Back At TDCJ Beto Unit & Big Surprises At TDCJ Units Revoking Visitation & Rescheduling Of Confirmed Dates…

Monday while traveling from the Tarrant County Clerks Office to Parker and Palo Pinto Jails, my husband send me a text that read “buy toilet paper we are out.”

This wasn’t an unusual request from my husband as I had left with a list of weekly items that I normally buy and stock once a week.

I do not buy toilet paper every week because there are only two of us at our home and we don’t need or warrant more than 4-6 rolls at a time. But, this simple request would become extraordinarily difficult to find for me.

Welcome to the toilet paper controversy with hilarious memes and people laughing at others buying toilet paper this past Monday.

By Friday, the people laughing weren’t laughing.

By Friday people in small town Weatherford were getting into fist fights over Charmin.

By Friday I had seen the world change before my eyes. Hoarding and flipping hand sanitizer for $100 on eBay? I’ve seen it.

Toilet paper for $20 a roll on FB Marketplace? I’ve seen it. People buying all of the cold medicine, alcohol, hand sanitizer and wipes as well as canned food items, sugar, meat and food while wiping out supplies for anyone else? I’ve seen it.

I’ve seen some of the wildest scenarios in four days that I could ever imagine. I wish I hadn’t but I have.

On Friday, Cindy and I took a break between clients to go to Walmart. Shelves were empty. Baskets over turned by angry customers left lying on their sides. Ransacked shelves empty greeted shoppers who didn’t expect this type of “mission” to buy toilet paper or anything else for that matter.

Cindy and I left Walmart and headed to Dollar Tree. No toilet paper. No hand sanitizer. No bottled water.

We then drove to Dollar General and found alcohol for the injections my husband gives me at home because going to the doctor once a week with my schedule isn’t convenient. The alcohol was 50% rather than 70% but it was better than nothing. We also found 2 packs of 4 roll toilet paper. There were only 2 packs of 4 roll TP in the store.

We then left Dollar General and went to Albertsons. Still no hand sanitizer. There was coffee and cream and bread as well as eggs. The panic that would arrive a few days later hadn’t “hit yet.”

I bought cantaloupe, watermelon, broccoli and my usual staple items including coffee and cream as well as salmon and chicken breasts and a few cans of soup.

Had I known that there would be food shortages for my Sunday or Monday shopping depending on my schedule, I might have bought a few cans of soup more, some rice and even some beans or ramen noodles but, hindsight is 20/20.

Monday prior to the hysteria and hoarding going on around me, I arrived home and prepared my suv for the drive to Beto Unit in Tennessee Colony on Tuesday to meet my bride. I had loaded furs, bouquets, hats and fun items from my Texas Twins Inventory and planned a leisurely drive to Beto Unit.

Tuesday, I stopped in Corsicana to visit the Walmart and buy my new grandson the diapers and wipes since I couldn’t find at Cindy’s Walmart Monday.

I would have a few problems finding either the diapers or the water wipes my daughter in law prefers in Corsicana.

There weren’t people agitated racing down the aisles. There was bottled water. There wasn’t hand sanitizer or toilet paper, baby wipes or paper towels.

I needed a few rolls of paper towels but decided I could wing it if I had to by using my tea towels at home.

By Tuesday I still wasn’t alarmed. A few things were difficult to come by depending on where you went while others weren’t. No mass hysteria just YET.

I left Corsicana Walmart and headed to Tennessee Colony/Palestine Texas to meet my client at Beto.

While driving there, a herd of wild hogs came running across the 2 lane road with cars traveling 70-80 miles an hour. I saw the “hub bub” about half a mile ahead and slowed down thinking it was deer or elk.

On closer inspection, it was something I had never encountered on the 300,000 miles I have driven getting to Units in Texas.

Wild hogs? They were huge and could easily flip a car as their girth is low to the ground. I tip toed my way around the herd and traveled on wondering where they had come from and if a driver not paying attention wouldnt slow down until it was too late?

Arriving at Beto, I find my bride in the parking lot. We walk in together. She’s thrilled. Her smile shows her joy. We clear in and wait on the chaplain.

We walk to the traditional photo wall at Beto and it’s coveted with Coronavirus signs.

Frankly, I don’t want to use the wall and have my clients photo peppered with Coronavirus signs on wedding day. I request using the tropical wall in the vending machine area instead and we are granted the privilege to do so.

