Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

I wrote a letter to the editor to the Corvallis Gazette Times and it was printed on 11-25-08. Here's what I wrote:

Attention in the news has been drawn to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as gays storm Mormon temples across the United States because of the actions taken by this church to defeat Prop 8 in California.

Mormons also played a major role in defeating the equal rights amendment to the Constitution for women, while every day women and young girls are abused in Utah by polygamous marriage.

Maybe someone should question the tax-exempt status of this church since they can't seem to respect the constitutional amendment that is supposed to separate church and state.

Blacks, gays, and women have all been discriminated against by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at different times. So have intellectuals who dare to question leaders and their doctrine that changes as time passes.

I thought God loves everybody and wants everyone to shine.

My letter was signed:
Wendy Marie Haber
Alsea, Oregon

People came to the United States of America with the hope that they would be free to worship as they want and that no church would be powerful enough to dictate government policy when our country was in its infancy. People came to this country to be free to have their own opinion and to be able to worship as they choose. People still come to this great melting pot to be free. When churches become political action committees, they are crossing over into a grey area that has yet to be challenged by the U.S. Supreme Court. Having U.S. government money go to pay for private religious schools is also a grey area that has yet to be challenged. Prayer is not allowed in public schools. Why? Because a prayer usually hints of one religion over another. To prevent discrimination, it is not done.

NANOWRIMO 2008 Winner

I just finished National Novel Writing Month around 2 p.m. today with 50,398 words as wendywrites. The title of my novel is The Last Hurrah. I think it's mainstream fiction but it has mystery and suspense elements in it. I had so much fun this month. I love my characters and I want to write a sequel to see what other adventure they will have next.

I'm very impressed with this website. has helped so many writers accomplish their dream of writing and finishing a novel. I'm proud of myself that I finished, in spite of being sick, and having other things that urgently needed my attention. I'm proud that I finished despite everything. I'm proud that my book is the best first draft of a novel that I have written so far and I plan on writing a screenplay this April based on this book.
Please go to these websites and donate money to keep the great work of these websites moving forward. Please donate generously. Please. I can't think of a website that helps so many writers actually achieve their goal of finishing a novel. Thousands all over the world participate. It's inspiring. Hats off to Chris Baty, the writing hero, who started the whole thing ten years ago!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

President Elect Barack Obama

I am so happy that Barack Obama was elected President. I have felt such a renewal of hope and faith in the future of the United States and in the political process. I am deeply grateful and humbled by his inspirational example, leadership, ethics, and service at this critical time in our nation.

Right after the election results came in, people took to the streets in large cities all over the United States and all over the world to celebrate. It was as if a dictator was overthrown. I think that's exactly what happened.

God bless Barack Obama and protect him so he can create change and bring hope back into the hearts of every American.

Harper's Magazine

I started reading the December, 2008 issue of Harper's Magazine last night at midnight and am almost finished.

There are some important articles that should be read by everyone.

On page 16 is a short sidebar of a speech given by Will Rogers in 1922 to The American Bankers Association that has special relevance to banking today, especially considering the economic and financial collapse of the last couple of months.

Pages 39 to 48 is an essay about Mandela and Africa. It outlines the extreme danger, lawlessness, and violence in Africa.

Then is a report titled, Justice After Bush, Prosecuting an Outlaw Administration from pages 49 through 60. This courageous article calls for justice and that laws be respected in this country. It outlines how the Bush administration has abused constititional rights and committed war crimes. The U.S. Constition and laws should be the highest authority.

Writers Network

There is Food Network on television. There is Fit TV. There needs to be Writers Network for 24 hour programming on television filled with interviews of writers, coverage of book festivals, interviews of book and magazine editors and agents, workshops given by writers, and a reality show thrown in with challenges for writers.

The reality show for writers could be like Project Runway on the Bravo Channel. Each week writers could be given the challenge to write poetry, a nonfiction article, an essay, or a short story. Then the stakes could be raised to end with writing a novela or a screenplay. It would be glorious.

Miami Book Festival

On Saturday and Sunday, I was glued to the television watching C-Span 2 watching the 25th annual Miami Book Festival, an event that I love watching. Individual interviews of writers and panels of writers discussing their books fill the eight hours of daily coverage on Saturday and Sunday shown on C-Span 2. It's inspiring for writers and it sparks the interest of anyone who loves to read.

For me, the best part of the Miami Book Festival each year is Dave Barry. No one comes close for me. He's funny, easy-going, and I love watching him. He always talks about the Rock Bottom Remainders, the band that several best-selling, gifted writers play in at these book festivals. Speaking after Dave Barry was Frank McCourt who was also planning on playing with the Remainders. Why doesn't C-Span2 broadcast the Rock Bottom Remainders? Why? It would be wonderful to see Stephen King, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Mitch Album, Barbara Kingsolver, and others playing together and having fun.

C-Span 2 on weekends covers interviews and writing events of non-fiction writers but they don't cover fiction. This is a serious lack in television that needs to be filled by starting a Writers Network, a channel with 24 hour programming filled with interviews of writers, workshops for and by writers, and maybe a reality show thrown in with challenges for writers.

