Dying Alone. How Nursing Homes And Prison Visitation Bans Affect Loved Ones…

Last night the funeral of Bobby Brooks Caffey took place at Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd, Texas.

His daughter, Debbie cried as she told me how many months it had been since she had seen him. Her grief expanded describing phone calls from her father begging her to come pick him up. She was helpless due to a visitation ban put in place by our Texas Governor.

Since mid March Texas along with many other states that have put visitation bans in place have left seniors to die alone without family nearby in their final moments. You won’t see this on the news because the reality doesn’t fit their agenda.

Inmates and seniors are in the same boat of no visitors due to Covid-19. They are cut off from the anchor of in person visits. Our government fails to address this situation month after month after month.

TDCJ has “hinted” at video visitation but only 12 Units in Texas are equipped for video visitation. What about the other Units? What about Federal or ICE Units? This band aid won’t solve problems for millions of loved ones across the United States.

I’ve been asked about video weddings. While it’s true that I conduct video weddings in other states it’s critical to understand that these ceremonies follow strict guidelines. You don’t just hop on a video call with an inmate to marry and assume that the Unit that has a procedure in place will recognize the marriage as valid. In order for the Unit whether it’s State, Federal or ICE to accept the marriage as valid, the guidelines must be followed to the letter.

In Texas, the I60 Request For Inmate Marriage is a REQUIREMENT. This document starts in the law library then travels to inmate records before moving to the DRC. It leaves the DRC and goes back to the Unit. The Warden is the last signor before handing the document to the Chaplain to schedule the ceremony. Going around or circumventing the protocol isn’t a good idea. Why? Because the Unit doesn’t have to recognize the marriage as valid if guidelines weren’t followed wholly and entirely.

Last weekend Cindy and I were in Missouri performing County Jail Weddings. Oklahoma, Missouri and Delaware are the ONLY states in the United States to have so far reinstated visitation. However, these states also have guidelines for marriage ceremonies to occur within State, Federal and ICE Facilities.

On the one hand a County Jail Ceremony is and can be more difficult to achieve due to the paperwork. Why? County Jails do not have law libraries or notaries. Texas and Missouri allow the use of an Absentee Affidavit. This document is valuable in states that allow it because states that don’t charge the inmate a transfer fee to the clerks office. These fees can amount to several hundred dollars. The expense is often cost prohibitive to clients wishing to marry an inmate. Without the use of a notary, the Absentee Affidavit is invalid. Meaning it isn’t legal. Missouri has a page 3 associated with the Absentee Affidavit pertaining to inmate marriage. This is a required part of the Absentee Affidavit. Without it the clerk will not issue a marriage license.

The difference between a County Jail Ceremony can be significant. I’ve had clients tell me for years “I wish I had waited to marry once he was moved.” Why? The ability to have a contact ceremony is removed entirely in County. There is no kiss. There are no photos.

Obtaining the necessary paperwork to buy the marriage license is also a hurdle unless the inmate has an attorney who can access a notary for the Absentee Affidavit. Mobile notaries are expensive and Tarrant County for instance requires an attorney accompany the notary inside the Unit. This can be really tricky unless the inmate is transferred to Green Bay Unit where this requirement is waived.

For four months now I’ve been mailing checks to clients who were cancelled or never scheduled at all at venues and prisons across the United States to cover 1/2 the cost to replace their first marriage license with a second marriage license. With my client load this is and continues to be a “hefty expense.” But, we are all in this together.

I’m going to revisit the many people trying to get into your pockets by requiring a deposit for a wedding we don’t know will happen within the shelf life of the marriage license. Be aware that anyone requiring a deposit during this unprecedented time is deliberately taking money right out of your pocket during a time when you need money most. I haven’t been taking deposits since late April upon realizing that a two week shutdown would be extended over and over again. Keep your money. You need it.

A number of people have contacted me regarding paying someone only to find their phone had been disconnected or the officiant refused to answer their phone. I answer my phone 7 days a week from 8AM-9PM. Loyalty and transparency are critical. Know who you are hiring and do research about who you are hiring. It’s out there. It’s easy to find. You are a single income household and as such need to provide for your family first and foremost. My fees aren’t due until 7 days prior to a scheduled ceremony. I’m waiving booking deposits and have been for months.

Because there are so many loved ones of seniors fighting these visitation bans as well as loved ones of inmates fighting them, there is strength in numbers. Both sets of people are in the same situation. There are many organizations fighting these visitation bans. Oklahoma, Missouri and Delaware folded to the pressure.

I want to address the client base of previous inmate weddings who are scheduling Vow Renewals upon release as a group. Currently many counties have a group limit of 10 people. These limits are subject to change. We are happy to move your dates to accommodate a date beyond the current limits. Stay calm. We will get this worked out.

Masks at ceremonies. The strong possibility of this requirement is a reality when visitation is reinstated. However, I’m going to encourage you to lift your mask for the kiss at the end of my ceremony. I’m also going to encourage you to write your own vows to extend or timeline inside the Unit. There are no special visits after a wedding in Texas although many of our other states allow one. Texas does not. Because of this and the fact that we have a minimum of 20 minutes and my ceremony lasts 12-14 minutes, please consider writing song lyrics, heartfelt memories, scripture or poetry to buy us more time on the inside.

Unit Photos- We cannot Request Retakes. Because of this, I buy 3 Units photos if they are available as a courtesy.

Guests- No guests are authorized however, guests are encouraged to wait in the parking area as they are welcome to join you in bridal or groom photos with me once we leave the Unit. I will have enough additional inventory of bouquets, tiaras, fascinators, veils, signs and fun props for up to 10 additional people.

Rings- Ring exchanges are not permitted in Texas. Oklahoma, you have a limit as to the value of $50.

California, it’s imperative you check your audio for video weddings. Please do this prior to your scheduled video wedding. Audio problems are continuing to get weddings rescheduled. Call a friend. Call me. Check your audio settings.

New York- I have emailed you on changes. Please check your email.

Louisianna- We have no idea when in person ceremonies will resume however we have emailed updates this morning.

Arkansas- Please check your emails.

All other service area states, wait to buy the replacement licenses until we have more information to prevent your second marriage license expiring.

It’s important to remember that while we worry about inmates that they are worrying about loved ones on the outside too. Although it’s difficult, please try to remain positive and hopeful when calling or writing your loved one.

I’m in Dallas County today and will check emails, phone calls and texts between clients.

Love, Life, Loss And The Power Of Patience. Clerks Office Closures & Chaos..

Yesterday my Ferguson Unit bride contacted me regarding buying her license. The Unit had finally sent the Absentee Affidavit and Inmate ID but she lives in another state and many Texas clerks are either closed altogether or requiring an appointment to purchase a marriage license.

Dallas county is no longer taking appointments and is closed until further notice.

Walker county is only booking appointments with residents living in the county.

Tarrant county is taking appointments but they are booked two weeks out towards the end of the month.

The Absentee Affidavit has a 30 day shelf life once notarized. Often 8-10 days have passed by the time my clients receive this vital document from the Unit.

Because many of my clients are having trouble finding anywhere to buy a marriage license, the possibility of having to send a second Absentee Affidavit exists.

Normally, law libraries at prisons (state or federal) are hesitant to notarize a second Affidavit for an inmate but these are extraordinary times. I’ve spoke to nearly 100 Units to advise law libraries that many of my clients are unable to find a clerks office to buy a marriage license in order to give them a heads up that a flood of second I60 Affidavit notary requests are not only a possibility but most likely a probability.

Don’t worry ya all the law libraries are aware of your struggle to find a county clerk open within the short shelf life of the state issued absentee affidavit.

Many people as shocked and disheartened at learning after finally obtaining the paperwork they waited months to receive that they can’t find a clerk to sell them a marriage license.

In a sense this new trend of no clerks available is deja vu for me. How so? I’ve encountered my clients having problems getting marriage licenses before. In June 2015 to be precise. Oh my the summer of 2015 was a carnival of chaos! Due entirely to opinionated clerks refusing to issue a marriage license to same sex couples? Yes.

The problems lasted for months in Texas. There wasn’t a pandemic. There was something equally extraordinary going on. The Supreme Court ruling granting same sex couples the right to marry. This decision occurred on June 26, 2015.

What happened next in Texas would surprise my excited couples running to the courthouse.

Couples who had never expected to have the right to marry.

Couples who were celebratory in their anticipation of dashing off to the clerks office to buy a marriage license.

Couples who then contacted me when no one would issue them a license at a clerks office. The first call shocked me. The second call infuriated me but the calls kept coming and I effectively saddled up to drive and meet clients here, there and everywhere to walk into the courthouse with them. They were too intimidated to walk in alone.

The news of others being turned away caused further anxiety for them. “Please Ms Wendy we need you to come with us.” In Parker County my clients called crying and said “we will never get married they nearly threw us out of the clerks office.” I orchestrated a picket in Parker County. My clients Kat and Tiffany were the first same sex couple to be issued a marriage license. But it wasn’t easy. It was a hurdle that took days to overcome.

Yes, I’ve seen problems getting a marriage license before and firsthand.

Many of my clients the summer of 2015 had me calling clerks across Texas to see who would issue a license. Others wanted me to go with them. Still others chose for me to marry them in Oklahoma or Arkansas. They gave up on getting a license in Texas.

My team and I saddled up and drove to Oklahoma so many times that the “Welcome to Texas” or “Welcome to Oklahoma” signs were like a revolving door for our suvs running here or there.

It was a trying time in Texas. The controversy went on for months.

I was all over Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas that summer of 2015. Covering every base.