Leaving the Unit, my bride follows me to an old church just outside Palestine. I begin unloading and finding my favorite areas based on lighting and background. We are laughing and having a great time together. I hand her a bottle of water from my trunk and we spend a few minutes trying different areas and have fun celebrating her marriage.

I love my job. We hug and say goodbye as I head to Dallas North Tower to meet my next client.

Cutting through Tennessee Colony, I’m leery about another encounter with those wild hogs I saw a few hours earlier. My fear is confirmed when I see a hog on the side of the road outside of Cayuga, Texas. Someone wasn’t paying attention.

Backroads in Texas give you a wide variety of surprises such as deer, elk, possums and armadillos which can jump straight off the ground four feet right into your grill. Wild hog herds though were a new one for me.

Cautiously driving towards Corsicana aware that something else could jump out on the road, I’m unaware of the widespread panic spreading across America.

I take calls from clients and Units. I check in with my husband and let my son and daughter in law know I will drop off diapers and other supplies I’ve found to them in the morning. I’m not worried about baby wipes because I assume I can find them. I will later realize I can’t.

By the time I leave North Tower in Dallas, a phone call from my niece at Point Hueneme, California regarding “people fighting over toilet paper and water.” This IS DISTURBING. Toilet paper?

Leigh Ann is frightened. People at the military base are no longer touching and running her ID. Instead, they are now simply looking at it.

People are acting differently. Leigh Ann plans to go to Ventura and try to find bottled water. I advise her to wait until her husband comes back from work since her 4 year old, Madyson is a handful.

Checking the clock on my Sahara, I don’t have time to file licenses in Tarrant County and decide to do so Wednesday morning on my way to drop off cold supplies to my son who has sinusitis and diapers for my grandson.

I decide to stop in Lake Worth to buy groceries, juice and soup. There are no paper towels, water or toilet paper at Walmart. I buy meat, pasta, bread, lunch meat and cheese as well as juice. The supplies are low but I assume the trucks are coming or running behind.

There aren’t entire empty shelves other than cleaning products, hand sanitizers and toilet paper or water. There is still fruit and vegetables. There is still soup, rice, beans and other staples.

Wednesday morning with my Jeep loaded for my sons house, I head to the clerks office. There are signs regarding the Coronavirus everywhere. The governor of California has revoked visitors to prisons. This is alarming.

I have 5 Units next week. Will TDCJ follow suit? I’m thinking no but my husband is thinking a strong maybe on my phone call to him leaving the clerk. “They are cancelling major events. NASCAR, golf, basketball. This is spiraling out of control. Update your clients and stay on top of changes. They will need to know what’s going on. Stay calm. This will pass but it may take a week or two.”

I’m worried but helpless to change what’s coming. Leigh Ann is increasingly concerned watching the news by Wednesday. Costco and Sam’s are running out of everything.

There is no hand sanitizer available anywhere. My son needs it as he is sick with a new baby. Cindy and I decide to make our own hand sanitizer.

My son is getting better but still answers the door in a mask. I begin unloading an full of items for my son and his wife and begin cooking lunch for them while checking on the baby.

Ollie is three weeks old and doing well but he’s fragile. He wears an Owlett sock to monitor his breathing, blood sugar and heart rate.

Leaving my son fully stocked other than baby wipes, I drop in on my husband down the street from my sons development. McBee Homes is just a few miles away. I invite my husband to lunch.

We choose Boo Ray about 1/2 a mile from McBee. It’s dead. There are very few people eating out. I notice it. My husband does too.

My husband decides to ask about my schedule next week and any possible changes. It’s a full plate. I’m at Green Bay Unit Monday. Wallace and Middleton Units Tuesday. Allred and Roach Units Thursday. Estes Unit Friday then back to Green Bay and Parker County. I will be driving about 2300 miles.

My husband again advises me “TDCJ may follow California. Caddo Parrish is also suspending visits.” Matthew like me is following prison news.

I consider cancelled visitation at prisons before answering my husband. “Weekend visits are thousands of people at prisons. My client and I are two people. I’ve decided to add to my booster shots a phnuemonia shot just in case and after Cindy’s heart surgery, believe it wouldn’t be a bad idea for her either.”

I’m still not even entertaining the possibility that TDCJ will cancel my confirmed dates. I cannot imagine having to tell my clients who have waited months that another delay looms in the future. I worry. I fret.

