Hello Again Houston. Huntsville to Ramsey Unit And Meeting Elena In Person…

Leaving WorthamWorkd at 4:30AM to head to Ramsey I Unit, I had been coordinating with Elena who was landing at Hobby to arrange a meeting with her while Cindy and I were in the Houston area. Ramsey I Unit is about twenty minutes outside of Houston near Stringfellow Unit which was previously Ramsey II Unit. It’s unusual for  TDCJ Unit to have a number behind the name. 

Darrington, Terrell, Stringfellow and Ramsey I are located within close proximity of one another. In fact, Ramsey I, Terrell and Stringfellow are within 5 minutes of one another similar to Michael and Coffield within 15-20 minutes of Beto, Gurney and Powledge Units in Tennessee Colony. 

Powledge, Beto, Coffield, Gurney, and Michael work in cooperation: Feedmill and Grain Storage, Farm Shop, Cow/Calf Operation, Poultry Laying Operation, Swine Farrowing/ Nursery/Finishing Operations, Pork Processing Plant, Security Horses, Security Pack Canines, Edible and Field Crops, and Unit Garden.

There are many cities in Texas that feature clusters of Units within close proximity of one another. Gatesville as well as Huntsville, Rosharon and Tennessee Colony have numerous Units within minutes of one another. 

Last month, I had a wedding at Ellis Unit in Huntsville in the morning and another at Crain Unit in the afternoon. Huntsville to Gatesville is a haul. Two hours and forty six minutes from one another (based on traffic) makes for a very long day. Gatesville Units house predominantly females although Hughes Unit (also in Gatesville) houses men. 

Because I must “estimate the time inside each unit” as well as the distance between them when stacking unit weddings the same day, a wide berth of at least an hour “inside” is required. Factors that can cause a delay are waiting on the Chaplain or our escort as well as waiting on the inmate to be located. Because of timelines, it’s best to have your loved one request a lay in the day prior to your scheduled inmate wedding. 

My first conversation with Elena was approximately a year ago. I had been returning from Huntsville Units with Cindy when Elena called me regarding inmate marriages. This isn’t unusual as I’m frequently contacted by reporters, production companies and networks regarding my unique client bases. 

Inmate Officiant services are available in many states although Texas is my “busiest booking” state. I’m not geographically limited to one state. Neither are Cindy or my niece, Leigh Ann. We cover numerous states.

Elena is not only a journalist but also an award winning documentary filmmaker. She had called while in Houston doing research for her film project and we’ve stayed in touch over the past year. Elena was looking for Dutch women marrying death row inmates in Texas. She is passionate about this project and has found two women to date. One is living in Arizona and married to her inmate while the other is living in the Netherlands and unmarried.

It had been hoped that Elena could visit Polunsky Unit as she had heard that Wednesday’s are media days at Polunsky. But, in order to get media access, you must go through TDCJ as a journalist who travelled with me a few weeks ago to several TDCJ Units did to obtain access and clearance. 

During my two days with Ella, she had hoped to visit all of my scheduled Unit weddings but TDCJ wouldn’t give Ella access to all 4 of my Units but did give her the option of choosing one Unit to witness me officiating a marriage. Ella chose Polunsky. Getting into Polunsky requires being on the list. 

TDCJ Unit weddings are scheduled between 9AM and 4PM. TDCJ Unit weddings do not take place on weekends as the visitation area is in use by visitors. Weddings at Polunsky take place after 5PM. 

Because Polunsky schedules weddings after 5PM, I was able to schedule Coffield Unit at 9:30AM, Michael Unit at 11:30AM, Holliday Unit at 2PM and Polunsky Unit at 5:30PM on the same day. Three cities and four Units in ONE DAY is a long day. Ella was in my suv for 14 hours from Fort Worth to Tennessee Colony to Huntsville to Livingston to Fort Worth. A day in my life always involves driving, careful planning and orchestrating. I’m OCD and constantly aware of distance and time. I have to be. 

Polunsky houses death row inmates in Texas. Polunsky was named after Allan B. Polunsky, a former chairman of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice who is now the chairman of the Public Safety Commission, the governing board of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Polunsky houses Texas’s “supermax” units and is notable for being the location of Texas’s death row for men (executions, though, are conducted at the Huntsville Unit in Huntsville).
Due to the timeline and requirements to visit Polunsky, Elena was unable to visit the Unit this trip. An inmate must also agree to an interview or media access. 

Media access inquiries must go through TDCJ. In order to obtain access, you will need the inmates name and ID number as well as consent from the inmate and TDCJ. 

Since I’m always asked about gaining access to Units, I’m attaching the following information from TDCJ Communications. 

Media Policies and Guidelines for Offender Interviews:

Reporters wishing to interview offenders incarcerated within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) should submit their request in writing, by fax or e-mail to Jeremy Desel, Director of Communications, at (936) 437-6055 or jeremy.desel@tdcj.texas.gov.
All requests must be submitted on the news organization’s letterhead, and should include the reporter’s name and contact information, including an e-mail address. The request should also include the offender’s name and other identifying information (date of birth, TDCJ number, etc.) when known.
Interviews with general population offenders may be scheduled any weekday during regular business hours with the permission of the unit warden.
Request for interviews must be submitted at least three working days prior to the date of the reporter’s desired visit. Reporters will have one hour to interview an individual offender. A reasonable amount of time will be allowed for camera crews to set up equipment. This set-up time is not considered part of the hour granted to the reporter.
Interviews with men on Death Row are conducted on Wednesdays from 1:00 p.m to 3:00 p.m. Requests for these interviews must be submitted no later than noon on Monday prior to the desired Wednesday visit.
Reporters will have one hour to interview an individual offender on Men’s Death Row. A reasonable amount of time will be allowed for camera crews to set up equipment. This set-up time is not considered part of the hour granted to the reporter.
Interviews with women on Death Row are conducted on Tuesdays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Requests for these interviews must be submitted no later than noon on the Monday prior to the desired Tuesday visit.
Reporters will have one hour to interview an individual offender on Women’s Death Row. A reasonable amount of time will be allowed for camera crews to set up equipment. This set-up time is not considered part of the hour granted to the reporter.
All interviews will take place in the unit’s regular visitation area. No other photos or video footage may be taken in or outside the unit unless specified by a Communications Officer, or the unit warden.
Crews are limited to no more than three people. Each crewmember must have a valid driver license, passport or other official form of photo identification in order to enter a unit.
Reporters are not allowed to take the following items with them into TDCJ units:

Cellular phones
Tablets

Laptops

Cash

Tobacco products or lighters

Purses or briefcases

Pocketknives, fingernail clippers, or similar items.

The following items are allowed in the reporter’s possession: recording devices, wireless microphones, notepads, writing instruments and camera equipment.
It is recommended that reporters arrive at the unit at least 30 minutes before their scheduled interview time.
Everyone entering the unit will be subjected to a pat-down security search.
Conservative dress is encouraged for all visitors. Clothing that is tight fitting, revealing, or made with see-through fabrics is not allowed. Sleeveless shirts and dresses are allowed, but must cover the shoulders. Dresses or skirts should be no shorter than three (3) inches above the middle of the knee. It is also preferred that reporters and their crew members not wear white.
Reporters are generally allowed to interview individual offenders once every 90 days. Exceptions may be made by the Director of Communications if there is a major status change in the offender’s case.
Attorneys, families, spiritual advisors, and other individuals on an offender’s personal visitation list are not permitted to be present during media interviews, nor are reporters able to accompany any of these individuals on their personal visits.
Media representatives may not be listed on an offender’s visitation list if they wish to be recognized as media by the Communications Department. Any journalist who is placed on an offender’s personal visitation list will not be allowed to visit that offender as a media representative. The organization affiliated with the reporter placed on the offender’s personal visitation list will also not be able to visit the offender.
Failure to adhere to the agency’s media policies and/or guidelines may result in removal from the unit. Such failure may also jeopardize the organization’s ability to conduct future interviews at TDCJ facilities.

Questions about TDCJ’s media policies may be directed to the Communications Department at (936) 437-6052.
At the time Elena initially contacted me, I didn’t know of anyone from the Netherlands and had no one from Europe on my client roster. But, I posted on my FB and Instagram pages in search of ladies for Elena’s project just the same in the event that there were ladies who would reach out to Elena. 

Several months ago, while en route to TDCJ Wynn Unit, a call from a Germany number came through. It was a daughter who wanted assistance getting her mother married to an inmate at Wynn. 

Since I was driving there, I found this to be ironic. Calling about Wynn Unit while headed to Wynn Unit that is. The more I listened though, the flags started flying. The problem? The mother didn’t speak English and the inmate didn’t speak German. 

Heads up for anyone wondering why this would be a problem… marriages of convenience are strictly forbidden in the United States and constitute marriage fraud. 

Marriage fraud is a felony. If you cannot communicate with your partner, I can assure you that neither I or anyone else on my staff will conduct a marriage ceremony. 

I’m marrying a deaf inmate to a deaf client in a few weeks at Estelle Unit but they can communicate and understand each other. They can also understand my marriage ceremony. 

The daughter wanting help marrying her mother to an inmate DID speak English. But, she didn’t want to help her mother because she is already married to an inmate at another Unit and “busy with her own life.” I found this statement odd and alarming. The daughter could have traveled to Walker County or assisted her mother with the process but chose not to. Why? She was too busy? She wanted someone to help her mother get a marriage license I.E. me and also to marry her to an inmate at Wynn Unit but the fact that her mother couldn’t communicate with the inmate was a huge red flag. This problem would be a hurdle. 

I spoke to this young lady of my concerns and drove at the same time explaining why and how the communication aspect would be difficult. After all, I don’t speak German. The daughter speaks English. The daughter didn’t want to get involved. Hmm. I am more than a little familiar with marriage law. I advise people on a regular basis of why marriages of convenience are not in their best interest AND a crime.

The daughter wanted to drop her mother in my lap but this situation needed an immigration attorney first and foremost. I am blunt. This hot potato situation needed a hot minute. How was her mother going to file for a marriage license when they are only available in English and Spanish? I had a wide array of questions pertaining to the problems and the daughter “not wanting to get involved” really bothered me. It’s her mother. Why wouldn’t she want to get involved or help her? After going over all of the reasons this request wasn’t simple, I never heard from the daughter again.

Marriage Fraud is a crime… ICE Marriage Fraud Brochure. Whether the inmate is unaware of the penalties associated with marrying an illegal Alien who is trying to obtain citizenship or not, if you call me with suspicious reasons or intentions, I’m going to advise you of what a marriage of convenience is and suggest you seek an attorney.