In 2017, I would (yet again) encounter opinionated clerks. THIS time for different reasons. This time because they didn’t believe inmates should have the right to marry. Especially LBGT inmates. Heaven help us. Texas clerks who forgot their job description included issuing marriage licenses?

People who had been hired to issue marriage licenses for a living that refused to do their job.

Opinionated county clerks refusing to issue marriage licenses based on religious reasons? AGAIN? I was as shocked as my clients.

Tarrant County was by far the nicest clerks office I have ever encountered in Texas and still is.

Tarrant County is also accepting from other counties which is why they are backlogged.

If you are a booked client and your marriage license expires waiting for a date, I will reimburse you reimburse you 1/2 the cost of your marriage license but this offer is ONLY VALID for previously booked clients as a courtesy.

Yesterday I was also interviewed by a journalist in California apparently following my blogs and social media who “found me on LinkedIn.” Was I lost? Lol. Media people always “find me on LinkedIn.”

It’s a running joke with Cindy and I. Cindy “how did they find us?” Wendy “apparently they were looking on LinkedIn.” We both laugh.

This journalist was initially only interested in my balcony elopement ceremonies at my home due to restrictions of group gatherings.

Love will find a way and for clients canceled by the venue, it did right in my front yard.

After discussing the challenges this virus has brought to my clients marrying an inmate in the many states that Cindy and I service, the interview switched over to “why and how I became a prison officiant in Texas?” Oh brother here we go again… I’m so controversial or so a few people think.

I had been marrying people in jails and federal facilities for many years in other states long before I began officiating in Texas state prisons.

Why? No one had asked me to officiate in a TDCJ facility until April 2017.

In three years now I’ve officiated several hundred Texas Department Of Criminal Justice weddings.

So many in fact that nearly my entire client base shifted to inmate weddings predominantly in Texas and California but also in 36 other states.

Other service area states only schedule inmate weddings 1 to 2 days per year. Mostly scheduling only occurs 1 day a year in many states which is why and how “we can cover so many states including Texas.”

Texas Units schedule EVERY inmate wedding at their facility two days a month.

Shocking as it may sound, I now regularly “turn down traditional bookings” unless the gig is at a venue that I’m on staff at such as Belltower Chapel.

For three years now, my client base has shifted to prison weddings which (not surprisingly) shocks anyone contacting me from media.

Don’t be shocked. I prefer inmate weddings. Why? Because there are no drunks at a detention center wedding that’s why. There is no drama. There are no divas. There are no guests.

When you’ve been planning and officiating events as long as I have you have seen drama. You have encountered drunks.

I’m picky about large Events and have been for years now. Why? Because I can be that’s why. I don’t have to work. I work because I enjoy the clients, the travel and the special moments I share with my clients.

My life is an adventure from one day right into the next. Retirement? How boring.

Cindy and I are born entrepreneurs. We created a people over profit based business to help anyone. Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures were merged in order to create a barter option, The Pawning Planners in 2015.

While other vendors laughed, we laughed all the way to the bank.

We helped rich people AND poor people along with any economic level in between. We opened a window to help low to middle income clients that had never existed.

Creative people are often laughed at until someone realizes they are successful.

In 2017, due to the demand for inmate weddings, we again rebranded and expanded Texas Twins Events to include inmate weddings in 38 states. Federal, ICE, Private, County or State operated.

“Entrepreneurs are people that will use any obstacle they encounter as a vehicle towards success.” Cindy Daniel

Now and then, someone noticing our success asks us to train them. This always takes me off guard a bit. I begin reading an email that starts with “I noticed you are the most sought after inmate officiant and decided I would like to start a business like yours. When can I call you to find out how?” Short answer? Don’t bother. I’m not hiring and my entire family work with me as inmate officiants. You will never be successful in the inmate officiant business without three critical components. What are they? Knowledge. Don’t ever walk into a Unit without being fully informed regarding policy and procedure. Educate yourself. Second you will need the clients to make your business successful. Third, you will be required to do far more than simply show up. You will need to assist your clients through a very lengthy paperwork process. Unless you can successfully do all of the above and support yourself financially in your quest to compete, you will fail. This role requires answering your phone 24/7. This role requires knowledge, passion and dedication. This role often requires answering 10-30 emails from the same client throughout the prison wedding planning process.

Traditionally, an officiant spends 30 minutes on site at a wedding and less than 2 hours preparing for the ceremony.

Inmate weddings involve travel. I can map out several Units on the same day and do on a regular basis. Are you ready to drive 2-4k miles a week? If you aren’t this isn’t the business for you.

“We don’t create competition that we don’t have.” We set out to be different from the start. Others laughed. Prison weddings? Where will they find the clients? Heads up we don’t they find us.

Bartering event services? Those twins are crazy. Yea, crazy like a fox. We have been flipping items for most of our lives. We are also experienced appraisers. If we can’t flip it we don’t take it in trade.

We also are capable of creating our own inventory and do including bouquets, bouteniers, veils and floral designs. We bring everything our clients need on wedding day. We own the inventory we loan.

Cindy and I were different from the beginning of Texas Twins Treasures by flipping refurbished items as early as 2003 with our first EBay account. We had to be creative! Why? Both of our husbands were unemployed.

Flipping items at Texas Twins Treasures literally saved our farms. We circled our wagons and figured it out. Cindy and I even sold our own furniture to pay the bills and replaced our homes with refurbished furniture items. We found flips then bartered the fabric then bartered the labor with a local upholsterer.

Cindy and I learned how to be creative. Why? We had no choice. We didn’t have parents to call for help. We had each other.

Poverty is a great teacher. You learn how to survive while learning to think outside the box. Cindy and I aren’t in the teaching industry. Sure if we had time we could be but we don’t. We have three businesses with a very diverse group of clients that warrant our attention.

Cindy and I are in the entrepreneurial industry. Experienced public speakers, problem solvers and selling geniuses. We’ve worked in sales for thirty years. We’ve also worked as brand ambassadors. People are either born to sell or they aren’t.

Cindy and I don’t just sell what other people sell. We sell what people want. Dedication, quality, transparency, honesty and integrity. You can build a business from the ground up. We did.

Cindy and I have built all of our businesses solely on happy clients referrals. Loyalty is important to us. We have never advertised or needed to.

“Without common sense your wealth today can become your poverty tomorrow.” Cindy Daniel

My candor often shocks media people contacting me now and then.

Perhaps they are unprepared for my transparency? Oh well that’s THEIR LUGGAGE and THEIR TRIP.

If you are contacting me for an interview, buckle up for transparency, honesty and candor. My life and my business are a wild mix. From an exclusive venue to a prison? You bet.

Any journalist contacting me is contacting me because they are either shocked we make our diversity work or surprised at our success.

Often, “media people” are equally taken back by our grit, drive, determination and ambition.

These Texas Twins are just as resilient as our clients. Our inmate wedding clients are warriors. They do it all and they do it on the outside alone. They are resilient, passionate and perseverant.

“If you don’t focus on your journey to success you will end up working for the person who did.” Cindy Daniel

Monday I was contacted by someone with the Dallas Morning News who had read my blog on Texas Twins Events regarding “Catfish Adoption Scams.”

Did I think at the time that the person contacting me was using me as bait to get to my client, Deanna? No. I thought someone contacting me because she wanted to give up her baby was a blessing.

After all, April 11 was and will always be a heartbreaking day for Deanna and Burt. It was the day they lost DeLilah at Harris Hospital. It was the day I baptized DeLilah.

Two days later I officiated Delilahs memorial.

Several months later, my niece and twin sister joined me at a photo shoot for the Villareal IVF fund.

Deanna needed family photos for her campaign. Months later Deanna learned she couldn’t conceive. Months later Deanna decided to try surrogacy. A year later, Deanna still had no success.

Fast forward November 2019. A message sent to my FB account by Lacey stated “I’m pregnant and I want to give my baby up for adoption.” It’s hard to surprise me.

FB hid this message from me until I was searching hidden messages last Tuesday and found it. No one was more shocked to see that message than I was.

But over the course of a few days, Lacey would show her true colors. Lacey never did speak to me on the phone. She always had an excuse. She would only correspond by text and messenger.

Lacey could have been a man for all I know. Here’s what I do know, Lacey wanted to get her claws on Deanna and used me to get to her.

Deanna would do anything for a baby and somehow some way Lacey knew it.

Each and every day I’m contacted by someone who is trying to accomplish this or do that and has no idea how. I’m accustomed to unique situations. I wasn’t familiar with the situation of someone like Lacey. I prefer transparency in all areas of my life.

I’m still reeling from Lacey and the drama that unfolded Easter Sunday. Deanna is too but we will both be far more cautious from this point forward.

If you missed the blog on Texas Twins Events, here’s my last eye opening blog post about Lacey and her for profit adoption scheme… Deception And Direct Deposit? Adoption Scam.

Back to county clerks chaos… Whether you find a clerk in time to obtain your marriage license or not, stay calm. We can send another Affidavit to the Unit.

For my county jail clients, it’s often easier to wait until the inmate is transferred. Why? Because currently no county inmates are being chained into the system. County Jails have no law library.

An Absentee Affidavit REQUIRES a notary.

If a County Jail won’t allow a mobile notary into their facility, you cannot obtain the Texas required Absentee Affidavit.

I’m off today to ship our latest addition to Texas Twins Treasures, logo designed face masks. We have sold out twice which is pretty surprising to Cindy.

Cindy and I are currently sold out of all Texas Twins Treasures logo detailed face masks and we will have new stock in two weeks.

