I’m frequently contacted by media combined with inquiries from prospective clients. At any given time I’m juggling 70-100 clients marrying mostly in correctional facilities (85-90%) or in the free world (venues, parks, etc). As you might assume, media is in my rear view mirror and for obvious reasons not a priority to me.
I work 7 days a week. Weekdays I’m in correctional facilities. Weekends I’m at venues and county facilities. It’s rare for ICE or federal to schedule on a weekend but over the years it’s happened.
My schedule is tight. So tight that I stack clients at the same unit and several units on the same day. On weekends I schedule venues and correctional facilities on the same day. Meaning I’m not on location for more than 1-2 hours before heading to my next location.
A few years ago I was contacted by a journalist who had no idea how to obtain clearance into a correctional facility. This is more common than you might think. Someone sitting in their office unwilling to do the research themselves expecting me to do their job for them. I walked her through obtaining access and entry and was later surprised to learn that she would be riding in my suv with my twin sister and I AND that she was vegan and hadn’t packed any vegan food. I don’t roll with vegan food and had 4 units. This was an 18 hour day. My road trip food is beef jerky, nuts, cheese sticks and fruit. I don’t have time to find a vegan restaurant on a stacked scheduling day.
A few years ago I was also contacted by an “executive director” who sent me a DM through Instagram that he was “casting a prison based show.” I knew he was full of it. I’ve worked in front of a camera since I was 16 with Mel Tillis filming Whataburger commercials. There isn’t anything about production or the entertainment industry that I don’t know. If you aren’t familiar with the term “casting,” I will enlighten you. There has to be a greenlight in place (network money) to fund the show. For years now I’ve seen so many production companies saying they are casting when in fact they are fishing for talent pretending to be casting. Know what questions to ask when you’re dealing with an “entertainment executive.” I do. This knucklehead thought he was playing me for over a week during wedding season when in fact he had sent me an unsigned contract that lit me up so much I decided to play along while busting it at 7 weddings until cutting him loose. He was the most entitled, pompous, arrogant jerk I’ve ever dealt with in 40 plus years of working in front of a camera. No shit!
Media has “suddenly” realized or recognized that millions of people love an inmate. Hey better late than never but I protect my clients from predatory production companies. I educate them about one sided contracts too.
When you juggle as many commitments as I do, you are organized and focused. You don’t waste time on people that don’t matter to you and I don’t. Since The NY Times article, I’ve had people contacting me because “they want to do what I do.” Hilarious. What they really “want” is to be successful “doing what I do.” I’m not a teacher or a mentor. I’m a businesswoman that worked her ass off to find success. I’m transparent, candid, honest, loyal and driven. I didn’t magically “become successful.” No one does. At the inception of Texas Twins Events I knew damn well I would lose money for 3-5 years before turning a profit AND I was right. I was also committed AF. Too many people aren’t but I’m not the average person. I go above and beyond for my clients and I’m thus internationally sought after solely by client referrals. Surprised? Don’t be. I earned my stellar reputation the hard way by rolling up my sleeves and growing organically.
It’s wedding season. I don’t take on planning events for free world clients because I don’t have months to spend on one event. I address several events in the same day 7 days a week. Clients marrying an inmate require me to be a planner because they know what they want but have no idea how to obtain what they want. I walk them through a very confusing paperwork process than can take months and even up to a year.
Before using the contact us link on any of my sites, bother to tell me why you are contacting me, what you need and the location. Inquiries stating “I’m interested” or “can you tell me more about your business” while you are on a very informative website that literally lays out what I do and who I do it for will go unanswered. If you don’t know what I do and who I do it for AFTER being on my websites, I don’t have the time or the patience to educate you.
Last week was chock full of reschedules. It’s essential to arrive early for your prison wedding. Why? Because if you are 20 minutes late, your wedding will be cancelled. Weather can also be a factor to reschedules. Why? Because if we can’t get to the Unit, you can’t get married.
On September 20th, I was planning to marry my beautiful bride at TDCJ Cleveland Unit. Flooding changed our schedules. No one expects flash floods in Texas but they occur frequently. When flash floods closes highways, its often impossible to get to the Unit as it was on the 20th this month. Tomorrow, I’m headed back to Cleveland Unit to finally marry my clients and looking forward to meeting them.
Starting my day last Tuesday at 4AM, I headed to my first wedding at Ellis Unit Huntsville, Texas. Melissa was excitedly looking forward to this wedding and had spent the night in Huntsville. I was 3.5 miles from the Unit and getting an early start.
I’m always early by at least 1/2 hour to Units. I overestimate my timelines by at least an hour to factor in stopping for gas or the bathroom.
I have to be on a timeline at all times across the highways and backroads to not only Texas Prisons but also Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Louisiana as I’m not geographically limited and if I can drive to the prison rather than flying I do. It’s far less expensive for me to drive.
I arrived at 8:20AM at Ellis Unit and sent a text to my bride. I had estimated about 15 minutes to slap on my makeup and planned to walk up to the guard tower at 8:40AM to check in for our 9:00AM scheduled ceremony. At 8:45AM, I sent another text growing concerned now that my client was running late. I decided to check in with the guard tower and let the Unit know that I was on site waiting for my client. I was now nervously waiting to be honest with you and concerned.
At 8:55AM, I called my client again. She was running 10-15 minutes late. The WAS A PROBLEM. TDCJ Units regularly cancel scheduled ceremonies if either the client or the Officiant are 20 minutes or more late.
At 9:17AM, I again called my client who was now on site and in the parking lot. I’m now really nervous about a cancellation. We walk to the guard tower together at 9:18AM to check in and we are asked to wait. I continue to grow more and more concerned. At 9:25AM, the Chaplain comes out to escort us into the screening area. At 9:37AM, the Chaplain tells us both “have a nice day” and walks away from the intake area. At 9:45AM, I walk to the Wardens Office to ask “do we have an escort? The Chaplain has left and I’m uncertain as to who will be escorting us to the inmate.” I begin counting quarters for the Unit photos and stop when the wardens secretary tells me “we won’t have an escort for at least an hour and a half because we are doing a head count.” I stop counting quarters and nearly start crying. Why? Because I don’t have an “hour and a half minimum” to wait on a head count.
I was due at TDCJ Crain Unit at 1:30PM nearly three hours from TDCJ Ellis Unit and my 9AM wedding has been cancelled. I now (warily) must advise my client of the situation.
The wardens secretary walks with me to advise Melissa “if you had been here at 9, we could have whisked him in here but, since you were late, you will need to reschedule.” My client was crushed. Devastated.
I am going to go over the need for you to be early ONE MORE TIME. If you are late, your wedding ceremony WILL be canceled. Leave a minimum of 30 minutes earlier than necessary to avoid a cancellation. If I arrive and you don’t or you are late and the wedding is cancelled, you will need to rebook and repay for services.
Trying to comfort my bride while walking he through intake past the guard tower into the parking lot. I now have to run from Ellis to Crain literally hauling a$$. It’s 10:12AM. I’m due in Gatesville at 1:30PM.
Six months ago, Gary had retained me to officiate his wedding at Crain Unit. Setback after setback later, Gary was finally going to marry Amee!