I also head to Dr Stern for an adjustment. The stress of Leigh Ann in California and people hoarding along with the possibility that my clients could be rescheduled has me with a stiff neck.

Dr Stern has been my trusted chiropractic go to for twenty years. He knows when I’m stressed I hold stress in my shoulders. My left shoulder is out. He pops it back in and goes over the importance of finding time to relax. I have none. Time is something I never have.

Thursday morning, Cindy arrives at WorthamWorld. We have a list of things to buy for an upcoming wedding at Botanic Garden and head to Hobby Lobby. We both discuss the news media and coverage of this mysterious virus. We worry about Leigh Ann and Maddy in California. But, we don’t think mass hysteria is going to come to Weatherford or Fort Worth. We are both wrong.

I talk my twin into getting a phnuemonia shot with me at Walgreens. We both walk into prisons on a regular basis. Keeping our vaccines up to date is important not only for our own health but also to keep from getting ill and possibly getting our family or clients sick too.

I buy colloidal silver. I buy zinc. I listen to Cindy complain about her arm pain. I have it too but it will get worse later. So painful was my left arm and shoulder by 1AM that I woke my husband crying out in pain. I go get Aleve.

My arm feels like it weighs 100lbs. I worry I’m having a bad reaction.

At 3AM, I call Cindy. Her arm is killing her too. We are both highly concerned this pain will be permanent.

I consider buying a sling the pain is so intense. After reviewing answers from others who have had the same shot, I decide to use my arm rather than prop it.

Friday morning, I drive to Weatherford. Cindy sits for me to meet her after Parker County Clerks Office. We can’t find feminine items for Cindy’s twin granddaughters and decide to set out on a mission. The twins are picky. They are also brand loyal.

Walmart is a mad house. Empty shelves and angry shoppers abound. We leave and go to Big Lots. We then leave and go to Albertsons. We then leave and go to Brookshires then H E B. We come up empty. There are no hygiene products to be found the Twins brand or otherwise.

There’s a fist fight at Brookshires. In small town America? Willow Park of all places? Two grown men fighting over toilet paper.

Someone is honking and yelling at someone else to pull out of a parking lot space. Angry honking which is rare in Texas is everywhere. People are agitated. Angry. Scared.

Governor Abbott announced a state of emergency. He also suggested removing visits from nursing homes, prisons and large gatherings of people.

Fifteen minutes later, TDCJ suspends all visitation. But, does this affect my clients and I as we go into Units during the week. I begin calling Units for next week. The revoked visitation affects my clients. Their dates are cancelled.

Arriving home, I’m still fielding panicked clients in Texas and other states. I have no idea how long this will last.

An email from Chaplain Rentz of Bridgeport Unit that reads “I’ve just got off a conference call with all Chaplains in TDCJ and they have Cancelled all Volunteer entry into Units throughout the state until further notice.”

I’m still trying to determine if my clients are affected when I find that they are. Everyone will need to reschedule. People who have waited months for a very important date. People who will be saddened and disappointed. My people. My clients.

Leigh Ann sends me photos and videos of mass hysteria in California. I advise her that Texans are equally terrified, angry and behaving in a manner I’ve never seen before.

I’m 55 years old. I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve lived through the gas crisis in the 60’s and 70’s. I’ve never seen people fighting over food. I’ve never seen people fighting over water or toilet paper.

I’ve never seen anything like this mass hysteria occur in my lifetime. I hope I never see it again..watching people fight over gas as a child was something neither Cindy or I can or will ever forget.

We are all in this together. Please don’t hoard essential items that others need. Please don’t leave home if you are ill and please wash your hands

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…

On The Inside Looking Out. Green Bay To Marlin To McClennan County To Mercado To Belltower To Omni…

I spend 3-5 days a week inside state and federal prisons as well as county jails, venues, military bases, backyards and other locations. I am the busiest Inmate Officiant in the United States. I’m also not limited to Texas. I’m licensed and certified to conduct inmate ceremonies in numerous states. 

What I’m not is “available to anyone.” I’m picky. I regularly turn down “traditional requests.” Why? I can and if it isn’t fun for me I’m not interested. I’m on staff at numerous venues and for years now the only traditional clients I’ve had were booked from a venue I am on staff at or repeat bookings. 

Frequently people “who found me on the internet” contact me. These people are neither prospects or interested in retaining services. These people are production companies, reporters or even others “who saw how successful I am and want me to teach them how to do what I’ve done or educate them regarding what I “do or who I do it for.” 

