“COMPARING A New Love to An OLD Love Is Like COMPARING A LADLE To A SPOON.” Cindy Daniel

A lot of folks wonder where “we come up with quotes.” There’s really no “we.” My twin sister is the “quote Queen.”

Cindy is a self professed redneck. She spent years working on a dairy farm. Her hilarious quotes always contain truth and transparency.

Today’s blog title is better understood with a definition between the ladle and the spoon so here it is…

“a ladle is a deep-bowled spoon with a long, usually curved, handle while spoon is an implement for eating or serving; a scooped utensil whose long handle is straight, in contrast to a ladle.”

You can’t look behind you at a former lover. You must focus on your current love story. Don’t compare apples to oranges. We all learn from our mistakes in relationships past. I learned that I will never tolerate infidelity or violence. Cindy did too.

Yesterday while on BlueTooth with a client planning to marry an inmate, my niece Stephaney listened in while I went over the paperwork process. She then asked me “can I do prison weddings? I think I would be good at it.”

My niece like many people “thinks what I do is easy.” It isn’t. Ask Cindy. I need to have all of the answers. I need to know all of the policies, procedures and guidelines. “I don’t know” isn’t in my vocabulary. I research continuing changes to marriage laws across the country. I know the family code and I understand State, Federal, ICE and County guidelines pertaining to inmate marriage.

I didn’t just “wake up” one day and have all of the answers. I educated myself. No one contacting me wants someone else to conduct their ceremony. Everyone contacting me wants me.

Explaining this to my niece as I did to my son and my other niece, Leigh Ann who handles California weddings since she moved there about a year ago isn’t an easy conversation.

To my family what I do looks easy. They aren’t with me when my phone rings all night long or while my husband sleeps as I answer emails and DM’s on social media. They have no idea how much time I spend walking clients through a complicated process. My husband does.

I’m awake at 5:30AM reviewing emails 7 days a week. What I do requires commitment. What I do requires knowledge.

What I do requires a huge amount of my time and dedication. I don’t talk to or email a “traditional booking” 20-30 times. A traditional booking generally requires me on site for a rehearsal and the wedding and a few phone calls to set everything up if I’m only officiating the ceremony. I rarely take on a booking for a planner AND officiant these days.

Why? My time. Planning an event takes a huge amount of my time talking to other vendors as well as meeting them with a client. I learned 4 years ago that planning ONE event takes far too much of my time.

Prior to Covid, I easily officiated up to 8 weddings a week. Why tie myself down with phone calls and meetings for ONE CLIENT when I could be addressing several? From a business standpoint, planning an event outside of a prison just wasn’t worth my time. I’ve been in this business over ten years and grew tired of working with divas who were unreasonable.

Comparing a “traditional client” to a client marrying an inmate is like comparing a ladle to a spoon.

“Traditional clients often ask me for an apple and expect a pie.” No thanks.

The clients I “choose” to book over any other type of client booking are marrying an inmate. They are thankful. They are amazing. They are also marrying an inmate.

There won’t be cake or flowers. There won’t be guests or music. There will be my client, their loved one and a few correctional officers.

The variation between being on site at a prison or at a venue are REALLY significant. There isn’t any of the “fluff” at a prison. I wish my clients could bring a family member or exchange a ring or carry a bouquet or wear bouteniers but these luxuries of traditional ceremonies aren’t allowed within TDCJ.

There is intimacy at a prison wedding.

I won’t be dealing with “other vendors.” I won’t be dealing with “the venue.”

I am only dealing with my client and prison authorities. I PREFER PRISON WEDDINGS.

There is no drama. There are no drunks. There isn’t anyone standing up and trying to object while screwing up my carefully scripted ceremony.

There are two people in love who went through all sorts of red tape to stand with me.

There are two people who are so committed to marrying that they patiently waited through a paperwork process that took months. The photographer isn’t a professional. The photographer is a correctional officer. No one can complain about the quality of unit photos because they are the only photos we will have with the inmate in them.

My client and I will leave the prison and find a nice place for me to unload an suv full of bouquets, furs, tiaras, fascinators, veils, fun signs and inventory to set up their photo shoot with me.

I want their wedding day as special as they are. That makes me different from anyone else. I care. Cindy cares.

Our prison clients become our friends for life. We baptize their babies. We orchestrate and officiate their vow renewals. I have also conducted funeral ceremonies for family members of my previous clients.

Yesterday, I had several emails from people anxious for TDCJ to reinstate visitation wanting to hire me. I currently have several clients at several TDCJ Units that will take priority when visitation commences. I never line jump anyone onto my schedule.

I’m currently addressing Federal client bookings because Federal has reinstated visitation. There are and have been a handful of State Facilities that reinstated visitation months ago. Please follow preregistration guidelines.

Once we get the all clear for TDCJ, my clients who were previously booked will be scheduled first.

Many TDCJ Units have several clients waiting so adding you to an existing Unit with other clients isn’t going to be an issue. I cannot take on anyone at this time at a Unit that is not already on my existing schedule though. Please be aware of this.

What are my existing Unit booking sites? Beto, Gurney, Powledge, Ferguson, Scott, Allred, Cole, Roach, Clements, Robertson, Middleton, Wallace, Stiles, Lewis, Polunsky, Estes, Estelle, Crain, Holliday, Darrington, Jordan, Briscoe, Michael, Coffield, Byrd, Hobby, Marlin, Hodge, Crain, Wynn, Garza, Hutchins, Moore, Eastham, Hutchins, Hobby, & Luther. If your loved one is at any of the above Units, we can stack you into the existing list. If they aren’t, you will need to wait until my existing clients and Units are addressed first or book my twin, Cindy to conduct your ceremony.

