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Like most people, I prefer the beaten path. It's safe, comfortable and easy to navigate.

Whenever I stray a bit and wander into new territory, though, I almost always am rewarded. Two people reminded me this week how even a small risk can bring a big reward.

One was featured on our front page Saturday: Victoria's Laura Wier, who has opened her home to 15 foreign exchange students during the past 17 years. She reports her life is as enriched as the students to whom she opens her home.

We opened our home this week a musician playing Saturday night in the Bach Festival. This certainly wasn't as big a risk as bringing a high school student from halfway across the world, but we received a huge reward nonetheless.

Gayle Garcia, a viola player from Sugar Land, graced our home this week with her humor, warmth and generosity of spirit. This is the second year we've had the privilege of having Gayle stay with us. She pays attention to our children, even when our son talks her ear off. She buys us dinner, even though we protest she has no reason to do that. In every way, she is the model house guest.

If that weren't enough, she tops off the week performing a gorgeous symphony for the community. I'm not a lover of classical music. I have my wife, a Bach Festival board member, to thank for pushing me off the rock 'n' roll beat.

Isn't it grand how many paths we have in life if we're willing to take them?