For two months now I’ve waited and hoped for good news while praying that this virus would leave as quickly as it came. I’m not alone. The news is so depressing these days.
From anxiety to depression Covid-19 has set the world on edge. For inmates the fear of dying is valid. For loved ones of inmates worry and concern go hand in hand.
There isn’t any good news these days. Gloom and Doom fill the internet, news and media.
Finding hope amidst hopelessness is no easy task. In fact it’s similar to searching for a needle in a haystack.
My hometown of Lompoc, California is saturated with Covid cases. The COVID-19 time bombticking inside the Lompoc prison complex since late March detonated in dramatic fashion this week as the federal facility confirmed 912 open cases among inmates and 25 cases among staff. The outbreak remains the largest in any federal prison in the United States.
The rest of Santa Barbara County has reported 475 total positive cases.
My sister, Tammy called me alarmed, worried and concerned about filing for unemployment. It’s something neither I or my sisters have ever done before.
Tammy has worked at an upscale restaurant in Buelton since she was 19 years old. Everyone in our family learned the value of working at a very young age. We didn’t have anyone to “fall back on.” Instead we had each other and strong work ethics.
There are three things that I remember most about Lompoc every time I roll into town, the prison, the base and the flowers. Lompoc is known as the valley of the flowers. Tammy never left Lompoc.
Many of our relatives stayed in Lompoc but Cindy and I had no real choice about leaving. Our mothers mother adopted Tammy.
Our father loaded up Cindy, Jerry and I and left our hometown and everything familiar to us behind.
I thrive on structure and predictability. My reasons are based entirely on my childhood. Nothing was predictable. Bounced from relative to relative my siblings and I were often unaware of where we would be from one day to the next.
Cindy has stayed in the same house for nearly twenty five years so her daughters and granddaughters could attend the same schools. Structure is important to her too.
My son attended private school so moving wouldn’t change his structure. I drove him thirty minutes to an hour away until he was able and old enough to drive himself.
I wanted my son to go to school with the same friends. Predictability and structure during his school years were very important to me. Being the mother I didn’t have was never easy or inexpensive but worth my effort and attention.
I wanted predictability for my child I had never had for myself. Cindy and I both shared the same importance of stability for our children that we had never had as children ourselves.
Cindy and I broke the chains of our broken childhood. We changed the outcome for our own children and grandchildren. We gave them the childhood we would have wanted for ourselves. It was entirely a joint decision.
Cindy and I have both raised our children and grandchildren together.
Mothers Day is always a hardship for me. It’s a day of gloom and doom even in the best of times. I can never understand why our mother made the decisions she did.
Further I cannot under any circumstances send a sappy card about what a wonderful mother she was. None of my mothers children can. We struggle through every Mother’s Day fighting to remain positive. Pretending we have a normal family. Knowing we don’t. We never have. We never will.
Our mother broke our family. She exposed all three of her daughters to predators. Addicts and “friends” of hers who took advantage of her children often right in front of her. We had no one to protect us. We had no one who cared enough to step up or step in.
My depression each and every Mother’s Day occasionally takes me several days to put away.
Posts from happy families celebrating their mother. Internet “tips” for making this Mother’s Day perfect for your mother. The best way to treat your mother to a wonderful holiday based entirely on the sacrifices she made for her children. Ugh.
Cindy and I switched up this Mother’s Day ooh la la stuff when our children were old enough to realize we prefer to treat it like any other day and treat our kids to lunch and a movie or a trip to the casino. Our older kids are in their 30’s.
Cindy’s twin grand daughters often buy gifts for her and I while shopping with my husband or their Papa. They don’t understand why Mother’s Day is a dark day for us.
The twins don’t know why their MiMi’s dread the yearly phone call to our mother to wish her a happy Mother’s Day while secretly wondering why we continue to keep up this “faux celebration” of a day that reminds us over and over again that we never had a real mother. We never will.
Monday while scrolling FB and waiting on the police to report my fathers truck stolen, I saw a post from Naquitia about Mother’s Day that grabbed my attention. She was hurt that her children hadn’t bothered to do anything for Mother’s Day. I was relieved my son hadn’t. Why rub it in? The day of the year that kicks off my yearly reminder of having absent parents is Mother’s Day.
Don’t even get me started on Father’s Day. Ugh from the frying pan straight over to the fire. Tit for tat. “You wouldn’t be where you are without me.” Really? I’m where I am because I learned that in order to keep from starving I would need to work my ass off. I don’t “owe” anybody. I’m well off and live comfortably. I don’t have to work. No one gave me financial security. I earned it.
By the time I slap myself together enough to put Mother’s Day behind me it’s Father’s Day. You get the point.
Anyway, I’ve been driving by my dads house for two years. What am I looking for? Broken windows. Signs of an intruder. The usual. I had driven past when I noticed his truck was missing. Ugh. Now I had to have a conversation with my dad BEFORE Father’s Day to “update him that the truck was missing.”
My father and I have a very strained relationship. My father never forgave me for hiring an investigator to locate my mother in my 20’s.
In fact most of my fathers side of the family and even my brother were angered about it.
I wanted answers. I really wanted an apology. I got neither. The same day my mother met me in exchange for $1500 she was in a debilitating car accident that she would never recover from.
I was so shocked by my meeting with her that I lost the opportunity to tell her what a shit she was. Why couldn’t she lie and say she was sorry or that she wondered what had happened to us? Why couldn’t I express my anger? I was dumb struck at her cold responses while she counted my money.
I would never have the opportunity to “say what I really think” to my mother. She has no memory of what she put her four children through. I believe she knows more than she lets on but challenging this fact would upset my sisters and our already fragile faux normal family. I zip it instead.
My sisters and I pretend normality around our mother. It’s strained, awkward and always emotionally debilitating.
My friend and prison bride, Naquitia had written on her FB wall “my kids don’t even know what day this is.”
I was immediately struck by her post for a few reasons. First, her kids should know what day it is the older ones at least and second I was busy trying to forget Mother’s Day.
I commented on the post and advised her that Cindy and I try to forget Mother’s Day every year.
Her response touched me though. “If I had a husband at home, he would be taking these kids to buy me gifts and teaching them to celebrate me.”
It’s something I had never really put much thought into but she was right. My prison clients in numerous states are often alone on Mother’s Day. Those who aren’t are often forgotten by their children.
Another prison bride sent me a message on FB that read “my son isn’t talking to me it’s been six months. What can I do? My heart is broken.” Karen like many mothers would like to mend this rift but her son doesn’t approve of her plans to marry an inmate. I suggested sending her son a card or letter expressing her love for him while acknowledging that she must make her own decisions when it comes to choosing a life partner.
I have no idea how this will turn out for Karen but I firmly believe in the power of communicating your feelings unless of course you are me and my sisters. We communicate our feelings to each other and skip our parents.
When Cindy’s husband was home and Leigh Ann and Stephaney we’re younger, Steve took them shopping for Cindy to celebrate Mother’s Day.
When my son was still living at home, Matthew not only took him to shop for a Mother’s Day gift but even got a card from my dog, Foxy lord rest his soul. I’ve missed Foxy so much during this pandemic. He would have loved having me home.
I decided to send Naquitia some fabric. She’s an excellent seamstress and I knew she would enjoy some of our LV fabric to make masks. She did. She also sent me a photo wearing the mask she had used my material to create.