The inmate is not my client. The person in the free world is. But if I cannot communicate with you, you are not a client. I will not conduct a marriage ceremony via electronic device. 

Both parties marrying at a prison with me officiating (whether one is behind glass or not) can both hear and understand me AND are standing within 3-5 feet in front of me. 

I do not perform proxy marriages and personally feel such marriage ceremonies are as far removed from “traditional” as you could possibly get. 

Yesterday morning, someone stopped me at the Parker County Jail to advise me of their belief that “people only marry inmates to obtain conjugal visits.” Ignorance speaks without forethought. Texas does not allow conjugal visits. The states with conjugal visits are California, Connecticut, New York and Washington.

I’m well aware there are are other states and even other countries that allow such visits but can assure you that none of my clients are marrying an inmate solely to benefit from a conjugal visit. For those unaware of what a conjugal visit is, here’s the Wikipedia link… Wikipedia Conjugal Visits.

I follow the letter of the law pertaining to marriage ceremonies and am well versed on family law and marriage law. There are those who aren’t but I’m not one of them. People going online to officiate marriages that have no idea of the burden their role carries need to educate themselves. 

Proxy Marriage is no longer an option within TDCJ. Both parties must be present and coherent. There must be a valid marriage license. No someone cannot get a marriage license for you. You must do that yourself. There cannot be two absent parties. An absentee affidavit is only available for one party. The absent party AKA the inmate who is unable to appear in person. 

Other states require the inmate to incur the expense of being transported to the clerks office while Texas eases the financial burden by allowing Absentee Affidavits in place of the person appearing at the clerks office. 

Communication is vital to marriage. If you cannot communicate with your partner and you happen to be here on a Visa, your marriage will be closely scrutinized. Why would you want marry someone you cannot communicate with? 

For the past year, I’ve not found any European women marrying death row inmates other than the one call from the daughter wanting someone to help marry her mother to an inmate at Wynn. I don’t speak German which is obviously a problem as well. TDCJ does have hearing impaired translators.

Marrying a death row inmate or “lifer” is a heavy burden. They will never come home. They will never see parole. There is no happy ending or Vow Renewal long after lock up. Only a very driven person could take on such a complicated relationship. I’ve met several. They accept what they cannot change. Their relationship is based on letters, phone calls and visits. They will never hold hands or touch. They will forever be separated by bullet proof glass. 

Since Cindy and I were on site at Ramsey meeting Shenequil, I sent an email to Elena letting her know our timeline. Shenequil and I waited in the lobby at Ramsey for our escort to the visitation area while Cindy waited in my suv fielding phone calls and emails. 

This wedding was a reschedule and I was excited to finally meet my bride and client in person. We sat and waited on her groom and his escort together. 

As he walked into the room, I decided to use a painted wall for the backdrop and moved tables and chairs to clear an area for the ceremony. 

Shenequil told me that she hoped to have her husband home for Christmas. He’s hopeful too. As we drove out from the Unit, searching for an area for photos our drive brought us to city hall. 

Cindy and I began unloading our inventory for some colorful and fun photos while visiting with my new bride. I love learning more about my amazing clients. 

Shenequil had a long drive back to Henderson and Cindy and I were headed to finally meet Elena. I chose Taste Of Texas which was about 20 minutes from Hobby and 38 minutes from our location in Angleton.

We had never been to this restaurant but liked the name. Festively decorated for the holidays, Cindy, Elena and I all enjoyed a meal at Taste Of Texas and a great visit together. 

Elena told us about the book, Death Row Dollies and her interest in women choosing to marry Death Row inmates. She had travelled to Arizona prior to Texas to meet a model who had married an inmate and was running a successful business from home. We also discussed another lady from the Netherlands who has had a seven year relationship with an inmate at Polunsky Unit. I offered to officiate the wedding. 

Elena told us about her family and asked about our own. We are very close and very open. Elena’s mother suffered with mental illness. Our mother struggled with addiction and bad choices. Elena’s mom jumped off a building our mom sold us for $50 each on our 6th birthday. All of us became the mothers we had never known. 

Hardships can define you or empower you to be stronger, more driven, more determined and more resilient. Hardship teaches compassion and wisdom. 

Elena’s project will put the unique and often misunderstood stigma of prison love stories into perspective. Shining a positive light on those who love an inmate is a challenge mainly because widestream media chooses to muddy the water rather than portray these men and women who love an inmate as the warriors they truly are. They do it all and they do it alone on the outside. The live on one income. The raise their children alone. They run to answer expensive phone calls from inmates. They make their love last through extreme circumstances. Their passion and commitment are remarkable.

We look forward to seeing Elena again in the Spring as she begins filming Unconditional Love.

TDCJ Ellis Unit Huntsville, Texas & Hitting The Road…

Just last week I was driving through Houston headed to TDCJ Scott Unit meeting my beautiful bride. The number of miles I burn through on a weekly basis often shocks people. My son had hitched a ride with me to Houston last week. My husband feels better knowing I’m not out on the road alone to Units 5 plus hours one way. Since I’m asked about our other states, I fly beyond Oklahoma and Arkansas. It’s just too much to drive to other states although I have driven to Ohio. For years I drove back and forth to California but driving puts a lot of stress on my timelines. I prefer to fly to other states and have for the past few years. 

Driving to Huntsville one day to turn around and drive past it the next makes for an exhausting 48 hours. 

This week my copilot was my sassy twin sister. Cindy is never without something to say about everything. In fact, yesterday as a belated birthday gift, I had assumed that a relaxing spa day and Swedish massage would be the perfect birthday gift yesterday but Cindy hated the entire experience. 

Cindy “they made me take off my clothes? What’s relaxing about that? I can go to the mall any day of the week and for $5 with my clothes on get a relaxing massage and people watch. Save your money sister and remember that most stuff you don’t like I do and vice versa. Get a massage for yourself because that was far from relaxing for me Pal.” Humph. 

Tuesday morning, I pulled out of Fort Worth towards Huntsville. For two months now, the inmate who had two brides wanting to marry him. One in North Dakota and a devoted pen pal who had been sending money. The other lives in San Antonio and was  a regular visitor to Ellis Unit and this particular inmate. North Dakota had never met the inmate in person.

Warily, I knew that the inmate was (most likely) nervous about finally meeting me in person because in this situation, I knew far more about this tangled web than is traditionally the situation. Brandi (North Dakota) and Valerie (San Antonio) were two people who would (most likely) have never encountered or even heard of each other had they both not been involved with Raul at Ellis Unit. My heart was heavy. I hoped Raul was prepared for the commitment marriage requires.

Driving to Huntsville solo, Elvis played on my car stereo. Love songs and faith played through my mind. Elvis can sing the praises of God like no one before him and no one after him. 

Would Raul break Valerie’s heart and abuse her trust the same way he had Brandi? Was there a future for Raul and Valerie after lock up? Would he be a loyal and faithful husband? All things far beyond my control. I can discuss the setbacks and problems marrying an inmate entails with my clients but I can’t always “talk anyone out of marrying an inmate.” 

Walking up to the tower from the parking area, I saw Valerie. The sun hitting her hair was like a halo. She was so tiny, petite, beautiful and beaming. She immediately hugged me. We’ve been through months of phone calls and texts. This was our first time to meet in person. 

I didn’t talk Valerie out of marrying although I spent several weeks going over the importance of love being based on trust. Valerie loves Raul. Brandi is heartbroken.The moments spent in the visitation area for weddings are somewhat brief. Fifteen to twenty minutes then signing the license before posing for photos and being escorted out. 

Valerie and I had time to discuss her life and her dedication to Raul as we waited for Unit photos to print. She is driven and dedicated. Her mother lives with her. She’s a mother herself working two jobs and doing it all alone. Her brother is also incarcerated and Valerie drives to visit him as well. 

At a young age, Valerie has many responsibilities. I discussed the need for her to set limits with her mother and Raul. She is pulled in far too many directions. 

Leaving the Unit, I found area for photos with Valerie and her friend. It was a chilly morning in Huntsville and my furs came in handy for Valerie and her friend. All too soon, Valerie was headed back to San Antonio. A long drive for a young bride who would be driving back to Ellis this weekend to visit her new husband.

“Families are similar to a pot luck dinner, you don’t have to like everything they bring to the table to appreciate the meal.” 

Cindy Daniel

Love Will Find A Way TDCJ Allred Unit To TDCJ Scott Unit Travels Of A TDCJ Officiant..

A few weeks ago, I met Latonya at the Tarrant County Clerks Office to buy her marriage license. Country clerks are far less familiar with inmate marriage. It is not uncommon for me to redirect a client to another clerks office. This “redirection” isn’t limited to Texas either. Experience matters. I know what to do and how to overcome the unforeseen.

The number one reason for an I60 Request For Marriage to be denied is that the inmate is ALREADY listed as Common Law Married to someone other than my client. To overcome this effective suck punch, I created a Dissolution Agreement that I send out to clients with regularity. 

No one planning to marry an inmate expects to find that the inmate has secrets but, more and more frequently in Texas this continues to be the case. In ALL situations this CLM status wasn’t something any inmate forgot about. Why? Because the inmate filed this paperwork solely to have contact (not conjugal as Texas does not allow these types of visits) visits. No one likes the glass. Not the inmates nor the visitors either. This week alone I’ve mailed 9 Dissolution Agreements out. 

A few weeks ago, I had a voice mail regarding TDCJ Henley Unit. I returned the call en route to conduct a memorial in Dallas. This caller was out of state and had a number of questions. Out of state folks should certainly consider taking a Twogether In Texas Course online. Why? Because Texas has a 3 day waiting period. For many of my Texas clients, a three day waiting period won’t interfere with their employment but most people don’t have three days when traveling from another state to “wait around.” The course is $29 but also discounts the cost of the marriage license by $60 as well as waiving the waiting period. 

The number of calls, emails and texts I review on a daily basis from numerous prospects regarding marrying an inmate in our multi state service area shocks everyone. 

I’ve NEVER advertised AND ALWAYS kept my promises. That’s the secret to Cindy and I creating not one but four unique and successful diverse businesses as a Twin Team.

For clients marrying an inmate, buying the marriage license can be an intimidating and frightening ordeal. I ease the stress by holding their hand through the process. When possible, I even meet my clients on site at the clerks office.A few weeks ago, I not only met but also drove my traditional clients, the Andersons to the clerks office to purchase their marriage license. 

