Saturday, October 29, 2011

10/30/2011 - Surprise Field Trip

(Another installment in Yorkie Brigade Chapel series)

The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, Russia

Good morning, all. So delighted to see you all again. Please join me in welcoming back our esteemed Assistant Pastor, Neeko S. Spaulding, Ecumenisist Extraordinaire.

Neeko has illustrated his sermon and we won't know until we deliver it if the drawings will show up, so please bear with us. The sermon itself is just as beautiful without the artwork so either way, you're in for a treat.

Please welcome Neeko to our pulpit. (applause applause cat calls...wolf whistles....and a few "wooos" from the Siberian Huskies)


The Cross

A young man was at the end of his rope.
Seeing no way out he dropped to his knees in prayer.
"Lord, I can't go on," he said. "I have too heavy a cross to bear."

The Lord replied,
"My son, if you can't bear its weight,
just place your cross inside this room.
Then open that other door and pick out any cross you wish."

The young man was filled with relief. "Thank you Lord," he sighed, and he did what he was told.
Upon entering the other door, he saw many other crosses, some so large the tops weren't even visible.
Then he spotted a tiny cross leaning against the far wall. "I'd like that one Lord," he whispered.
And the Lord replied,
"My son, that is the cross you just brought in."

We all have our trials and tribulations, yet sometimes those
of others seem so much less troubling than our own.
Share this reminder with your friends and family of how
although times may seem to be hard,we have many blessings to be thankful for.

(Neeko says: "Thank you so much for having me back. I've missed you all and hope to spend even MORE time with you this winter.")

(Mary-Margaret approaches the podium)

Thank YOU, Neeko. You always make our gatherings even more joyful.

Now.....everyone........we have another field trip planned as a surprise today. We are going to...(drum roll, please?)....

ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA. It's a bit further away than some of our previous field trips so we need you to do a couple of things:

First, click on this link St Petersburg, Russia

We suggest you select the low resolution unless you have an amazingly fast internet connection. We're on DSL through TimeWarner and we still got the best results with the low resolution. NEXT, once it loads, in the upper left hand corner, select HIDE controls, and FULL SCREEN. It's absolutely the most marvelous tour we've been on yet.

Not only do we fly over the city on one of the most beautiful days in history, but if we click on the little helicopter icons on the horizon we'll be taken immediately by magic to a specific garden, palace, church, cathedral or other landmark. I could sit here for hours but my secretary had every intention of going to bed about an hour ago and I don't want to push my luck with her.

Now....quickly give your pew mates a hug, grab your belongings and race to the bus parked out by the purple fire hydrant. See you in St. Petersburg.

Have a wonderful time. Snacks provided on the bus by the newly formed Order of the Halter, comprised of members of our congregation who are also acting pastors, and who someday will wear the collar. We welcome Neeko, Buffie, Gizzie, Eleanor, AbbeyMia and ask that any others interested in our continuing bible study, please sign up on the bus.

Lord, help us to be as we wish others to be. Amen


Mary-Margaret O'Brien
Lt. Chaplain - Yorkie Brigade Chapel
"Yorkie prayers are Angel's wishes!"
"Pups for PPL"
"A dog has lots of friends because he wags his tail and not his tongue." Anonymous

Early snowfall in Lake Wynonah

Thank you, Alex, for sending this. Wish my mom was there to help you knock the snow off the roof of your cat house. For those of you who don't know my next door neighbor, Alex, I should probably explain about her "cat house". She's into cat rescue and (at last count) had 32 of them. She's even built a separate house for some of them that shares a common wall with her house and she has little "cat runs" that go between her garage, some parts of her house and the cat house. She's a very good kitty mommy.

I might mention here that her pup, Onya, is the one I go swimming with off the "C" dock when I'm at the lake. Onya is a lot bigger than me, but since I'm smaller than most cats it doesn't seem to phase her much. Onya and I are very good friends and we hope very much to hang out again soon.

Love and schlurps...


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday After the Ball - 10/23/2011

(Another installment in the Yorkie Brigade Chapel series)

(Dress by Corrine Ellison)

Good morning, everyone. It's so nice to be back in the pulpit after our Ball in Nashville. I see a lot of you here today that I also had the pleasure of meeting at the Sheraton Music City.