I’m not in the education industry. I’m an entrepreneur and expert in the prison weddings industry. If you’d like me to educate you, hire me as a consultant. If you’d like me to create competition I don’t have move along. 

I’m out of the demanding diva business. Instead, I focus on helping people who are thankful and appreciative. I can assure you none of my traditional clients send Christmas cards or check on my sister. 

My clients marrying an inmate are honest, real, raw, passionate and down to earth. I prefer working with them. I prefer driving down the road listening to music on another adventure. I don’t prefer working with divas. Thanks anyway. 

I don’t work for money anymore I work for fun. However, I’m not a volunteer and my time, experience and knowledge are valuable. I know my worth. 

Standing inside a prison with my clients gazing at razor wire glistening like diamonds in the sun, I’m often on the inside looking out. Literally. 

A few months ago, I married a client on the outside who had been inside for twenty years. Johnny had been to three TDCJ Units. I knew all three. I’ve been to them many times over the years. Johnny is a success story. He is an amazing husband and good friend too. 

Johnny was beginning life after lock up. I met Johnny and Brenda and drove them to the clerks office to buy their license. My team and I loaned the flowers and set up their backyard for the wedding. On February 3rd I had first met David at the Tarrant County Clerks Office. He was nervous about buying the license. Most of my clients are. 

Since I was filing licenses from my weekend of weddings, I told David to meet me at 9:30AM. David like all of my clients was excited and nervous. 

The clerks office can be intimidating but Tarrant County is one of the friendliest clerks offices in Texas. The number of times I’ve met clients at Tarrant, Dallas and Parker County Clerks Office’s surprises people. But I’m by far more than “just an Officiant.” My role is that of an advisor, a hand holder, the mother of the bride and often in such cases as David, a mother figure walking him through a complicated process. 

Today at Marlin Unit, David married his best friend. Their joy was evident. I’m performing their Vow Renewal in just a few months in Fort Worth. I love happy endings. 

I get things done. I have a jam packed schedule and I’ve never advertised. Each and every ceremony is custom created for my clients. Their ceremonies are as special as they are. 

I am detail oriented and OCD. I’m a list maker, task taker, pioneer and trailblazer. David like all of my clients had “heard about me.” My reputation is my calling card. He knew he could entrust me with the complicated process of getting him married and he was right.

This morning as I headed to Green Bay Unit for an 8:30AM wedding, I took a call from someone who had listed my name on paperwork at Allred but HAD NOT HIRED ME. For weeks now, phone calls from this someone who thinks I’m going to alter my schedule to accommodate her needs without following my booking procedures has been stressful. I don’t need stress in my life. I enjoy what I do and I don’t have to work. I certainly don’t work for anyone who hasn’t bothered to hire me. 

I cannot stress this point enough.., if you haven’t hired me I will not be conducting your ceremony. 

Due to the workload of a Unit often spending weeks to process the I60, Allred Unit will now call me to verify client status. I advised the caller today of my tight schedule and why attempting to schedule herself on February 19th at Allred wouldn’t work. I’ve had this discussion before with her regarding February 5th when she failed to hire me and also failed to show up. I don’t have time to play games with anyone. Pay me don’t play me. 

My patience with this young lady as well as the Chaplains patience at Allred Unit have been with paper thin. I CANNOT and WILL NOT commit to anyone who has not committed to me. Arguing with her after learning she had called Allred and attempted to put herself on my schedule February 19th when I obviously don’t have time since I’m at Roach on the same day was an escapade in Futility. My schedule is tight. 

On Wednesday after consistently telling the two people who used my name without hiring me to send money or stop contacting me, I posted the following update to enlighten anyone unaware that Cole to Allred or Allred to Roach or Cole to Hodge or Hodge to Ferguson are an all day affair of driving for me and why I will not commit to anyone who isn’t a booked client to clarify… 

Attention TDCJ Allred Unit Clients, after a lengthy conversation with Chaplain Redwine and due to my schedule which often has me at other Units on the same day (Roach, Cole and Goree specifically), the Unit will NOW CALL ME rather than you to schedule. Why? Because a number of people have been using my name and credentials without hiring me to obtain a date at Allred Unit. 

Each couple has 20 minutes. My schedule is TIGHT. I allow for 20 minutes per couple in each Unit. I must factor time inside the Unit as well as travel in order to address additional clients on the same day. 

