He doesn't even look at her because there is too much there, and he's afraid. She is his first child, his favorite, every mistake he ever made.

The substance of grief is not imaginary. It's as real as rope or the absence of air, and like both those things it can kill.

Sometimes that happens. Children can be your heartache. But that doesn't matter, you have to go on and have them, she said. It works out.

I felt the breath of God go cold against my skin.

In my opinion, mountains don't move. They only look changed when you look down on them from a greaty height.

The standard approach has been to pump up the dosage of chemicals ... Twenty percent of these approved-for-use pesticides are listed by the EPA as carcinogenic in humans.

Emelina set a cup of tea in front of me. I picked it up and let the steam touch my eyelids, realizing that what I needed most at that moment was to lie in bed with someone who was fond of every inch of my skin.

Nothing momentous comes in this world unless it comes on the shoulders of kindness.

She has changed in this way that motherhood changes you, so that you forget you ever had time for small things like despising the color pink.

There can be no greater spiritual accomplishment than to come through brutal trials and then look back and see that mean times did not render us mean spirits.

I've always seen the world through the eyes of a scientist. I love the predictable outcomes that science gives us, the control over the world that that can render.

Lou Ann's life was ruled by the fear of salmonella, to the extent that she claimed the only safe way to eat potato salad was to stick your head in the refrigerator and eat it in there.

A novel! Why do you say this won't liberate anyone? Where does any man go to be free, whether he is poor or rich or even in prison? To Dostoyevsky! To Gogol!

Being a peacock is not the only way to hide yourself, Frida. A pigeon can hide.

Her body moved with the frankness that comes from solitary habits. But solitude is only a human presumption. Every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot; every choice is a world made new for the chosen. All secrets are witnessed.

My life is a pitiful, mechanical thing without a past, like a little wind-up car, ready to run in any direction someone points me.

Fiction and essays can create empathy for the theoretical stranger.

Bitter words normally evaporate with the moisture of breath, after a quarrel. In order to become permanent, they require transcribers, reporters, complicit black hearts.

Penitence is more attainable than permission.

I wish I could go visit them and talk in my own language, the English I knew before I grew thorns on my tongue.

They all attended Hester's church, which Dellarobia viewed as a complicated pyramid scheme of moral debt and credit resting ultimately on the shoulders of the Lord, but rife with middle managers.

Pay attention to your dreams; when you go on a trip, in your dreams you will still be home. Then after you've come home you'll dream of where you were. It's a kind of jet lag of the consciousness.

Damned thing, self-consciousness, like a pitiful stray dog tagging you down the road—so hard to shake off. So easy to get back.

It's surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.

It's what you do that makes your soul, not the other way around.

I wonder that religion can live or die on the strength of a faint, stirring breeze. The scent trail shifts, causing the predator to miss the pounce. One god draws in the breath of life and rises; another god expires.

I did it to win love, and to prove myself capable. Not to move mountains. In my opinions, mountains don't move. They only look changed when you look down on them from great height.

What you lose in blindness is the space around you, the place where you are, and without that you might not exist. You could be nowhere at all.

There are some who'd hardly lift a finger for kindness, but they would haul up a load of rock to dump on some soul they think's been too lucky.

There is no point in treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad...Sadness is more or less like a head cold -- with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.

Your own family resemblances are a frustrating code, most easily read by those who know you least.

I hold on to my adopted shore, chanting private vows: wherever I am, let me never forget to distinguish want from need. Let me be a good animal today. Let me dance in the waves of my private tide, the habits of survival and love.

No, you shouldn't have come here. But you are here, so yes, you should be here. There are more words in the world then yes and no.

If a friend had a coronary scare and finally started exercising three days a week, who would hound him about the other four days? It's the worst of bad manners—and self-protection, I think, in a nervously cynical society—to ridicule the small gesture.

Think of all the duties that were perfectly obvious to Paul or Matthew in that old Arabian desert that are pure nonsense to us now. All that foot washing, for example. Was it really for God's glory or just to keep the sand out of the house?

Sadness is more or less like a head cold—with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.

Over the last decade our country has lost an average of 300 farms a week. Large or small, each of those was the lifes work of a real person or family, people who built their lives around a promise and watched it break.

He had a white beard and twinkly blue eyes, and all in all gave the impression of what Santa Claus would look like if he'd converted to Christian and gone without a good meal sine last Christmas.

In the day-to-day, farm work is stress relief for me. At the end of the day, I love having this other career - my anti-job - that keeps me in shape and gives me control over a vegetal domain.

Honk if you love Jesus, text while driving if you want to meet up.

Your dreams, what you hope for and all that, it's not separate from your life. It grows right up out of it.

Pushing a refrigerated green vegetable from one end of the earth to another is, let's face it, a bizarre use of fuel. But there's a simpler reason to pass up off-season asparagus: it's inferior.

If I'd known what marriage was going to be like, well, heck, I probably would have tied all those hope-chest linens into a rope and hung myself from a tree!

The loudest sound on earth, she thought, is a man with nothing to do.

If chained is where you have been, your arms will always bear marks of the shackles. What you have to lose is your story, your own slant. You'll look at the scars on your arms and see more ugliness, or you'll take great care to look away from them and see nothing. Either way, you have no words for the story of where you came from.

I'm always looking at the dialectic between the truth we believe exists outside ourselves and the truth we invent for ourselves.

I never think that anything I'm writing is bluntly political in any way. I'm not going for commentary.

The 2-week delay of her letters had caused me to keep a distrustful eye on Hallie, like a star so many light years away it could have exploded long ago while we still watched its false shine.

If you can't live by the laws the LORD God made for the world, they'll go into effect regardless.