TDCJ bookings will be addressed first prior to other states being considered. Why? Texas is my primary booking state and other states were addressed in February as Cindy and I travelled outside of Texas. Also most states only allow inmate weddings 1 or 2 times PER YEAR. Because of the policies in other states, I stack clients planning to marry and cover numerous cities a few times a year.

In March, the only bookings I had were in Texas. 17 clients were cancelled. 38 clients were waiting to marry within TDCJ. These clients are my priority and focus moving forward for obvious reasons.

Stacking clients and Units does not constitute “group weddings.” I do not perform group weddings in Texas. Each client has 20 minutes. If your loved one is a G2 or G3, you should have a contact wedding but I have no idea if TDCJ will change this due to Covid as the issue hasn’t been addressed yet.

Contact verses non contact… hold hands and one closed mouth kiss. Non contact is a separation of glass or steel cage.

There are no ring exchanges in Texas due to the Administrative Directive. Guests are so rare that in several hundred weddings within TDCJ only twice has a warden made the exception. Once at Estes and once at Estelle high security.

Your guests can wait and join you in your photo shoot with me but it’s highly unlikely they will be authorized to enter and witness your ceremony. Witnesses are not required at Prison Weddings.

You must be an approved visitor. I am not a visitor. Please don’t list me as a visitor as doing so creates a problem.

We will most likely be required to wear a mask. If you don’t have one, let me know and I will bring one on wedding day.

You must be 15 minutes early. Please plan accordingly and do not forget your marriage license.

Media inquiries must go through TDCJ. I have had many journalists contact me regarding following my client and I into a Unit. My client must agree to this AS WELL as the inmate. Be aware of this.

I will not allow anyone (journalist or production companies) to accompany me to a Unit Wedding without my client and their loved ones consent and their permission. It’s THEIR wedding day after all.

Last year a journalist did accompany me to 4 units in one day. TDCJ would only allow the journalist into one Unit with me. She chose Polunsky.

TDCJ will not allow a journalist or anyone else into every unit I walk into. Pick one. I often go to 1-4 Units in the same day due to the fact that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are TDCJ scheduling days for ceremonies.

I look forward to meeting all of you at your prison weddings.

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time” – Leo Tolstoy

Since mid March my TDCJ Clients have been waiting for visitation to reopen. During this window of uncertainty and the chaos of a pandemic, I have heard over and over “Covid-19 isn’t real” from people who aren’t medically trained. People have plenty of opinions in the midst of a crisis but as is usually the case little or no solutions.

I’ve never been shy about voicing my beliefs and a few days ago while commenting on one of my friends and a former clients post was attacked by someone who thought he knew me based on my skin color.

Traditionally, I would allow such a shallow minded comment to go unobserved. However since we are now not only in the midst of a pandemic but also a worldwide upset and this idiot “assumed I didn’t care about black lives,” I chose to respond.

After all, who was this guy? What led him to believe that he could or should judge me when my friend and I were discussing the possibility of visitation being reinstated?

An angry person misdirecting his anger at me who ironically had no idea that I’m an advocate for not only prison reform but also bail reform AND I believe in the power of peaceful protest.

For the record, I marched in Fort Worth twice and would have attended other marches but couldn’t due to my schedule.

Unlike many marchers who are more interested in filming their presence at these peaceful protest marches, I chose not to check in or film.

Going live on FB effectively “misses” the entire point of the peaceful protest by focusing on their phone rather than the moment, I chose not to post to social media.

Posting or live feeding at an historic event is in my opinion rude. Not everyone wants their photo or video posted to social media.

People videotaping aren’t asking for permission to publish video or photos. Why? They don’t care. Children have been present at “Fort Worth Friendly Black Lives Matter Protests.” Do parents want their children’s photos all over the internet? Likely the answer is no.

Although Fort Worth is the one major city that has remained peaceful in support of Black Lives Matter, why everyone feels the need to video every aspect of the march rather than focusing on why the match exists and what it’s actually about continues to be evident everywhere we turn from social media to news outlets with teens and young adults videoing everything whether it’s peaceful or far from peaceful.

It’s alarming to me that people and opinions seem to always clash while one side judges the other. I didn’t see any clashing or anger in Fort Worth.

Instead I saw mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, sons and daughters at Fort Worth marches.

I saw Unity within the Community. I saw people from all walks of life.

So for anyone like the person judging me in FB comments that doesn’t know me and assumed that he did by running over to my public FB Page without bothering to get to know me, my beliefs, my background or my passion for all people, I educated him. I enlightened him.

I let him know that the next time he stereotypes someone that he should ask himself why it’s so easy for him to judge others and reevaluate the need or desire to do so. He finally stopped commenting.

I was willing to go on and on. Why? Because I’m educated enough to debate with people who think they know everything who don’t that’s why.

I’m frequently contacted through DM by people trolling to find a target. These keyboard warriors sitting in their parents basements are bullies.

They love to find someone to attack and of upset. I love to respond to them publicly on my FB Page Prison Weddings With Wendy Wortham.

Nearly all of my keyboard warrior DM trolls message me through my prison page after midnight.

