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OGSB Mystery, Western and Fantasy books with heart

Living Waters – By D. LaRue Mahlke

The Website, ogsbauthors.com has been undergoing an upgrade for the last several weeks. We will begin a relaunch today, offering book-related blogs and information on this site.  When appropriate either of the authors may post here to offer their thoughts about books and the topics about which we write. We even critique each other.

Books with value and values

OGSB is however about books and writing. While on our hiatus, Robert M. Starr moved his The Mountain Valley Wrangler into #63 in Historical Western fiction.

His other books have also been selling more than usual. To make things even rosier, he has some new chapters almost ready for a new Western.  It does not yet have a release date. That is a good reason to sign up on his page now. Take a look at Robert’s page listed on the menu. He’s just the kind of guy you think a Western Novelist would be.

Writers with a Christian perspective

Spencer A. Allen’s book is available on Amazon at this writing and we will begin promotional work on it along with the relaunch maybe some freebie items. Give us your email and we will let you know in a few days.

 

D. Larue  Mahlke has just added several new works and has some new photos of available art. Her use of color and light always just stuns the people who first see it. The Utah Sky hanging over my dining table is a favorite of mine. That is another of hers at the top of the blog.

With the relaunch is a guest author, Michael Wigington. Michael is a gamer, a Comicon guy, and a well-recognized recycling and upcycling expert. His books exist in a world of his own invention and frankly sometimes scare the pants off of me. If what you are looking for is an adventure, we-have-a-guy. Some of you are going to want to chat with him, so if sword-swinging fantasy is your thing, go sign up to follow him on the Guest Author page. We will make sure he gets it immediately.

We promise not to be spammy. The OGSB site does not do sales or advertising of other products on the site. We are not an Amazon affiliate but next to every book cover photo, there is a link to the site where you can purchase it. That is the hardest sales pitch we have. Usually, the site where you will be sent is Amazon. Things change, especially with Guest Authors.

Thank you for your patience and attention.

The OGSB Gang

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Western Adventure with heart from Robert M. Starr

An epic Western Gunfighter novel for Christian readers

OGSBAuthors’ Robert M. Starr published his fourth book, The Mountain Valley Wrangler, a western saga in the style of Louis L’Amour, on February 2, 2020, and this one promises to be a page-turner too.  Starr won writing awards for two previous books. More story details are available when you sign up to the OGSB Authors website sidebar; those signing up an email address and the note WRANGLER in the message block will soon be notified when the details are finalized for a week-long free eBook promotion.  For those of you who can’t wait or who prefer to hold a book in your hands, The Mountain Valley Wrangler is available in paperback or for Kindle readers from Amazon.

Young adults are hero and heroine in Wrangler

“I’ve always loved westerns.  I grew up watching western movies and reading western novels.  And I lived the life of a cowboy on a Nebraska ranch.  My first writing award was for a western novel.  Before I wrote The Mountain Valley Wrangler, I walked the ground that my characters walked and the trails they rode into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  I camped beside the lakes where they camped.  I spoke to the children and grandchildren of the early settlers of the Wet Mountain Valley to learn their history.  I “haunted” the files of the Wet Mountain Tribune, and I spent considerable time in the Denver Public Library.  Then I wrote the story of Will Bartlett and his family.  I hope you enjoy it.” Robert M. Starr

Edmiston, the moderator, and Robert Starr are the principal authors on the OGSB Authors website and blog. We have four authors listed and at least three more new books out soon. As the press release mentions above, if you go to our contact page and give us your email, we will notify you of anything new, free eBooks, and we will soon have a contest with real prizes when you sign up.

We also have a great addition coming to OGSB, a fine artist who travels the States and elsewhere painting beautiful landscapes. This is an award winning artist whose work is exhibited in galleries and whose art is highly sought after by a distinguished set of buyers. We will also let you know when her page on this site is completely finished. WDE