Cindy and I will not be restocking Versace until mid May as Chanel and LV outsold the Versace masks hands down.

We sell what sells and apparently the Versace isn’t as popular. I don’t know why because I liked the Versace because it was different but apparently not everyone else did.

My twin grandnieces, Maryssa and Makenna are models our latest additions to Texas Twins Treasures. Maryssa is a ham for selfies anyway so she’s having fun hamming it up for the camera.

Why did we go into the mask business? The possibility of all my service area states and State as well as Federal Units possibly requiring not only Cindy and I but also all of our clients to wear masks after the Coronavirus exists.

Walking into a prison after Covid-19 wearing a mask will be different but it’s safety first issue.

Unable to find masks for ourselves or our clients, Cindy and I decided to make our own.

Our success by offering designer masks has shocked a few of our competitors who didn’t think of it themselves or who wonder where we are getting our fabric.

Our fabric is straight out of my closet. From designer scarves, dresses, slacks and pants to bathing suits, I’ve been collecting designer logo clothing for some thirty plus years now and used what I had on hand to create these amazing one of a kind designs.

We do not sell fabric for our masks or refurbished furniture items in my Texas Twins Treasures storefront. Why? Because the average Joe has no idea how expensive quality fabric is for one and for two it wouldn’t be a Texas Twins Treasure if you could find it anywhere.

“Some people may get jealous when you find success because they are too lazy to look for it themselves.” Cindy Daniel

Prisons, People, Phobias & Fears. Why I’m Not Afraid To Be A Prison Wedding Planner & Officiant…

I answer a lot of questions. Questions from people who disagree with inmate marriage. Questions from people wanting to marry an inmate. Questions from media about whether the Coronavirus will affect me in the future.

For the record, when I walk into the Unit with my client or alone to meet my client or clients in the shakedown area, fear isn’t part of my day.

As a prison wedding officiant, my role is and always will be to remain calm and ensure that my clients wedding day is as pleasant and memorable as possible.

I was at Beto Unit on March 10. A month ago, it was business at usual at Beto. I visited with Chaplain Strange. We waited for my clients fiancée to arrive in the visitation area with an escort.

I’m never in general population with inmates at any Unit in any State, Federal or ICE Detention Facility.

The number of people my client and I are with at a wedding can range from 2 correctional officers to 1 and the Unit Chaplain or several correctional officers based on the day or whether the visitation area is being used for training.

It’s not uncommon for the visitation area to be “in use” on wedding day at many Units. When this occurs, my client an I are often redirected to either another room or we wait for the visitation area to clear.

Generally other than my client and their fiancée, one officer and the chaplain, we are alone.

Prison weddings are remarkably intimate. There are very few people present. Often I have more than one client at the same Unit on the same day. Certain Units will allow all of my clients and I to enter together while other Units only allow me to enter with 1 client at a time while the others wait for me to finish my ceremony then return to the shakedown area with my next client.

I’m often asked “how can you do so many Units in the same day?” This works in Texas and other states based on timing and distance from one Unit to the next. It’s not always possible to pull off a multi Unit day but it happens with frequency the past three years for me. Why? I’m the most sought after prison officiant in the United States. Why? Because I make every clients wedding as special as they are. It’s important to me. From creating a massive inventory of bouquets, tiaras, stylish hats and more to crafting an individual and unique ceremony script for each client, weddings are Life Events to me and a one time shot to get everything as close to perfect as I can under extraordinary circumstances.

“Your twin sister and your niece are also prison officiants. Your son and daughter in law officiate are county jails and BOP facilities. Do you see moving your son and daughter in law into state ceremonies?” For now, my son and his wife are on a paternity leave and generally I’m able to cover all of my clients by stacking Units.

“The visitation ban has affected your booking schedule. Will you be overwhelmed when visitation is reinstated with reschedules?” To a certain extent the answer is yes. My March clients were canceled and will be scheduled first. Bookings in Texas State Facilities are often scheduled on either a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Mondays and Fridays are rare. They can happen but not on a regular basis.

“How do you map out your day on the road?” I usually start in Tennessee Colony on a Tuesday or Thursday as most Units in Palestine (Beto, Powledge, Gurney) schedule on both days as do Michael and Coffield. Generally I’m in the Tennessee Colony/Palestine area very early in the morning. I then move to Huntsville Units. Frequently, I can also move to Polunsky by evening as they schedule after 5:30PM.

“How many miles do you drive a week as a traveling prison officiant?” In Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, I drive and can easily drive up to 3k miles a week. I fly to other states in order to save time.

“Are you concerned about traveling with Covid-19 being widespread at this time?” To a certain extent a bit but I’m a germaphobic and have always sanitized my area on the plane when I fly as does Cindy.

“Will you be nervous when the visitation ban is lifted and you return to visiting 1-4 prisons on the same day again?” I will follow my same protocol of washing and sanitizing my hands prior to walking into a Unit as well and be aware of everything I touch. I go through 2 gates to enter most Units and these are the same gates that staff and visitors use so I’m well aware of the number of hands touching the gates. I will no longer shake hands in greeting my clients fiancees or the staff at Units to limit what I touch and with whom.

“You don’t bring your own pen into Units? How do you sign marriage licenses?” A pen can be used as a weapon and I’ve always borrowed a pen from the chaplain or an officer in the visitation area. Like the gates though, I will be washing and sanitizing my hands after using a pen on site.

“I’ve read that a small number of clients from your other businesses and venues you are on staff at are alarmed regarding your other clients. How do you address someone who realizes that you officiate LBGT unions or prison weddings?” Well, it’s complicated and rare for another client to express concerns regarding my other clients but it has occurred and may occur again in the future. I cut them loose. I move on. I must focus on my congregation. That congregation being the majority rather than the minority of my client’s. I’ve learned over my lifetime that negativity regarding my diverse client bases is viewed as “the choir.” I turn my back on the choir an focus on the congregation. If someone is concerned about my other clients and people that they will never meet or much less share their event date with then that’s “THEIR luggage and THEIR trip” not mine. I cut them loose and wish them luck. I’m not going to change who I am or who I help based on opinions of others.

“THERE Is No ENTRANCE For KNOWLEDGE In A CLOSED Mind.” Cindy Daniel

“Did you see yourself walking into prisons to conduct wedding ceremonies when you decided to start an event business?” No but I was open to anything as was my twin sister. We wanted to make life event’s affordable to anyone anywhere and we have.

Texas Twins Events was the first people over profit based event endeavor for my twin sister and I. Two years in we recognized and realized that a handful of clients couldn’t afford even low cost options. To solve this problem, we merged Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to create a barter option, The Pawning Planners. We were never trying to “be like everyone else.” That market was saturated.

What we wanted to do and have accomplished was to be the people we would like to meet…

TDCJ Officiant Wendy Wortham- People, Places & Prisons…

It’s nearly 1AM and I’m still working. I’ve never been able to shut my mind off and sleep easily. Running between two hospitals for my new grandson and my grandniece for the past ten days hasn’t helped my ability to rest.

My structured pattern of going to sleep at 10PM and up at 5AM is out of whack.

People ask me why I work so much? After all, I’ve never advertised nor needed to. I could easily have retired years ago and chose not to. But, work is something I have always been good at. Perhaps better at than anything else in my life. I enjoy working now although for most of my life I was forced to work two jobs to pay the bills. I haven’t had to work two jobs for twenty years now. I don’t miss worrying every second about every penny. It’s odd not to worry about money anymore even twenty years later.

My husband is a real estate developer and president at his business. He shuts off his job duties Mon-Fri at exactly 5PM. He also has trouble sleeping worrying about numerous developments and where they are in the building process.

The one problem I don’t have in my life is money. The main problem I do have is time. Work and family as well as being a problem fixer are and can be stressful.

Mapping out my schedule for the next two weeks and answering 58 emails from today as my husband sleeps, answering questions from states two hours behind or an hour ahead of “Texas Time” rolls on into the wee hours.

For thousands of people who follow my blogs, my posts and my pages, my transparency often shocks them. I tell it like it is and all of my social media is public.

There are those who disagree with LBGT Marriage or inmate marriage that take time out of their day to voice their concerns to me while there are others who have heard about me and want me and only me to officiate their ceremony.

My reputation was and is built on honesty, integrity and transparency.

I don’t care what people who aren’t bound to me by blood, business or friendship think about my clients. My clients don’t care either.

Flying back from Galveston this evening, I was reviewing DM’s on my page and answering someone wishing to marry at Green Bay Unit.

Because I’m often contacted about county jails that don’t have a law library, we will review why a mobile notary may be a necessary expense.

If your LO is incarcerated at a county jail and you don’t have a marriage license in Texas, you need a certified birth certificate and an Absentee Affidavit.

The Absentee Affidavit must be notarized. Because there isn’t a law library at a county jail, you will need a mobile notary.

If you know your LO is going to be going away, I strongly suggest purchasing a marriage license prior to him going into the system or waiting until they are transferred into TDCJ.

Why? Because prisons have law libraries and notaries. Tarrant County Jail will not allow a notary without an attorney. Green Bay will.

If your LO is taken to Tarrant County, the odds are they will be moved to Green Bay. Wait until they are moved or buy that license before they go in. It’s going to save you time, trouble and the expense of a mobile notary.

Why won’t I become a mobile notary? I don’t have time. I’m asked this over and over again and the last thing I need is another commitment. I am on staff at several venues and own several businesses. I work 7 days a week as it is and the last thing I need is one more thing on my plate.