Johnnie had made a successful life after lock up. Sharing his journey from TDCJ Michael to Allred to Ramsey, my client literally turned his life around and married Brenda last weekend at his new home in Fort Worth. Johnnie also owns a cleaning company and if you need the job done right the first time, Johnnie’s Onda Spot is your go to DFW service provider. My job has many roles. Parking and finding the right office can be intimidating to my clients so I ease their burden by either meeting them and walking in to the clerks office or picking them up and driving them myself. 

Allred Unit in Iowa Park is just a few miles outside Wichita Falls. Beyond Allred Unit are my other Units lined right up from Roach to Jordan to Clements. My son laughs because I don’t recall the names of cities I travel to. Instead, I recall the names of the Units.

An overcast sky and rain meant wet bridal shoots for Latonya and Cassandra which bothered me but I can’t control the weather although I wish I could for my clients.My Coffield Unit bride, Cassandra who was scheduled to marry in Tennessee Colony a few weeks ago and was advised by the Unit that her loved one had “caught a chain” and wasn’t at Coffield 48 hours prior to her wedding which is also emotionally upsetting but, Wednesday afternoon I married Latonya and Cassandra both at Allred Unit. Love always finds a way. 

Inmate transfers continue to be a shocking surprise to clients who have been waiting for months to marry but, we will be following your loved one and marry you at the new Unit. Don’t panic. Stay calm. You will get married. 

Catching a chain is a setback but a minor setback that can and will be overcome. I pass chain buses everyday and worry that the Unit I’m headed to has put my clients loved one on a chain bus passing me on the highway as I head to a Unit. It’s happened before and may happen again.

Unit photos continue to be less than we could hope for but Unit photos are hit and miss at all Texas Units. Buster Cole won the “worst Prison wedding pic” among my clients a few months ago. Why? Let’s take a look. My brides beautiful dress wasn’t visible in the Unit photo at all. To overcome this issue, I studied the photo to try and decide what exactly made her photo so dark? Was it the camera? By the way, I’ve had good news from my first Buster Cole client that they are finally going to live happily ever after and plan a Vow Renewal very soon. They have a real love story with a back story too. All of my clients have fascinating back stories.

I decided that the window was what caused the dark shadowing of my couple and at my next visit to Buster Cole, moved my clients away from the window. 

At my next visit to Buster Cole, I had another unexpected hurdle with the Unit advising my client that her clothes were too tight. 

To overcome this problem, I went out to my suv and grabbed an outfit from my dry cleaning. My client wore my clothes to her wedding which is why they appear a little large. This occurs more than anyone realizes. I come prepared.Leaving the Unit, I found an old building for her bridal photos. I’m always looking for unique locations near Units for photos. 

Many of you have been following the saga of two brides and one groom. This is a pickle. But, my North Dakota pen pal has moved on. We talk daily and I’ve successfully walked her through the heartache of being duped. The other bride intent on marrying at Ellis Unit sent me a text last night about cold feet. The problem? This wedding is scheduled for 11-12-2019 and right around the corner. 

Since I was driving back from TDCJ Scott Unit, I had my son (who had accompanied me on an all day adventure) answering incoming texts. I instructed Robbie to type my concerns and questions via text to Valerie. 

For someone so determined to marry just a few weeks ago, things have turned sour and I wanted to know why. I discussed at length that love is trust to Valerie and that the inmate specifically hid his pen pal relationship from her. 

If I see flags that you don’t, it’s because I’m old and wise and also because long after the glitter from your wedding has settled, the pain of a divorce will remain. I warn you for solid reasons. I’m every clients mother, advisor, cheerleader and occasionally a shoulder to cry on or the first person they call with good news. I wear many hats. 

Apparently, the Ellis inmate and his attitude are the reason my client (the winner of the two woman battle for one man controversy) is having second thoughts. 

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating so here it goes… if an inmate is controlling you from behind bars, things will not improve when they are in the free world. Establish clear boundaries now. Know YOUR WORTH. Put your needs first. If you don’t who will?

This Ellis inmate “played” the pen pal in North Dakota by pretending to love her. He also financially benefitted from being dishonest with and to her. My new friend in North Dakota was crushed. She was also bullied online because she truly believed the inmate had planned to marry her. 

How did North Dakota find out about San Antonio and the inmate who lied? An online forum for prison support. A posted photo was quickly addressed as someone planning to marry that was the very same photo my North Dakota friend had. Raul was “making the rounds.” 

This inmate was also “busted” when someone in a prison group recognized his photo and his name and told my North Dakota client he was marrying someone else from San Antonio. Wow. Like a movie script with too many plot lines, the hits from this scenario just keep coming. 

 “Pressure can burst a pipe, or pressure can make a diamond” 

Tony Dorsett

Prison Groups are tight and loyal. It should be noted that no one wants to get played. No one wants to get hurt. Protect your heart and your pocketbook folks because this pen pal situation gave not only me but also Brandi and Valerie a real eye opener regarding inmate pen pals and unsuspecting women who can be taken easily be taken advantage of by inmates playing not one but many people in the free world. 

Trust is essential to love. If you cannot trust someone how can you love them? I spent a week going over this with both Valerie and Brandi. But, Valerie was determined to marry Raul.

Valerie’s texts regarding “buying her own ring and paying for her own wedding” were accurate. All of my clients marrying an inmate foot the bills. Dedication, perseverance, loyalty and more are required to love an inmate. Financially the burden can be a heavy cross to bear but if an inmate is playing you for money and money is a driving force, WALK AWAY. 

One Gatesville inmate played a man for so much money that the story was featured in D Magazine. Also, after exhausting his income, this senior was found dead at his apartment in Gatesville after a visit from the inmates daughter to his home. His daughters suspected foul play and they were right.

“If you have to BUY someone’s AFFECTION, it’s not LOVE. You are making a PURCHASE. Know the difference.” 

This mornings phone call to one client involved me talking her out of a payday loan to marry an inmate. Payday loan interest amounts can easily range from 500-800% in Texas. Going into debt to marry an inmate is not in YOUR BEST INTEREST. I advised her to push the wedding back until after tax season instead. My advice is frank and always blunt. The inmate isn’t my client either. The “person on the outside doing it all alone” is my client. Protecting them is important to me.

After traveling with me to Allred Unit Wednesday, my son was in my driveway at 4:30AM yesterday to head to Angleton, TX. Generally Cindy is my copilot but one of my twin grandnieces had collapsed at school Tuesday due to an asthma attack that required hospitalization. The twins both have asthma. 

Maryssa (below next to Cindy far right) has stopped breathing entirely on 3 occcasions at school and required hospitalization. Due to Maryssa nearly dying at school the first time, Cindy and I fought for students in Texas to have the right to carry emergency inhalers and won. 

On a side note, we also fought for parents to choose whether or not to separate multiples in school and Twin Laws were established. Why did we care? We were separated ourselves and knew how traumatic being forcibly separated by school administrators was to multiples. 

Driving through the rain, my son noticed my phone never stops ringing. My son works three jobs and has for many years. He works as a driver for his father at Mr G’s Carpets as well as handling directional advertising for my husband at Mc Bee Homes and for me at Texas Twins Events and TDCJ Officiants. Robert also performs inmate weddings at county jails. Cindy does as well and also performs prison weddings when not traveling with me to Prisons or meeting clients or flipping items together. Cindy and I are almost always together.

Five hours after leaving Fort Worth yesterday, Robbie and I arrived at TDCJ Wayne Scott Unit. My beautiful bride was wearing a 50’s styled dress that I loved! It’s always exciting to finally meet my clients in person. Marcella’s family was waiting for her at the hotel so we followed her back and began unloading items for her bridal photo shoot. My son had a little trouble with my longest veil and the wind lol. People are always surprised at just how many miles I log in a week. Cindy’s Husband is a truck driver who often compares his miles per week with me lol. Steve wins week after week. Steve has been a truck driver 50 plus years. My husband has been a builder 50 plus years.

Cindy and I are celebrating our 55th birthday this weekend because we are working on our birthday this year (as usual). 

Next Tuesday we are at Huntsville Units. Wednesday, we finally meet a filmmaker I’ve been talking to an emailing the past year regarding a documentary about prison relationships and marriage. Elena will fly into Hobby while I’m inside Ramsey Unit with Shenequil and join us for bridal photos following the wedding. 

No One Likes Surprises. But, The CLM Issue Is And Continues To Be A Sticky Surprise…

I’m a good listener. In fact I do a lot of listening from one day to the next. My role is to listen first and give advice after understanding the issue. Yesterday I was calling Wayne Scott Unit for a scheduled time on 11-07 when a call from my Goree Unit Client came in. Buckle up buddies because it’s going to yet another bumpy ride… 

My Goree client was buying a wedding ring and I advised her of the Administrative Directive that specifically forbids ring exchanges with inmates as a “heads up.” Luckily, she was buying the ring for herself. I had been playing phone tag with a Goree Unit trying to get her on the schedule. The Chaplain didn’t have the paperwork and my client couldn’t find her ring in the right size so she was asking me about the two week turnaround to get it sent out and returned and wondering if we would be scheduled prior to the ring being ready.

I advised her that I can “bump a date” from a Unit and if we came up on the schedule earlier than the ring coming in, I would move the date to coincide with her having the ring. 

About an hour later while on hold with Ramsey Unit confirming 11-13-2019 for another client on my birthday, my Goree Unit client called me back. The inmate was listed as being Common Law Married to someone other than my client. This consistent problem is an effective “sucker punch.” Why inmates don’t disclose signing a CLM Affidavit or going into the system and proclaiming to be CLM I have no idea BUT this issue continues to pop up over and over and over again. So much so that I’ve created a Dissolution Agreement to overcome CLM issues. 

For the record… inmates ALMOST ALWAYS say that they forgot about a CLM status. They didn’t. In fact, the reason they signed or claimed to be CLM was solely to obtain a contact visit. 

TDCJ doesn’t conveniently change an inmates status to clear the way for their inmate marriage either. 

In fact, TDCJ suggests a divorce but how do you file a divorce for a marriage that didn’t follow state guidelines to make the marriage legal when the CLM Affidavit was never filed at the clerks office and was instead within TDCJ? Short answer? You don’t. You cannot file a divorce for a marriage that didn’t happen. 