Naquitia is a good friend. All of my clients are. They are amazing, resilient and sadly, alone. Separated from their loved ones by prison walls. Sending the fabric to Naquitia, I decided to send a few of our custom masks to a few of my prison clients who had messaged me regarding being miserable on Mother’s Day themselves. Better late than never. If their kids wouldn’t celebrate them I would.
The inability to visit their loved ones along with the worry that their loved ones will become sick with Covid spreading through the prison system keeps fear and hopelessness at an all time high.
My clients have resilience, strength, patience and perseverance. They have also taught me to focus on other mothers on Mother’s Day rather than my own. It’s taken me 55 years to get past hating Mother’s Day but my clients have.
The police finally arrived at my dads house to take the stolen truck report and logged off FB to begin going over the details.
Google images showed that the truck had been parked exactly where I had last seen it and tread marks appear to have been from a trailer hauling it off.
The truck had sat there for five years. Flat tires and all. Who would steal it?
Someone was unaware that I regularly drive by and would notice it was missing.
Three months ago my sister and I hired a tow truck to move my dads other car a Mitsubishi Galant to her home until we could find an international carrier to move it to our brothers home in Monroe, North Carolina. It’s expensive to move vehicles ya all.
The policeman needed my dads date of birth. Ugh. I have no idea of my dads date of birth. I called my sister in law, Michelle who knew it.
I have no idea what my mothers birthday is either. I know my parents were both 21 when Cindy and I were born. We’ve never celebrated our parents birthdays. They’ve never celebrated ours.
I’ve never had a birthday gift from anyone in my family in my entire life. Cindy hasn’t either. For many years after locating my mother that fateful day in California and wishing I hadn’t, the benefit of meeting my mothers mother who never forgot my birthday or Christmas and even my sons birthday was the sheer delight of finding a greeting card in my mailbox.
When the cards stopped coming I knew that grandma Tinney had passed on. No birthday card in November no Christmas card in December. I called Lompoc and confirmed that grandma Tinney was gone.
The only person in my entire life who bothered to send a birthday and Christmas card every year to not only me but also my sister Cindy and her daughters. You remember things that you never had. You are thankful for them too.
Father’s Day is right around the corner. There are 3 days I intentionally overlook every year. My birthday, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I’ve decided to start focusing on others instead. It’s a good place to start.
My clients are the family I never had but was gifted with instead. They bring me joy. They call to check on me during this pandemic. They are amazing.
While I continue to hope and pray this virus finally leaves the prison system and the former structure of my life can be restored, I’m hopeful that Father’s Day this year will be different for me. My son is a new father. I’m a new grandmother. I have many things in my life to be thankful for. I will focus on moving beyond my anxiety of going down the card aisle with others buying sappy cards for their parents and buy a sappy card for my son and his wife or my clients.
I will work on accepting that not having parents in my life made me a better person. A kinder person. A compassionate person. The things in my life I didn’t have never defined me. I became the person I wanted to meet. The mother I never had. The father my son needed. I was capable of far more.
You don’t need parents in your life to be a good parent. You need patience, love and understanding…
For over a year now, I’ve had surprise emails, texts and phone calls regarding “a date at a Unit for a wedding” with people who are trying to tie me down and expecting me to provide the rope. For “anyone out there” shocked about the blatant honesty of the “rope statement,” it should be noted that this isn’t my first rodeo.
“WE don’t have a date if you didn’t bother to check my schedule before argreeing to a date offered to you by the Unit Chaplain.”
Scheduling of Texas Prison Weddings generally occurs 10-14 days prior to the event. Nearly ALL Texas Units use Tuesday and Thursday as their primary dates. Whether it’s the first and fourth Thursday or second and third Tuesday, you should realize that over 100 Units in Texas use the same or similar dates.
Tuesday’s and Thursday’s are prime time booking dates. PLEASE contact me to validate availability before emailing or texting me “WE have a date.”
You were given a date and you assumed my availability. There is a difference. There is also a possibility that I’m already scheduled hours away at ANOTHER UNIT ON THE SAME DAY. Communication is key and subsequently essential to my schedule.
When Cindy and I started Texas Twins Events, our goal was to give others the Dream Event that Cindy and I had never had. We wanted to create affordable options and we have.
We have NEVER ADVERTISED. EVER. Our businesses were built on dedication and referrals from happy clients.
Texas Twins Events was the FIRST people over profit based endeavor in the events industry. My idea to help the people no one else in this industry wanted to help have a Dream Event was based entirely on personal experience. How so? Neither Cindy or I could afford the flowers, cakes, vendors and other “fun stuff” for our own weddings years ago. My Officiant charged $450 for the wedding ceremony alone. Fees for Officiants should be affordable.
Cindy and I both knew that affordable options were non existent. We also set out to change that. Not everyone has parents to foot the bill and we didn’t either. We became the people we had never met in an industry where prior to Texas Twins Events, the “Average Joe” had previously been forced to marry at the JP due entirely to lack of finances.
After starting Texas Twins Events, the Average Joe called the Texas Twins instead.
We helped anyone. We welcomed anyone and we did it at prices people could afford. There’s a reason for our success in the event business and the reason is that NOT EVERYONE has tens of thousands of dollars to throw at a Life Event.
The majority of consumers live paycheck to paycheck. Many don’t even own a credit card. A few folks coming to us had no money at all. How could we help anyone? Even folks with no money? The Texas Twins yet again found a solution.
Six years ago, Cindy and I merged Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to CREATE a barter option, The Pawning Planners. AGAIN, this was a FIRST.
Cindy and I are PIONEERS in the events industry. “We had effectively created a window than no one else in this industry realized existed. Cindy and I came from poverty. We knew we weren’t alone. We recognized that others had limited incomes. We fought to find a solution for them that we never found for ourselves when planning our own weddings years ago. We pitched our tents and welcomed anyone from any background.”
I will never forget a production company executive in LA telling me “you girls are great! You have huge personalities and I love the Prison wedding angle BUT no one is really interested in helping poor people and prison weddings are controversial.”
Hmm. Controversial. He called us. He then told us that our journey, our clients and our story weren’t “jazzy enough.” Save the fabricated storylines and frankenbiting. We don’t NEED a show. Production companies contact us frequently and have for years. The problem? Their idea and our reality are completely different. Also, unless it’s a docureality format, we have no interest. Controversial? To who? Scripted “reality TV” is controversial and it’s also not real. A group of writers sitting around a table came up with characters and personalities and then found people willing to fit their mold. I can assure you that Cindy and I are not going to fit into anyone’s mold or fabricated concept. My twin is loud, unfiltered and hilarious. She is a comedian. I’m not. I’m quiet, reflective, and organized. We are Compensating Personality Twins. Two halves literally make a whole.
I’ve worked as a commercial and print actress but if you want me to act don’t expect me to read a script regarding my businesses or my life. There isn’t a script for a day in the life of the Texas Twins. People are unpredictable. We’ve met thousands of people over the years and can assure you that scripting their story would be impossible.
It is tough to surprise me anymore and yet it continues to happen from production companies. “Wendy I’m casting a prison based show and need to find the talent.” Wait. What? You want me to do your job for you?! “Wendy you and Cindy would be great for TV. We need you to do over the top events though.” Really? No thanks.