You can easily find mobile notaries online. You CANNOT easily find someone who is willing to go into a jail and notarize an absentee affidavit.

Why? Who knows I don’t understand it myself.

There is one mobile notary I often refer for Fort Worth and another for Dallas. Both are rather expensive but experienced with the process.

Hiring someone who doesn’t know what the Hell they are doing CAN and WILL cost you MORE money.

You need someone who is familiar with the county jail. I wouldn’t refer a Dallas notary to go to Fort Worth and I wouldn’t recommend a Fort Worth notary to go to Dallas. Why? Because travel is expensive and because both notaries have their own areas they prefer to work. I’m not in any shape, form or fashion affiliated with either of these two guys and quite frankly think their fees are exorbitant.

BUT, if you aren’t willing to wait for your LO to go into TDCJ or FBOP, your choices are limited. There are only two notaries that I know of who have successfully obtained the Absentee Affidavits in Dallas and Fort Worth.

Let’s say you “found someone cheaper.” The notary you found also screwed up the affidavit and now you have to hire someone else.

For four years now, I’ve sent anyone needing a notary for a county jail to the same two notaries. No one has had to hire someone else to go back in and do it over either. EXPERIENCE MATTERS.

Now, let’s say you don’t have a photo ID for yourself. Do you have a passport? If you don’t, you aren’t going to get into a jail, FBOP, ICE or TDCJ Unit. You will need to obtain a state issued photo ID before you do anything else.

You will also need to be an approved visitor.

You will also need to follow guidelines for the facility we will be walking into.

The continued arguments of “I live in Louisiana so why can’t I buy my marriage license here” scenarios aren’t helping you or me. You are traveling to Texas. TDCJ Units want a Texas Marriage License.

When I travel to my other service area states, I can assure you that other facilities want a marriage license from THEIR state too.

While it’s true that an out of state marriage license is valid in other states, let’s remember that state and federal facilities govern their own protocol pertaining to their Unit.

A Warden makes the decision as to whether to accept an out of state license or not.

I’m a rule follower. I like order. I enjoy routine. I don’t bend rules or break them and expect my clients to abide by the same principles I do when inside any facility whether it’s county, state or federal.

Your behavior is a reflection of me since I’m representing you.

The clothing question continues to pop up. Remember that visitation guidelines apply to wedding day. Please stay within the boundaries you know exist.

Don’t “stretch” the clothing protocol. No client has ever “happily accepted a cafeteria smock handed to them on wedding day.”

I warn you for valid reasons. I warn you to protect you. My role is to make your day as seamless and close to perfect as it can be.

Regarding inquiries for other states, my travel itinerary is currently booked 5 months out and you will be added to the list on my next trip to your state.

I do not travel to other states that don’t border Texas on a monthly basis. I travel for more than 5 clients in one state and effectively “stack clients” in travel states that require flight which is why my waiting list exists.

I cut off new bookings until March 10th to ensure my availability for currently booked clients in Texas last week.

I am not taking on new bookings until March 11th. Why? Because I have 32 clients in Texas awaiting dates at Units. I limit new bookings to ensure my availability.

Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas clients, please allow 10-21 days for your marriage license to be returned to you.

This “hold up” is from the county clerks offices being slow to process your license. I file licenses within 24-48 hours of each and every wedding via priority mail or in person.

The hold up isn’t on my end I can assure you.

Please Please Please VERIFY your address when buying your license. Why? Because IF you are calling me because you haven’t received it I can assure you that the odds of it being lost from the clerk to you ARE RARE. The issue is 99.9% of the time the address you provided when purchasing your license.

I track each and every license. I know exactly when they are recorded.

What I cannot do is track the clerk mailing the license after recording it to you because… 1. They use snail mail and 2. If you’ve provided an inaccurate address, it will be returned to the clerk and 3. You will call me because you didn’t receive it. 4. I will investigate and find out what’s going on and resolve the issue.

I will check my records and determine exactly when the clerk received your license then call the clerk with the exact date they received the license. The clerk will tell me when they mailed it. I will ask if it’s been returned. They will check. If it hasn’t further research is warranted.

If this “window” of a missing license is beyond 12-21 days, we have a problem and “the problem” in all of my years of officiating weddings is almost always due to a bad address on the license.

In over 2k weddings I’ve only ever had the clerk in Tarrant and Dallas counties lose TWO marriage licenses.

In Tarrant County last week I purchased a certified copy and mailed it to my client from January who never received the original.

In Dallas county two months ago, I had my clients meet me and purchase a duplicate I signed on site.

The odds of any clerks in any states losing your license are so rare that the fact that Tarrant and Dallas are the only clerks offices EVER in my history as an officiant that have not received the license back. This is highly unusual, irregular and concerning.

What’s going on in Dallas and Tarrant County with the mail?

Generally, the license will be returned to the clerk. A few weeks ago my Estelle client called me to tell me she hadn’t received her license.

The first question I ask any client prior to taking a license with me to file in person or via priority mail is to verify their address BEFORE I file it.

My Estelle client had confirmed her address was correct. I called McClennan County and not surprisingly they had the license. It had been returned because her apartment number was missing.

I then called her to call them to provide the correct address. Please check your address on the marriage license. Check it twice.

If you haven’t received it in 21 days, call me. I will find out what’s going on and resolve the issue.

Tomorrow I’m at Tarrant and Dallas Counties then Parker and Palo Pinto. If you are using social media to DM me this week and do not hear from me in 2-4 hours, call me as I’m traveling all week.

For states outside of Texas, we have your information on file and will contact you when scheduling to your state becomes available.

Thank you for your patience, your patronage and the opportunity to make your Dream Event a Reality…

Road Trips, Rest Areas, Reality And Resilience. Travels Of A TDCJ Officiant…

This morning as I prepare to head to Belltower Chapel where I’ve conducted wedding ceremonies for several years, I’m also looking forward to meeting my twin sister at Mesa Springs to bring Makenna home from treatment for suicidal ideation. Her feelings of hopelessness stemmed entirely from school and a bully.

Between client meetings and bookings this week, Cindy and I have worked closely with Makenna’s school to make curriculum changes while remodeling her room from Disney theme to teen theme. We would have accomplished this sooner but Makenna rarely leaves her room which made a remodel daunting.

Last night at visitation, my grandniece was excited about changes to her class schedule and her new room. Makenna was positive and had learned coping skills at Mesa Springs. She is an introverted teen while her twin is outgoing and outspoken.

Maryssa mirrors Cindy while Makenna mirrors me. I spent years of my childhood not speaking due to a chronic stutter. Speech and special education classes along with my homemade clothing, buck teeth and other factors made me an easy target for bullies. Cindy was far better at handling bullies than I was back then. I understand Makenna and her drive and ambition to be the best student. Have the best grades. But, bullies destroy self esteem. They leave scars that never really heal.

As an adult, the most liberating thing that ever happened to me was not caring what others thought or said about me.

In my line of work that many view as “controversial,” having a tough shell is a priceless commodity.

This Wednesday I made my first trip to Priairieland Detention Center in Alvarado, Texas. This is a Lasalle property for immigrant detainees. My client had first contacted me last year to marry her in Denton County Jail.

However, Denton County Jail only offers video visitation. Because of this hurdle, she was forced to wait on her fiancée to go to another facility to marry. This isn’t uncommon. I have another client who contacted me to marry her at another county jail and due to video visitation we waited for him to go into TDCJ. He’s now at Holliday Unit.

From Federal to State to County to ICE Facilities, my schedule during the week involves a lot of driving. I easily drive 1-3k miles a week to Inmate weddings. While the ceremony generally takes 20-30 minutes, planning a ceremony “inside” can take months and on rare occasions, years.

Why? Whether the inmate chained to another state or changed his mind about marrying or had a CLM issue or other unforeseen hurdle, paperwork and process dictate the timeline. My client and I wait on the process. These clients roll over on my books month after month and rarely year after year.

Next week my week kicks off with a bang at Palo Pinto and Parker County Jails Monday.

Tuesday I travel to Garza Units in Beeville.

Wednesday I start my day at Cole Unit then drive four hours to Roach Unit.

Thursday I drive to Hutchins Unit then Dallas County Jail.

Friday I drive to Stiles Unit.

Saturday and Sunday I’m with traditional bookings. I work seven days a week and also volunteer as a hospice clergy and crisis counselor. Occasionally, based on my schedule, I’m also a premarital counselor with Twogether In Texas. I stay busy.

Trying to cope with and comprehend why my beautiful niece didn’t come to Cindy or I before taking a handful of pills hasn’t been easy. We are confused, frightened and horrified about this turn of events and determined to make necessary changes.

Last Tuesday I traveled to Coffield Unit to finally meet Melissa. She had started the planning process months ago but a CLM issue caused a timeline setback. I was excited to finally meet her and get her married!

Wednesday morning I drove to Prairieland to meet a client who had stayed in touch with me for nearly a year. She also brought her sister and mother for the ceremony. There are no photos allowed at Prairieland but guests were allowed. There was also a ten minute visit following the ceremony.

Leaving the Unit I located a nearby hotel for her photo shoot. Due to the cold and wind I had decided to find an indoor location. Pulling into the lot, I began unloading my inventory.

Walking inside I asked the receptionist if “we could borrow the lobby?” As usual, she said “sure.”

A few months ago, I married someone who had contacted me five years ago. I regularly perform vow renewals for previous clients and stay in contact with them.

My son and his wife finally took baby Oliver home last week and are on paternity leave from County Jail Ceremonies.

Because they are on a break, Cindy and I are bringing my niece Leigh Ann to Texas to have coverage for our clients since neither I or Cindy “can be everywhere.”

