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Phyllis Theroux

  • I think this is what hooks one on gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at the Creation.

    • Phyllis Theroux,
    • in Reader's Digest ()
  • It does not matter whether one is at the giving or receiving end of love just as long as one is part of the process in some way. It is only when we become disconnected from the process altogether that we should begin to worry.

  • To envy is to draw circles that isolate us from others, to take small, bitter trips that diminish the traveler.

  • Over the years, this family has had enough pets to make us feel as all-American as the next family. This is not to say that any of the pets have been successful. I have a theory about this. Animals, particularly dogs, pick up whatever human instability is in the air and become its primary 'host carrier.' And since I have always acquired a new pet to calm things down, the various rabbits, gerbils, mice, singing canaries and dogs have absorbed the tension and gone crazy — if they weren't already crazy when they arrived.

  • A party is a slightly artificial event where one learns the rudiments of human behavior at its most admirable: speaking when spoken to, looking somebody in the eye, shaking hands and being friendly under duress.

  • ... there is probably no such thing as an innocent question, at least not when a parent is doing the asking.

  • ... one of my earliest joys as a parent lay in knowing that at the end of the day I had once again ushered three babies back to their beds, against the odds, unscathed and peaceful. Happiness was a houseful of safe, inert bodies. Actually, it still is.

  • We revisit those places where we experienced love, as pilgrims return to holy places, to be reminded, restored, and reaffirmed by them.

    • Phyllis Theroux,
    • "A Bell-Regulated Eden," in Victoria ()
  • If there is any reason to single out artists as being more necessary to our lives than any others, it is because they provide us with light that cannot be extinguished. They go into dark rooms and poke at their souls until the contours of our own are familiar to us.

  • To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.

    • Phyllis Theroux,
    • in Reader's Digest ()
  • Children are born with imaginations in mint condition, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Then life corrects for grandiosity.

  • Looking at a friend who has had a face lift is like reading a book with half the pages ripped out.

  • ... at its best, writing is a deeply spiritual act that can have a profound effect upon the practitioner.

  • If, before any children are conceived, we knew that our reward for raising them would be perhaps several phone calls a month, a very occasional visit, and the sense of having once been important in their lives, we might not do it. But if we realize that the rewards are given during the raising, we will calculate the cost differently. My children have taught me more than I have taught them, given me more joy than I have given them, and their not being present or even much aware of me now does not alter this.

  • Mistakes are the usual bridge between inexperience and wisdom ...

  • [On rudeness:] Falling silent should be cultivated, the way the woods fall silent in the snow. Messages you can't send any other way can be heard.

  • It is consoling to think, if I am not always looking for God, that God is nevertheless looking for me.

  • When a house is used to capacity it is like a heart being exercised well.

  • Solitude keeps me porous and pliable, the way seawater keeps kelp from drying out.

  • I need regular time without anybody else around in order to feel restored.

Phyllis Theroux, U.S. writer


Full name: Phyllis Grissim Theroux.