I’m rarely DM’d by trollers on my other main FB Page, Texas Twins Events/The Pawning Planners but occasionally it happens.

Why? Because the person contacting me “doesn’t believe inmates should have the right to marry.”

Or “I don’t believe in LBGT Marriage. I’m strongly opposed.” WHO CARES?! I don’t care. My clients don’t care. Grow up and get a life buddy.

Stop looking for something to be upset about. Stop seeking someone to unload on. I’m busy. Keep your opinions. They are YOUR luggage and YOUR trip.

Still other people want to advise me of “their stand regarding bail or prison reform” through DM’s. Hmm. You can’t silence me buddy. No one can.

There are people sitting in jail who haven’t been convicted of a crime.

These people are incarcerated SOLELY because they are too poor to post a bond. Is that justice? Is that fair? Should poverty define freedom?

If you believe being poor should factor into being just or fair then you have more issues than common sense can remedy.

Time is one thing we can’t ever regain. Time is a priceless commodity. Life is precious.

As we continue to wait for visitation to be reinstated within all of my service area states, I want to once again state for the record I believe in the power of peaceful protests. I believe in speaking for those whose voices cannot be heard.

Social injustice affects everyone. I should also add that I believe there are good police. I’m also aware that there are bad police. I don’t judge any group of people on the actions of one. I never have.

I judge people based on how they treat me. How their actions affect others.

I was sent a photo posted of an officiant who was racist a few days ago. An officiant who backtracked by posting an apology. Yes, I’ve been it. Everyone can stop sending it to me as I was well aware prior to her post of her dim views and position.

I’m also well aware of other officiants who continue to point out that I’m “LBGT Friendly.”

Guess what? If you are on ANY Wendy Wortham website and don’t recognize or realize that I’m VERY public regarding my beliefs and position, you are either blind or illiterate. I can’t solve stupidity. No one can.

What I can do is be who I am. Take it or leave it.

Don’t pretend to be who you aren’t. Your racist rant was well publicized. You know what bothers me the most is when people like you get caught with your pants down and then backtrack with some half ass apology for your own behavior. You posted something that offended everyone. In the midst of a pandemic. In the midst of social injustice. In the midst of people being unemployed for two months with job loss or wage cuts. Keep your insignificant and phony apology.

As for anyone else running around screaming “Wendy Wortham performs gay marriages” you should know ALL of my websites publicly reflect my affiliation with the LBGT community. The word gay is a slur. Stop using it. Grow up and stop gossiping.

Maybe if you’d spend more time on cultivating your business and catering to your clients rather than running around condemning others you might actually have clients. Boom.

I’m well aware that there are racist bigots running around and I’m well aware that there are trolls trying to stir the chili.

What you need to know and understand though is that someone somewhere is always going to be on the other side.

I have a number of clients waiting on paperwork or dates across Texas.

Due to the visitation ban, when we are able to move forward, there is a very strong possibility that I will have stacked clients at numerous Units.

A stacked day means I have 2-8 clients at the same unit on the same day. Please arrive 15 minutes early on wedding day.

Remember to bring your state issued ID and marriage license.

Handwritten vows should be handed to me prior to shakedown. I will hand them back after clearing.

I look forward to seeing all of you very soon at your prison weddings.

As for the bail bondsmen who continue to wish I wouldn’t post accurate truths about the nature of their industry though they can get over themselves…

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…

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

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…

Baylor NICU To Garza East, Allred & Roach Units. Driving To My Clients And Away From My Family Isn’t Always Easy…

Last Saturday my first grandson was born three weeks early. Our unexpected joy would become worry within 24 hours though.

Baby Oliver Glenn was having oxygen saturation issues within 24 hours of birth as well as low blood sugar and was subsequently moved to NICU.

Of course my son and his wife were devastated to learn Ollie had breathing and blood sugar issues but, my son and his wife were anxious regarding moving Oliver to NICU and away from Stephanie’s hospital room.

Cindy and I jumped right in to voice all of the reasons why NICU was the best place for Ollie.

How do we know so much about NICU? Cindy’s twin granddaughters Maryssa and Makenna spent months in NICU.

Cindy and my niece Leigh Ann also took turns sleeping in their cars in the parking garage. They both literally “lived at Cook’s NICU.”

For months during that window, I delivered food and clean clothing to Leigh Ann and Cindy before and after going to work everyday.

Having a child or twins in NICU is stressful to parents and guardians. You walk around in a daze. You are sleep deprived. You are worried. You feel helpless.

My daughter in law Stephanie was discharged from Baylor Monday night.

Leaving Ollie behind at Baylor was beyond heartbreaking.

My son felt helpless to calm his wife or fix his son. Robbie was caught in the middle.

Stephanie had decided they would sleep in their cars too. I was concerned about this idea. She had just had a baby. Leaving a hospital bed to sleep in your car isn’t a healthy option. I was strongly opposed to this idea.

To solve the issue of being near NICU, I located the same hotel that Ella a reporter who interviewed and traveled with Cindy and I had stayed near my home in August. I then booked a room for my son and his wife within 9 minutes from the NICU.