After leaving Belltower today, I will meet Cindy and Maryssa to pick up Makenna. I’m excited and hopeful about Makenna recovering from depression and anxiety with counseling and a strong family on hand to support her.

Teaching her to communicate with us will take some time but Cindy and I as well as the rest of my family are determined to learn how to communicate and stop future problems before they start.

Makenna will be forced to “toughen up” to bullies because there will always be someone somewhere with a negative attitude and negative actions but by using her coping skills we pray that we never have another incident like this occur again…

Patience Is A Virtue When Planning Your Prison Wedding. Timelines, Deadlines, People & Places…

The past week has been one surprise after the other. February 5th I’m at Allred Unit at 12:30 with four brides before literally skidaddling on over to Buster Cole Unit in Bonham at 5:30. Due to this “time crunch” and the possibility of Chaplain Redwine adding on another client at Allred, bridal photos will be taken prior to Unit Weddings at Allred due to my schedule. 

“GOOD things take TIME, and GREAT things take PATIENCE.” 

“Perspiration is the perfume of persistence.” 

Planning a Prison Wedding IS A PROCESS. There is paperwork there can be delays. The timeline isn’t something you or I can control. Contact or No Contact Ceremonies are based on an inmates status. “Contact” refers to the glass separating the inmate from my client and I. 

While Arkansas will allow up to 6 guests and ring exchanges, Texas won’t. 

Arkansas like the majority of my other service states also has a 3 month waiting period and the additional burden of transportation costs to the clerks office. 

Texas clients don’t have this expense due to the use of an Absentee Affidavit removing the requirement for an inmate to be transported to the clerks office. 

Every state is different. Every protocol is different. Knowing the variations is key to getting the job done for me. I am the most in demand prison Officiant in this industry. Why? Because I care and it shows. I have never advertised any of my businesses and I will never need to. My reputation is my calling card. When someone contacts me to perform their ceremony they know that I will be determined to make it as worry free and special as humanly possibly under unique circumstances.

I’m frequently contacted by production companies and reporters. I’m leery of reporters seeking sensationalism and controversy or production companies expecting me to send them my clients. Why? I’m not in the referral business of doing a strangers job for them by “finding and or securing the talent.” If you are casting a prison or inmate based show, your job is to find the talent not mine. 

Last year in March, someone contacted me regarding gaining access to Units as well as finding the talent. This “someone” also sent me an unsigned contract and with my burdened schedule expected me to do his job for him. 

Heads up kids, this isn’t my first rodeo with media or production companies. My focus is on my business not yours. If you are sending me a contract for review, you might bother signing it and understand that I’m not interested in being tied down with rope I’m paying for. What? Don’t try to tie me down with what you want at my expense. I’m busy. I don’t have time for smoke and mirrors or bullshit. 

By the way, regarding access to Units since that “someone” was unaware how to obtain it on their own last March, media must go through TDCJ Communications AND requires consent from the inmate. A reporter traveled with me in August to numerous Units and yes I helped Ella gain access. I know policy AND procedure.

For a few years I have posted flyers for Love After Lock Up on my pages and if my clients are interested, I’ve shared the contact info to producers. 

The producers at Sharp Entertainment unlike that “someone casting  a prison show” last year and expecting me to work for him while assuming I was a hillbilly with nothing better to do than his bidding were by far more professional. The producers at Sharp are straight up about why they are contacting me. What they were asking me to do takes a few seconds to post on social media. Candor and transparency go a long way with me. I don’t have hours to educate someone on policy or procedure. If you are contacting me to do something you are too lazy to do on your own, do more research but don’t piggy back your workload this way Buddy. I operate 4 businesses. I’m on staff at 3 venues and I volunteer as a hospice clergy at Baylor and Harris. I.E. I’m busy. 

My clients are fragile and aware that not everyone can understand or accept their choice to marry an inmate. Unlike my “traditional clients,” these clients are unique, driven, passionate and unspoiled. There aren’t any divas marrying an inmate. 

A few months ago, I met my Goree Unit bride and her sister in Huntsville at the Unit. Surprisingly, the Chaplain met me in the parking area to advise me that the marriage would not be taking place due to the inmate being listed as common law married to someone other than my client. 

The CLM issue continues to pop up. In many cases, a Dissolution Agreement and Verification Letter from the state can and do dissolve this inmate status but Goree wouldn’t accept the Dissolution Letter or Verification Letter. Because of this, I will be marrying my couple outside of Walls Unit. 

The frequent occurrence of an on the fly wedding ceremony at Walls Unit after release might surprise a few people but patience is a virtue. 

My Goree Unit client did have time for bridal photos after leaving Goree devastated about her inability to marry. Cindy and I had a great time with these amazing ladies and can’t wait to see them again in May at Walls Unit.For the folks who assume “people only marry inmates to obtain conjugal visits,” ignorance speaks without forethought. Conjugal visits are only allowed in four states. Read that again. Only four states currently allow conjugal visits, otherwise known as extended family visits, and they don’t exist in the federal prison system. The states are California, Connecticut, New York, and Washington. 

Please stop assuming everyone is marrying an inmate solely to obtain a conjugal visit. Educate yourself and THEN CONTACT ME. 

I am consistently surprised by the number of people posting comments or emailing me with radically stupid or uneducated opinions. If you don’t know what you are talking about, please sit down and shut up. Stop emailing, calling and posting comments advertising your opinions. My clients don’t care what you think and I don’t either. 

Other readers and followers have legitimate questions or concerns such as “Wendy why are you occasionally wearing a visitor badge and other times you aren’t?”  Certain Units issue me as well as my client a visitors pass. In exchange for the passes, our state issued ID’s are on file in the shakedown entry area. 

Our ID’s are returned for the visitor passes when leaving. The level of security often dictates whether or not a visitor pass is warranted. “How did your business shift so fluidly To Inmate Ceremonies verses the traditional client?” Good question and observation. 

Four years ago, my bookings were 85-90% “traditional clients” and scheduled on weekends. Jail and Prison visitation is on the weekend and therefore weddings are scheduled during the week. 

Inmate Weddings PERFECTLY fit my existing schedule years ago. I’m happier at a prison than a venue! Why? Because my clients are amazing that’s why. “How did you get so successful in this niche industry? Can you teach me how to do what you do?” No. Why would I create competition that doesn’t exist? Do YOU care about these people and their journey? Are you compassionate? 

If the ONLY reason you want to try breaking into the Prison wedding business is money, this isn’t the business for you. This is a people based industry. By the way, asking someone successful to teach you how to find the success they worked for and earned is the most entitled and narcissistic idea I’ve ever heard of.

“No one has more admiration for a narcissistic person than themselves. Anything not directly related to them isn’t important to them. The only thing good about a narcissistic person is their ability to keep a secret.” Say what? Narcisstic people don’t listen to any conversation unless it’s about them. Hence their ability to keep a secret. 

“Gratitude is the difference between appreciation and a sense of entitlement.”

“Pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered.” Never heard this farmers term that lays out greed and throat cutting? It’s a true and accurate statement and term my husband’s father told him for years as a child. This quote dates as far back to the 1800’s. Author Unknown. 

“How many of your clients are still married?” From which business? The Pawning Planners, Texas Twins Events, TDCJ Officiant venues I’m on staff at? The total number of divorces from all of my clients in all of these years is 6. 

“I’ve read that you started Texas Twins Events to give others the wedding you didn’t have and to spend more time with your family. Is that true?” Yes it is. Cindy took on raising her twin granddaughters and gave up her day job. Finding a way to spend time together while helping others was the best decision I’ve ever made. 

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” –Dolly Parton

A group wedding is a group of different couples marrying at the same time in the same place. 

For me, as an Officiant, traveling back and forth to various states would be unduly cumbersome to my schedule and also financially not feasible to my clients. Because of this and the fact that many states only allow inmate weddings 1 or 2 days a year, performing a large number of weddings on the same day dependent on the number of couples involved also doesn’t always work. 

When does a group wedding work and why am I familiar with group weddings? Years ago, I began performing group weddings due to the many people wanting to marry after the Supreme Court ruling. The start of group weddings for me began then. 

I was the first openly LBGT friendly events vendor in Texas. While other vendors were hiding in the closet fearing retaliation, I was one of the many front runners championing same sex marriage. Frankly, many of my friends had waited a lifetime to marry and died never having the chance. 

I have worked in the entertainment industry for a number of years and subsequently had many friends who were LBGT. 

A lifetime of discrimination was endured  by many LBGT couples. They had no rights to insurance or even burial decisions of their partners. They had no tax breaks. 

Many years before the Supreme Court ruling, my friends Charles and Dewitt who died of cancer without the benefit of insurance from his partner of forty years, Charles was working long after emphysema prevented Dewitt from working. 

The loss of Dewitt’s income combined with his medical expenses and the inability of Charles to add Dewitt to his insurance crushed Charles who would never see the day of LBGT weddings becoming legal during his lifetime. I’ve seen the tragedy of couples who were committed to each other but could never be legally committed for years before the ruling. In fact, I published numerous blogs warning LBGT couples to obtain legal documents for their own protection which included a Body Disposition Affidavit. Without it, loved ones and partners were effectively skipped over by the next of kin to make burial decisions. Probate Courts didn’t recognize non legal unions. Survivors were stripped of community property as well. 

Charles and Dewitt are only one example of a couple who never had a chance to benefit from the health insurance or tax breaks of other “traditional” couples. Their lifestyles were often frowned on. Charles and Dewitt were twenty years older than me and longtime friends. 