First order of business is to thank the good Lord for allowing us all to travel both to and from the Ball safely. We are so very fortunate that so many of us had the opportunity to meet up, enjoy each other's company, and dine in good old fashioned Southern hospitality style.

Today, Buffy and Gizzie have again stepped up to our pulpit with some excellent inspirational thoughts to share with us. Please put your paws together for the Lentz kids.

(Buffy and Gizzie approach the pulpit and we hear applause, some whistles and a couple of wolf howls....ahem..ahem???)

Today, Buffy speaks:

I have a friend who was working in his home office one evening, trying to get some necessary paperwork done. His little girl, who was about 4 years old at the time, was playing around his desk, puttering about, moving objects here and there, pulling out drawers, and making a good deal of noise.

My friend endured the distraction with stoic patience until the child slammed a drawer on one of her fingers and screamed in pain. Reacting in exasperation he shouted, “"That’s it!",” as he escorted her out of the room and shut the door.
Later, her mother found her weeping in her bedroom and tried to comfort her.
"“Does your finger still hurt?",” she asked.
"“No",” the little girl sniffled. “
"Then why are you crying?",” her mother asked. “’"
'Cause",” she whimpered, "“when I pinched my finger, Papa didn’t say, ‘"Oh!’”" ".

Sometimes that’s all we need, isn’t it? Someone who cares and who will respond with kindness and compassion, someone who will say, "“Oh!". ” We have One named Lord who does that for us. God loves us, understands our sorrows, and gave Himself for us (Eph. 5:2). Now we are to “walk in love” and imitate Him.

Knowing God —what comfort there,
Drawn by His eternal care;
Love from God —what joy we share,
Drawn into His mercies rare.
(—Branon )

God’s whisper of comfort quiets the noise of our trials.

Thank you so very much, Buffy and Gizzie. This is surely something we can think on and reflect upon, as we begin this week. If we have a toothache or maybe we're a few dollars short when paying a bill, we may be frightened or in pain or perhaps just feeling lost and confused. A friend saying "I understand! I care!" or "How can I be of help!", is of greater comfort than someone minimizing your discomfort by either ignoring you, changing the subject, or suggesting "It'll all work out!". We all need validation, and we can show others what we need by first offering it to them.

The next time you feel someone in pain or trouble, reach out and offer solace. You don't have to solve the problem, but be empathetic and validate their feelings. It's true - what goes around, comes around. Be understanding....and be
the person you would like to be friends with. It will come back to you when you least expect it, but when you need it the most.

Please turn to your neighbors and offer your paws in peace. Wag your tails as a show of love. We are family here, and we love each other without condition or judgment, but with open hearts and minds.

The Ladies of the Leather Collar have been busy salting and drying the fish caught by the Knights of Pawlumbus on their retreat and I'm told it's ready to share on the goody table in the side garden. Yum. I can't wait to try it. I hear it's almost as delicious as that chicken breast in lemon butter sauce with capers that we had at the banquet on Saturday in Nashville. I can't stop thinking about it. If anyone has the recipe, please share?

Blessings to you all and may you have a wonderful, productive week.

Thank you, Lord, for bringing us together.


Mary-Margaret O'Brien
Lt. Chaplain - Yorkie Brigade Chapel
"Yorkie prayers are Angel's wishes!"
"Pups for PPL"
"A dog has lots of friends because he wags his tail and not his tongue." Anonymous

Monday, October 17, 2011

2011 Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue Ball

(See photos at the end of today's diary!)

Good morning, everyone. I'm BAAA-AAAAACK!!! Oh, I feel just like Cinderella must have felt when she woke up missing a shoe. Was it real? Was it a dream? Was I really a princess for a day? Let me start at the beginning of my adventure.