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High School

Senior year. A final year of learning supposed to get us ready to enter life as an employable person, able to cope with others and make some contribution to society. Or something like that.
Have you ever noticed in this over psychoanalyzed society how often those four years of high school enter into our adult lives. For instance, movies include all kinds of high school events that spill over into adult behavior and cause by all sorts of bad things. Serial killers; dissed as kids for their disabilities, their weakness or poverty become murderous. Shy teens decide that attempting to better themselves is impossible because they are of the wrong “caste.” Carrie, of course is one of the more calamitous. In how many Criminal Minds and SVU episodes have the high school victims becoming the adult bullies. Former high school heartthrobs are dead at the hands of this person who has become a predator?
Even Hallmark Romances are heavily sprinkled with stories of high school sweethearts who are reunited. They are popular. They feed upon the regret of an audience who all wish some lost love would have worked out.
But twenty years later, many of us are still reacting to today’s events based on what happened to us in High School. We still see ourselves as outside the “cool kids” group. We are afraid to talk to a co-worker because he or she is too pretty. Worst, we refuse to talk to co-workers because we think we are too pretty. Alternatively, we live on those high school memories of long-ago football or Class Favorite successes without every accomplishing much more. High School is a place to make mistakes. It’s not a launching ground that defines who we will be in the future. It’s just supposed to educate us at the lowest level. We should never stop learning and we don’t need school to do it. We never finish learning, and that is the successful way to approach life. We must not have college to succeed, but we must keep learning. Never before has this been easier. Learn something today, it will do you good.

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Welcome to My Blog Page

Hello, and I hope you enjoy a wide range of discussion topics. If it is social, religious, political or just nutty, you may find it here. We are anxious to hear your feedback and hope you will subscribe to the site as well. When really great opportunities come up or we would like specific input from you, we might send you a short note. Sincerely, OGSB Partners. Please follow my blog using the last entry at the bottom of the blog roll.

The Flipside of Kindness is a compassionate kick in the pants

Why should anyone care about what you do? It is a kindness to leave you alone. Your parents can be unkind – “When are you getting married? Your neighbor can be unkind, “You really ought to fertilize that place, maybe sow some rye grass this fall.” Your friends can be unkind in so many ways. “Man, what’s the use of reading all those books? Nobody’s going to let you . . . and whatever you are studying for, they will tell you it can’t be done.” At the same time, they think they are just helping you see the truth about life. All these things are stock storylines in various television and movie scripts. But they illustrate the point that being nosy is not being kind. Marching in the street because someone told you there is inequality and unfairness will not help you either. The world is full of people who will tell you to do what they do, but what they offer is criticism, not kindness.

Let me try.

The person who should be the most kind to you is you. The sooner you realize that the sooner you can move forward.

There is only one way for you to get ahead, especially if you are from a poor family or even middle-class,  work for it. It will take time, but work hard and keep your mouth shut.  Everyone, even the richest, has problems. Whining about yours contributes nothing. Getting even with the rich, or someone of another race, or with two heads, or whatever inequality, is foolish.

Saying that is a kindness. People who are nice to you, who smile, act very politely, and wish you well are not necessarily kind people. They are nice people, for the most part, and are not paying any attention to you, nor do they care about you unless you are right in front of them. Being nice will get them what they want but being nice is not being kind. Maybe because you are kind, you will carry their groceries or something like that. Nice is a temporary thing. They might even tip you, the deal is done. They were nice, you did something for them, they bought you off. But they are not kind. Kindness comes from that spiritual part of the human being. It is part of who we are, who we make of ourselves, and what creed we follow. Kindness instinctively points us toward other people. Kind people want to be generous with others and being rewarded, thanked or praised is of no account. We love people whether they love us or not. Besides, there is nothing other than people that will as effectively interact. If you are holding out for intelligent life from another galaxy, stop.

On the other hand, kindness is unlike niceness because sometimes it is like a kick in the seat of the pants. If someone who knows, shows you that you do not know, that is a kindness. It will do nothing for your ego. But, often that kind of kindness sets you on an adventure to find out just how little you know. The adventure is learning to know. To push yourself toward truth is to be kind, and the push may be a hard shove. Being nice about what you do not know will not accomplish that.

Taking opportunities to be kind, displays love and affection. It is a heavenly power that helps others see that love conquers. Love is not weak, it is strong. Kindness may simply be to provide well for your family, love them, and be in the position to help others. What good have you done if you join others in solidarity and togetherness to tear down the lives of people you dislike. Do you hurt others because you feel weak?  Joining others to protest, carry snarky sounding posters, call people names or riot and harm; what sort of kindness is that? What kind of strength is that? It is not the strength of character, it is the strength of coyotes, a troop of monkeys, a cowardly hooded midnight cross burning. It is unkind.