I can’t just “add someone” because I’m on site. That’s not fair to my existing clients and certainly won’t work with my schedule. 

On February 19th I have a confirmed client and only one confirmed client at Allred. Why only one? Because this client was initially booked on 02-05 but didn’t have her marriage license so we rescheduled. After rescheduling at Allred, another client was Approved at Roach. Because of this and the distance between Units, I knew that I only had time for one wedding at Allred before heading to Roach.  

Because I am also at Roach Unit on 02-19, I must leave Allred no later than 12:15PM in order to be at Roach by 2:30PM . Roach is 106 miles from Allred. 

Adding another client at Allred would effectively add another 20 minute ceremony at Allred. Because of the timeline I have I’m not adding anyone else on February 19th onto my schedule. I know my limitations and know who I have on my roster at Allred. If you aren’t on my roster though you aren’t a booked client and will need to book services. You will roll to March too. I have zero flexibility for any other weddings on the 19th at Allred. 

Since I have discussed this “time crunch” issue regarding several units on the same date at length with Chaplain Redwine, we are working together in order to make your Dream Event a reality at Allred Unit. 

Timing is critical for me. I’m never late and I never rush my clients. Whether I’m moving from Cole to Allred or Allred to Roach or Hodge to Goree since all of these Units use Wednesday’s, my schedule is carefully planned and mapped out. 

While Ferguson is also a Wednesday Unit, I rarely (if ever) schedule another Unit on a Ferguson Wednesday day. Why? Because Ferguson schedules at 1PM and after. Unless the other Unit is Goree, the possibility of moving from Allred, Cole or Roach to Ferguson on the same day isn’t even a remote possibility. Goree and Ferguson are close enough to be a possibility and schedule on Wednesday’s as well. 

The distance from Cole to Ferguson is approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes. The distance from Allred to Ferguson is approximately 4 hours and 22 minutes. The distance from Roach to Ferguson is approximately 5 hours and 43 minutes. The distance from Cole to Ferguson is approximately 3 hours and 19 minutes. The distance from Ferguson to Goree is approximately 30 minutes which makes a shift from Ferguson to Goree even possible on the same date. 

I know the exact distance between Units because I have to. While it’s possible to move from Tennessee Colony to Huntsville to Livingston, it’s not always possible to move from a Unit outside the distance of 2 hours to another Unit without careful planning. 

Only once have I moved from Huntsville to Gatesville on the same day. Why? Because the distance is nearly 3 hours. I prefer Units be within 2 hours on the same day to give me some degree of flexibility. Moving from Allred to Cole or Cole to Allred or even Cole to Roach is far and beyond two hours which is why I would never book Allred, Cole and Roach on the same date. It’s humanly impossible. 

Subsequently, I would never book Allred and Ferguson or Goree or even Hodge on the same date. The distance from Hodge to Allred is approximately 4 hours and 19 minutes. 

I prefer to book Hodge when I’m scheduled at a Huntsville Unit. Why? Because I can easily move from Rusk to Huntsville. Approximate distance between Rusk and Huntsville? One hour and thirty nine minutes. 

For a few years now in Texas, I’ve had Units and even people I’ve talked to that didn’t book services call me “about a date.” If someone or the Unit is calling me “about a date” and I don’t recognize the name, the person isn’t my client. This is a real problem and it continues to happen. 

To correct this continuing issue of people listing me on I60’s without bothering to book me, Units are working with me to stop working on paperwork for a wedding that isn’t going to happen. 

Last year, Hodge Unit called me “about a date with my client.” I didn’t have anyone on my books for Hodge and advised the Chaplain of this fact. The Chaplain at Hodge Unit gave me the contact information of this person and I called her. She had expected me to officiate her wedding without hiring me and was surprised to hear that “I wasn’t in any way obligated to drive 3 hours one way simply because she found my name on the internet.” After a phone call with her and carefully explaining why “I wouldn’t volunteer to drive 6 hours round trip at my own expense because she found my name on the internet and used it on the I60” I called the Unit and cancelled. 

For anyone unaware of this, an Approved I60 with my name on it for someone who hasn’t hired me is a problem for them because I can cancel the wedding. Using my name and not bothering to book me doesn’t obligate me in any form to show up hours away. Why? Because I have booked clients that followed procedure expecting me on site at their wedding and if I’m not on site there won’t be a wedding. 