Wednesday - October 12: My spa day. Bubble bath, shampoo, style, blow dry, bow AND play date. Miss Marilyn gave me a goldish orangish and black Halloweenish bow. Who would have thought it would be a perfect match to my ball gown two days later? While I was being pampered and primped, Mom was having a tooth pulled and a temporary bridge put in. She says "pulled" is like saying World War II was a back yard 4th of July celebration, though. I guess when the tooth is out and there's only deep roots left we get into drilling, blasting and tunneling. We don't need to go into detail here...this is about ME, not her!! Back to my adventure.

THURSDAY - wake up, pack, check packing, check house. Turn off air conditioning, check car...and away we go. They remember me at Aladdin parking and give us the top drawer treatment. At the airport, there's a line snaking all the way to Somalia at the Southwest counter so Mom caves in and asks for a wheelchair for the first time in her life. This is way cool, I think. I sit on her lap in my personal car seat and say "Hello!" to everyone I pass. Airports have the nicest people in them, for sure! When a human is in a wheelchair they get a full body pat down, and as I watch from my special vantage point, Mom gets the full Monty. About half-way through she asks her wheel chair driver if the TSA agent speaks English because she can't understand a word the lady says (which is why this is taking so long). The driver says the agent just has a very heavy accent but we still get an interpreter to translate, and things go a lot faster. I think that's the first time Mom got more petting than I did.

(Note: My water bottle slipped through inspection in San Diego despite all the TSA precautions - we just forgot it was in our stuff. Nashville, on the other hand, didn't even bother giving Mom a pat down when we departed.)

Thursday night - After landing and getting another wheel-chair ride to the Shuttle Shack, and discovering that the phone to the Sheraton isn't working, we luck out and the shuttle shows up anyway. Already I am greeted by lots of Southwest flight attendants, even from the other planes. "Hello! Are you Mary-Margaret?", they ask? I just smile and give them kisses. Southwest has the nicest flight attendants ever. When we get to the hotel, even the desk clerk says "Oh, THIS must be Mary-Margaret!". I'm flattered and my heart is so full of love. I give more kisses. We race to our room, drop off our stuff and race back out the door. We are going to Ruth Chris' Steakhouse in Nashville for Dinner.

Another first for me!! Dinner out with my very best friends, AthenaMaria and AbbeyMia. While the ladies and a couple of men are yakking, we three catch up on stuff that us Yorkettes really care about, like what are we wearing to the Ball. For supper I have the yummiest filet mignon ever. MaryElizabeth tells me it's so nice and tender because it's "prime", not like the stuff we buy in Albertson's or Von's. When we get back to the hotel we stop by MaryElizabeth's room to visit some more. I'm so tired but I don't want to go to bed either. This is the most exciting day ever.

MaryElizabeth holds out her glass with some golden liquid in it for me to smell and I'm intrigued. My tongue pops out like a Brazilian tree frog and I'm actually having my first taste ever of VSOP cognac. "Yikes", (I say) and scrunch up my face, wrinkle my nose and "blegh" my tongue. It sure doesn't taste like it smells (I say). The ladies get a big giggle over my obvious distress and discomfort and MaryElizabeth offers me another glass of (she says) "water". No thanks - Fool me once, shame on me. But it will be a long time before I stick my tongue into one of YOUR drinks again (I say). She apologizes over and over to me. She feels awful and had no idea I'd actually taste it. Well? This is ME - MARY-MARGARET! Of course, I'm going to try it. "Sheesh!" (I say). A minute or so later I figure I've laid enough guilt on the ladies and I drink about a half glass of water to get rid of that awful taste. Note to self: Lay off the after dinner drinks until you're 21 or maybe forever?.

FRIDAY - Up and at 'em. Mom throws on her t-shirt and shorts, grabs me and AbbeyMia and we go check out the lawn by the back parking lot. MMMM-mmmm! So many smells, so little time. This is amazing! I really don't want to go back in but humans are weird when they don't look "just so" or haven't brushed their teeth yet. On our way back to room 1067, we meet up with some Yorks and Yorkettes going into the "hospitality room". Their parents look pretty much like my Mom, like they just got out of bed, too! We go in and have some breakfast, check out the boutique, and I end up with a new coat, my ball gown, and two new dresses. All proceeds go to the Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue, too. FUN!