For my friend, Charles, I also was occasionally the “beard” at formal social events acting as his “date.” Why could Charles and Dewitt not be seen as a couple? Because back in those days, their partnership would have never been accepted. In fact, cat calling and other types of discrimination or whispers were “normal” to Charles and Dewitt. They felt forced into accepting being treated differently.

As a child, it wasn’t uncommon for someone to refuse to wait on my family. Why? My grandmother was light skinned while my grandfather was dark skinned. In the 60’s, such unions were publicly frowned upon. Many of my family members are “mixed.” 

Dewitt’s family never accepted Charles. Charles was never able to help Dewitt who had no health insurance. After Dewitt’s death, Charles faded away. His own health deteriorated. Rarely I was still able to get him out of the house to go dinner with me at my country club but, his heart was broken. Less than a month after Dewitt’s death, his family went to the home of Charles and Dewitt and ransacked their combined possessions. Charles did nothing because he was powerless to stop Dewitt’s family. 

Charles was unable to make burial decisions because Dewitt and Charles both were unaware of the necessity of a Body Disposition Affidavit and Power Of Attorney. Because they weren’t married, Charles had no legal rights to make burial decisions or keep community property belonging to Dewitt. 

If I sound biased, it’s because I’ve seen far too much in my lifetime. I’ve heard whispers about my friends. These whispers were almost always from self professed Christians frowning on purple unions or alternative lifestyles. A few of these naysayers were my own family members. They didn’t “approve of my friends or clients.” I didn’t approve of their opinions. This rift between certain family members didn’t affect my belief that everyone deserves to find love and have love. 

I’ve also had death threats sent to my office over the years from people who had read about me in the Dallas Morning News and had strong opinions about my rainbow clients. I had choices. I chose to be open to anyone when I began Texas Twins Events. 

These haters underestimated my passion and determination. I could have been bullied into changing my businesses if I was a weaker person but I’m not. I don’t see differences in my clients. I see people. People from every background. People from every lifestyle. I welcomed diversity. 

People who know me are well aware of the fact that my life has never been easy. I left home with my twin sister at 15. We’ve been homeless. We’ve been poor. We’ve struggled and we’ve learned compassion and empathy firsthand. How? Our childhood lacked both. 

My mother was a heroin addict and my father didn’t want to be burdened by four children. We didn’t ask to be born. We were somehow “always in the way.”

Bounced from relative to relative. Abused at a young age, my sister and I chose being homeless at 15. We have never regretted our decision. 

For the first few years of LBGT marriage being legal, I performed group weddings on the courthouse steps in numerous cities. Why? I couldn’t be everywhere at once. 

For the first few years officiating jail weddings, I would literally bounce from one cubicle to the next at county jails. 

For the first few years of prison weddings, the hate mail and death threats I had endured after the Supreme Court ruling returned. I wasn’t intimidated. Instead, was infuriated. 

Who the heck were these people who believed their opinions or beliefs affected my clients? Stay tuned and buckle up for one TDCJ client who was SO OFFENDED that I perform LBGT marriages that she effectively fired me last year and is the reason that EVERY WENDY WORTHAM website blatantly displays BOTH LBGT and Prison Wedding Services. 

If you are on any of my sites and don’t realize this you are either blind or illiterate. 

One TDCJ Prison client took up a lot of my valuable time. I had talked to, emailed and texted her for months before she “realized I was LBGT friendly.” I reworked all of my sites through my developer specifically to prevent anyone else wasting my time again.  You didn’t know I perform inmate weddings or LBGT inmate weddings or biracial weddings and you have a problem with my other clients? Get lost. 

My time is valuable and spent on people worthy of it. I operate four businesses and I’m on staff at several venues. I’m also a consultant for GLG and a volunteer hospice clergy. I work seven days a week and have a very tight schedule. 

I regularly turn down large events due to drama and chaos. I don’t work because I have to. I work because I want to. I service several states including Texas as my home base. 

I don’t advertise and I’ve never needed to. If I’ve spent months walking you through the very complicated process of marrying an inmate, I’ve dropped whatever else I was doing at the time you called, emailed or texted me. Your questions or concerns were important enough to me to do so. 

If another client from a venue I’m on staff at or who is booking through Texas Twins Events or The Pawning Planners “has an issue” with my Prison or jail or LBGT client bases, I FIRE THEM and have for years now. 

Had I known that one TDCJ client “had an issue with my other clients,” I would have cut her loose early and spared myself her opinions and the justification of her opinions upon “realizing” that I married same sex couples. 

Experience is a great teacher. I’ve learned to direct my time and talent to only those who are worthy of my attention. I’m selective about who I work with. I prefer one on one weddings but I’ve performed many group weddings in numerous states when my schedule and the clients income prevented me from flying here or there for one wedding and one set of clients. 

I have flown to another state with my staff many times for one client but the client could and did pay for travel expenses. It’s rare I book large events out of state these days due to the time involved. When I do, the client was a referral. I always try to stack other clients in the same states to defer travel expenses. But, this requires other clients waiting or willing to change their date. 

Recently, a number of my prison clients were shocked to hear that I’ve had YEARS of experience with “jerky clerks.” I was on the news over an over again in Texas during a “wild window county clerks refusing to issue licenses to same sex couples.” I orchestrated picket lines and personally walked my intimidated clients into the clerks offices throughout Texas. I was angry that so many couples who had waited so long to marry couldn’t get a license to marry because clerks paid to issue licenses refused to do so “for religious reasons.” What the? I refused to accept this as a wall. If you are paid to perform a function and refuse to perform that function, quit or for goodness sakes do your job and leave your religious reasons BS at home. You work for consumers. Your job is to issue marriage licenses. It’s none of your business if the couple are LBGT or someone is planning to marry an inmate. Zip up your opinion. Review the documents and issue the license buddy.

For years prior to the ruling, my team and I traveled to states where same sex marriage was legal to accommodate our clients. I’m not shy. I don’t have a problem voicing my belief that love is love either. If people have a problem with my clients, their opinion is of no concern to my staff, myself or our clients. 

Charles and Dewitt were forced to hide their love story. My clients are my friends. Prison or Jail clients are thrilled to marry too. They don’t care about opinions. They have a love story. A journey. A story to tell. 

Passion Is The Plow That Pushes Dreams Into Reality…Prisons, People & Places.

The holidays are “that time of the year” when holiday parties can bring out a few unexpected conversations after one too many. Loose lips sink ships. I never drink too much or have the desire to do so. There isn’t anything glamorous or funny about people who cannot handle their liquor. A glass of wine occasionally or one vodka martini on a bad day are my limit. I rarely drink even one drink on location but occasionally have based on the situation. Certain clients insist I share a celebratory cocktail or highball and I oblige. 

Corporate Christmas parties always bring the chaos. Why? Free flowing alcohol. Whether I’m working the event or a guest at my husbands Christmas gathering for work, there’s always that one employee who “wants to know more” about the person sitting next to them. Or, there’s at least one person who should have stopped at two drinks. A combination of both always proves for an enlightening conversation. 

I was recently at a corporate Christmas party where I was asked “what do I do?” The person seated next to me was talkative and entertaining but my answer sent her into a laughing fit.

This question about “what I do” comes up frequently. It’s changed from “where do you work?” 

Describing what I do to people who either have an opinion regarding inmate marriage or are unaware that inmate marriage exists can get a few less than tactful responses from the person asking me. 

My usual answer? “I own several businesses and work as a coordinator, Officiant and also barter event services as well as perform prison weddings in numerous states.” The last part is always surprising to the person asking if they don’t follow me on social media or read my blogs. My statement is either met with shocked silence or in this weeks scenario, a laugh from the person asking me an intrusive question such as “what do I do?” A better question would be “what don’t you do?” 

Not caring what others think about what I do or who I do it with is the most liberating gift that I have ever given myself. Let’s get started with “how I got here.” Years ago, I was successful in high end sales, print and commercial modeling and promotions. Years ago, my life was spent on the set, the sales floor or traveling. Years ago, I was always working and spending little time with my family. Years ago, I was working for the man to pay my bills. Years ago, someone laughing at my profession would bother me. It doesn’t anymore. 

I don’t care what others think about my job or my clients. I have the time to spend with my family that my jobs took from me for all of those years. I work for myself. I set my own schedule. I’m highly sought after in the events industry and I regularly turn down gigs with “traditional clients.” Why? Because I don’t HAVE to work. I haven’t HAD TO WORK in many years. 

I’m often “recognized” as is my twin sister. “I saw you on TV.” Or, “I saw you in an ad for Cadillac.” Or, “weren’t you in those commercials for Whataburger with Mel Tillis?” The answer is yes, I’ve been in the film industry since I was a teen. 

I’ve been a promotional model for thirty years and I’ve filmed five commercials with Mel Tillis. For the record, my favorite burger isn’t from Whataburger. It’s from Kincaids. I’m nothing if not blatantly honest. 

How did I get from Whataburger commercials to high end sales and promotional modeling? Good question. I began modeling in my 20’s to obtain an upscale wardrobe I couldn’t afford to buy. I then used my wardrobe to become a high end sales person. You’ve got to “look the part” and, I did. During the week back then, I worked a wide variety of weird jobs but on weekends I was a model for numerous brands. I preferred to get clothing rather than a paycheck. 