If you aren’t my client, don’t expect me to drop everything and volunteer. I drive 1500-3k miles a week. I’m busy. I’m driving to meet clients who actually HIRED ME. 
Further, I cannot and will not “move another client” who has followed my booking procedure and has been waiting for 1-3 months aside just because “someone else” who hasn’t followed booking procedures expects me to do so. 

Don’t ASSUME my schedule or my availability. Don’t assume that you are more important than someone else. Everyone waits. If you are holding a contract and haven’t returned it, I can assure you that calling me about a date isn’t going to go well. I know exactly how many clients are on my books each and every month. Many roll over during the waiting process. Meaning that as well as roll over clients I have new clients each month. 

At any given time I have up to 30 clients waiting on dates. I limit new bookings in order to be available. I never overbook myself. This is to ensure my availability. 
My priority is the booked client. My priority is getting to my next Unit in time. My priority is keeping my promises. I ALWAYS KEEP MY PROMISES. 

What my priority isn’t is accommodating someone or even several someone’s who were aware of my being on site at a Unit and expecting me to simply “add them into my schedule as a courtesy.”This isn’t how my booking procedure or my schedule work. 

Let’s review how and what create a client relationship one more time. 1. I mail you a contract. 2. The contract outlined the terms of the deal and requires a deposit. 3. When a client returns the contract we create a client file and return a receipt and signed contract to the client. If you are returning a contract without a deposit, the contract requires a deposit. Because this has occurred in the past I’m going to go over why we hold a contract and wait on the deposit prior to creating a client file, I cannot commit to someone who isn’t committing to me. 

My contracts are very specific and require a booking deposit. 
Expecting me to officiate your wedding simply because you are aware I will be on site is not only line jumping but also arrogant. 

My booked clients and my schedule are my PRIORITIES. 

If you are NOT ON MY BOOKS YOU ARE NOT ON MY SCHEDULE. 

If you have not returned your contract AND your deposit, you are not a booked client and not my responsibility. I cannot be clearer about this. 

I do not advertise. I do not book more clients than I can address and I regularly bump new inquiries for bookings to the following month in order to ensure availability for my existing clients. 
Many TDCJ Units are now requiring the last 4 digits of my drivers license number to limit people pulling my name and then using my credentials to obtain a date for marriage at a Unit. This has to stop. It creates work for the Unit and surprise phone calls for me. I don’t like surprises and Units don’t either. Without an Approved Officiant on site there won’t be a wedding. 

The paperwork on a Units end to process an I60 is time consuming. Because of this, processing paperwork for a wedding that isn’t obviously going to happen without an Officiant, Texas Units will now requesting information about me that isn’t listed anywhere on the internet or having me contact to confirm. If you are not my client, I will advise the Unit of this and “your date” will be cancelled. 

While driving to meet my client at Ferguson Unit, one of the people who had listed me on the I60 at Allred but not bothered hiring me at Allred called me. Driving along I prepared to go over why and how rescheduling on the 19th weren’t going to work for her. 

She has now had three weeks to actually book services and still hasn’t bothered to do so. 

While she’s holding that contract though my schedule continues to book up with actual clients effectively bumping her opportunity to actually book services AND obtain a date with me. 

Since this bride had been on the schedule 02-05 as Chaplain Redwine has added her knowing I had four other clients on the same day. Chaplain Allred was unaware I was also at Cole on the same day. 

She had bothered to call Allred to cancel 02-05 but didn’t bother contacting me regarding this matter as she assumed my availability and somehow assumed she didn’t need to book services either. 

I confirm bookings at Units. Why? Because my schedule requires planning that’s why. First, this bride doesn’t book or retain services THEN assumes she can reschedule her wedding and my schedule without retaining me? What the? Now you are catching on as to why obtaining your Officiant and services is and should be a priority. Without following procedure, I can assure you that no one else is going to officiate your ceremony either. 

Frankly on 02-05 I had “timed to the second” my actual booked clients at Allred and the drive time necessary to get to the Unit along with icy roads. 

The timing was critical as I had not only clients at Allred but also clients at Cole on 02-05. I could not be LATE to either Unit. I am NEVER late. 

I advised her of all of the reasons that assuming she could just show up and I would have time to address her although she had made no commitment to me wouldn’t work on 02-05 OR on 02-19 AND she still hadn’t booked me EITHER. 

On 03-04 I’m at Cole and Roach. I advised her that she would need to actually booked me for a secondary date in March and that 03-04 wasn’t an option either as I don’t have time for Cole, Allred and Roach on the same day. I’m being serious. Cole to Allred is 3 hours. Allred to Roach is 2 hours. 