At 10:00AM I go to my first educational seminar by Arlene King, World Class Dog Trainer and AKC Judge. I am mesmerized. Her pups "Fergie" and "Sophie" show us what we can learn if we really apply ourselves. After a few minutes I figure "Well, heck! If that's all I have to do to get a treat, I'm in!", and I hop down and over to Arlene. Mom's yelling in a loud whisper - "Get back here, Mary-Margaret!" and I think....Treat? Or Mom? Give me a break - no contest there - and I keep going. Lucky for me Arlene is so nice and generous. I end up with a few munchies in my tummy before I go back to the sidelines.

We go back to the Hospitality Room for some sandwiches before moving on to the next seminar - "T Touch" (Tellington Touch), by Penny Case. It's like a soothing, healing holistic approach to health and happiness. It works on humans, too, if you want to know. Mom listens and I get the benefits. Ahhhhhhh!! I can live with this.

The "Hamburger Hop" is at 6:00PM. I'm asked to deliver a blessing. Considering my Mom gets stage fright and I need her to translate, I'm lucky she didn't really butcher what I was trying to say - just a word or two got jumbled, but generally she got the point across, I guess. I get to visit with my friends and the humans yak while having dinner. Mom snuck me a burger of my own which I enjoyed quietly under the table. After dinner, there is a "Best Photo" and "Best Costume" contest - we didn't enter, but we definitely enjoyed the show. My good friends Ashley and Kung Fu Kori tied for best photo with another pup I don't know. Muppet and Dixie dressed up as Dr. Seuss' "Thing #1" and "Thing #2" and they won first place in the Costume contest. (see pictures below)

After the contests we had the Fashion Show. There were some absolutely gorgeous outfits there, most (if not all) made by Corrine Ellison, a pup's answer to Vera Wang. In addition to gowns, there were pups in tuxedos, and the highlight of the show was Remi in her 2011 Wedding Gown with removable train (for dancing). She was the most beautiful bride I've ever seen.

SATURDAY - Up and out to the back parking lot, then to the hospitality suite for some breakfast. At 10:00AM we are downstairs and I'm taking the Canine equivalent of the SAT. What? Huh? I didn't even study (I say). Mom's telling me to just watch and pay attention and I'll do just fine. Oh, Lordy (I say)....and I spend the next five minutes watching AthenaMaria, taking notes, and praying. When it's my turn I go through my paces - sit, stop, down, heel, left turn, right turn, about face....oh, I can't remember it all. But I must have had an angel on my shoulder. I got it all right and I PASSED!!! I got an "A". Here's what I was graded on:

1) Accepting a friendly stranger; 2) Sitting politely for petting; 3) Appearance and grooming; 4) Out for a walk; 5) Walking through a crowd; 6) Sit and down on command/Staying in place; 7) coming when called; 8) Reaction to another dog; 9) Reaction to distractions; 10) Supervised separation (3 minutes) - I PASSED THEM ALL!! I think I will ask Mom to frame my certificate and hang it up in our office when I get it.

At 1:00PM we went to Rosemarie Cunningham's Grooming and Wrapping seminar. There's a lot to know about grooming and pawdicures and stuff. Most of the pups with really long hair got all involved. Me? Oh, well by this time it was nap time and all I wanted was a comfy place to lay down. I saw a possibility over by the water table and took full advantage. Pulling the table cloth corner down a bit, I scrunched it up and made a bed. We Yorkettes can be creative in a pinch!


Finally - the highlight of a Yorkie's social calendar - the Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue Ball. Everyone was dressed to the teeth! I wore my gold lame' gown and mingled with the other pups. I was asked to give the blessing again. Mom did her best, but she was glad to sit down again. I need to work with her some more on this. Neeko (our Assistant Pastor at Chapel) and I shared some alone time but he's really more a ladies' man and his dance card was full. His brother, Ray - a handsome long haired surfer type pup - was paying a lot of attention to me. I didn't mind it until he got a bit aggressive and I had to tell him that "I'm NOT that type of girl!". He apologized and said he respected me for that, and the rest of the evening went well.