I was awake and returning calls at 6AM Tuesday. Driving 5.5 hours to Beeville to meet my bride on Tuesday morning, I had assumed that everything “back home” had calmed down. Why? Robbie and Steph would have a place to sleep far more comfortable than her Jeep and still be close enough to run to NICU every three hours to breastfeed. Cindy and the twins were doing well and had finished painting Maryssa’s room. Cindy is always remodeling. ALWAYS. Leigh Ann and Maddy were looking forward to flying to Texas in two weeks and my only worry was baby Ollie becoming strong enough to breathe and eat at the same time. But… I had more to worry about coming my way. Things I couldn’t foresee. Things no one saw coming.

Arriving at the Beeville Clerks Office I waited for my bride and the grooms mom to arrive. As they rolled into the parking area beside me, I got off a call with a client flying in from Washington. My phone never stops ringing.

Viewing the courthouse area, I had a few areas that I wanted to use for bridal photos and we had at least 30 minutes before we were due on site at Garza East.

I began unloading furs, an umbrella, tiaras and several bouquets before finding the right areas and lighting for photos.

I always bring at least 8 bouquets, 4 furs, numerous signs and 10 tiaras as well as fascinators and fun items for photo shoots.

Leaving the courthouse, my bride and the grooms mother follow me to the Unit while I quickly check in with my son and his wife as well as Cindy.

The Garza East wedding is at 4:30PM. I will be driving home in the rain and the dark 5.5 hours.

It was a long day but beautiful wedding with a cute couple thrilled to finally be marrying.

The grooms mother cried when she saw my bride and I walking out of the Unit after the wedding towards the razor wire decorated gates by the guard shack.

The grooms mother was happy looking through the Unit wedding photos that I had bought. So happy that she cried and hugged her new daughter in law.

I always buy 3 Unit photos if they are offered as a courtesy to my clients.

Driving back to Fort Worth and knowing I had another long day Wednesday, my back is stiff from the drive in pouring rain. I’m relieved to get home by 11PM. Matthew has waited up for me and I’m immediately ready for bed. No dinner. No snacks just sleep. I’ve had so little sleep this week running to and from the hospital when not driving, meeting clients, helping Cindy remodel and filing licenses that I’m literally on auto pilot.

Wednesday morning while in my bathroom throwing on my makeup and preparing to head to meet my first client in Wichita Falls, my phone rang. It was Maryssa. She was hysterical. Her twin sister had taken a handful of Xanax that she had I found in Cindy’s purse “because she can’t keep up with her AP classes and if she can’t make 100’s she doesn’t deserve to live.”

Horrified and knowing I couldn’t be there to support my twin sister or my twin grandnieces, I have Maryssa call 911 and get an ambulance.

My sister nearly needed an ambulance herself. Cindy has heart problems. She had heart surgery just a few months ago. The shock, the anger and the fear another attempted suicide with Makenna brought to her home yesterday quite nearly caused another heart attack for my sister.

I was sick about Makenna and her inability to tell us to change her classes. I was saddened that once again my beautiful niece had become so upset about school that she believed her only way out was to swallow pills.

I’m fearful. Agitated. Confused. Angry. I don’t know why anything like this could happen in our family twice in the past year. Why? Why? Why?

Makenna is under medical supervision at Cook’s Children’s Hospital. Baby Oliver is five minutes away.

My families hospital Merry Go Round continues in Fort Worth.

Meanwhile I’m loading up to head to meet two brides at two Units two hours apart. I have a tight day. Two hours to Allred then two hours to Roach. Four hours from home and my family members.

I’m crying driving from 30 to 35 headed to Wichita Falls. I’m crying because we haven’t fixed Makenna with counseling or medication.

I’m crying because I feel helpless. I’m crying because my twin sister and her weak heart are breaking.

I’m crying because for the second time in 8.5 months, Makenna has attempted suicide and twice Maryssa has found her twin sister incoherent and called 911 and literally saved her life.

I’m crying because I am driving away from everyone who needs me to keep them calm being left on their own.

I have no choice. I have responsibilities that require me to be elsewhere.

Arriving in Wichita Falls, I call my bride. She is still at her hotel. Her shower wasn’t working properly. I meet her there and attempt to curl her hair. I’m all business now watching the clock.

I know exactly what time I’m due at Allred and what time I must leave. My bride is running late. We were due at Allred at 11:30 to check in. It’s going to be 12. I know it and yet there’s nothing I can do to change it. It’s her wedding day. I want her to feel beautiful. I want her happy.

I call the Chaplain and advise him of our delay. At 11:36AM, my bride and her family load up to follow me to Allred.

My usual spot for photos is taken by a man selling yard art. I make a left rather than turn right towards the Unit and pull into a gas station.

My bride and her family follow me. I see a wall that will work as a backdrop and begin quickly unloading inventory for the photo shoot.

A quick ten minute photo shoot behind a gas station and I’m loading up to drive to the Unit with my new friends behind me.

Cindy’s sending a text “they pumped her stomach she should be okay. What can we do? I don’t want to go through this again. We need a new psychiatrist. He just changed her prescriptions last week. I think those medications are causing suicidal thoughts.” Cindy is horrified. Terrified. Guilt ridden of being unaware that Makenna was so unhappy that she was searching for a way to end her life AGAIN.

My voice text reply as I roll onto the lot at Allred was “ask them to ask her if these suicidal ideation thoughts started after changing her medication last week. It’s critical we find out how and why this has happened twice. Make a list. Ask questions I can’t be there to ask for you ask for me.”

I’m crying again. I take a minute to compose myself. I’m due at Roach Unit at 2PM 106 miles from Allred. My client and I are 30 minutes later than I had planned.