Let’s review the Texas Informal Marriage filing requirements… both parties must be present. Both parties must fill out the application. Both parties must pay the fee for an Informal Marriage License. Both parties must swear out an oath. There are no shortcuts to an Informal Marriage filing. There are no Absentee Affidavits. There are no absent parties. TDCJ does not file this document with the clerks office on behalf of the inmate and they can’t. Why? Because ONLY BOTH PARTIES CAN FILE AN INFORMAL MARRIAGE LICENSE in person. 

Over the years, this CLM issue has come up so many times that I now expect it. Creating a notary required form to dissolve this union traditionally works but certain Units also require a marriage verification letter or divorce verification letter. What is it and how can you find it? Here’s the link- Texas Vital Records Marriage Or Divorce Verification Letter.

Why would you need both? Because TDCJ Units especially Private Units make their own rules. 

Now, overcoming a CLM issue is time consuming, frustrating and emotional for ANYONE that didn’t expect such a surprise. Stay calm. This hurdle can be overcome and it has for my clients. In fact, my Coffield Unit client who was scheduled to marry last Tuesday but couldn’t because the inmate caught a chain is one of many who has overcome a CLM issue with my help. EXPERIENCE MATTERS. 

My Wallace Unit client overcame a CLM issue (with the help of the Courts) because the inmate was 17 when he claimed CLM status and effectively underage. TDCJ changed the status back to Single but only after the Courts interacted on my clients behalf. I.E. the inmates status wasn’t changed without interaction and assistance. 

Next week at Allred Unit I’m marrying 3 clients one of which was a transfer from Coffield who overcame the “sticky CLM issue.” 

Stay calm and we will work through the process…

Michael Unit To Holliday Unit To Polunsky Unit. Travels Of A TDCJ Officiant…

Sharing the day with Cindy and I was an investigative journalist, Ella. She was in for a wild ride of running from one prison to the next with the Texas Twins. 

A day in my life is never boring. If you want to ride with me, you buckle up for adventure, laughs and a few surprises. 

Late Sunday, Ella and I coordinated my itinerary and her arrival. Due to Ella’s arrival time Monday at DFW, I had advised her to meet us on site at the Omni since there was no time to go to her hotel after landing at 2:30 and be on site in Dallas at 4PM. She had asked about the distance from DFW to her hotel and then to the Omni. Catching a Lyft from DFW to the Omni, Ella rolled her luggage right into the hotel lobby to meet my team. 

Learning that she had taken a Lyft rather than renting a car, I invited her to ride back with us but wondered where I would find room for her luggage? We worked it out lol. It was a tight fit but Ella was game to squeeze into my suv full of family and inventory like a pro. I liked her right off the bat. 

Ella was tiny and petite. She also probably had no real idea of what to expect. Most people google me and quickly realize I’m blunt and to the point. I don’t have time to be anything else. I get shit done and juggle clients and family with the fluidity of a seasoned tap dancer. I’m also ALWAYS on a tight timeline. My days are scheduled to the millisecond and leisurely lunches don’t fit into my lifestyle. I’m driven and difficult to keep up with. I’m also OCD. A list maker who always has a full plate and I like it that way.  Cindy is my sassy sidekick and partner. We do everything together. 

Ella quickly realized walking into the Omni that “structure with 5 children on site and an interview with me while chasing Leantrinette’s children” was out of the question and jumped right in to help my team. From handing inventory to rustling kids, Ella was quick to adapt to a really chaotic scene at the Omni. 

Normally, based on my schedule, Bridal or Groom Photos (complimentary and at no cost to clients) are scheduled before or after a Prison wedding.  I knew I wouldn’t have time between Holliday and Polunsky to do Leantrinette’s bridal photos so I shifted her to Monday instead. 

I should note that complimentary photography is reserved solely for clients marrying an inmate. Why? Because there is no cake, there is no music and prison photos are almost always disappointing. 

Out of focus, blurry prison photos are the only photos of my couple together so regardless of the quality, I purchase 3 Unit photos for $3 each in quarters for my clients. 

To solve the issues of “not having all of the things my traditional clients enjoy or take for granted,” I created an opportunity for my clients to celebrate their wedding day by bringing the party AKA my extensive inventory with me in my suv. 

Clients love their photo shoots with me and often tell me “my  photo shoot was the best part of my wedding day.” 

Finding unique spots for photos is challenging but I love a challenge! From veils to jewelry to hats, clothing, furs and more, clients excitedly open my trunk to find what’s in store. 

I had assumed that giving Ella a “heads up” about riding with me was in order. Why? I smoke, I cuss and my phone never stops ringing and I listen to 70’s music. Spending 15-17 hours in the car with me requires a heads up on what to expect. My salty language surprises a few people but I can’t change who I am to fit into a mold of what others expect. I’m a workaholic. A problem solver. Bold, transparent and unfiltered. Cindy is as well. Together we make a helluva team but we love 70’s hits and Marlboro Smooth 100’s and we are accustomed to spending all day in an suv together. Ella was ready for a jam packed 48 hours with the Texas Twins. 

Ella squeezes into my suv with my son, my daughter in law, her cousin, my twin and and with Ella’s suitcase, 17 bouquets, 15 tiaras, 12 bouteniers, numerous signs and 10 fascinators. We were loaded into my trusty suv like sardines in a can. 

Cindy and I were familiar with Leantrinette as she had requested that we do birthday photos of her mom for a surprise party in Dallas several months ago at Pappasitos. 

We rarely meet clients in person prior to wedding day but had met Leantrinette and her family. 

Photo shoots with children are tricky. Someone is always looking the other way. Someone is usually cranky or bored. We roll with photo shoots involving children because shooting for perfection is a hit and miss and because I’m always on a timeline. Leaving the Omni, I drove my crew and Ella to dinner. Ella had been introduced to the Texas Twins Events Team under a literal trial by fire of kids running everywhere, chaos and one toddler running into my pregnant daughter in law’s stomach. 

Bombarding the Omni as if we owned the place, Cindy was worried we would be asked to leave with all the craziness going on. 

To give you a clue about how crazy it was to attempt to orchestrate photos, here’s a video link- Texas Twins Events, Kids, Chaos & Clients chasing children on location? Yep. Welcome to my world. 

Occasionally, I do have children who love to have their picture taken as I did at Wallace Unit but it is a rare occurrence. The girls and little boy at Wallace loved playing dress up and enjoyed having their pictures taken. My trunk was a toy chest. Tuesday morning, while preparing to leave, Ella sent a text needing black socks. Due to the hour, there wasn’t anywhere to buy socks so I brought a pair of my own. 

Loaded up and leaving Fort Worth, our nearly twenty hour day would take us to many places.

Arriving in Tennessee Colony, I finally met Tonya. We had become fast friends during her prison planning process due to a number of hurdles. Getting Tonya married took months. There was a hold up at Michael Unit that concerned me due to my timeline. As Cindy and Ella waited in my suv, Tonya and I waited an hour and a half. Increasingly alarmed, I asked why we were still waiting and explained to the guard my need to be hours away at Holliday Unit at 2:30PM. The hold up was another Officiant running late AND under dressed with her client. We were waiting on the warden to bring a cafeteria smock to this “other Officiant.” Ugh. It’s a prison folks dress appropriately ESPECIALLY if you are an Officiant. You are expected to know policy and procedure and above all… the dress code. That dress was so short that the 3 inch above the knee guideline had been stretched to 3 feet! What the? Come on. I was as irritated as my client that this “other Officiant” had held us up by under dressing. 

Because of this unexpected delay, I asked to do my Ceremony first and explained why due to my schedule. Thankfully, the guard knew me and my bride and I walked outside for her ceremony while waiting for the camera. Realizing this could easily take 20-30 minutes that I didn’t have, I handed my quarters to Tonya at 12:17PM to run through the Unit back out to my suv. Thank God we did Tonya’s wedding photos before heading to Michael Unit. Cindy and Ella were panicking in my suv that we would be late for Leantrinette at Holliday Unit. I literally hauled ass on backroads with no time to stop for food or the bathroom.

Arriving with 5 minutes to spare at Holliday, Leantrinette was on site and ready to go. Leantrinette was thrilled to finally marry the father of her children twelve years later. We had a minor set back screening in due to Leantrinette’s top. Thankfully, she had a tank under it that I pulled up in the front and down in the back to cover cleavage and the need for a cafeteria smock. 

Running from Holliday to Polunsky, there was no time for a restaurant but during a gas stop, we used the restroom and grabbed snacks to drive on.

Arriving at Polunsky, Lastacia was right behind us at the guard gate. She loved the corsage and necklace set I had brought with me and wore them into the Unit. Leaving the Unit, we followed our TDCJ media relations escort to our photo area. Thank you Mr Durst! Lastacia loved the bouquet I had created for her photo shoot and Cindy’s coordinating fascinator.

Back on the road by 7PM, our four hour drive home was long but our day was productive giving our clients a wedding day as special as they are… 

Old And Bitter Or Covered In Glitter? Reality Bites Drama, Deception & Divas…

Yesterday while driving from Mercado Event Center to Belltower Chapel, an email from my November client planning a backyard wedding came through that confused me. “Brenda’s having car trouble but I will be available to keep our appointment.” This confused me because I was wondering why my client didn’t go pick Brenda up but, I had two hours before our meeting so I sent a text back that read “I’m on the West side and if you need to change the appointment, please let me know as my schedule is rather tight this weekend from Fort Worth to Shreveport to Winstar Casino and I’m not sure I can reschedule anything this weekend.” I didn’t hear anything back so I went ahead to my next appointment while running to pick up photos for my Wallace Unit, stopping by the post office, going to the cleaners, running into Mercado Event Center to meet my clients for a rehearsal then leaving to fill up my suv and running through a car wash before checking in with my Belltower clients to confirm our evening appointment and running to my clients home. 

What you are about to read will surprise you just as much as it did me. I thought this couple had everything going for them. They had just bought a new home together or so I thought and I had even driven them to the clerks office to get their marriage license. They were both excited about planning their wedding. The bride of course had several things important to her from a photo of the cake to the color of the linen and the groom wanted to be sure that whatever she wanted stayed within the budget. Nothing gave me any indication of any conflict. I saw two happy older people beginning a new life together but looks can be deceiving.

Driving to my destination, I mentally went over my week. As usual, it’s jam packed. The only issue I’ve had to concern myself with regarding this event was the weather. Why? It was outdoors. Texas weather is tricky. 