Did we realize that there were so many others out there seeking affordable options? No. But, we knew there had to be at least a few people. In fact, there were thousands. We are now national regarding inmate weddings.
Nearly three years ago, we AGAIN rebranded and expanded to offer Prison wedding services. No one including my husband or even my twin sister or even I could have guessed that inmate Officiant services would become our primary booking source?
Prison weddings NOW compromise 85-90% of all Texas Twins Events bookings in numerous states. Upon release, previous Prison wedding clients rebook Vow Renewal Ceremonies. Repeat bookings Wendy? Absolutely!
“Traditional” Event bookings literally became the minority rather than the majority of our bookings. We prefer real people. We prefer amazing love stories. We don’t need fluff or “over the top drama driven Divas.” THEY BELONG ON TV. Going nuts over minor details? Check. From bouncing checks to bawdy demands, if we never booked another “big event” Cindy and I wouldn’t miss it one bit. We have been there and done that for years with “affluent folks” who want it all but never want to pay for it. I turn down “traditional bookings and inquiries” on a regular basis. Daily, weekly, monthly. I no longer work as a planner for an Officiants pay either. Rich folks often “thought my entire staff came at the price of an Officiant fee.” Give me an Average Joe any day of the week! At least they are reasonable AND pay their fees. I’ve never had so much trouble getting paid as I have with “over the top” bookings. EVER. These clients are the most difficult people I’ve ever encountered. How so? I could go on and on here. After all, for years prior to prison weddings, someone would book for an Officiant then add on two photographers, set up and tear down and then balk when I issued a new contract AND a new bid. One “client” even handed my twin sister and apron to serve food? I can’t make this shit up. You don’t hire a singer and get a band. I turned my back to the choir of people contacting me and CHOSE to focus on the congregation of people who were worthy of working with instead. WHAT A RELIEF. Clients don’t interview Cindy and I anymore. We interview THEM.
Prison Wedding Scheduling has become incredibly complicated due to a number of people putting either my name, Leigh Ann’s name or Cindy’s name on Texas I60 Request for Inmate Marriage Forms WITHOUT retaining our services. This is a very real issue.
UNLESS you have followed our booking process YOU are NOT a client. I refuse to advertise in order to limit bookings because we are already juggling too many booked clients and addressing new inquiries on a daily basis.
I limit and cut off new bookings mid month every month to keep flexibility in Texas. Why? Because each Unit has only 2 days per month for a wedding ceremony available.
Last night while walking to my gate with Cindy to return to Texas from New York, a text from Gary regarding being scheduled on September 24th came through. I was already scheduled at Ellis on the same day.
I emailed Ellis Unit to move the date and accommodate Crain Unit and Gary at 2PM.
This morning, Gary sent another text that read “they’ve moved us up to September 10th @2PM.” What the?
ALARMED– I sent a text back that read “I am at 3 Units in Tennessee Colony on September 10th and confirmed these weddings with the Unit! I CANNOT MOVE CONFIRMED DATES. Tennessee Colony is three hours from Gatesville. I cannot be in Tennessee Colony and Gatesville at the same time.
Gary sent a text that read “well that’s the date the Chaplain gave.” I called Crain. The inmate had moved the date NOT the Chaplain. I advised the Chaplain that I was already scheduled at Tennessee Colony Units and had been for weeks. Therefore, I could not and would not be at Crain when I was on schedule at Beto and Michael.
Attention TDCJ Clients… The I60 leaves the law library to inmate records. It then leaves inmate records to Huntsville. It then leaves Huntsville to the Unit Warden. It then leaves the Warden to the Chaplain to schedule. You MUST contact me to check availability on the dates. No exceptions!
I then called Gary again to advise him that the inmate and not the Chaplain had moved the date AND I’m going to use this example with Gary to educate anyone else assuming they know my schedule that they don’t.
Without a TDCJ Approved Officiant on site- I can assure you that your wedding WILL NOT take place.
If an inmate isn’t having my client contact me FIRST to check my SCHEDULE you have CHOICES. First, I will refund you and wish you well if you want or expect me to cancel an EXISTING and confirmed date in order to accommodate your own.
Secondly, if you have not paid your deposit, your date will not be confirmed. If I am unavailable because you assumed that you “knew my schedule better than I do,” you will need to file a new I60 with Cindy as your Officiant. I cannot be in two places AT THE SAME time.
Texas Department Of Criminal Justice Clients PLEASE CONTACT ME PRIOR to choosing a date. I cannot stress this enough. Get THREE POSSIBLE DATES then call me to check availability.
I’m juggling up to 20 Texas clients each and every month. Texas unlike my other states only has 2 available days for each unit each month. Many of these dates are the same dates as other units.
Whether it’s every other Tuesday or Thursday which are primary booking dates or another day of the week, I can assure you that I will not move a confirmed date at ANY UNIT to accommodate you because you failed to check your day with me first.
If Cindy and I are BOTH BOOKED at existing Units in Texas and unavailable, Leigh Ann can fly to Texas for your TDCJ wedding but be advised that booking with Leigh Ann will incur additional travel fees.
STOP CONTACTING me saying “we have a date” without validating the date with me first. I hate surprises.
If you fail to contact me and check availability of or if you listed my name on an I60 without bothering to follow booking procedures, I will be forced to contact the Unit myself and cancel the date if you haven’t followed my REQUIREMENT for booking procedures and paid your deposit.
If you are a booked client and HAVE followed my REQUIRED booking procedures, the date that “you assumed that I had available in Texas on my books” MAY or MAY NOT be available on my calendar. ASK before agreeing to a date. If you don’t run a date by me first, you are running the risk of a forced reschedule. You are doing so at your own risk. Call me. Text me. Email me. Whatever you do communicate with me.
We can easily alleviate scheduling conflicts by CONTACTING ME FIRST. GET MORE THAN ONE DATE OPTION and if you aren’t a booked client, STOP using my name and credentials to obtain a date behind my back and assume I will show up. I won’t.
What I will do though is contact the Unit and explain why and how you were Approved by pulling my name off the internet. Nearly ALL TDCJ Units NOW REQUIRE verification from me due to the consistent misuse of my credentials from strangers who are NOT clients pulling my name off the internet.
“We are different. We are passionate. We are dedicated. People forget words and remember actions. We are versatile. We are open minded. We are also remembered for our dedication.”
Today’s blog will outline why I insist on my booking policies being followed. I live on timelines and deadlines. Cindy does too? A free day? We haven’t had one in years.
I assume a great deal of risk each and every time I leave my location. I could be in a car accident, my windshield could be broken, my car could break down in the middle of nowhere. If I’m taking on all of the responsibilities of getting to your Unit, you must be taking on the responsibility of booking me first.
Who goes to Walmart and leaves with bags without paying? You don’t fill up your tank without paying for gas. No one in the Prison wedding industry drives 10-18 hours a day to provide a service without compensation. If there is an Approved, Certified or Accredited “volunteer” Prison Officiant out there, I’m wholly and entirely unaware of them.
The Unit Chaplain cannot and will not conduct a ceremony in Texas or many other states. Obtaining an Officiant is a requirement for your Prison wedding.