Getting out of my suv in the Allred parking lot, I take a deep breath and “I’m on.”

My husband calls this my showgirl face. Business. All business. Leaving my many “cares behind,” I walk towards my bride and we enter together.

Screening in, I advise the duty guard that Chaplain Redwine is expecting us for a wedding.

We wait as we redress. I put my belt and shoes back on. I check my watch. 12:06PM.

I worry about Cindy, Ollie, Makenna, Maryssa, my son and his wife. No one sees my fear, my worry, my anxiety about my family.

I am a great actress. I hide my pain, my fear and my anxiety from others. My clients count on me to be organized and articulate and I am.

I also compartmentalize what I cannot deal with when I cannot deal with it and I’m really good at it. Throughout my entire life, I’ve had to turn my back to the choir and focus on the congregation. From family to business I wear many hats.

Years ago, a psychiatrist who studied me asked me how I was able to “put away” things I couldn’t deal with. The truth is that I learned this technique at a very young age. Cindy and I as well as our sister were victims of sexual assault for years. The predator was a family member. I learned to act normal because I had to. I was 6 years old. I also stopped speaking for many years. Cindy spoke for me. I developed a stutter after that first assault that would haunt me many years.

For the people who “don’t believe inmates should have the right to marry” that consistently contact me to voice their opinions, I want to point out that the person who hurt me and my sisters as well as others was never prosecuted. That’s right I said never. So while you have opinions regarding my clients understand this… there are people walking around who should be in prison that aren’t. There are also people in prison who shouldn’t be that are. I never ask why anyone I’m marrying is in prison. It’s none of my business or yours either.

It will be very late before I’m back in Fort Worth from TDCJ Roach Unit. I have another long day and a head full of concerns about baby Oliver and fears regarding Makenna. We cannot allow her to have a car right now. We can’t trust her not to try this again. We must know why this is happening. We must fight to find the truth. Makenna is quiet unlike her twin. She isn’t a “talker.” She internalizes. She keeps to herself.

At 12:14PM Chaplain Redwine walks in to escort us. The walk through the garden area to the next building is always a moment where I breathe in deeply and realize that giving my best ceremony regardless of what’s going on in my life is incredibly important to my clients.

My clients have waited months for this moment. I need their moment to be as magical and memorable as humanly possible. I need to be “on.” Attentive. I always am.

The visitation area has a number of trainees inside. This is a problem. We will need to wait for them to clear the room and a guard to escort the inmate into the visitation room.

At 12:19PM, we are ready to begin. I’ve counted quarters for three Unit photos. I’ve got my script prepared and I’ve set out the marriage license. I take off my watch and put it back on upside down to keep from looking at it. I do this when time is something I can’t control. My watch faces out from under my wrist rather than on top of it.

Going over what’s allowed and what isn’t with my clients, I ask if the inmate has brought vows. He hasn’t. We begin.

The ceremony hits laughs as well as precious and meaningful moments. I’m articulate. I want the importance of commitment with the joy of love and the journey of a life together covered.

I sign the license as my couple pose for the photos I’ve purchased. I advise my bride that I must be running to Roach.

It’s 12:39PM. I’m at least one hour and 45 minutes from Roach Unit. The Chaplain escorts me to the entry gate. We discuss the number of people listing my name but not hiring me at Allred and come to a solution. The Unit will verify my clients through my office.

I run by my clients truck and let them know she will be out shortly. I put Roach Unit in my navigation and drive 80-85MPH to Childress.

I answer texts by talking to Cindy and take calls from clients and Units. My husband checks in on me. My doctor calls in a refill on my Lorazapam. My life swirls around me as I focus on getting to my next Unit and client.

At 1:57PM, my bride sends a text that she’s on site. I describe my filthy Jeep that I haven’t had time to wash since I bought it three weeks ago and we walk in together at exactly 2:07 after finding each other in the parking lot.

The crows nest guard hollers down “Wendy Wortham?” I answer “yes sir.” Everyone in my life is sir or ma’am. I don’t care who you are or what you do or where you work. Sir and ma’am are the most frequent words out of my mouth.

Ms Shoffner walks out to escort us into the visitation area. We wait on the inmate to arrive. It’s a bilingual ceremony and the librarian has volunteered to interpret. We go through the ceremony and because rings are not allowed to be exchanged with inmates due to Section K of the Administrative Directive, my bride hands her rings to the inmate to place on her fingers. I count coins for the weddings photos. I borrow a pen to sign the license. I go over what to do when the license is returned to my client. Ms Shoffner walks us out together. I’ve got a 4 hour drive back to Cook’s Childrens Hospital and Baylor NICU and I have a worried husband wondering how I’m handling a day I had expected to be filled with love and joy that was dampened by the unexpected incident at Cindys house with Makenna and the possibility of jaundice as well as oxygen saturation for Oliver. I worry how I’m going to teach my grandniece her self worth and to set limitations with school classes. Her overwhelming schedule is driving her to feel like a failure. I plan, I worry and I realize my clients are following me to the bridal shoot and hit my brakes near a lake.

Unloading items my bride and her sister find a few fun items.