Arriving on site, I unloaded the champagne toasting glasses, gift card box, guest book and other items I had purchased for this event along with my tape measure. My client greeted me at the door and we went through  everything and I asked for a photo to be provided by the client. We also discussed my decorative ladder with garland blocking the front door and directing guests to the gate instead. We then went outside to check the direction of the sun and discuss where the guest tables, food tables and chairs would be for the reception and ceremony. None of this was unusual. In fact, it was an ordinary day of discussing details two weeks prior to the event. 

Once my client and I were on track regarding the slope in the  yard and where everything would go as well as the timelines, we went back into the house to finish business. My cell phone dinged. I didn’t answer. I never take calls or respond when I’m with a client. My cell phone then rang right after my clients cell phone did. Buckle up for one surprise after the next kids…

The fiancé of my client was calling and texting because she thought our meeting had been canceled. I was confused about this. My client watched me talk to his fiancé warily. I advised her of everything we had discussed and explained that I could not reschedule due to my schedule and apologized. 

Hanging up, my client advised me “Brenda didn’t really have car trouble. Her car was repossessed. This is the second time it’s happened. I’m concerned.” I WAS NOW CONCERNED TOO. Having your car repossessed is alarming. Having financial problems was why my client was getting cold feet too.

Two weeks prior to wedding day? An inkling and unsettling premonition of the dreaded “Sexually Transmitted Debt Due To Marriage?!” What else could be going on? I advised my client of very real possibility of debt lawsuits, tax liens and the fact that marriage merges debt. I also began asking more questions.

They met online a year ago. My client spent twenty years in Texas Prisons. My client had just bought a new custom home. My client had rebuilt his life and my client had FAR MORE to lose. I brought up the need for a Prenup. It’s a touchy subject but a necessary discussion. My role is to protect and advise my client of the need to protect his assets and I did. 

“My role and my experience when it comes to protecting my clients is varied. In certain situations, I’ve advised my client not to marry. In other situations I’ve advised clients of the need for a Prenup. Each client is different. Each set of circumstances is also unique. I have one set of clients marrying inmates, another set so fixed on income that they are bartering services and yet another set with enough income to have whatever they want. As a premarital counselor with an education of debt lawsuits and those affected by them, I spent years in courtrooms understanding how marriage merges debt. To prevent the result of marriage incurring sexually transmitted debts, advising clients to consider Prenuptial Agreements is alarming to other vendors. However, my candor, experience, honesty and integrity are why I’m sought after. I don’t HAVE to work which gives me freedom. I’ve never advertised and I put my clients first. What they don’t know they learn from me. EXPERIENCE MATTERS.”

Wendy Wortham

Should aging and the fear of being lonely lead you to jump into marriage? No. Does the glamour of wedding planning and the glitter of the gaiety blindside couples to problems that need to be addressed prior to  marriage? Absolutely. This couple have gone through not one but two premarital courses together. 

Why wasn’t finances discussed in either class? The number one cause of divorce is money or infidelity. Whoever was teaching those courses certainly should have touched on finances and budgets. I would have. Brenda called me last week minutes before pulling into Wallace Unit to “add on” a wedding arch. My contracts are very specific. There wasn’t anything in our contract for a decorated wedding arch. I also needed to get into the Unit with my client. I advised Brenda that I would have to get bids and revise her contract and that I was on site. 

I juggle 18-29 clients a month. I do not take calls or texts when I’m with another client either. Brenda is blinded by the glitter. Everyone is on Pinterest but no one is researching cost or delivery. I don’t have an inventory fairy. I do have an agreed upon budget. “Add Ons” require a new contract. 

“Love believes all things” or does it? I asked more questions. Two repossessions in one year? Where was her money going? I’ve already paid deposits and made purchases for a wedding that may not happen. My client needs to protect his finances and future. After all, he’s already lost many years of his life to prison. Mrs Right or Mrs Right Now? It was a very important turning point for my client who prior to my discussion with him was wholly and entirely unaware that debt is similar to poison ivy. It spreads to your partner.

This morning between bookings, I went to visit my niece who is currently in a six month treatment program at a church with other women in the same program. My heart was heavy. Will this program work? Will my family ever get Stephaney back? I wiped tears of fear entering the church. I had no idea what to expect. I wondered again why meth had taken nearly 17 years of my niece’s life? Why God had allowed me and my family to be drug through the destruction addiction brings to loved ones? My anxiety was high. 

For a person that regularly plans and marries people, I wondered if my niece would ever find a life partner too? Will Stephaney one day get her life in order and have a husband and her own home? What will happen when I’m dead and gone to my niece? I’m running out of time to get Stephaney on track. Cindy and I will be 55 next month. Stephaney is 34 years old. The twins are 15. I need my niece to realize that none of us can keep getting on the merry go round of “Stephaney being clean then she’s not clean anymore” because we can’t. Drugs destroy families. My mother’s addiction destroyed my childhood. My nieces addiction is destroying my adulthood. I hate addiction. I hate drugs. I don’t understand why weak people allow drugs to affect their decisions? Choose life. It’s not that difficult. Choose your family. You have a choice. 

The church was full. I had no idea where to find Stephaney. I took a seat in the back. I realized directly in front of me stood my niece praising God unaware of me behind her and started crying. I didn’t want her to see my emotion of all the years spent praying for her. I chose to compose myself before touching her back to let her know I was there. Stephaney was wearing clothes that I didn’t recognize. I had taken clothes to the facility as well as shoes and toiletries but didn’t buy the dress she was wearing.

I knew that seeing me alone wouldn’t be as celebratory as seeing me with Cindy and the twins. Steph had wanted her mom (my twin) and her twin daughters to join me but they had declined. I’ve always been the fixer. Re establishing trust between my family and my niece won’t be easy. It will be painfully challenging. 

I’ve lost my faith in God over and over again throughout my life. My path has never been easy. A family member sexually abused my twin sister and I for years until we ran away. We didn’t have a mother to protect us or anyone who cared. Why has my life always been a struggle? Where was God when I needed hope? My struggle and my faith have been tested time and time again. Hardship didn’t define me or my twin. Instead hardship empowered us both. We are warriors.

My mother was a heroin addict until debilitating accident occurred in 1989 that destroyed 60% of her brain that resulted in her forgetting her lifelong heroin addiction. I would never be able to confront her over her choices at tore our family apart. Hours prior to the accident, I had met my mother for the first time in 20 plus years. Why the separation? Our mother sold all four of her children for $50 each to go buy heroin. Hours prior to her accident, I paid her to meet me and answer my questions. The answers weren’t what I had expected. She could have lied and spared my heart but chose not to. That “rent money” she wanted to meet me? It was used to buy drugs that resulted in “the accident.” 

At our meeting, I was too shocked to express my anger. Fifty dollars? I was paying her $1500 to meet me and answer four questions. Cindy refused to go with me to this meeting. I went alone. The fantasy of her worrying or wondering what happened to us was shattered. The truth hurt. In fact it hurt so much that even today the scar remains. Guilt over money I paid her to meet me that resulted in a life altering accident also plagued me for years. Her answers to my questions haunt me. Why didn’t I react? Why didn’t I tell her that because she was such an awful and thoughtless mother that Cindy and I left home and chose homelessness over a broken home? 

Why didn’t I tell her I blamed her? Because my “dreaded dark stranger” a chronic stutter that has haunted me since our mother abandoned us at 6 years old had (as usual) grabbed my tongue. I was speechless. I couldn’t respond. I didn’t cry. I paid her the money with my head hung ashamed that Cindy had been right. 

Indignant that my mother hadn’t bothered to bathe or bother putting any degree of pride into her appearance while having ten full days notice of meeting me. I walked away. My entire childhood was spent fantasizing that my mother cared. That she wondered. That she had tried to find us. That she worried. She hadn’t given us a second thought. “I didn’t want kids and I certainly didn’t want twins.” I couldn’t believe those were her parting words. Driving back to San Clemente from Solvang, I hated my mother. I also hated myself for stupidly convincing myself she had spent years searching for us. I was an idiot. A sap. An easy Mark. 

“The accident” occurred in Santa Maria while I was driving to San Clemente. My mother’s mother called my home to let me know “your mother has been in an accident. She isn’t expected to live. This is your last chance to say goodbye.” I played it over and over again. I then drove to Santa Maria. This time with my sister and my nieces. I wasn’t alone but I felt alone. I didn’t want to talk about my meeting. I drove in silence. 

I could have never anticipated that she would be missing an eye and half of her brain when I saw her again the same night. I was devoid of any emotion after “the accident.” I was empty. Unable to feel pity for someone who had only hours earlier had no remorse whatsoever for her own choices or her actions that had affected an entire family. 

My niece became pregnant at 15 with twins. Maryssa and Makenna would never have the childhood Cindy and I did. We became the mothers we had never had. We took our own childhood and threw that book the trash. Deliberately and with forethought, we became the role models we had never known for the twins and our children. When Stephaney fell, we were there to pick her up. Over and over an over again. Cindy’s arms are weary. My heart is heavy. 

“An addict will find any reason to celebrate even if it’s the grand opening of a pack of cigarettes.”

Cindy Daniel

I understand my nieces twin daughters anger. I understand my twin sisters anger. I also know that unless I can convince my niece to never use drugs again that she will lose her family forever. I’m the only one still standing. Still praying. Still holding out hope. I’m standing alone. But today at a church filled with people singing the praises of God, I wasn’t alone. I was holding my nieces hand. I was listening to the sermon and I was regaining my faith that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. I’m giving up my despair to God. I have to as my heart pertaining to my niece and my mother are heavy. Will Stephaney choose her family? I pray she does…

Perception isn’t reality. People tell me I’m lucky all the time. It’s untrue. I have never been lucky but I have always been resilient, passionate and perseverant…

Will my client overcome unexpected financial secrets? Will my niece choose her family? Will my family trust my niece again? I have no idea but I do have faith. 

Wallace-Ware Unit To What’s Next With My Ellis Unit Client, The Inmate & The Pen Pal…

It’s been two weeks of running here, there and everywhere while fielding calls and being positive for one young lady in North Dakota who was swindled by a poison pen bearing inmate at TDCJ Ellis Unit playing her for his own gain. 

In all honesty, I was hoping the other woman STILL actually planning to marry him would have second thoughts. She doesn’t. Blindsided because North Dakota realized she was being played by the inmate, she’s taking it in stride. In fact, the woman the inmate planned to marry and used the pen pal to obtain the necessary paperwork planned to marry next Tuesday. Due to a Lock Down though, this wedding is now on hold and we can only hope that during this period, everyone involved has time to heal from a very unexpected ordeal.