For dinner, I had the best ever chicken breast (under the table again, though). After dinner there were some awards and entertainment.

My very good friend "Jilli Dog" and her human, Rick Caran, put on a show with Jilli's sister Ruby and her brother, Spidey (a chihuahua). Jilli and Ruby are the only poker playing pups I've ever met. Ruby can count money, too. Jilli is a published author and did a book signing after the show. I now have a personalized autographed copy of "Jilli Dog, The Little Dog That Made Mr Kranby Smile". I can count Jilli and Ruby as two of my VERY GOOD FRIENDS now, too!


We wound up the evening with some good old down home country music. Mom bounced me on her knee and I really enjoyed the band. Dan Dugmore is the winner of many awards including the ACM 2011 award for best Steel Guitar player of the Year.

Karen Dugmore, Danny Dugmore, Adam Dugmore all played with him in the band, along with some other very talented people. I wish my mom had written down their names (like I asked her to) but who listens to me? They are all accomplished musicians, especially little Adam who blew me away with his drums. I rocked out to the music until it was time to go to bed.

That's Rick Caran holding Ruby and Jilli Dog in the front of the band.

I didn't want the evening to end. This was the very best weekend of my entire life. I will never forget it. Thank you to all the good humans that made this possible for me, but most especially to MaryElizabeth Dugmore, the magic lady that makes it all happen for us Yorksters and Yorkettes. Because of her and the good deeds of Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue so many of us have found our "forever" homes; so many indigent pups have had medical treatment that has allowed them to live the best lives possible; and so many humans and pups now share lasting and unconditional love.



Mary-Margaret O'Brien

PS - The entire weekend including the Ball was live-streamed over the internet. There were people all over the world, including Australia and England who watched it. We were told this was the largest, most successful ball we've ever had.



1) Me wondering when dinner will be served
2) Wow....treats for MEEEE??
3) Dixie & Muppet (Thing #1 and Thing #2)
4) I just LOVE Airplanes.
5) Tina Ann Byers & Lucy (Lucy is 3 - she was only given 72 hours to live when she was born. Her head was separated from her spine and she WAS a quadraplegic. See what love and good medicine will do?)
6) Lucy on wheels - this is her second set of all terrain tires.
7) Jilli Dog
8) Me - waiting for dinner again!
9) Gown on and ready to boogie
10) Class (I already know this stuff, though!)
11) Tina Ann Byers and Liah (3 yrs old) - This is where Liah always sits.
12) Tina and Liah
13) Aida in her Wedding Gown
14) Tootsie Pop (Diane Cuomo's pup)
15) ??
16) ??
17) ??
18) ??
19) MaryElizabeth Dugmore
20) Karissa and Chiklet Cuomo
21) More "Class" pictures
22) AbbeyMia in denim ball gown
23) ??

Sunday, October 09, 2011

St Peter's Basilica - Sunday, 10/9/11

Today we have another field trip planned. Remember a few months ago we visited the Sistine Chapel? Today, we are visiting St. Peter's Basilica.

The buses are waiting and we have sack lunches and water bowls ready for you. Grab your jackets, your pups and your cameras. We are off to ROME again.

St Peter's Basilica Be sure to move your mouse around each location so you can see a 360 degree view of the sacred place. There are 10 locations you can visit.

Amazing to think that this was first built around 64 AD, pillaged by the Saracens in 845 and rebuilt again in the 16th Century by Michelangelo and his protege. With your sound turned up you'll tour this beautiful complex to the accompaniment of a heavenly choir.

If you're interested in a brief history of St. Peter's Basilica, you'll find it here. History of the Basilica in Brief

This time next week we'll be in Nashville for the Yorkie Ball. Hope to see you there. Since I won't be able to conduct services next Sunday, I'm hoping that Eleanor and her secretary, Patti, might be able to step in for us. We'd all love to hear more about Eleanor and her family.

Blessings to all.......


Mary-Margaret O'Brien
Chaplain - Yorkie Brigade Chapel
"Yorkie prayers are Angel's wishes!"
"Pups for PPL"
"A dog has lots of friends because he wags his tail and not his tongue." Anonymous