Last week, I reviewed yet another email that ludicrously stated “I just need you to conduct my ceremony. It won’t take more than 30 minutes.” Let’s review this. The Unit is hours from my location. HOURS. I cannot snap my fingers and arrive on site. I spend $1000 every 9 months on tires alone.
I don’t risk a flat or blow out on the road. My vehicle is an investment. Without it, I obviously cannot be where I need to be. I don’t skimp on necessary components of my job description.
The time “inside a Unit” is entirely up in the air. We don’t rush the Unit. We wait. We could wait up to 3 hours at ONE UNIT and I have. “Thirty minutes” minimizes what is required of me to such great lengths that each and every time I see this statement, I am shocked that anyone assumes that what I do “only requires thirty minutes.”
From having my vehicle serviced to loading my car to getting my affairs at home in order or consulting with other clients, time is the only thing in my entire life that I have far too little of. I can’t buy time. I must use my time wisely.
Certain people must stop confusing ignorance with righteousness. Let’s review righteousness for people unaware of the term. I’m honest, I’m dedicated, I’m reliable. In this industry, experience, reliability, honesty and integrity don’t come free. If I’m dropping everything in my life to accommodate your needs, I expect you to put some skin in the game. I.E. Pay your deposit. Sign your contract.
Run possible dates by me PRIOR to agreeing to a DATE with a Unit Chaplain.
Certain individuals are shaking my tree without being willing to eat the fruit that falls. Arrogance speaks without forethought.
If you are assuming that you are more important than my other clients who have adhered to my booking requirements, without retaining my services, you aren’t my first priority.
My booked clients are and always will be my first priority. Don’t assume that I have free time on my schedule. I don’t.
Character becomes questionable when certain individuals expect others to accommodate their needs rather than those who were already standing in line when they happened to stroll up or contact me.
Cindy, my twin sister creates iconic quotes for Pawning Planners Apparel on a daily basis. These quotes are based on real life situations.
Here are a few truthful insights. “Without common sense, your wealth today can become your poverty tomorrow.” There aren’t any rest areas on the road to success. I don’t take short cuts.
“Don’t expect to cherry pick a withered branch from a barren tree. People’s generosity eventually runs out. Gratitude is the difference between appreciation and a sense of entitlement.”
Now, let’s address production companies….if you are contacting me or my twin sister for casting, “we don’t hand over our paychecks to people who didn’t earn the income.” Don’t expect us to do your job for you.
Also, investigative journalists and casting producers wishing to disrupt my day and address your needs, your sense of urgency is YOUR luggage and not OUR trip. We are busy addressing OUR CLIENTS NEEDS. “Even baggage handlers expect a tip.”
I am paid consultant with GLG. From marketing to consumer merchandise to luxury cars and even warranties, I get paid to share my knowledge with industry leaders.
People constantly ask me “how did you come up with this idea and make it work without ever advertising? Tell me how I can do what you did.” Hmm, hey buddy, why would create competition that doesn’t exist? Answer? I won’t and don’t.
BUY OUR book. It’s going to be chock full of surprises, twists, drama, real life people, stories and adventures. No one could fabricate a journey like ours in a million years.
“We had an idea. A concept to create a business to help people no one else would. Others thought we were crazy. No one cared enough to help low to middle income families have a Life Event. What we wanted and strived be to do for others had never been done before. Effectively, we took coal and squeezed into a diamond. We became the people we had never met. Along the way, we met amazing families. We had inspiring adventures and the time to spend together that our former careers had taken from us. Our success is literally an amazing story.”
Truth beats the shit out of scripted “faux reality” any day of the week. Our story is genuine, riveting and real. But no one told us how to succeed. Most people laughed. We do the laughing now.
If you aren’t passionate, driven and determined I can assure you that you don’t have the stamina to be me. Cindy and I make a helluva team. We are scrappy and resourceful but most of all– we HAVE NEVER BEEN LAZY. Lazy people might get lucky now and then but luck doesn’t last. Perseverance does.
I am also an expert in the wedding industry and the most knowledgeable Prison wedding Officiant you will ever encounter. I know Prison policy and procedure within each and every state I conduct ceremonies within. No, I didn’t “wake up one” day with this knowledge. Instead, I educated myself and continue to educate myself at my own expense. If you need something from me, get your checkbook out. My time isn’t free. I get paid to talk and people listen. I don’t get paid to listen to people pitching me. Networks do. Go pitch them. Schedule a meeting.
“We just need to talk to you about an idea or concept.” We are BUSY. Email and schedule your Skype or conference call at OUR CONVENIENCE. “Don’t EXPECT me to EDUCATE you, WITH my EXPERTISE, without PAYING the TUITION.”
“If you want the honey from the hive, don’t complain about the stings that come with it. Getting what you want is painful. WITHOUT RISK, DEDICATION AND PASSION, you will never begin and without perseverance you will never finish.”
The past week of my life has been spent bouncing from the joyous occasions of wedding ceremonies to the shock, despair and disbelief of my personal life.
Last Thursday, a stunning revelation that would rattle my entire family. How did we get here? My grandniece, Makenna had “met a new friend at school a few weeks ago” and was spending more and more time on her phone.
Cindy and I had no idea that this “new friend” would result in my grandniece being hospitalized after an overdose of her antidepressant medication due entirely to bullying from “her new friend.” Her new friend would literally push and keep pushing my beautiful grandniece into taking all of her Lexapro. Her new friend was doing this on the cell phone Cindy pays for. Yes, we are angry this outsider got to Makenna and yes, we are devastated about it but, our focus is on getting Makenna healthy mentally and physically.
Looking back over the past week, I wish Cindy and I had taken time to view text messages prior to finding ourselves in the ER with Makenna reading text messages that ended with RIP from her new friend “Michael.” How could we have known what was going on? Still, we blame ourselves. Our busy schedules. Our inability to see “trouble with Makenna.”
My highly intelligent grandniece took her entire bottle of Lexapro Thursday at approximately 4:15PM while Cindy and I along with Leigh Ann and Madyson were in Abilene, Texas with my Roberts Unit bride, her daughter, mother and grandmother.
We could have had no idea that while Cindy’s Husband, Steve was outside mowing and Makenna’s twin sister, Maryssa was filming a makeup tutorial and the twins mother, Stephaney was making dinner that Makenna was texting Michael that she was “so depressed over their break up that she was going to take her entire bottle of Lexapro.” Michael had egged Makenna on. Teen suicide is real. If your teen is talking or texting someone you don’t know- get involved. Ask questions.
At 4:19PM last Thursday, the last text from Michael had read “RIP.” At 4:20PM, Makenna had sent a text to Cindy and I both while in Loves Truck Stop with Leigh Ann and Madyson that read “I took my bottle of Lexapro. I’m scared. I need to go to the hospital.”
If you are a parent, grandparent or guardian, you would have been as horrified reading this text as we were. Our straight A student. Our beautiful Makenna with the heart of an Angel had just taken an entire bottle of Lexapro? We were over an hour from Cindy’s home. I called Cindy’s Husband then Maryssa while Cindy called 911 in Parker County from Abilene.