Why the actual fiancée isn’t holding the inmate accountable for his con or doubting his trust after confronting him about North Dakota I have no idea. The pen pal was a pawn and cast aside after months of sending money. 

The inmate had been writing love letters and was also on numerous pen pal forums soliciting new victims who might fall for and believe his sappy scripts of loving them madly. Such scenarios leave victims. Brandi shared these love letters with me as well as the actual fiancé. 

Brandi has been sending four hundred dollars a month to this inmate and believed that he was planning to marry her.

The inmate was also using Brandi to obtain information from me as to how to go about planning and executing a Prison wedding. 

Brandi contacted me in August. I advised her to download an absentee affidavit for Walker county where the inmate is located. 

I didn’t hear back from Brandi until someone on a prison page recognized the inmates name and that he was marrying someone from San Antonio AND that I was the Officiant for not only Brandi but also Valerie. What the? Yep, Brandi hadn’t booked services though which was why I had no idea of the inmates name or that she was planning to marry the same inmate my other client was. 

Such shocking things as this are rare but for the inmate writing pen pals who only care about themselves, the possibility of these widespread script writing prison con artists may be far more common than anyone (especially me) had ever previously thought possible. Let’s face it folks, inmates have a lot of time on their hands. 

Several months ago, a Dutch filmmaker contacted me regarding pen pals from Europe to Texas Death Row Inmates. I didn’t have any pen pal clients from abroad but have kept in contact with her and posted several inquiries on my pages. It’s very rare for me to marry a pen pal. How do I know? My clients share far more information than anyone realizes with me. Brandi and the fiancé didn’t. Hence my surprise. I’m wary of pen pal love stories. 

Traditionally, pen pal marriages of my clients are between United States based males marrying female inmates located at Gatesville, Texas Units. 

For the weeks I’ve spent talking to Brandi while trying to give her insight and advice, it’s become a battle between two women over one man and if it were me, I would drop him like a hot potato but, one woman is hellbent on marrying this inmate. 

Valerie and Brandi have both been contacting me about each other daily for two weeks now. They have also both changed their last names to the inmates last name on social media. The shocking tit for tat went even further when family of the inmate began targeting Brandi who was already a victim of a con game that led her to believe the inmate loved her. I advised Valerie to stop this online bullying immediately after reviewing screenshots sent to me by Brandi. Bullying is never okay. Bullying someone who has already been victimized is despicable. I want this to stop and I’m intolerant of bullies. I’ve become a friend to Brandi. She needs a friend. 

Yesterday while coordinating with a journalist traveling to DFW to interview me and accompany myself and my twin sister to four Units on 10-22-2019, Brandi sent me a text regarding the inmate still being on several pen pal sites. This was alarming because like Brandi I was certain that Valerie should know this information in an effort to prevent yet another “incident” of two women and more drama. There could very well be more than two women involved in the Don Juan due to his numerous pen pal accounts. 

Due to two weeks of vicious online attacks and bullying by the inmates family against Brandi who was already victimized by the inmate, Brandi was once again suicidal. Her last text to me read “she can have him. The real Mrs Fuentes wins.” I was shocked and alarmed and with a client when the text came through. 

I immediately contacted suicide prevention to do a welfare check after being unable to reach Brandi following that very alarming text message. She is now doing okay and knows that she can contact me at any time. 

Bullying hurts everyone. Bullying someone who has been played and had their trust abused is something I cannot and will not tolerate. I advised Valerie to tell everyone concerned to cease messaging Brandi immediately and that if something happened to Brandi due to this bullying that criminal penalties would result. 

For people unaware of this, bullying anyone into suicide is usually documented and easily obtainable by authorities. Brandi had screenshot these messages to me. I in turn sent them to Valerie and told her flat out to stop anyone doing this to cease doing it immediately.

Brandi told me that “I was the mother she had never had.” Brandi deserves someone worthy of her. The inmate and his poison pen need to stop making broken promises. 

This morning after responding to an email from Elena regarding her documentary about pen pals and death row inmates, my Coffield Unit client, Cassandra called me about her fiancée catching a chain out of Coffield. We had been scheduled to have their wedding at Coffield 10-22-2019 @9:30AM. Cassandra and I will now be following the groom. Who knows where this wedding will wind up? 

My beautiful bride, Tiffany met me at Wallace Unit last week. For months trying to undo a CLM status was preventing the wedding from taking place. HOWEVER, the inmate was 17 when he went into the system and by law underage. Tiffany fought for this marriage and deserved to at least hold her Fiancee’s hand but lost the ability due to a charge involving a cell phone photo that he and numerous other inmates happened to be in moved the inmate to a G5 status which effectively put him behind glass. 

Tiffany was devastated about this as anyone planning to hold their loved ones hand would be. She also asked the warden to make an exception. The warden declined to make an exception. Further, I was told that the Unit camera wasn’t working which prevented Tiffany from having wedding photos. 

Weddings are Life Events and due to circumstances beyond Tiffany’s control, her wedding ceremony wasn’t what she had planned. Her bridal shoot was though! Her mother and the grooms family were waiting for her near Wallace Unit and our caravan headed to Colorado City Park together.

Unloading items I had packed in my suv for the photo shoot, it quickly became apparent  that Tiffany’s mom and the children were really going to enjoy playing dress up!Headed back to DFW, I stopped at Parker County Jail to meet a client and catch up my emails and text messages. My Ramsey Unit bride is finally going to marry in November. Cindy’s performing a ceremony in Jacksboro at Lindsey State Jail. 

This weekend I’m back on location with traditional clients and Vow Renewals and preparing for a memorial graveside ceremony in Dallas next weekend. 

Monday I’m in Dallas for a bridal photo shoot with my Holliday Unit Client, Leantrinette at Omni Hotel. 

Tuesday, Cindy and I hit the ground running for four Prisons in three cities in one day.

Can’t wait to see all of you very soon at your Prison Wedding, Vow Renewal, Babtism or other Dream Event. For our California clients, we will see ya all in December.. Leigh Ann has finally moved into her new townhome and is ready to get to work and meet ya all too… 

Grooms, Good Times & Keeping The Faith. Prison Marriage Isn’t Limited To Women…

I’m always a little surprised by others assumptions. “What do you mean Wendy?” Well, a call this morning from a reporter interested in statistics and unconcerned about my schedule (as usual) wanted to disrupt my morning of calling to confirm dates at Units with what “he needed.” 

Let’s review how contacting me at your convenience affects me. First, unless you are a client, you aren’t my priority. Your luggage is your trip. Get in line. Email or tell me what you need and I will get back to you at MY CONVENIENCE. 

A few months ago something so preposterous occurred that for those of you who might have missed it, I will revisit this shocking and rampant escapade with a “producer” who contacted me via my Instagram page (@wendywortham) via messages. 

Stay tuned for one of the most fabricated and misleading wastes of my time and patience that I have ever encountered with anyone in the entertainment industry and WHY I’m so bitchy about people contacting me to do their job for them….

In March, 2019, Chris contacted me regarding seeking women for a prison based show. This isn’t unusual. In fact, people seeking prison love stories contact me with alarming regularity and always at “their convenience.” 

Since I’m well aware that a production companies job is “to find and secure the talent,” I am wary of anyone contacting me to do their job for them and advised Chris of this. In fact, I flat out told him to “send me a contract.” Chris probably assumed that I was unfamiliar with contracts but I’m not. 

Chris had emailed me an unsigned contract giving me whatever I asked for without terms pertaining to compensation OR HIS SIGNATURE. That’s right ya all. Chris was a player and thought he would play me. Sitting at his desk while having me perform the work of an unpaid talent scout or and this is ironic…a production company assistant in a volunteer capacity. Humph. 

I am a very busy person and intolerant of smoke and mirrors. I don’t like liars or con artists either. 

Over the course of about a week, Chris consistently “skirted” direct questions from me regarding signing that contract. I was juggling 9 clients during that week since it was March AND wedding season with more demanding phone calls, text and emails  from Chris who wanted and expected me to drop what I was doing and accommodate his needs for me to scour my clients and find “attractive women” then provide him with their information. By the way, all of my clients are attractive. 

NOW you are catching on to why I have such “an attitude” about people contacting me to do their job and especially people contacting me who think or believe that sending me a phony contract AKA carrot to chase their stick in order to bamboozle me to do their job for them will never result in what they expected to happen. Go find someone green enough to fall for your song and dance but don’t assume that someone is me. 

After a week of Chris and his crazy demands from Southern California as well as that phony contract, I blew him off and out of my life. What a colossal waste of time that was. 

I posted a blog warning my clients not to waste their time with Chris. Subsequently, Chris also threatened to sue me for defamation which I found hilarious BECAUSE Chris had failed to realize that I could easily document everything due to first the phony and unsigned contract. Second the emails. Third the text messages and fourth the direct messages on Instagram. 

Defamation and libel lawsuits have idiots unaware of what such suits involve running around screaming lawsuit. Here’s a heads up for ya all, truth is an absolute defense in a court of law. Phony contracts are also fraudulent too. If you are going to send me a phony contract, lie to me them scream lawsuit because I published the facts, you will also have me laughing my a$$ off at your ignorance. Chris did. Don’t threaten to sue someone when you have no idea of the legal process involved and especially when you are at fault. A guilty dog barks first. Barks lawsuit that is. I document everything. I’m also not stupid enough to fabricate anything unlike Chris. 

Sue me for stating the facts? Warning my Prison clients within the US that every person “telling them that they are casting a prison based show” might very well be fabricating the facts? 

Don’t be Chris. Truth is an absolute defense in law. Countersuits for malicious prosecution are real and expensive. It’s now been seven months and after a promise to hear from his attorneys, I have yet to receive anything regarding a threat of a lawsuit from either Chris or his attorney although I have carefully prepared and documented exhibits of the evidence in order to prepare for a countersuit in the event Chris follows through with his threat. I don’t bring a knife to a gunfight and my time is at a bill rate. The entire week I spent dealing with Chris COULD have been spent working and earning. My time isn’t free. Also, simply because I live in Texas, it’s best for anyone to realize that I’m not a hillbilly dazzled by promises of fame or fortune. 

Chris assumed that he could intimidate Chris also underestimated me. I’m not young or dumb. Go blow smoke up someone else’s skirt. If you want me to help you, don’t make up a phony contract to “coerce or entice me” either. Don’t call me and expect me too jump unless you are a client and under contract OR you’ve sent me a valid contract and I have agreed to the terms. 