Young people will decry their nation’s wars on foreign soil, but wage war at home against people who live in their neighborhood. Those are two contradictory ideas. Neither works well.

There are some truths that are self-evident. One of them is that harming other people, no matter how righteous your cause is not the way to win anything. Winning a war makes it necessary to win the peace. Look back at what winning World War II meant for America. We had to rebuild, along with our allies, all of Europe, and Japan. Who will rebuild, Milwaukee, Portland, Seattle, and New York?  How will the protestor repair the damage they have done to their neighborhood? Their neighbors have no reason to return anything but fear, hatred, disdain, and the desire to make those who caused their loss pay for it.

You on the other hand have the ability and the courage to be kind. Leave the crowd to their own mania. Make a life plan and execute it well. Become educated, be a thinking individual, you do not need a movement to make your life count. Be smart, be courageous, learn to love yourself. To make your life strong, meaningful, be kind.

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Thursday Thoughts on Thinking

Marsh Moonlight 1700 By D. LaRue Mahlke – see more on the Arts and Media Page

Avoid the words “I think . . .” when expressing what you know to be true. Those two words are heard everywhere these days and I cannot imagine why. When people add, “I think…,” they assume they are voicing their opinion. But the listener perceives them to be asking permission to have an opinion. The listener then gets the idea to blurt out what they think and why the other person is wrong. When you know what you know, speak of that. If you do not know ask. Thinking is common, it has no real value unless the speaker knows something; anyone can do it. Not always well. If you know something, offer what you know is important, where it is needed. But do not be disappointed if you are ignored or they argue. If you only talk about what you know, at least the argument will be worth the trouble. WDE

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W.D. Edmiston, Robert Starr, Arlington J North, Allen Spence, D. LaRue Mahlke

One of the Best Christian Fiction Westerns of 2020?

The Mountain Valley Wrangler, a clean and wholesome epic

A review by Spencer A. Allen

Yes, in my opinion, it is exactly that. The cowboy has his own legend. Some of it has dimmed lately with styles turning to all-cotton stretch fabrics and running shoes, worn by bright young people with more odd hairstyles. They have no couture and no spirit to share with the humble cowboy.

The lead character Will Bartlett in Starr’s novel, The Mountain Valley Wrangler is a quintessential cowboy. Cowboys were not all gunslingers. But, using a rifle or a pistol was often a skill they developed.  Will had worked with cattle for other people in his youth before he became a ranching man in his own right. He is good with kids, polite to women, thoughtful to their neighbors. He is a fine man to have with you in a scrape too.

Those who think and live that way, or wish they could,  will like this book. My writing partner, Robert M. Starr, writes about the many Western cattlemen who worked in Colorado, Montana, and other snow-covered states.  The running shoe crowd will not know much about a cowboy. But Starr does. He has lived it, done the job, walked the land, and knows the lifestyle first hand.

A fine wholesome Western Romance

A good western cowboy has a big heart. He likes people, horses, dogs, and animals in general. But the cowboy way is equally adaptable by both cowboys and cowgirls. A Western romance is honorable and the boy and girl show respect for each other and their families. A good cowboy can be brash and loud. But he is a little more humble around women but no less recognizable, loyal, or dependable.

There are all sorts of people who work on a ranch. Some are good people, but they are not cowboys.  But a real no-account person is something a cowboy can spot a country mile away, and a good yard dog won’t let them in the gate. There are some of those people in the world of Will Bartlett too. You never know what will happen when the two get together.

Robert Starr’s Mountain Valley Wrangler is set in Colorado. Author Robert Starr knows the area well. He lived there, hiked the wilderness, and walked the same trails. Will Bartlett is “the wrangler,” and is a pure cowboy in his heart. The cowboy way contains a creed and it has boundaries and he knows them. Knowing your limits and when to proceed or not proceed in something allows you to be relaxed and think calmly in any situation. Will learned those rules well, and sometimes the hard way. But you can count on him.