National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month. This challenge started by Chris Baty 10 years ago has inspired writers world wide to try to finish the first draft of a novel in 30 days. By turning out approximately 1700 words a day, you end up with 50,000 at the end of November. I am in awe of this accomplishment of Chris Baty and all that he has accomplished.

I completed the challenge in 2005 and I'm working on it again this month as wendywrites. I'm behind in my word count at the moment but plan on working hard to catch up despite bronchitis and not feeling well. I'm having fun with my characters who are onboard a houseboat sailing up the Willamette River. Yesterday they started the Floating on the River band as they are cruising through Albany.

The challenge of writing the first draft of a novel in a month is a great writing exercise for any serious writer or anyone who wants to be a serious writer.

In April, there is Script Frenzy, which is the challenge to write the first draft of a screenplay in a month. Script Frenzy was also started by Chris Baty.

I love challenges and I enjoy the competition to try to make it to the finish.

Chris Baty should win the Nobel Peace Prize for this great accomplishment of inspiring writers all over the world. Bands should play, fireworks shoot off in the sky, and balloons should rise each time that he walks by writers. He has made it possible for many writers to achieve their dream of writing a novel. National Novel Writing Month is the reason why I finished my first mystery novel.

Friday, November 14, 2008

BalletMet Columbus

During my visit to Columbus, Ohio, I visited the BalletMet Columbus to see the ballet, Dracula on October 18th. This event was a wonderful gift from my son, Daniel and his girlfriend, Jodee. It was an enchanting night to see the talented and gifted dancers perform. The chorography for each dancer told the story of Dracula perfectly and had the crowd mesmerized with the elegant costumes and dancing.

It was a magical night that I'll never forget.

Miller's Bakery

During my visit to Ohio in October, I visited Miller's Bakery. It was the BEST bakery that I have ever been to in my life. I don't know how in the world we found it. We traveled on roads that seemed only wide enough for an Amish buggie. Miller's Bakery is in Amish country in Millersburg near Charm. As you walk in the door, there are bags of homemade noodles of all kinds, different types of flour, spices, pastries, cakes, homemade fresh bread, candy, donuts, and much more. I got two cookies and I'll never forget how great they were. They were huge, soft, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious made-with-love cookies. They were about four inches across and a half an inch thick. There were a great variety of different kinds of cookies and they all looked delicious. Miller's Bakery is the example to point to when someone says "if you build it, they will come." It was crowded and it's worth the trip.

Miller's Bakery is open on Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are closed on Sundays. The phone number is 330-473-8175. The address is 4280 TR 356 in Millersburg, Ohio 44654. It is located off SR 557 near Charm.

Visit Miller's Bakery and eat a couple of cookies for me. If you love a great bakery, you'll be happy you went to Miller's Bakery. It's worth traveling the extra miles because you sure aren't going to find better baking anywhere.

Der Dutchman

I visited Columbus, Ohio from October 14th to October 21st. I had a great time. The plane ticket was a gift from my son, Daniel and it was wonderful to see him.

During this visit, I went to the BEST restaurant that I've ever eaten at in my life--Der Dutchman. It was in Walnut Creek in Amish country. The food was all made from scratch from the freshest ingredients. I ordered the Amish Country Sampler for $11.49. This is what it says on the menu about my selection, "At an Amish barn-raising meal or a Mennonite church potluck there is always a variety of meats and lots of home-cooked foods to try. The sampler will give you a taste of our most popular items. Includes real mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, green beans or cream corn, dinner rolls, and salad bar. Choose between broasted or baked chicken, roast beef, ham or turkey." I had tender melt-in-your-mouth turkey and chicken. Everything was delicious. Everyone who served the tables and at the desk treated everyone with respect and consideration. You are treated as an important guest. You are given the best food and made to feel special. I'll never forget this meal. Der Dutchman has set the highest standard of excellence in my mind for a restaurant, no matter where or what the price.

It's definately worth the trip to travel to Walnut Creek, Ohio to visit Der Dutchman. I'm never forget seeing the black buggies and horses on all the roads, the kind people in the area, and the picturesque farms.

Preventing Dental Cavities

I was watching Beyond Tomorrow on the Science Channel and enjoyed learning about the great advances in dental medicine and practice in Sweden. Dr. Charlotte Mattsson from Gotenburg, Sweden has been working on new research to prevent cavities and the end to the drilling of teeth at Gotenburg University. I think it's time that we learn from the greatest advances in medicine from other countries who are more advanced than we.

Preventiion should always come first. Now when patients come into see Dr. Mattsson at Odontologen in Gotenburg for a routine visit, they get a single spray of good bacteria. Dr. Mattsson has found that good bacteria inhibits bad tooth decay bacteria and that by adding beneficial bacteria back in the mouth, it prevents cavaties. Yahoo! I think we should listen. I think we should learn from this research and dental practice.

Any time I hear about anything from Sweden, I'm interested because my Dad's family all came from Sweden. I would love to visit Sweden someday.