This isn’t my first rodeo kids. Be honest. I’m busy juggling four businesses, a wide and varied client base, working with venues I’m on staff at, volunteering as a hospice clergy and a premarital counselor. I don’t have time for games. No one does. If you want something from me, get in line and when I have time I will answer you. My clients and my family come first. 

What most folks fail to realize about me is that I’m not stupid. In fact, I’m highly intelligent and spent years in courtrooms. I’ve also represented myself in federal court and won. “What? Why?” I was on an excused medical leave of absence due to thyroid cancer and fired while on leave. My  former employer had  also canceled my health insurance. While undergoing medical treatment? Yes. Stay tuned… 

Subsequently, I sued Chair King. Attorneys for Chair King moved the suit to Federal Court and filed a Motion To Dismiss due to the change of venue. I amended my petition to federal standards. I don’t run around screaming “lawsuit” like Chris. 

In fact, if I was forced to sue anyone, I can assure you that there were valid reasons. I also settled with Chair King for $40k a few weeks after successfully amending my petition to federal standards. Hopefully, they don’t fire anyone else on an excused medical leave AND cancel their health insurance. 

Fun (and shocking) fact from the Chair King lawsuit, one of their attorneys (the same attorney who tried to get a dismissal by moving the case) also turned me into the Supreme Court UPL Committee. I’ve encountered stupid people before. The attorney believed that by forcing me to defend myself against that frivolous UPL complaint that I would be far too busy, scared and intimidated regarding that erroneous UPL complaint to find the time or highly articulate skill set to successfully amend my pro se lawsuit against Chair King. 

Yes, dear readers, I’ve met sneaky attorneys too and I know my rights. If someone files a UPL complaint, you are entitled to a copy of said complaint. Demand it. Frankly, I was as shocked as you are BUT due to the requirement of notifying the respondent, I recognized the attorneys name immediately. I also demanded a copy of the UPL complaint from the Supreme Court and immediately recognized the attorneys name who had filed it. For anyone unaware of the gravity pertaining to a UPL complaint, it’s a felony. It is also a felony to accuse someone of a crime that they have not committed. It is also a breach of attorney conduct. I used that Supreme Court copy of the erroneous complaint “10 ways to Sunday.” Hog tying a rattlesnake ain’t easy but I did. 

After successfully defending myself against that unscrupulous UPL complaint filed by Chair Kings Attorney of record, I also filed a copy of the UPL Complaint and the Complaintant right into my Amended federal lawsuit against Chair King. 

Not surprisingly, the judge was just shocked regarding that an unfounded UPL complaint by opposing council as I was. 

Have you ever noticed that the same people who use sneaky and underhanded tactics to get their way are the very same people who think they are smart? There is a helluva difference between someone smart and someone being a smart ass! I recognize the variation quickly. My life is black or white. I have no grey areas.

People like Chris are the type of people I have no interest in wasting my time talking to. In 2012, I sold Defending Debt Lawsuits LLC. I then created Texas Twins Events. I’m neither gullible or ignorant. People might THINK or even ASSUME that I’m stupid and I let them because it always works to my advantage to do so. 

My twin will tell you flat out “Wendy is scary smart” and effectively warn you. Cindy warmed Chris too. Cindy knew that I was documenting everything pertaining to a contract sent to me that no network would agree to. I saw a wolf in the hen house early on. I document everything. People quickly forget their own lies. Chris did. 

By the end of the week last March, he had sent an email “promising $1k to me for each booked client that I referred to him.” At the same time, he was contacting my clients by clicking their Instagram name from my photos on my page while feeding me yet another line of BS. I called his hand and advised him “my clients are loyal. They told me you contacting them behind my back AFTER emailing me that BS $1k email and AFTER sending me your phony contract you probably laughed drawing up F off.” I meant it too.

At 16 years old, I signed my first contract to film 5 commercials with Mel Tillis for Whataburger. I’m well aware of the entertainment industry, familiar with production and know a BS story when I hear one. 

Cindy and I have filmed numerous televisions shows and our own television pilot. We have also been under contract with numerous production companies. I.E. we know the drill and our worth. Our clients don’t. We inform them. We also protect them from people like Chris willing to lie to get what they want from them. 

Don’t believe everything you hear from “someone in the film industry” get a contract. Make sure the person sending it signs it too. 

Now, back to that pesky reporter… the percentage of men marrying women among my clients is 6-10% the percentage of LBGT clients marrying in prisons is 11-18% the remaining percentage of my client base for inmate weddings is self explanatory. 

For reporters or production companies follow my pages, I do not post photos of ALL of my clients. Privately owned Units do not allow wedding photos. TDCJ photos are purchased for $3 each. Bridal or Groom photos are a courtesy for all of our booked clients. Inventory is provided by me at no cost to them. Prints are mailed to clients as a wedding gift. 

I do not ask anyone why their loved one is incarcerated. I do not share client information with anyone unless I’ve discussed a project with my client and they have shown interest. 

Neither I or Cindy are under contract. Finding the right project, production company and network aren’t a priority to myself or my sister. Our focus is and always will be on our clients…

Mr Right Or Mr Right Now?  Know Your Worth & Set Boundaries…Choosing A Life Partner Isn’t Easy…

This morning, I had a number of surprise revelations. It’s tough to surprise me. I’m old and wise and I’ve been working with the public for forty years now. I’ve also literally “seen it all” in the wedding and events business. 

Today’s eye opener was something I’ve yet to encounter so buckle up for yet another bumpy ride ya all because I literally found myself “stuck in the middle of a situation” today with two brides planning to marry the same inmate. I’m also as shocked as you are.

“You’ve seen it all? What do you mean Wendy?” Last year, a brawl at an upscale and elegant wedding in Fort Worth resulted in several arrests. Was I surprised? Absolutely. I was also hurt while trying to separate the brawling groomsmen. 

A few months ago, while signing in at the Duty Desk at Tarrant County Jail with my client, the inmates “baby mama” was waiting to visit this Don Juan herself when overhearing that my client was on site for a visit “with her minister.” 

Could we have known that the “baby mama” was on site with her minister and a Louisiana marriage license? No. Who would? But, after a verbal altercation, my client tore up her marriage license and effectively washed that man right out of her hair and her life. Just when I think I’ve seen everything- I’m consistently surprised by Events that no one could have foreseen! 

Shockingly, THIS weekends round of surprises involved an inmate writing love letters to someone in another state who had contacted me regarding a TDCJ marriage in Texas and another client scheduled to marry the same inmate this month. What the? Stay tuned. 

In August, I had a DM from someone wishing to marry an inmate. This isn’t unusual. I went through the process of advising her what she would need to do from her end to expedite the process in Texas. Why? Texas has a 3 day waiting period. To overcome this inconvenience for my out of state clients, I suggest the  Twogether In Texas Premarital Course that effectively waives the 3 day waiting period while also discounting the cost of the marriage license by $60.

Last night at a client meeting with my November 2nd clients for a backyard wedding, my groom asked about his minister “making a certificate.” I’m going to clarify that no one can “MAKE a certificate” for Twogether In Texas that will be accepted by the the county clerk UNLESS that person is a registered provider WITH Twogether In Texas. 

The Twogether certificate MUST be printed on an authorized Twogether In Texas form. Explaining this to my clients who had been taking Premarital classes through their church minister, it became apparent to me that there is widespread confusion regarding Twogether In Texas. 

Let’s review ONE MORE TIME why Twogether In Texas exists… 

TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMISSION

ALBERT HAWKINS

EXECUTIVE COMMISSIONER Date: Aug. 6, 2008 

Contact: Stephanie Goodman (512) 424-6951

New Law Promotes Free Marriage Education Classes
Couples Who Complete Courses Can Waive Marriage License Fee, AND Waiting Period..
AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is spreading the word about a new state law, which takes effect Sept. 1, 2008 that encourages couples to attend free marriage education classes before taking the plunge. Couples who complete the skills-based course will pay less for their marriage license. 

House Bill 2685 increases the marriage license fee to $60. However, the fee will be waived for couples who complete an eight-hour premarital class, and those couples can forgo the 72-hour waiting period to get married. Counties may continue to charge up to $12 in local fees for a marriage license. 

HHSC is running a billboard campaign throughout August to raise awareness of the new law and the marriage education classes. The agency also has contracts with community-based organizations that are working to build a network of classes across the state that meet the requirements for the marriage license discount. 

The state’s initiative, called “Twogether in Texas,” promotes free marriage education classes that provide eight hours of training on communication skills, conflict resolution and other elements of a healthy marriage. Couples can find classes in their area by calling 2-1-1. 

Starting Sept. 1, 2008, any couple who complete a class will receive a certificate that they can take to their county clerk when they apply for their marriage license. The certificate is good for one year and serves as proof that the couple is eligible for the discounted marriage license fee. 

For obvious reasons, a clergy not affiliated with Twogether In Texas CANNOT create a certificate. The certificate MUST be on the state approved form. After explaining this to my clients last night, it became apparent that paying the additional $60 is easier and more beneficial than TAKING ANOTHER Premarital Class through an accredited Twogether In Texas provider. I agree although I wish they had asked me about this weeks ago. It would have certainly spared them a lot of time and grief during their wedding planning process.  

Now, back to two people trying to marry the same inmate…. I needed to verify the facts before contacting and obviously upsetting my client who is preparing to marry in less than two weeks. 

Client 1. From August had been alerted to Client 2. How? FB. It’s not just for friends. 

Due to a FB group moderator, one of the women who had contacted me in August to marry an inmate in Texas was advised that the same inmate that she was planning to marry was SCHEDULED to marry someone else. Guess who was the Officiant? That’s right. Me. FOR BOTH WOMEN TO THE SAME INMATE. I have NO contact with inmates via phone or mail. My clients are “on the outside.” I don’t even meet inmates until wedding day. I have no information other than their name and inmate ID necessary for me to contact to the Unit and verify client status with their loved one and schedule the weddings. 

After reviewing numerous texts and validating the inmate ID number, I was alarmed to realize that whomever the group moderator on FB was that had advised my out of state client that the inmate was engaged to someone else, was in fact correct. To my own shock, I was effectively “caught in a love triangle.” 

After reviewing the numerous documents sent to me via text message, I then contacted my client who HAS a marriage license and a date at the Unit to marry in order to alert her to the other woman. 