Pertaining to my actual clients at Allred, the arrival time at Allred is going to be changed after 02-16-2020 to 10:30 check in for 11AM ceremonies after 02-19-2020.

Outside of the McClennan County Jail waiting on my clients, Allred Non Client called me AGAIN. She had sent another text that read “Chaplain Dooley won’t believe me. You have to call him.” Why would I? She still hadn’t booked me and quite frankly I don’t want to be a nervous wreck adding another client at Allred on a really tight scheduling day.

I don’t have to do anything for someone who hasn’t hired me going behind my back and attempting to piggyback my tight schedule. 

Because I had 41 text messages by the time I walked out of Marlin today, I had my Apple play app read text messages as I drove towards Waco. It’s easier to talk text and drive and safer. 

Persistently pesky non client continues to disrupt my day again today. What she didn’t do was send money. I had ignored her latest text. Why? Because at 10:44AM this morning I had already told her to wire money. I meant it. Chaplain Redwine and Dooley are well aware she hasn’t hired me. How? I told them. 

I would not call the Unit an add her onto my burdensome schedule UNTIL she paid my fee in full. By the time she left the text while I was in Marlin Unit, she had finally realized that she couldn’t simply add herself to my schedule. Yet she refuses to send money? She’s a waste of my time. I know it, The Unit knows it and I’m guessing she knows it too.

She has consistently refused to follow protocol. NOW she was texting me? On a 7 Client day? My contracts require payment in full SEVEN DAYS PRIOR TO THE EVENT DATE.

Either you are serious about marrying an inmate or you aren’t but I can assure you that I’m not going to cut a booked clients event short or risk running late because someone who has consistently failed to follow my protocol assumes they are entitled. They aren’t. 

You are either a booked client or you aren’t and if you aren’t, you are not on my schedule. PERIOD. 

Due to the consistent misuse of my credentials by people pulling my name off the internet, Units are now requiring me to contact and verify client status.

I’m leaving Mercado Event Center to head to Belltower Chapel before heading to Omni Hotel for a midnight wedding. I have another full weekend of events. What I don’t have is time to deal with people who cannot or will not follow my protocol. My time is valuable. I don’t waste time on people who aren’t worthy of my time or my attention…

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” Rikki Rogers

Last night a rather surprising text regarding wearing a costume to a TDCJ Wedding came through. While I would love for everyone to wear whatever they want, it’s something that neither you or I can “choose.” 

Let’s review attire on wedding day once more time ya all. Shoulders must be covered. Dress lengths must be within 3″ from the middle of your knee. While costumes are not directly addressed on TDCJ’s site, I have never encountered a situation where wearing a costume would be deemed “appropriate.” 

Why? Because we are at a prison and we don’t make the rules. Under TDCJ’s visitation dress code guidelines, there is a note that the Unit Captain has the final say. Why is this important? Because even if you are or feel you are within the dress code, the Captain can and will hand you a cafeteria smock if he feels you are dressed out of code. 

Each state has a visitation dress code. Certain states such as Texas allow sandals and flip flops while other states don’t. 

What to remember on wedding day at your Unit Wedding is that the majority of all of our service area states follow visitation guidelines pertaining to your attire on wedding day. what this means is that certain Units have “Allowed” wedding dresses as long as they are within the code. 

Certain Units will not allow wedding dresses. The Unit decides not us. 
On more than one occasion in Texas, my brides have been so closely scrutinized regarding dress lengths and cleavage that it’s best to bring an additional change of clothing “just in case.” Why? Because if someone at the Unit finds fault with what you are wearing, the Unit can insist on a cafeteria smock to enter the Unit. 

Clothing for my male clients has never been an issue. Perhaps because dress lengths vary and low cut shirts and blouses can be deemed “too revealing,” the reasons I address your clothing being an important aspect of our visit to the Unit is to protect you from being handed a cafeteria smock on wedding day. 

No one wants to walk into a Unit wearing a full length long sleeved button front cafeteria smock. 

If you have doubts or wish to have a second opinion about your wedding day wear, please feel free to text me photos.