I’m now driving back to Fort Worth. The rain doesn’t hit until beyond Wichita Falls. I’m fielding calls and talk texting replies. I’m wondering what I’m walking into at Cook’s first with Makenna, Maryssa and Cindy before heading to NICU to see my son and his wife with Oliver. I’m mentally preparing myself. I’ve just left two joyous celebrations. I’ve just driven over 8 hours the day after driving 12. I’m mentally tired. I’m scared. I’m worried. My family will see none of this. I am the Matriarch. I am the leader. I fix problems. I correct chaos. In last nights situations, I soothed the fear of my family. We will bound together. We will circle the wagons. We will recover and by God’s Grace my niece will learn to communicate her fears and concerns. She will learn to come to us and she will learn that she can. There isn’t anything anyone in my family can say or do that will rattle me at two hospitals. I will remain calm. I’m the calm one.

At Cook’s, Cindy is crumpled on an uncomfortable sofa. I suggest coming home with me and getting some rest. I visit with Makenna. I was right about the new meds. We discuss her curriculum. I discuss changing it. I discuss why and how attempted suicide effect the entire family. I discuss a new psychologist. I make a list of what she needs from home. I explain why I wasn’t there all day and why Cindy couldn’t ride in the ambulance as she was being screened by a second ambulance for a heart attack. I’m calm. I’ve already called Mesa Springs for outpatient when she’s medically cleared. I leave to visit my son and his wife. It’s 9:00PM.

At Baylor with Maryssa who wasn’t allowed to spend the night with Makenna, I find my son crying in the hall. We sit in uncomfortable chairs. I ask him to stay calm. Premie babies aren’t ready yet. I explain that I stayed up late researching the oxygen saturation issues being present predominantly with premature babies. We discuss the possibility of Ollie staying in NICU until his due date March 7th. My son admits he’s feeling helpless and would like to leave with the baby. I remind him the baby is safer at NICU. He asks about Makenna. Maryssa and he sit together as I walk back to find my daughter in law trying to bundle Oliver. I pick him up. He doesn’t cry. He never cries when I hold him. He’s tiny. I ask about jaundice after detecting yellow around his cheeks. Stephanie tells me “they are watching that. We just want him healthy. Robbie is upset we can’t bring him home.” I again reiterate why keeping him in the hospital is in his best interest. It’s not an easy conversation.

My daughter in law “doesn’t want to leave the hospital.” She’s exhausted. My son is exhausted. They’ve been in NICU every 2-3 hours for days and they are walking zombies. I remind her to please go to the hotel and sleep a few hours. I worry about the baby sending their fear. I remind them to sing or read and remain positive in NICU or when around Oliver. They leave with Maryssa and I headed to the hotel I’ve rented. They are so tired that I call to make sure they made it safely.

This morning at 6:45AM Cindy knocked on my door. “I can’t sleep there the chair is terrible the sofa is worse. My whole body hurts. I’m so scared why does she keep doing this? Is Maryssa up? We have to get her to school. What do you have today? I have to file three licenses and print edited photos, go to the post office, swing by Parker County Jail, email my credentials to Johnson County Jail, go to the cleaners, go to the school and change Makennas class’s, answer over 100 emails, call 17 Units for March scheduling and visit Makenna then go see Robbie and Steph.”

We made it through the day and brought Makenna clothing while telling her she was out of the genius classes that were stressing her. We give her books and stencils and snacks. We give her love and show her hope. We are masking the fear that gnaws on is hiding in dark corners. The worry of leaving her home alone and the panic of her having a car and being out of our sight. Learning to trust Makenna to talk to us will take time.

Back over at Baylor, my daughter in law is crying “I just want to go home. Why can’t he get better?” The long talk of doing what’s best for Oliver begins again. Stephanie’s hormonal. She’s just had a baby and is trying to adjust to breastfeeding. It’s a difficult time for a first time mother. She wants to stay with the baby but NICU will not allow parents to stay or sleep with the babies. You are effectively booted out every three hours you are allowed back. It’s hard.

Tomorrow I’m at Green Bay, Mercado, North Tower and back at Cook’s and Baylor. Tomorrow I will hide my fear about Makenna believing she had no other options. Tomorrow I will continue to teach my son and his wife the merits of patience. The importance of putting your children first and why NICU is keeping Oliver on the road to recovery.

Talking to my clients is always easier than talking to my family but, by the faith I have in prayer and my own patience, I hope that Makenna’s treatment and changes in her school workload as well as a re evaluation of her medication will prevent another suicidal ideation scenario. I will try to keep my son and his wife aware that Ollie is improving everyday and that when it comes to children that worrying is part of the role…

Welcome To My World- Holliday Unit To Ferguson To Marlin & Points In Between…

Describing my life in one sentence would be impossible although I’m often asked to do so. From juggling phone calls from clients to answering emails, addressing concerns and bouncing from one event to the next while addressing my family, the best sentence I could use would be “I’m never bored.”

Monday while filing licenses in three counties and meeting clients at Parker and Palo Pinto Counties, I resent my credentials to Lasalle. Each year in Texas, I recertify my credentials with TDCJ as well as federal facilities. For some reason, Texas is the only state that has this particular requirement. I had faxed Lasalle last week but apparently my paperwork was misplaced. This issue has been resolved. 

One of my clients was confused regarding “needing permission to marry at an ICE Facility.” For anyone else unaware of the process, I’m including the link- ICE Detention Standards. 

There is a process to marry at any State or Federal Facility. An ICE Facility also has protocol and procedure in place that must be strictly adhered to.

Arriving in Huntsville Tuesday to meet my beautiful bride, we walked in together and out of the pouring rain. Her day had finally come and her joy was evident. As usual, Unit photos are always hit and miss at Holliday. 