The “other woman” had already been attempting to message my client WITH A MARRIAGE LICENSE via FB. I thought it best to contact her myself rather than have her wake up on a Sunday morning with dozens of messages from the other woman. 

Last night, I also had an alarming voice mail left on my phone regarding this “love triangle” situation. 

This morning AND this afternoon, I have spoke to both women and advised them to address and confront the inmate regarding his intentions. He needs to be loyal to one woman. Both women deserve loyalty and honesty. 

Marriage is based on trust. Love is sacrifice but loving an inmate is 99.9 percent more of a sacrifice for the “person on the outside.” How so? They have far more to lose than the person on the inside. They are going to work everyday and raising their children alone. They are paying for expensive phone calls and putting money on the books of the inmate. They are driving to weekend visits and they are effectively making ALL of the sacrifices singlehandedly to make their relationship work. 

Throughout my conversations with both of these women, it became apparent to me that one of them was a pen pal who had been sending money to the inmate and had never met him in person. The inmate had benefitted from this relationship. Dishonesty hurts everyone involved though. 

My other client has known the inmate for years and had visited him at the Unit. The inmate was playing both sides of the fence. I was quickly reminded of the “Coffield Unit Con Man and The Bride That Gave Him The Boot.” 

The inmate isn’t my client. In the Coffield Con Man situation, I refunded my client and agreed wholeheartedly that she was better off without him. In fact, I married her to someone else less than a year later.

In today’s situation that began “boiling over” 48 hours ago, it would be different from Coffield in that one woman refused to let go. I asked “how long have you known him?” She had been exchanging letters, phone calls and sending money for 6 months. She was also shocked and upset that this inmate would be marrying in less than two weeks. Convincing her that stepping back was in her best interest has taken me all day. On my last phone call with her, I told her that the inmate was told to cease all communication by my client planning to marry this month. 

A few minutes ago after a two hour lull while I was on location with another couple, I read a text from her saying “he hadn’t called.” I hope he doesn’t. This inmate needed to choose one woman and stick with that decision. In my opinion, he owed an apology to both women too. This situation has hurt both women and I’m hurt for them. But, I cannot marry two women to one man. 

I had advised my client marrying this month to “put her foot down and confront him. Set boundaries. Make him choose you or cut him loose. Know your worth. No one wants to marry a cheater.” 

I then called my twin sister who was dealing with trust issues regarding her daughter, Stephaney. Addicts are sneaky too. My mother was a heroin addict. My niece has had an ongoing addiction to meth for seventeen years. Steph is back in treatment again. Our entire family is hurt AGAIN. Cindy was working on trust quotes for Pawning Planners Apparel.

“WHEN you TELL a LIE, no MATTER how FAST you RUN, the TRUTH is AT your HEELS, and EVENTUALLY, it will CATCH up WITH you” Amen.

“TRUST is like TOAST, once it’s BURNT, don’t EXPECT anybody ELSE to PUT it ON their PLATE, and SWALLOW it EITHER” God bless us all.

“DISHONESTY is EXPENSIVE, the TRUTH is FREE, don’t CREATE any new DEBT with LIES, that an APOLOGY could never REPAY.”

I HATE SECRETS. As a child, my grandfather molested not only my twin and I but also our step sister. No one stopped the abuse. No one cared. My grandfather always warned all of us “if you ever tell anyone, you will never see your sisters again.” One day our step sister, Tammy was gone. Our grandfather used this disappearance to instill fear in my sister and I. “If you ever tell, you will disappear just like Tammy.” 

At 25 years old I found Tammy by hiring a private investigator. My grandfather had nothing to do with her disappearance. My mother’s mother had adopted her. Tammy left our hellish childhood and had the normality that Cindy and I wouldn’t find until running away from home at 15. I was pregnant. I lost the baby. No one was happier at our grandfathers funeral than Cindy and I because he would never hurt another little girl again. I HATE SECRETS. I also have my reasons for hating secrets. 

For six years, I was married to a cheater. For six years my ex lied. For six years I doubted my own self worth. What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I enough? I walked and kept walking. I prefer to be alone than to be hurt or lied to. I’m no ones victim anymore. I never will be again. 

Marriage is a merger. If you can’t trust your spouse, you are in the wrong marriage. If you are planning a wedding to someone, you are entitled to know their history. You are entitled to honesty. Set boundaries… 

Don’t Be Tardy To Your Prison Wedding. TDCJ Ellis To Crain To Hughes To Cleveland Unit…

Next week I’m seeing my Ellis client again after a reschedule due to her being over twenty minutes late to the Unit. I’m going to once again revisit the importance of arriving at least twenty minutes early. Please give yourself a wide window on wedding day. 

Wedding day apparel falls within the visitor dress code guideline. Err on the side of caution. If you are uncertain regarding your attire, text me a photo to review. No one wants to be handed a cafeteria smock!

I arrived at TDCJ Ellis Unit at 8:20AM for a 9:00AM scheduled ceremony. Upon arrival, I sent a text to Melissa to let her know I was in the Prison parking lot. For those who follow me on FB, I also check in as many times I have no cell signal once on Prison property. I will always be driving one of our black SUVs with a banner on the back window to identify my vehicle. 

Cindy will also be driving a black suv with a banner so if either I or Cindy are officiating your wedding, we will be in a black suv. If my son or his wife are conducting your ceremony, they will be driving a black 4×4 truck. 

Surprisingly, I had a good signal and returned emails while waiting on Melissa. At 8:45AM, I sent another text and walked to the guard tower to announce my arrival. 

I then returned to my suv at 8:55AM to call Melissa. She advised me that she was 10-15 minutes from Ellis. This alarmed me. Why? Because Units give a 20 minute Tardy window before cancelling and effectively rescheduling your ceremony. 

Ellis Unit has an inmate count daily that would cause a scheduling issue. At 9:18AM, Melissa arrived. I met her in the lot and returned to the guard tower. At 9:24AM, Chaplain Jasper arrived to escort us into screening. By 9:36AM, Chaplain Jasper left the screening area. 

At 9:40AM, I went to the wardens secretary to inquire about an escort. At 9:43AM, I was advised that the head count would take 1-2 hours. This WAS A PROBLEM. Why? Because I was due at Crain Unit at 1:30PM. Crain is three hours (on a good day with traffic and road construction) from Ellis Unit.

I had advised the wardens secretary of my afternoon commitment and my inability to wait on site 1-2 hours for a same day reschedule. The wardens secretary walked out to advise my client of why a forced reschedule was warranted. 

Had Melissa arrived at 9AM sharp, the inmate could have had the ceremony before being moved for the 10AM head count. 

It is imperative to arrive early on wedding day. I cannot stress this enough. We have waited weeks or months for this day. Please plan accordingly.

Leaving Ellis and my devastated client, I made the three hour drive to Gatesville, Texas to meet Gary at Crain Unit. Gary had booked services last March. Gary and Amee had been trying to marry for months. 

Naturally, Gary was excited and nervous due to the number of setbacks trying to obtain a marriage license. The problem? Coryell County Clerks Office continually changes their requirements. 

Gary made four trips to Gatesville to buy a marriage license. FOUR. Gary finally purchased a marriage license in Harris County. 

Meeting Gary, I told him that “everyone is nervous. Stay calm. I will be by your side every step of the way.” I meant it.Getting Gary and Amee married took months which is unusual but also proves the dedication, perseverance, determination and resilience my clients exhibit in their quest to marry an inmate. 

Love knows no bounds. Gary had emailed me while I was in New York filming with Cindy and Leigh Ann about “getting a date.” I was already booked at Ellis and checked the distance on my iPhone from Huntsville to Gatesville. I knew it would be tight. 

I left home at 5AM to arrive at Ellis early. Huntsville is 3 hours from my location. Why did I leave FOUR hours early? Road construction. I overprepare. Leaving Gatesville, I pull over to reschedule Melissa at Ellis then call her to ensure she will be available. I “go over” meeting me early at the Texas Prison Museum on 10-08-2019. Why? Because Melissa became lost on her previous wedding date and because I am at 3 Huntsville Units on 10-08. I cannot afford for Melissa to be late again due to my schedule AND because a 3rd reschedule will require a new I60. Her marriage license will expire before the paperwork would be approved. To solve this problem and prevent any issues, I’m driving my client from the Prison museum to the Prison. 

Kanani had previously been scheduled to marry at Cleveland Unit. Due to flooding, her Wedding was rescheduled. As usual, I left an hour earlier than necessary. I always do. Thirty minutes early is thirty minutes late for me. I’m from a military family and I was taught at a young age that “being late is stealing and you cannot replace time.” This sage advice has stuck with me my entire life. 

Driving to Cleveland Unit, I answered calls regarding upcoming bookings at Polunsky, Connally, Garza, Michael, Coffield, Ramsey, Jester, Lewis, Allred and Gurney Units. Texas is my busiest booking state.

I do not text or email when I’m on the road. I answer texts when parked waiting on clients. I answer emails in the evening or early mornings prior to heading to locations. Please call during the week. Please text on weekends as I’m on location weekends and driving during the week. 

I’ve had 14 clients rebook for Vow Renewals due to inmate releases this month. I’m as excited as you are to be planning your wedding your way with family and friends, flowers and all of the fun stuff this time around. 

Kanani and her soon to be mother in law were on site early thank God. PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY ON WEDDING DAY. We walked in together. Her mother in law waited in the lobby.

Walking into the visitation area to greet his soon to be bride, my groom nearly cried with relief that wedding day had finally arrived. Why? Because he had started the process at Beto. He had hoped to marry two weeks prior but flooding caused yet another setback.Kanani and her mother in law followed me just outside the Unit for her bridal photos. 

The trees by Cleveland Unit were a beautiful backdrop. I had packed my suv with a wide variety of options for my new bride. Leaving Cleveland, Texas, I took calls from several clients. I look forward to seeing all of you soon at your prison weddings in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Cindy and I will be in California and can’t wait to see our Cali Clients in December. 

I’ve been contacted by a reporter who wants to hear your Prison Love Stories as well as Love After Lock Up producers. If you’d like to apply for Love After Lock Up, The blog link for requirements can be found by visiting this link- Casting Now- Love After Lock Up.

If you are interested in sharing your story with this amazing and passionate journalist, contact me.

Regarding Vow Renewal Certificates, my California Client was already married. To celebrate her anniversary, she contacted me regarding a Vow Renewal. Prisons do not offer Vow Renewals. 

If you’d like to purchase a Renewal Certificate as an anniversary gift, email me wendy@texastwinsevents.com