TDCJ Visitation Dress Code Guidelines… 
Visitors are encouraged to dress conservatively.
Sandals, flip-flops, and open-toe shoes may be worn.
Clothing that is tight fitting, revealing, or made with see-through fabrics shall not be allowed.
Sleeveless shirts and dresses are allowed, but must cover the shoulders.
Shorts and skirts no shorter than three inches above the middle of the knee while standing, capri pants, or long pants are allowed.
Length is not restricted for pre-adolescent boys and girls, generally ages 10 and younger.

Clothing with pictures or language that may be considered profane or offensive by current public standards shall not be allowed.

Note: The duty warden shall make the final decision on whether clothing is appropriate. READ THIS LAST SENTENCE AGAIN. 

Even if you are within visitation dress code, IF A DUTY WARDEN deems your attire “inappropriate,” they can and will hand you a cafeteria smock. If you refuse to wear this item, your wedding will be canceled. 

My first encounter with the “dreaded cafeteria smock” being handed to a client was at TDCJ Torres Unit. My client initially refused to wear the smock. After a visit from the Warden in the shakedown area and a lengthy discussion from me after driving 5.5 hours to the Unit though, my client in fact did wear the garment. Otherwise, her wedding would have been canceled. Remember the Warden signs off on the I60 Request For Inmate Marriage. The Warden can and does CONTROL who CAN marry at their Unit. I strongly discourage arguing with staff at ANY Unit state or federal that I conduct ceremonies at. Your behavior is outlined in my contract. 

My second encounter was at TDCJ Allred Unit. My client had sent a text of the dress she planned to wear to me BUT it was of a model and not her. My client was taller than the model and due to this issue her dress length and the “cut” of the dress wasn’t within 3″ of the middle of her knee. There’s a reason I ask for photos of you in the dress rather than a photo you found online. Allred Unit IS THE REASON. The photo of the model had the dress length hitting BELOW the knee rather than above it. Although her shoulders were covered and no cleavage was visible, the cut on the front portion left a 4-6″ visibility of her knee. Because I had nothing for her to change into, being handed a cafeteria smock literally upset her to such an extent that I had to assist her walking to the visitation area. 

Clothing near misses? I’ve had a few. At TDCJ Holliday Unit, I pulled my brides tank under her tee shirt up in the front and down in the back to prevent her from needing a smock. 

At TDCJ Polunsky Unit, my brides dress was within code in the front and out of code on the back. Why? Hips shortened the length in the back. Even after pulling the slip in the back down for the Duty Guard, the dress was still not within the 3″ guideline. Luckily, my bride had a long sweater that she retrieved to wear into the Unit. Otherwise, she would have been wearing the cafeteria smock. 

While “pushing the limits” regarding the dress code has consistently backfired for a few people that were unaware of a Duty Captain having the final call on clothing, you should know that they have the power, custody and control to decide whether what you are wearing is “acceptable” or not. 

Let’s review how and why I encourage you to send me photos of you wearing the outfit and not a photo of the outfit you found online. A model could be shorter than you. A model could be less buxom than you. A model can have a lack of hips that make the dress appear longer in the back. I need to see a photo of you wearing the outfit to check the length, the cleavage and the back of the dress as well as the fit to ensure it isn’t too tight or revealing. 

At Buster Cole Unit, my bride was told her pants were too tight and revealing. Luckily, I had been to the cleaners and had clothes that would work in my suv. Otherwise my bride would have worn a cafeteria smock. 

If your pants are too tight or too revealing, even pants can be outside the code. 

I’m going to once again revisit that regarding your relationship with an inmate that YOU ARE IN CHARGE not the inmate. Continued correspondence from clients who feel the “inmate is controlling them from the inside” are alarming. Know your worth. Know your value. You are doing it all on the outside and you are doing it alone. 

Leaving Belltower Chapel yesterday, a text from an unfamiliar number regarding “needing a divorce ASAP” came through. Because of this and because my client and not the inmate are my priority, I sent a link for a Pro Se (self filed) Divorce in Texas. 

Based on your income, you may qualify for an “Indigent Filing.” What is this and how does it work? Certain instances and situations qualify for a waiver on filing fees. Remember that if you are self filing your own divorce that you are expected to follow the Texas Family Code. If you need the link from the Texas Bar Association, here it is Pro Se Divorce Handbook Texas Bar Association.

Choosing whether to represent yourself or hire an attorney is a personal decision. Understand though that you will need to follow the Texas Code by filing in the county you reside in. 

I’m at county jails and clerks offices today and available by phone, text, email and DM on FB and Instagram social sites. I do not respond to DM’s on Twitter due to spam and my burdened schedule.