The background of the wall doesn’t photograph as well as the plain wall at Holliday but due to the tables and chairs in the room, we worked with what we had. Leaving Holliday, my bride followed me to a nearby shopping center where I handed her an umbrella. The dreary day of non stop rain didn’t dampen her smile though and her beauty sparkled like a rainbow. 

I always pack a spare umbrella. I’m adding several bridal umbrellas to our inventory for Spring. Wednesday I left Fort Worth in the rain to again nearly drive to Huntsville. This turnaround trip is a regular occurrence for me. Whether I’m in Huntsville one day and Houston the next, I’ve driven 287 to 45 so many times I could probably drive it blindfolded. There are many Units in Huntsville as well as the Houston area. 

My Ferguson bride met me at Buccees. A huge truck stop styled tourist destination. Everyone loves Buccees including all three of my grandnieces. 

I followed Rosalinda to Ferguson where we were screened in and escorted to the visitation area. She was nervous and worried about crying. After hearing why, I understood her sorrow. The groom was serving a life sentence. This is a heavy cross for loved ones to bear.

As we waited for the guard to print her wedding photos, Rosalinda told me that her groom had recently been the storyline of Marriage & Murder. I had never heard of it but, I married Miguel Martinez at Hughes Unit unaware he had been featured on I’m A Killer. I don’t ask questions. Why inmates are incarcerated is none of my business. Occasionally though my clients share this information. I rarely watch TV and when I do it’s Matlock, Columbo or 80’s shows. For a few years Cindy and I watched CSI Las Vegas. But as a whole I’m not a tv watching person. 

I cannot imagine how helpless and painful it would be to watch a show about someone you love. I cannot imagine the loneliness and isolation my clients marrying a lifer face. You will always hear me say how strong my clients are because it’s true. They are warriors. I’ve married people for eight years now. Very few people I’ve married to an inmate have divorced. How few? 3 out of hundreds. On the outside? 3 as well. 6 divorced in eight years out of over 2k weddings surprise people. But I’m a friend, a counselor, a shoulder long after the wedding. My role surpasses that of any traditional Officiant. I care about my clients.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and for over a thousand of my clients it’s a day they will spend alone. There won’t be romantic dinners or expensive gifts but there will be love. They will drive long distances to visits this weekend. They will jump when the phone rings. They will also hold love in their hearts and determination in their souls.

As usual, I’m working on one of my busiest days of the year. I will move from Green Bay to Marlin to Mercado to Belltower to the Omni. 

I will witness the promise of love after lock up as I have hundreds of times before. I will also pray my clients arrive safely home on a lonely journey after leaving a Unit Wedding. I will worry about my clients. I will take their calls for the rest of my life. I will celebrate their victories and mourn their sorrows. They are a fabric of my life… 

Attitude, Aptitude And Experience Are Keys To Success.

This morning while preparing to fly from LAX to DFW, a call from Waco, Texas came in. The caller was planning to marry at TDCJ Robertson Unit. I take calls 7 days a week from 6AM to 9PM. Robertson is slow to or process paperwork. A few of my TDCJ Units are. How do I know? I have 7 clients waiting on paperwork or dates at Robertson and others waiting months at a handful of Units. Lock Downs stop paperwork. Patience in the planning process is a must. 

The Certified Offender ID takes weeks and occasionally months to come in. Once it does, a copy takes an additional few weeks. It’s time consuming to wait on paperwork. Occasionally for my clients, it’s frustrating too. 

Planning your Prison Wedding requires paperwork and if you’ve never done this before, someone patient to lay out the process. I’m that person. 

While McClennan County will allow you to purchase a marriage license with a certified birth certificate and Absentee Affidavit, there are a number of counties who require the TDCJ Certified Inmate ID. Obtaining this ID can take weeks to months. Know this “going in.” 

For many clients, it’s by far easier to obtain a certified birth certificate but if you can’t, the long wait on an ID in Texas begins. Buckle up and be patient. 

You can go to ANY clerks office in Texas to buy a marriage license. Remember though that you cannot buy a marriage license in Texas without both parties being present UNLESS you have a notarized absentee affidavit explaining the absence of the other party. 

The absentee affidavit is critical to getting that license. While the option of an inmate ID or birth certificate exist there are no options regarding the absentee affidavit. 

A few clerks offices require the ID, Absentee Affidavit and Certified Birth Certificate. This is why having options to go to another clerks office are important. 

For a number of folks who think that ANYONE can officiate a Prison Wedding, it should be noted that only a handful of people actually can. That person must be authorized to walk into a Unit. That person should also know and follow all rules of procedure. That person should be reliable, honest and transparent. That person should also have a stellar track record. That person is me. 

Because the planning process can easily take 4-6 weeks in Texas, there are rolling clients on my books at any given time. Because of this, I limit new bookings and I don’t advertise. I am sought after for inmate Officiant services more than anyone else in this industry. Why? Because I care and because I know what I’m doing. I also know the ins and outs. 

A few people were surprised that LBGT prison weddings aren’t uncommon. Others offended about my diverse clients. Some of these people voice their opinions to me. Opinions are not my luggage and not my trip. 