Maryssa had found her twin sister convulsing on the bathroom floor and also called 911. Thankfully, Medstar arrived within minutes and transported Makenna to Cook’s Childrens Hospital. Steve was devastated and too shocked to compose himself and stayed behind at home with Maryssa. I drove 95-100 MPH from Abilene to Cook’s with Cindy, Leigh Ann and Maddy.
My brother in law, Steve has only cried three times in 27 years that I’ve known him. The first time was when his mother died. The second time was while under attack at Baghdad Airport immediately following the roadside bombing on Good Friday. The third time was last Thursday.
Makenna was incoherent when Cindy and I walked into her room. She was also on an IV and “under suicide observation.” Due to Serotonin Syndrome, Makenna was also on oxygen.
Nothing and I mean NOTHING prepares you for a moment like this. Had Makenna NOT sent those texts to Cindy and I, we or someone else at Cindy’s house would have found Makenna dead in the bathroom Thursday. Thank God Makenna sent those texts prior to going into convulsions.
Living in a hospital with clinical observation while wondering if Makenna’s heart would recover since Thursday has been stressful, terrifying and a literal family affair of “tagging out and tagging in by family members due to our booked clients.” From sending my son to Collin County to running to Bridgeport Unit Friday as well as Green Bay Unit and Belltower Chapel Saturday, clocking in and out of the hospital has left all of us emotional basket cases.
Over the past two plus years, my niece (the twins mom) Stephaney has been involuntarily committed. Makenna’s twin sister, Maryssa played the choking game and was also committed. My father thought intruders were living in his attic and was also commited. To say this merry go round of Psych Ward visits has left Cindy and I with pom poms missing streamers would be an understatement. We have circled our wagons, walked into visits as cheerleaders lost, confused and hopeless. Walked into client meetings confident and with direction. Smiled when we felt like crying and juggled work and family with the fluidity of a triathlete. But, we had no choice. Our clients and our families are priorities. We had prayed for Stephaney and Maryssa to straighten up and they both finally had. We never saw an issue with Makenna coming and wonder if it’s our fault that we didn’t?
It takes a village and thankfully, we have one. Going over the events leading up to this past week has run through my mind over and over again. What did we miss? We should have asked more questions about Michael. Instead, we found it cute that Makenna had a boyfriend although they had never went anywhere together alone and this “relationship” was mostly via her cell phone. Cindy and I didn’t see the red flags. We wish we had but, we didn’t.
On Monday night, Cindy stayed with me to leave at 4AM for Torres Unit in Hondo, Texas. We checked in frequently with the twins and their mom from the road. Everyone seemed fine. We finished our photo shoot in Hondo, Texas and headed back to Fort Worth. Cindy and I stopped at a meat market for her husband, Steve who had frequented this meat market as a child. I took several calls driving back as I had several prison weddings last week with traditional and county jail weddings this weekend. My days and nights are filled with client questions and bookings. I rarely have a day off in season.
On Wednesday, Cindy and I had several county jail weddings with meetings for traditional clients. I also took my secretary, Virginia to lunch to celebrate her birthday.
Everything seemed normal. Makenna had opted out of going to the movies with her mother and twin sister but that wasn’t unusual. Makenna was working on her 9th grade schedule for school. Makenna is and always has been a stellar student. Makenna has always been driven, dedicated and focused on school. Maryssa never has.
Thursday, I left my home office to drive to Weatherford and pick up Leigh Ann, Cindy and Madyson. I checked on the twins before hitting the highway and asked “if they wanted to join us?” Since Steve was home after two weeks of driving for Ryder, he had a list of chores and Stephaney was washing clothes and cleaning. It was a normal day.
On our way to meet Jennifer and her family, we stopped at The Smokestack for breakfast. Again, we checked in at Cindy’s house. I also checked in with my husband, Matthew.
Maddy was a fireball at breakfast and kept jumping up to go sit with other diners. I.E. dining out with Maddy is always an adventure. Leaving the Smokestack, I checked in with Jennifer as we were meeting her early to do photos since we were on the schedule at Roberts Unit at 3PM.
At 12PM, I pulled into the address Jennifer had given me to meet her at Jacobs Dream at Abilene Christian University.
Maddy jumped out to “climb rocks.” Maddy also takes off her shoes to put her feet in the pond. Leigh Ann takes a few photos to check the lighting before Jennifer and her family arrive at 12:30PM.
Meeting Jennifer in person and excited about our location, I begin unloading tiaras, furs, bouquets, fascinators and other props from my SUV with Cindy.
Again, we would have no idea that Makenna is even contemplating taking her entire bottle of prescribed medication, Lexapro. I WISH WE HAD KNOWN.
We are on location and enjoying a great day with Jennifer and her family. We believe that our family at home is fine. We are also sadly and profoundly mistaken. Maddy (as usual) jumps in on a few wedding photos. Leaving the university, our caravan heads to Walmart. Cindy checks in with Steve. We decide to buy Jennifer’s granddaughter a pair of shorts because hers and Maddy’s were both wet from the pond.
Checking my watch, we still have an hour before we are scheduled at Roberts Unit. I decide to go to McDonalds and buy the kids happy meals before heading to the Unit.
Our mood and vibe are relaxed and happy. Cindy and I are convinced everything is fine back home and we are enjoying our new friends.
Jennifer and I walk into the unit leaving our families parked side by side to wait on us.
Arriving in check in, the chaplain leads us to the visitation area. Jennifer is excited and nervous. This is completely normal for my clients. I’m every Clients mother. The handwritten vows are emotional and beautiful. It’s 3:00PM.
At exactly 3.30PM, Jennifer and I will walk back to our families and our cars parked side by side. After showing our families the Unit photos, I escort Jennifer back to her car beside mine and visit for a few minutes before heading black to Fort Worth.
At 4:11PM, we pull into Loves. Maddy wants milk. Maddy is also going nuts inside the truck stop and we spend at least five minutes longer than we planned to chasing her around.
At 4:20PM, we are loaded back into my SUV when I first see the text. Sitting in the Loves Truck Stop parking lot, Cindy, I and Leigh Ann are NOW in an all out panic.
By the time we arrive at Cooks, we are emotional basket cases. Cindy and I cannot stop crying. We are crushed. Devastated. Broken.
Friday morning, Cindy and Stephaney are at the hospital with Makenna. Leigh Ann, Maddy and I are headed to Bridgeport, Texas.
It’s difficult to put Makenna out of my mind and focus on the client but, I do. I’m an excellent actress. I’ve had 38 years of experience in front of a camera and I’m not going to ruin Michelle’s wedding day by being upset.
Instead, I must put Makenna, my twin and Stephaney as well as my fear aside. It’s an invisible box in my mind. I put things away I can’t deal with until I can. I’ve done this since I was a child.
Michelle had wanted a hair and makeup artist but, we couldn’t find anyone available. I decided that I would do her hair and makeup myself.
Leigh Ann and I arrived at 9:30AM at Michelle’s hotel room. The wedding was scheduled at 11AM. No one looking at these photos could see my heartache.
Again, I’m an excellent actress and have often had to put away or compartmentalize issues that would otherwise affect my demeanor or performance “on duty.” While Leigh Ann chases Maddy in the hotel room and checks her equipment, I realize that I have no idea how to apply false eyelashes. Luckily, Michelle accepts this and we pack up the room to head to Bridgeport Unit.
