journal, and USA Today, among many other media outlets. She holds honorary doctorates from five US universities.

Mary Lou is Jesuit-educated with an MBA from Fordham University and an honorary doctorate in communications from her alma mater, Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, where she earned a BA in English. She and her husband, Joe Quinlan, live in New York City and Bucks County, Pennsylvania, along with their dog, Rocky.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Ana on April 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for a way to turn your worries into acts of love, read "The God Box." After reading this beautiful and heart-warming book (I read it from cover to cover in one sitting; I couldn't put it down!), I started my own God Box in an old shoe box. I just started writing--and asked myself, "What do I hope for?" and "What can I let go of?" Worries, fears, hopes, and dreams for friends, family, and myself started pouring out. Afterwards, I felt a huge sense of relief, as if a burden was lifted--as if everything I was holding inside had been released, and I could stop worrying because I had passed along my cares, because I had mindfully remembered the people I loved through ritual. I felt as if I were releasing my concerns to the universe, somehow. I realized that my life will be more positive, more energetic, more loving, more mindful, and more joyful if I let go of my worries like Mary Lou's mother did.

"The God Box" taught me how to release, to remember, to not be afraid of loss, and ultimately, as the book indicates, to find love by letting go.

It's a fabulous book for women of all walks of life: women like myself (in my 30's) who can use some help thinking about how best to go forward, those a bit older, like my mother (in her 60's), who struggled with losing my grandmother, and all ages in between, but, really, the book is wonderful for everyone because it teaches you how we can change each others' lives and matter to strangers in important ways. I can think of at least four or five women in my life who would love (and need) this book. A true inspiration and a joy to read!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Miss Mols on April 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Many years ago I printed out an email forward entitled "Memo from God" and taped it inside the portfolio I carry around. The note reminds me that God is the boss of my life and that he will be handling all of my problems. It further says that he doesn't need my help and that he will resolve the situations in his time, not mine.

In THE GOD BOX, Mary Lou Quinlan shares with us her Mom, Mary Finlayson's pragmatic way of putting her problems, worries, and wishes into God's hands in a literal way, jotting them down and sticking them in a box, thereby putting the idea of "Let go and let God" into practice in her daily life. Though most of us know that we're supposed to give our troubles over to the Boss, how many of us really remember to do it on a regular basis?

I just loved this true story of a regular Mom who accepts that she can't fix everything, but perseveres in the face of every challenge knowing God is her ally in the game. Her determination teaches her family to focus on all of the wonderful things present in their lives. As Mary Lou writes, it wasn't that the Finlayson's didn't have cloudy days, it was that they didn't dwell on the negative. Mary Lou makes us feel as if we would have all loved her down-to-earth fun loving Mother and life long best friend, Mary. And Oh My! do we get to meet her! The book is filled with pictures of the actual scraps of paper that Mary tucked in her God boxes, and pictures of Mary working, kissing her husband, goofing around in her swimsuit! Quinlan's writing is an easy going personal conversation. You'll feel like like Mary Lou is your sister or your neighbor who called you over for coffee and said, "Look what I've found", and then dumped the God Box out on the table.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Maureen McCafferty on April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book in two sections over a weekend, and loved every minute. It's a wonderful love story between a mother and her daughter--how refreshing is that???

There are many things I look for when I'm reading a story about someone's life--honesty and truth are at the top of the list. When Mary Lou writes about her great love for her Mother--I know it is counter-cultural these days--but she speaks the truth and it is beautiful to witness. The other part I appreciated was Mary Lou's honestly about her own self and her own emotional growth. When she realized she was changing and growing, after her Mother's death, it was poignant and touching.

Upon finishing the book, I decided what many will decide to do as well: I started my own God Box and it sits on the desk in my bedroom. I'm not a worrier but there are always concerns in life so I put the current concern on a little piece of paper and slipped it into my God Box with a short prayer. By taking this small action, I immediately felt better and lighter.

Mary Lou is one of the most talented human beings I have ever met--her Mother would be (is!) proud--she is a marvelous writer and a fine actress as well. I'm looking forward to the live performance of 'The God Box' theatre piece when it returns to New York City. Brava!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Angieleigh on April 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and I wasn't required to give a positive review if I didn't care for the book.

Having just finished The God Box, I want to jump in my truck and drive up to my mother's house to give her a big hug and share with her all of the emotions I felt while reading this memoir.

And to start my own God Box.

Mary Lou's proudest achievement wasn't her career, her marriage, or even being a friend. It was being the best daughter she could possibly be to her parents. Shortly after her mother dies from a stroke, Mary Lou, her brother Jack, and their father search out the oft-talked about God Box that Mary {their beloved mother//wife} Mary had kept prayer slips in. Looking in the most unlikely of places, Mary Lou finds not one, but ten non-descript boxes filled with the every worry and thought for everyone Mary had come in contact with.

The most inspiring thought I take away from this book is to offer up my worries and cares to God and then let them go. He is always listening and He does answer prayers. Though I may continue to struggle on this journey of letting things go, I will work hard to offer up a prayer and then let it go. Whatever happens, happens.

Grab a cup of coffee {or tea}, find a quiet, comfortable spot and settle down with this quick, but inspiring book. Before you know it, you'll be looking for your own box to store slips of prayers in.

Even if you're not religious or believe in something different, Mary Lou urges everyone to write down a care or worry, slip it into the box, and then release it. It's the greatest lesson her mother taught her.
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