If you are hiring a Prison Wedding Officiant, their role involves far more than just showing up. They should be holding your hand throughout a confusing planning process too. I do. My clients are important to me.What can you wear? From pantsuits to skirts and dresses to slacks, wear what’s within the guideline and what you feel comfortable in. You can wear ornamental headpieces but we must clear the Unit. You may be asked to remove hairpieces to enter the Unit. Don’t panic I will help you redress after clearing into the Unit. Who files the license? You can but I prefer to. Why? Because a license must be filed within 30 days of me signing it. I file licenses three days a week in person or by certified mail. I’m OCD. If you forget to file your license, we can request a duplicate or amend the license but it’s a lot of trouble. It’s easier for me to file it for you and I’m happy to do so.Why do you need a certified copy? The Unit and Inmate Records require a filed copy of your marriage license. While a copy is a few dollars cheaper it isn’t a legal copy. Please request a certified copy and mail it to the attention of inmate records at your Loved Ones Unit.

Why are some Unit photos better than others? Each Unit is different. One Unit has better equipment or a more skilled Correctional Officer taking photos. 

You offer free photos with your extensive inventory as a courtesy. Why? Because weddings are Life Events. I want my clients to have the flowers, the furs, the tiaras, the fascinators, the signs and fun they deserve on wedding day. I want them to have an opportunity to celebrate their marriage.My clients are warriors. They make their love story last. They endure. They persevere. They overcome all obstacles placed in their path. They are the strongest people I have ever met… 

LOVE Is LIGHT To LIFT And HARD To HOLD. TDCJ Allred To TDCJ Cole To Winstar In A Blizzard…

Texas weather is highly unpredictable but for clients who have waited months to marry, getting to Allred Unit yesterday had my husband “volunteering” to spend the day with me to alleviate his fear of me freezing in a ditch. My husband has a wild imagination. Seriously. All of our suvs and trucks are AWD or 4WD. Matthew has never been to a Prison with me and didn’t know what to expect. I advised him to “get ready to meet the most amazing people in the world!” My clients are hilarious, passionate, independent and wonderful in every way. 

Leaving Fort Worth where there wasn’t any sleet or ice and headed towards the eye of the storm just outside Bridgeport, the roads were pretty sketchy and fairly deserted. Everyone was staying off the highways due to a travel alert except the Wortham’s and my clients as well as semi tractor drivers.

Matthew and I rolled into Iowa Park two hours prior to my four Unit Weddings starting at 12:30. Because we were so early I started texting my brides to see where they were. One of my clients was across the parking lot from us. Because we were both early and because the drive to Cole Unit from Allred was three hours, I suggested leaving the Unit to do bridal photos while waiting on my other clients. Rosalinda hopped out of her car and we had some fun pulling out a fur collar and her choice of bouquet while I found a coordinating tiara. Driving back into the Unit, Matthew returned his business calls and emails while I returned emails and answered phone calls. My other clients still weren’t on site at 12:24 so Rosalinda and I walked into the Unit together to check in. 

Walking into the Visitation Area, the Chaplain advised us her wedding would be no contact due to the G4 status of her fiancée. This was a crushing blow. But we cannot change an inmates status or the protocol of contact or no contact Weddings. 

After finishing her ceremony and signing the license, I asked the Chaplain if my other clients were on site. The Officer at entry said no. The Chaplain and I went over the paperwork for reschedules and one of the names I did not recognize as my client. This problem was discussed at length yesterday. If you HAVE NOT booked services and had your LO list my name on an I60, be aware that Allred will now require you to furnish the last 4 digits of my state issued DL. Why? Because you cannot find this information unless I provide it to you that’s why. The person’s who both had listed my name on an I60 and didn’t show up yesterday won’t be rescheduling with my other clients on February 19th either. You will both need to hire and retain my services as you should have done in the first place. The Unit goes through a lot of work to process these I60’s and I’m not going to officiate a ceremony for anyone who hasn’t hired me. 

Minutes prior to rescheduling Vallecia, the Duty Guard announces her arrival. The Chaplain escorted my client and I to the front as I waved goodbye to Rosalinda and said hello to Vallecia. We followed the Chaplain back into the Unit. Following her ceremony, the reschedules of my other clients have been moved to February 19th.

Matthew was enjoying 70’s rock and ready to roll to Bonham. We hit the Whataburger and drive through small towns named Jolly and Muenster before seeing Nocona known for western boots. We both notice nearly everything other than gas stations are closed driving through these quaint towns while the townpeople stay warm and dry at home in small town America. 

Arriving at Cole Unit I send a text to my 5:30 bride to let her know I’m on site. She’s excited and thrilled to get married. The groom is just as excited. Going over their vows and watching the love they feel for each other was heart warming. I borrow a pen from the officer to sign the license while visiting with the Chaplain about his newborn son. I meet such nice people at Units. The staff are always friendly. My clients are always fascinating too. The Harlequin costume raised a few eyebrows but my bride rocked it.Leaving the Unit, sleet is falling and I find the fascinator my twin sister made for our bride and a coordinating bouquet for her bridal photo shoot. She’s fun, happy and finally married. 

I met three amazing people at Allred and Cole yesterday. The clients who didn’t make it to their wedding get rolled back into my roster. 

Headed to Winstar, my husband tells me “you are right about having the best job in the world. Your clients are thankful for your help. You get to listen to music and take calls while going from one adventure to the next. I’ve had an amazing day with you and it isn’t over yet.”

Rolling into Winstar to check in and meet my client for a late night wedding, Matthew and I have two hours for a wonderful candlelit dinner and time to hit the slots for me and tables for him before I’m back officiating another wedding at Winstar…