Modeling for clothes? It was a barter and a great deal for me. I have closets full of designer clothing and none of it was bought. In fact, my son modeled with me for Stripling & Cox a number of years and was the best dresssed kid in Fort Worth. Those mommy and me style shows kept my son in school clothes year after year. Those years on the catwalk at country clubs provided me an amazing wardrobe of clothing, furs and jewelry. The experience also taught me that I could sell anything. “How did Cadillac come into the picture?” Buckle up kids… during my second divorce my ex husband sold my car. I needed a vehicle, insurance and income. I became a Cadillac salesperson. 

To generate clients I hired a photographer and paid for print ads targeting consumers who could afford Cadillacs at the very same country clubs I had walked the catwalk at. True story. 

Experience is a great teacher. I knew where the money was and where to market. The county club had the clients who could afford Cadillac products.

Moving into an industry I had no experience at? Why not? Selling myself as a high end salesperson was easy. I knew that luxury car dealerships provided demos. I needed a car, health insurance and income. I decided to pitch myself at a local dealership. 

After all, I had sold furs, jewelry, designer clothing and even solar panels. How hard could it be to flip luxury cars? I’ve never sold anything I wouldn’t buy and I would have bought a Cadillac if I could have afforded one so I was all set to start selling. 

I decorated my office off the showroom floor and studied my manuals. I passed my GM certification courses. I also spent time wondering how to generate new clients.

Finding a client base took creativity but I did. Cadillac gave me everything I needed. I had a free demo, gas, health insurance and an income. I decided to run ads featuring myself with a different car every month at country clubs. I was investing in myself. It takes money to make money. I needed the “right clients” and found them. What I did had never been done before by a salesperson in the car industry. I was a pioneer. 

My ex was shocked at how I went from nothing to something. My ex was also one of the many country club members viewing my ads month after month. Smiling back at him from those glossy brochures making more money than I ever imagined? Absolutely. 

That smile was real folks. I wasn’t a hangar anymore hawking or flipping for clothes. My game literally stepped up for those Cadillac ads. Coordinating evening gowns? You bet from my years as a model. I have closets of options. 

In the ad below I decided to wear a chocolate gown rather than match the car. Who didn’t want an XLR? What a great car the XLR was! I loved them. I could sell anything I believed in and did.Poverty is a great teacher. If you don’t learn you will never earn. Successful people don’t start out successful unless they are lucky. I have never been lucky but I have always been resilient. Trial and error are essential to success.

I’m a survivor. I also think outside the box. Other salesmen laughed at my ads. I laughed all the way to the bank. 

I left Cadillac on top. I retired from car sales. I left laughing and moved on to my next adventure. Years of car sales, classy demos and fantastic paychecks was a wild ride but I was ready to move on. Everyone knows I’m an identical twin. This isn’t a news flash. My twin sister has been raising her twin granddaughters since birth. We are two sets of twins. 

While working for Cadillac, I even put my twin and twin grandnieces in one of my Cadillac ads for Escalades. “Got a big family? Get an Escalade!” 

I sold the $hit out of Escalades with that two sets of twins ad posted in the Ridglea and Colonial Country Club monthly brochures. The twins are now fifteen years old. 

My twin is my partner at Texas Twins Events, Texas Twins Treasures, The Pawning Planners and TDCJ Officiant.When I decided to start Texas Twins Events, Cindy and the Twins joined me on location at events and clients hired the twin as flower girls, ring bearers and ushers. This was a surprise. Taking our kids to work became a family affair.

For tips or flips, the twins loved being in weddings. They now book as princess characters for birthday parties. Within a week of going LIVE with Texas Twins Events, production companies started contacting me. This was shocking because my goal wasn’t to get famous. We filmed a Pilot for The Pawning Planners in 2015. It went with the smallest minority of our actual bookings though and our focus was helping others not filming. We don’t have any interest of fabricating our embellishing our journey or our clients.

My goal was to find a way to spend time with my family while making Events affordable to our clients. Any client. Any event. Any location. 

We welcomed diversity. Narrow minded people had opinions. Those “opinions” were THEIR luggage and THEIR trip. “What percentage of your clients are LBGT?” This idiotic question along with others used to bother me. Why? Because the person asking wasn’t supportive of my client base. 

I was the first openly LBGT friendly vendor. While everyone else was hiding their affiliation with LBGT clients fearful of backlash, I was openly LBGT friendly. All of my businesses are LBGT friendly.My first prison client all of those years ago came to me because I welcomed diversity. She had seen me on a news interview regarding support of the LBGT community. She knew I was open minded and she was right. My first Prison wedding was to help a person no one else wanted to help. 

The CW33 interview was aired on numerous stations. Cindy and were in Dallas when I was hijacked by a reporter for that interview. Two sets of twins caught his attention. The fact that we weren’t LBGT was why he stuck a microphone in my face and said “roll it.” 

Even members of my family voiced their disdain for our client bases over the years and effectively cut themselves from my life. I didn’t care about opinions. 

Those family members didn’t lift a finger when Cindy and I were homeless at 15. We had no one but each other to lean on and did. Those “family members” never once helped my sister or I. We had each other and a new family. Our clients became that family.

Prison weddings evolved from a creative request for services. I perform up to 20 prison weddings per month. 

I prefer prison weddings. There aren’t any divas or drama. There is love. There is resilience. There are happy endings. There is life after lock up. My clients are amazing!

“Why did you and Cindy go to the expense to create your own inventory of photo props? Why do you do photo shoots with clients?” Prison photos aren’t always great and guests in Texas aren’t allowed. 

Photo shoots bring the fun, the flowers, the tiaras, the family and magical moments. I’ve spent thousands on my inventory but it’s worth every penny to clients because my SUVs are treasure troves of fun stuff. 

I became the person I wanted to meet. I became the mother I never had. My twin sister and I continue to change the wedding and events industry one family or barter at a time from Fort Worth, Texas. We love our clients and our role to make their Dream Event a reality. Many of you recently saw us on the Mel Robbins show regarding “over sharing.” We are driven and passionate. What was cut from that interview and effectively missed was my explanation of why I was excited a new baby was coming though Cindy already had a full house and was raising her twin granddaughters when a call from her oldest daughter planning to come home pregnant on a one way ticket came in.

Cindy was excited to have another baby coming and posted the update on FB. Cindy offering to take her daughter in with a baby on the way gives you far more insight on how we had decided that with “two of us we could handle anything.” We do everything together including raising our children and grandchildren.

Little Maddy rode with us to Units and jumped into client photos for three years and nearly four before her father returned to the states. Leigh Ann, Maddy and Alex are now reunited in California. We miss Maddy and FaceTime  daily. We are flying to see them in a few weeks while working destination weddings in California. 

Our little Maddy is a ray of sunshine. Leigh Ann is homesick and excited about our twin trip to visit. We are honest and open. We don’t care what others think. Their opinions or negativity don’t enrich our lives. They have “limits” to what they think is controversial or acceptable. 

I was told a few years ago by a production company “what you do is just too controversial.” Really? They contacted me. I’m not going to change who I am or what I do to fit it someone’s mold of what they think I should be or do. My clients are more important than the opinions of strangers.

What Cindy and I have is each other and a desire to change the way people perceive our clients and their relationships. What we have accomplished is giving our clients the event they wanted with the kindness, compassion and attention that they deserved… 

Affairs Of The Heart Harris Hospital To Estelle Unit Huntsville, Texas…

Juggling the past few months has been hectic. My worry and concern about my sister has preoccupied my mind and robbed me of sleep. 

Since flying to NY in August, my twin sister has struggled with pain in her chest but, her “EKG’s were normal.” Because of this and while waiting on a referral to a cardiologist from our PCP, we would both learn that a normal EKG and chest pain are not normal. We would learn in a nick of time to save Cindy from a heart attack. 

Maria had contacted me regarding marrying Erin at Estelle Unit a few months ago. Maria and Erin are both deaf. This meant my only form of communicating with her was by text. Normally my clients call, email and text but text only was how Maria and I managed her Prison wedding planning process. 

In the middle of the Prison wedding planning process, we would also learn that Erin was CLM which prevented approval to marry. Undoing this CLM status would take several weeks. 

Widespread misuse of Common Law Marriage Affidavits within TDCJ are common. How common? Thirty percent of my clients encounter the “sticky CLM issue” in the midst of the confusing process of planning to marry an inmate. How do they find out? The I60 Request For Marriage is denied based on the inmate being listed as CLM to someone other than the person attempting to marry them. 

To start the unraveling, I sent two Dissolution agreements to Maria. One for Erin and the other for the other party to the CLM status. Luckily, she was willing to sign it. Maria had given me her number and I called to explain the situation to her myself. 

Finally gaining a date to marry at Estelle, it was a sleep deprived week for me altogether. Friday morning, Cindy and I had a Skype interview with the BBC regarding a show concept. This isn’t unusual. In fact I’m contacted by reporters and production companies on a regular basis. Cindy and I have intentionally waited to sign contract for awhile now. Why? Because finding the right production company to share our unique journey isn’t easy. The BBC won’t embellish or frankenbite or fabricate our clients or ourselves which is why they have our interest. 

Cindy struggling with chest pain had me considering a reschedule but, we have never rescheduled with a production company in all these years and Cindy refused to consider a reschedule promising to go straight to the hospital immediately with me instead and following through with the Skype call. The call lasted nearly two hours. How my twin managed to be funny and entertaining I have no idea. 

We left the office and went to Harris Willow Park. As usual for the past 3 months, her EKG was normal. I insisted on more tests this time. I was sick of being told she was normal and watching her pop nitro pills like candy. Those pills are key here so stay tuned. 