Leigh Ann and Maddy wait in my SUV. Walking into the Unit to check in, Michelle is nervous but wearing red Air Jordan’s that go perfectly with her wedding dress.We have 20 minutes “inside the Unit.” Michelle is so nervous that I read her handwritten vows for her.
Walking back out to my SUV, I’ve already chosen photography locations and head there with Michelle behind me.I’ve checked in with Cindy en route to downtown Bridgeport. I had packed furs and tiaras with numerous other items for fun photos. Leigh Ann is still working on the edits.
Leaving Bridgeport to Cook’s Childrens Hospital. I stop at a corner market for hospital snacks and milk for Maddy.
I’m weary. I’m mentally exhausted and I can finally cry away from my client. Leigh Ann knows my fear. My uncertainty. My inability to know what lies next for Makenna and my family. Leigh Ann and I are both crying driving into Fort Worth. We are scared. I know everyone in my family is terrified and questioning how we were unaware of this situation? Guilt haunts us.
Arriving at Cook’s to relieve Cindy and Stephaney to go downstairs and eat, my grandniece is still on the heart floor and under observation. Maddy runs and jumps onto Makenna’s bed. Makenna is happy to see Maddy. It’s the first time since Thursday I’ve seen Makenna smile.
Cindy is obviously exhausted and can barely walk after trying to sleep in a straight backed chair. Cindy has 13lbs of steel fusing her spine and nueropathy from an accident that nearly killed her in our 20’s. Cindy and Stephaney refuse to leave the hospital at night.
I’ve offered to stay overnight at Cook’s but my sister and niece won’t give up a night shift. They are weary and disheveled. My sister forgets what day it is? They are running together. Lack of sleep has affected my entire family. I forget where I park over and over.
My sister is beyond exhausted. I read Makenna a story while Leigh Ann takes Maddy to the playroom. I then begin a rotating written schedule for my family members to tag in and out while giving everyone sufficient time for my son and his wife as well as Leigh Ann and myself to get to client events throughout the weekend. My tears run the ink on my day timer. I had no idea the energy to cry was still in me.
I’m terrified. I’m always in control but I cannot control this situation. I’m OCD. I’m a planner but nothing prepared me for this. Cindy and I have spent two years visiting our relatives at Psych Wards. Once Makenna is released, we will continue to do so. This time at Mesa Springs. We are equally apprehensive about having the capacity to walk in happy, hopeful and positive to visit Makenna.
We must prepare and get our act together. Deep breaths in the parking lot. Know your mark. Hide your fear. You are ON. We’ve done this at 4 different Psych Wards over the past two years. Cindy and I have been screened in as if we were entering a prison unit. Entering a Psych Ward is remarkably similar. The vending machines are a focal point to inmates as well as patients. Bring quarters.
Cindy and I are now professional Psych Ward visitors. We’ve had plenty of practice. Cindy’s daughter, Stephaney has been involuntarily committed 16 times.
The family members visiting Psych Wards are similar to visitors at Cooks. Everyone is uncertain. Shell shocked. Battle worn and weary. We all walk hunched over. A building of zombies. Our fear leads us through the days, nights and afternoons. Haunted eyes and grimaced faces walk the halls.
Saturday morning, I feel my blood pressure go up. I have low blood pressure but, I’m a mirror image twin. I know Cindy hasn’t taken her blood pressure pills. I can feel it. I call her. I’m right. She’s forgotten them and my key to her house is in her bathroom. The same bathroom Maryssa found Makenna in. I call Tom Thumb Pharmacy and explain why my twin doesn’t have her medication. Medication I just filled less than a week ago. I’m crying on this phone call. Explaining where Makenna is hurts me deeply.
The pharmacist agrees to give me four pills to get Cindy through the weekend and I will call Dr Richwine to get a refill on Monday. The pharmacist tells me her son committed suicide and she will never recover. She’s crying too.
Leaving Tom Thumb, I see an elderly lady being mugged a few blocks away. I pull over and grab my mace to scare off the attackers. I put the woman, Ginger in my SUV and give her water while calling 911.
The police arrive. They ask “weren’t you scared getting involved?” I answer “not at all. You don’t know where I’ve been or what I’ve been through.” I describe the assaulants fully and completely from their clothing to height and weight descriptions. I also fill out a witness report and I wait on an ambulance for my new friend, Ginger. I text Cindy and Leigh Ann to let them know I’ve been delayed. Ginger is elderly and fragile. She’s also homeless. I discuss where I can find her shelter after treatment and give her my business card. Medstar transports her due to the head injury she’s suffered at the hands of two thugs.
Arriving at Cook’s, Makenna’s heart is still struggling. It’s now been 3 days since our lives were changed forever. My Pampas Unit bride calls me. I put her on my schedule. My Ellis Unit client calls me regarding being removed from visitation. She’s crying and upset. She drove to the Unit only to be turned away. I explain the appeal process and timeline to file an appeal just outside Makenna’s room.
I will also help Naquitia file with the DRC and Courts on Monday. I’ve memorized TDCJ procedure. I know things that surprise my clients. I must. It’s my job.
I take another call from a Belltower Chapel client and the “observers” in Makenna’s room wonder why my phone never stops ringing to each other. They talk about my family and Makenna in front of us. I view this as highly unprofessional. No one has sent a psychologist. No one has bothered to check on Makenna’s muscle spasms. I go out and call the administrator. I file a complaint about this “openly discussing Makenna in front of her.”
My clients and my family and now even Ginger are all a part of my life. My life requires multitasking. Cell phones and electronic devices are not allowed in Makenna’s room.
Apparently, observers watching Makenna are failing to document her legs uncontrollably shaking or the fact that a clinical psychologist has never even entered her room continue to infuriate me. I continue to bring her depression and muscle spasms up to the observers. I continue to ask where the child psychologist is? I continue to ask the observers not to discuss Makenna, her story or her family in front of her. I want her moved as soon as her heart stabilizes. I continue to call Mesa Springs myself.
My sister now has her high blood pressure medicine. I worry this stress will give her a heart attack and I fear losing Cindy. It is my greatest fear. My twin is my best friend. My twin is my partner. My twin and I have never had an easy life or path. There have been times that we have lost our faith. There have been times we’ve felt that God was testing our faith. There have also been times that we’ve realized that hardship rather than defining us instead empowered us. Ours is not an easy life. We must hold steadfast.
Sunday morning, I check in with Leigh Ann before meeting clients at Belltower. I’m stressed but I shake it off. I’m a professional. I dig deep to find peace and remind myself that it’s my clients day. They deserve my best. All of them do. I give it to them. Show girl smile ready, I enter the Chapel, officiate the wedding, smile for photos and run back to Cook’s. I also cry in my SUV. I don’t know how much longer I can act normal.
Sunday afternoon, the doctor comes in to talk to me. Cindy and Stephaney are home bathing and changing clothes. I’ve just “tagged my husband out.” Makenna’s heart has stabilized. It’s time to send paperwork to Mesa Springs. Makenna will be moved to a Psych Ward for depression and suicidal ideation. The “Psych Ward Visit Cycle” will begin again for the Texas Twins.