Being a Texan in my youth was also to be a cowboy. One of my favorite books is Texas, a World in Itself by George Sessions Perry.  I’ve read it countless times. In it, Perry wrote,

“[Cowboys]. . . are in a sense an elite corps among ranch hands, unquestionably the proudest men I ever saw. You feel at once that they would not trade places with anyone on earth and that they look upon ordinary mortals. . .  as clearly inferior to themselves. [It is not due to high pay] The astounding fact is that all this enthusiasm concerns a dollar-a-day job . . . handy with a lariat; the carbine and the six-shooter are not strangers to them. Cattle rustlers are likely to find nocturnal egress from the Ranch . . . is sudden death.”

I own horses, cows, done my share of rodeoing, doctoring, delivering, and feeding them all. They seem to be universal on ranches regardless of size. But when I sit down to read, I still read about cowboys of long ago. It was a fuller, richer time, closer to the woods, the mountains, and trees. And of course, the grass, because that is what makes steak taste best. Will Bartlett is The Mountain Valley Wrangler, and I’m sure he would agree with me.

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Thanks for hanging out with us:

W.D. Edmiston, Robert Starr, Arlington J North, Allen Spence, D. LaRue Mahlke of OGSB Authors.

Robert has a new book coming soon! 

Please fill out the short form so we may let you know when there is something new, free, or an Advanced Review Copy.

Courage in Interesting Times

 

Courage is a virtue. Your beliefs, opinions, and well-considered thoughts bolster your courage. One of the reasons to write is to encourage other people, to show them how others solve problems. That is why I write fiction based on real stories. A person who believes what he is doing is right will accomplish what they tackle. Once they have voiced their opinion on something, it is hard to change their mind; and that is more true after they have put some intelligent well-researched thought to it.

 

 

 

 

 

There are other virtues we adopt, like knowing what is right and wrong. Being kind and generous to other people is a virtue as well. Living without bias is possible, even without shouting “I have no bias” from the rooftops. From the news, you would think that was the only way.

If you have courage. You can deal with any tough situation in life. Courage adds individuality and higher quality to the other virtues. But courage needs a creed. Most of us use those in the Bible – some people just hate to admit that.

 

Courage is required to stand by one’s principle and act upon our responsibility to resist dishonest and illegal pressure. Principles and responsibilities are written in creeds. When you know what is right and what worked before you will take action where the less courageous stand down. I know what to do at the scene of an auto accident, what to say to the 911 operator, my decision to be involved, testify, write a report, take the time, was made long ago. Now might be a good time for all of us to consider, what will I do with confronted by people harming others. You have seen that kind of thing on TV, what will you do if you are confronted with the same thing in your town? Plan now to be courageous, without resorting to violence. Over time, you will find yourself more ready to take responsibility, take action, and know when not to jump in at all.

That is what the characters in my books and the writers of OGSB Authors try to show us in our books. Being empathetic and helping is the good side of the line between good and evil.

 

For the person who wants real courage, the 2020 year is an opportune time to learn. The characters in my books would shake their heads over what you and I must face this year. But it is a time for courage. Think with that second deeper part of your brain about things. Sure, hot stories set in outrage and “can you believe what they did” are everywhere. How would you feel in the same situation? What would you do without the help of a lot of your friends, courageous friends? Most importantly, stop and ask yourself, do I have the intelligence and education to know how to judge what is right and wrong in this incident – or is there a way, a predicate, that guides our decisions by what we have done before? And most importantly, is what I’m being told true? The characters we write about at OGSB are often people who have seen a lot and know instinctively when they are not being told the truth. Why would you join in to promote a lie? Be brave enough to question what you are asked to believe. Fact-check even the juiciest gossip.

Destruction of anything is not courageous. Even is it is on social media. Name-calling is, by the way, the destruction of a person’s image, their reputation, or thinking you know all about them, when you have no real way of doing so.

Finally, understand courage is not throwing caution to the wind. Courage is knowing when something needs to be done and having a logical means to get it done. Be courageous.

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A Beginning

A couple of years ago, Looking Backward, Forward was published. I wrote the book and placed it on Amazon to copyright so to speak a concept.  It wasn’t ready. At the time, having a Website and Blog had not entered my radar; I had no idea what it could be.  This is the first in a blog series that is what that book should have been in the first place.