At our PCP (yes, we have the same PCP, GYN and dentist as well as eye doctors), I fought to get a prescription for those nitro pills. Due to that normal EKG, the doctor didn’t want to prescribe them. 

After researching nitroglycerin pills though, I wasn’t leaving without them. They would prevent Cindy from having a massive coronary last week. Because she had them, she took them. If she hadn’t had them, at any time during four days of travel, she would have easily suffered a heart attack. 

Monday we were dealing with Stephaney again. This most likely caused the stress to Cindy. Her daughter consistently sucker punches us with her consistent relapses. Tuesday while at the PCP, Cindy’s daughter called stranded in Oklahoma after getting off the bus we had put her on to treatment hours earlier. The pain would only get worse. 

By Wednesday, I was begging Cindy to go to the hospital. The pain was so intense that she couldn’t sleep. Instead, Cindy rode with me to Goree Unit then on to Gib Lewis. 

Thursday, I again begged Cindy to go to the ER. My son and I headed to Jordan Unit to meet two brides. Cindy continued to believe nothing was wrong due to the normal EKG’s and being released over and over with chest pain. I was determined to get her into the hospital by Friday. 

Friday morning after wrapping the Skype call and bracing for yet another “normal EKG,” the additional tests I demanded showed inconsistencies. An ambulance transported Cindy while I picked up the twins from school. A stress test Saturday morning was canceled. Cindy’s heart wasn’t up to the test. The cardiologist wanted to do an angioplasty immediately but because Cindy was returned to her room and served breakfast, the surgery was moved to Monday. 

Throughout the weekend, I literally bounced from the hospital to Events to home to the hospital to Events to home. Acting normal with little or no sleep  and hiding my fear from my sister my family and even myself was no easy task. 

I handled paperwork from my sisters bedside. I took client calls and emails as I watched her. I checked in with my husband watching the twins. I sent my son to feed Cindy’s cats. I called the workers who had been paid to paint Cindy’s house and hadn’t returned all week. I called Cindy’s husband from NY to Colorado to Nevada to California. Steve finally arrived in Texas Tuesday morning.

Steve and I went to visit Cindy and I left Harris Heart Tower headed to Estelle Unit in Huntsville. I drove alone. I thought how driven I had become to find answers. I wondered why I had accepted that normal EKG? Why Cindy had? Why we didn’t ask more questions? I thanked God for arguing about the nitro and winning the argument. We had saved her. We found the answers and the solution but it took far longer than it should have.

Arriving at Estelle, I text Maria. She walks towards me smiling. I can’t text. I must leave my phone. We screen in. We wait for Erin. I loan her my ring for Unit photos. She is finally married. Cindy is finally going home. 

Anything worth having is worth fighting for. My sisters health or Maria’s ability to marry didn’t have clear cut paths but, I’ve never given up easily. Love will find a way. Maria’s Friend is also deaf. I’m going to help her marry at Estelle. Cindy is home resting and like me thankful. We are forever in debt to the amazing staff at Harris.

“Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom.” –Shakespeare

After a long weekend of traveling to Galveston to San Antonio, my Monday started off with a bang back at Solis for my semi annual mammogram Monday morning. Why semi annual? Because over the past ten years I’ve had not one but two lumpectomies. My visits to Solis make me a nervous wreck. At 7:15AM, my shaking hands handed the tablet back to the receptionist at Solis. By 8:12AM, I was disrobed and going through my X-rays. My phone continued to ring. It never stops. For obvious reasons, I ignored the sound of Westminster chimes on my ringtone. 

By 8:37AM, I was walking to the locker to get my clothing and head to the changing area. My phone rang again. It was Cindy. “Stephaney has been kicked out of rehab and is by your house.” My blood pressure shot through the roof. Seventeen years of my niece and her choices have caused more emotional and financial devastation than I could ever put into words. 

Disappointment after disappointment aside, surprise phone calls about Stephaney consistently upset our entire family. Now literally throwing my clothes on to go look for Stephaney AGAIN, I rolled out of Baylor Health Systems to drive to my home wondering what in the Hell we were going to do with Stephaney NOW?! Two months into her 6 month treatment and yet again, sheer despair and disappointment were literally near my doorstep. 

Kicking myself for paying her bond when she was arrested at Dallas Greyhound months ago when I Cindy and I had tried to get Stephaney into what I believed was a rehab in Valdosta, Georgia and she somehow managed to get herself into a brawl that resulted in the Dallas PD finding a revoked bond from Cotton County, Oklahoma regarding Stephaney missing her probation payment. Driving home, I wished I had let Dallas transport Stephaney to Cotton County. Would jail straighten her out? Who knows. 

For three years now, my niece has had relapse after relapse to the point that not only my twin sister but also I have been hospitalized for hypertension. I reach for my Xanax as I drive preparing myself for yet another version of Stephaney blaming everyone but herself for being kicked out of treatment AGAIN. 

A few blocks from home, I pull over and call the treatment center myself. Stephaney is a pathological liar and I know it. Me “my niece called her mother and said she had been released from treatment.” The center “Stephaney volunteered to leave the program by leaving the hospital.” Hmm, I knew it. Two blocks later, I see my niece at the park near my house. I bark “get in.” 

Stephaney starts in with “it wasn’t my fault.” I turn to her and say “your mother has spent 15 years raising your twins. She has sacrificed her life over and over. You have cost us tens of thousands of dollars trying to fix you. You aren’t our priority. Your children are. You are 32 years old and you are killing us. I’m going to find you another rehab and you WILL finish the program!” 

Stephaney barks “I want a cigarette.” My niece is selfish, self destructive and reminds me of pigpen with a whirlwind of chaos constantly surrounding her. I drive to a convenience store. 

I’m deflated and depressed. I’m desperate to catch a break from Stephaney and her stupid choices. I’m determined to protect Cindy and the twins from yet another episode of “trying to Save Stephaney.” I google Oklahoma rehabilitation facilities. I need Stephaney in another state. I need to act quickly too. 

By the time Stephaney walked out of Quick Way, I had located a rehab. I’m nothing if not determined. As usual, Stephaney had excuses. “I lost all of the things you bought me and my ID.” Lit, I said “what are you talking about?” My niece (laughing as usual) said “I signed a waiver giving up my property to the facility.” 

More drama. More chaos. More stress. MORE EXPENSES due to a 32 year old that flat out refuses to get her shit together and be a responsible adult.

Now in order to get Stephaney into treatment, I would have to go buy a birth certificate and then drive her to the DMV as well as go to the bank for a cashiers check for the new facility. Ugh. Facilities (even cash paying facilities since Stephaney doesn’t have insurance) require proper identification. 

Waiting at the clerks office, I book a bus from Fort Worth to Muskogee Oklahoma for Stephaney at 1:58AM. I have less than 12 hours to replace Stephaney’s clothes, shoes, toiletries and other items Cindy and I have replaced again and again. Grrr.

Cindy meets me at Walmart. We are miserable together as Stephaney throws item after item into the buggy. Three hundred plus dollars later, we roll out of Walmart to Fort Worth. I’m exhausted. Cindy’s too tired to cry. 

My son has picked up the twins and taken them home with him so they can spend the night at his house. My son will take the twins to school Tuesday while I take Foxy to the vet and Cindy goes to an appointment. We are up all night Monday getting Stephaney on that bus to Oklahoma.

At midnight, Cindy and I sit for two hours waiting on the bus with Stephaney to make damn sure she gets on it. At 2:15AM, we realize that the bus has come and gone. SOB. I load up and drive Stephaney to Dallas while Cindy takes a nitroglycerin tablet. I swear if anybody ever believed that dealing with our family was easy they have no idea what sheer, raw, hell my niece has brought to our lives. Acting normal is a full time job waiting on the next sucker punch from Stephaney. Literally. 

Tuesday morning, Cindy and I are Green Bay Unit thinking our latest “Stephaney Situation” is solved. 

Leaving Green Bay to Dr Richwine, by the time Cindy’s getting an EKG, Stephaney is calling to say she missed the bus and that the three hundred dollars worth of items we had just bought Monday are on the bus. Good Lord! We are at the doctor because of Stephaney’s latest sucker punch Monday and yet hours after getting her on the bus in Dallas she gets off in Oklahoma and misses the bus? 

Cindy and I both take a Xanax. The doctor wants bloodwork. We have no time. We leave the doctor to drive to Oklahoma and find Stephaney AGAIN. 

Hours from Fort Worth with no sleep after staying up all night to get Stephaney on that damn bus to Muskogee. I’m beyond exhausted. Cindy’s angina is killing her. I worry about Cindy. I’m always worrying about Cindy.

We find Stephaney at Choctaw Too Travel Center. Three hours from the rehab facility. Cindy and I have had less than two hours of sleep. I call the center to pick up Stephaney’s luggage from Greyhound. I want to cry but I can’t. I’m too angry. Stephaney ignores her mother and I by listening to her music. No apologies. No thank you. There never are with Stephaney.

At 4:37PM Tuesday, I cannot find the facility. We are in a corn field. I am having a meltdown. Cindy is silently crying. Stephaney is listening to music. I call the facility and ask them to meet me near Chateau at Hookers Restaurant. 

At 4:42PM, a car with two nice ladies pulls up next to us. Stephaney gets out. They invite Cindy and I to follow them to the facility. I decline by explaining “we are 6 hours from home. Wednesday morning I’m in Huntsville then Woodsville. Thursday, I’m in Pampas. I’m sorry but we have my son looking after Stephaney’s twin daughters and husbands worried about us getting home tonight. Thank you for meeting us.”

Without a goodbye, Stephaney walked to the other car…