Looking Backward, Forward – the Blog

Some 40 percent of our culture contains adults who are locked into thinking characteristically like an adolescent child, a term coined as Adult Arrested Adolescent or Tri-A.  It is derived from my reading of Eric Hoffer’s book, The True Believer, thoughts on the nature of mass movements, (1951.) Hoffer was the first to give us definitions and an understanding of how mass movements work. Central to his concepts is the idea of the true believer. True believers see themselves as damaged. They instinctively look for a way to fix themselves by becoming part of something bigger and not always better. Being famous for crazy stuff is good enough. Ideas like Progressivism, Socialism, Catholicism, Christianity as a religion, Protestantism, and Islam also contain a large number of fanatics. Social Reformers like Barack Obama seek out these who mistakenly or foolishly see themselves as nonredeemable. They offer them glory by “hitching themselves” to their movements. To accomplish that ruse, Obama bastardized an idea of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s whose suggestion was for the individual to personally set high goals, “hitched to stars” rather than subsume themselves to lower expectations. To be fair, warrior chiefs, generals, and all other forms of totalitarians seeking cannon fodder have used the same spiel throughout history. From those ideas I began to look at them as seeds of a latter-day behavioral disorder I previously called Tri-A or Adult Arrested Adolescence.  Hoffer didn’t say a word about the Tri-A himself, my research following his line of thinking lead me to the Adult Arrested Adolescent.  

Utopian schemers have created the Tri-A to be the ideal follower to their causes.

Then as now, Hoffer showed us that Utopians are constantly trying to make their fiddling a needed control mechanism of mainstream American culture. If then the Tri-A concept takes that one step further, and they do line up very well, I contend it was not an accident. By manipulating the American school systems quietly and promoting politically correctness culturally Utopian schemers have created the Tri-A to be the ideal follower to their causes. On this topic I will be discussing the entire issue as if preparing a probable cause statement by an investigator. Developing the idea of cause is part of my background and training. Perhaps one day a psychological tool can be created to determine by a set of established standards if the Tri-A as a legitimate addition for the Desk Reference to Diagnostic Criteria. It may become a diagnosis like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Depression.

After WWII and the revelations of what fanaticism had done to millions in the world, Hoffer could study the direct cause and effect of manipulative governments and populist leaders.  Hoffer watched these activities as they occurred during the 1930’s through the 1950’s.  He then compared them in The True Believer to ideas that are more ancient and the words of commentators who spoke on similar eternal truths of those periods.  What he taught us has passed the test of time.  Hoffer understood mass movements because he immersed himself in the topic. Since 2006 I have spent hundreds of hours studying the Tri-A.   For the last three decades since first reading his book, I have applied his ideas to what has happened in America.  Since the lure of Utopian ideas and political movements are highly attractive to the person who feels he is damaged and incomplete they are interested in changing things.  Change — without any further definition has become a war cry for Progressive partisans trying to recruit those who seek to reinvent themselves. The same partisan evangelists promise that change will make the damaged person whole but offer only fairness, equality, and promises of creating new legislation.  Each evangelist hopes that their one great effort will guarantee equality and fairness.  They tell every listener the solution is to promote the concept of centralization of all matters to the highest authority.  The first problem with all their solutions is that fairness and equality are concepts that work between individuals.  A third party, unless it is a judge deciding a fact of law, is a poor choice to determine fairness for others. So is a judge, but that’s how we set it up in the legal system. Fair solutions cannot be enforced by a top-down structure that comes from an overeager government.  As far as centralization and dictation from government on the outcome of things is concerned – why do we think people in government know better?  The kids of my heyday would have said, “Who died and made you king?”  Secondly, teaching that there is an ultimate authority to which all disputes can be referred does not teach self-reliance and the ability to negotiate with your friends and neighbors.  In early civilizations, the elders of more organized societies met at the city gate to act as judges in disputes.  It is an ancient method.  But involving the police or courts in your affairs speaks of weakness of character and that you cannot reach a constructive agreement.  At that point, the only thing left is to recover damages from whatever the elements of the dispute show are called for. Letting others decide how to live your life is like shooting nuclear warheads.   A real rocket scientist who worked in the intercontinental missile program told me, “No matter what happens, if we use these things; we lose.”  To teach children that they cannot get through life without handouts or help from the “boss” is to teach them to be peasants.  We lose. Have you not asked yourself if there is something more serious going on when grown people have no understanding of things taught in high school.  They cannot understand or construct simple sentences or grasp more complex issues like cause and effect?   Were you slightly amused at the number of people who went to psychiatrists because their candidate lost the election in 2016?  Do the people who serve you, work for you, sit next to you at a ball game sometimes amaze you with their childish view of things?  Do you wonder how they arrive at concepts like, “Drug free zones” or “Safe Spaces” since those are hopelessly childish views of how social control works?  That is the point.  They are not just acting like kids; they really are still adolescents behaviorally. They let others tell them how to live and so nor understand why it does not always work out in their favor, interpreting fair and equal as “The way I want it to be.”  

In later posts I will continue to layer evidence that will point to the validity of the Tri-A or Adult Arrested Adolescent. Follow us and leave your email so we may keep you updated. WDE

Mistakes

Today’s blog is by Spencer A. Allen

So much of life is about mistakes. It was once a problem of enormous importance to never make a mistake, thereby never revealing the depth of my ignorance. I took to heart Lincoln’s warning: “Remain silent and be thought a fool or speak out and remove all doubt.”  In my mind, the the likelihood that revelation was more likely than not.

But the only way we learn is to make mistakes and repair them. Even when we receive training on some discipline, then actually doing them poorly is first required before we become accomplished.  School kids, like I was, often get the idea it is not safe to make mistakes.  I tell those I teach the reason they are in school is because it is a safe space to make mistakes and try not to react badly when they do.  Many instructors fail to support the idea of a safe mistake place by overreacting to minor spills, slow trips to the restroom, or failing to recharge computers.

We send our athletes to specialized training camps our dancers and cheerleaders to places where they can accel, but that is all about excellence.  How about the rest of us who need to learn from our mistakes to become competent – especially those whose parents can’t afford dance or training camp. 

Kids are loud. Adults sometimes find that annoying, kids get into scuffles, adults get very emotional about potential injury. But locking down the education process to the point of regimented 50-minute classes where students complete 10 or 20 multiple choice questions by reading several pages in a book.  They don’t get to stretch their imaginations or time to complete more complex or in-depth study.

Maybe high school should adopt the college model. Two-hour classes and one and a half hour classes on alternating days.  Let them find something that brings them joy – not be crammed full of facts in preparation for a test. That will keep statisticians busy appeasing state legislators with tests results that tell us nothing about learning.

Thanks for reading, Spence Allen (SAllen@woodyedmiston.blog)

Swimming in the Ocean

Your potential of having a life full of accomplishment is your ability to be comfortable with uncertainty.

Arlington J. North

Why do we ignore the risks while blithely swimming in an ocean full of man-eating creatures? Those who are close to the seashore almost completely ignore that risk unless sightings are posted. There is some uncertainty in that – but not a lot — attacks are one in 11 million. But people do get attacked and killed.

Many more are afraid to fly although there is a one in five million chance of dying from it. Walking down the street is 1 in 400. We hop in our cars to just go for a drive when the chance is 1 in 103 of it killing us. But our fears and uncertainties paralyze some of us over the more mundane unfamiliarities.

The uncertainty of going to college in another town; taking a job in a state where you have never visited, much less lived; these are things many of us face. College in another state, hum? It is comfortable, and certainly cheaper, to go to a local community college. Where you live may have a very low cost of living, parents, friends and all sorts of things like that. Those things are real and sometimes limiting. You cope.

But It is a little sad to watch fear of risk stop talented people.

 But human beings have a need for a sense of awe and it is important that we tap into it. We look at the stars and wonder what they mean; why do we find them fascinating? Nature constantly amazes us, and we wonder how it all works. What makes it do those things that give us awe. It is their uncertainty that causes awe in the stars and nature and in other people. Every human has a need to be awed and when we are, we are better for it.

 Young people, strong and capable should try as many new things as possible. I don’t mean just teens; I mean young strong healthy people. One day you are going to be old and your biggest regret will be not taking a chance at being awe; of learning other things.

You don’t know what you don’t know. When you take that chance to be awed, to see the other side of the mountain, to plumb the depths of the ocrean; you will be awed by what you did not know. Take a chance don’t be reckless, but start small, get our adventure legs under you. Then GO!