I call Mesa Springs again and explain what happened. I then put Makenna on the list for a bed. Cindy and I will be back bouncing from a Psych Ward to work and clients while trying to act normal. We will be actresses on our marks and taking our cues. We will pray that Makenna realizes her value. We will cry alone away from clients and family. We will move forward putting our painful past behind us and we will find hope that one day we are never visiting another relative in a Psych Ward but, we will also be prepared for the possibility. We now know that life and mental illness are chaotic. Unpredictable. Unplanned. Frustrating.
I roll into a parking space to relieve Cindy and Stephaney for dinner AKA to tag them out. A family member must be present at all times in the room. Tagging out is the only break. Beside me, I see a woman crying in her vehicle. I walk over and ask “what’s wrong? Can I help you?” I’ve realized that many parents and grandparents cry in public bathrooms at Cook’s or the parking garage. No one cries in front of their loved ones including my family. We wear a mask. We hide our pain. We shuffle about in wrinkled clothing from sleeping on chairs or roll a way beds and we are effectively prisoners of war to save our children. Everyone is the same here. The despair. The grief. The anxiety.
The lady in the car next to me opens her door. “My daughter is here. I’m divorced. I’m afraid I will lose my job. My ex won’t come and sit with her.” I open my trunk and get her a bottle of water. She has a heavy cross to bear.
I get in her SUV and ask “when was the last time you ate?” She can’t remember. She’s been struggling to save money for parking. I tell her “drive out and drive back in. Get a new ticket. Parking is free on weekends.” This surprises her. But, it’s something I’ve shared with others. Not refreshing their parking ticket runs into hundreds of dollars. The cafeteria is expensive and the food is nothing to write home about. My new friend, Mary joins me at Camelot Court. I buy her dinner and sit with her. I also give her my card. We will be moving to Mesa Springs and I worry about her.
My other new friend, the victim of a mugging on Saturday, Ginger is at Harris Hospital. I’ve been feeding her feral cats since Saturday night. I call her and let her know they are okay.
I’m bone weary but also help a man find the B elevators who is lost, uncertain and afraid. When we get to the third floor, he turns to me and says “I’m not ready. I’m afraid. I don’t know what I’m walking into.” I grab his hand and tell him “I will walk with you. You aren’t alone. Everyone here is afraid. Everyone here is tired and anxious. Everyone here has a child they are concerned about.” I walk him to the room where he “tags out” his daughter and show him where to find coffee. Tell him the hours of the cafeteria and get him a blanket and pillow. He’s going to be okay. I will check on him again and my new friend Mary tomorrow.
Hopefully, Ginger is released from Harris tomorrow as I’m at Coffield and Beto Units in Tennessee Colony Tuesday. I’m also meeting a pregnant woman in Corsicana who contacted me about letting Burt and Deanna adopt her baby. She’s not in a position to keep her baby and heard I was trying to help my former clients find a child to love. Burt and Deanna don’t care what color the child is. They know that any child is a gift from God. They are good people. I married them four years ago. I baptized Baby DeLilah and officiated her memorial.
The tragedy of losing a child isn’t lost on me. I’ve witnessed the pain. I’ve prayed with the families to find strength and I’ve cried silent tears alone in my SUV. I don’t understand why children are taken far too soon. I never will.
Being a parent teaches you resilience. You will jump in front of a train to protect your child. Parenting doesn’t end at 18. In fact, it never ends. Being a parent, grandparent of guardian is the hardest job you will ever have. You will become stronger for it. You will become more resilient and you will become dedicated to forsaking your own needs in order to care for another. Trust me.
Cindy and I are everyone’s mother. From clients to strangers, there isn’t anyone we wouldn’t try to help. Why? Because we’ve never had anyone to help us aside from each other and our husbands.
Hardship can define you or empower you. Love is sacrifice. We pray Makenna learns to love herself. We pray that others won’t take advantage of her and we pray thanks that she sent those texts to Cindy and I. We pray for strength in the journey ahead. We pray for guidance and finally we pray we can find it in our hearts to forgive Michael for pushing Makenna into thinking her life wasn’t worth living. Over someone she knew less than two weeks? We will though pursue criminal charges against Michael to prevent this from happening to anyone else’s child.
Teenagers are fragile. They are impressionable and they are easily hurt. Please check your children’s phones. Find out who they are talking to and more importantly, what they are talking about.
Seventh grade was too stressful for Makenna. Her twin, Maryssa is social. Makenna isn’t. Cindy and I homeschooled Makenna in 7th and part of 8th grade. Makenna asked to return to public school a few months ago. Had she been safe at home away from bullies this wouldn’t have happened to our family but Makenna felt isolated in homeschooling.
Tomorrow I’m up at 4AM to tag Cindy and Stephaney out. Tomorrow, I’m helping my Ellis Unit Client file an appeal with the Courts and DRC. Tomorrow I’m packing for a day back in Tennessee Colony and tomorrow I’m praying Mesa Springs has a bed for Makenna…
This morning while grabbing a quick coffee prior to “hitting the road,” my husband asked me the same question he asks everyday “is there anything I can do for you?” Sounds like a simple question but, the depth and the meaning aren’t overlooked by me. My husband would do anything for me and I know it. The same is true of me for him or my twin sister, my grandnieces, my son, my nieces and my clients.
I’m just as driven, determined and dedicated to making my clients day as worry free and pleasant as possible as I am with my own family.
Everyday is a “no repeat” day. There are no re takes or do overs. Being the best version of yourself might sound silly to anyone who hasn’t faced death. The fragile nature of life is lost on them. It isn’t lost on my twin sister, my husband or our children. Why? Because my twin sister nearly died in an accident at 23 years old.
For fifteen years now, I’ve faced several surgeries to fight “the C word.” I cram as many “moments into each day” as humanly possible. I don’t take any day of my life for granted. Instead, these minutes, these moments, these opportunities are viewed as the gifts they are. I’m “C free” and have been for several years but each and every check up, I literally “brace myself for bad news.” By the grace of God, I haven’t heard any in five years.
Laying out my usual array of CD’s for my drive to TDCJ Coffield Unit, Donna Summer, Elton John, Lenard Skynard, Rod Stewart, Chicago and Jim Croce would be keeping me company on this trip since Cindy was busy in Parker County, Leigh Ann had a booking on the courthouse steps and my son was on his way to Houston.
I don’t mind driving alone on Texas highways or anywhere else for that matter. Music occupies my mind and keeps me company. I know all of the words to all of my favorite CD’s.
My husband only knows the beat or rhythm to music and nearly never pays attention to the words. I find his favorite AC/DC song to be the only song he actually does know the words to hilarious. What is it? Thunder Struck. It cracks me up.
Checking in with my Thursday Beto bride to confirm timelines after passing through Corsicana and hoping rain wouldn’t ruin my Tuesday and Thursday photo shoots after Unit weddings, my 2 hour and fifteen minute trip to Tennessee Colony was running closer to 2 1/2 due to the usual road construction. Heavy sigh.
Sitting in a line of traffic, I had time to review email requests for Goodman Unit, Middleton Unit, Garza East, Ellis, Estelle, Clements, and Dominguez Units. I review at least 5-8 new requests every 2-3 days for prison weddings.
Even I am often surprised at the sheer numbers of clients wanting to marry an inmate. Texas is our highest booking state with California running second and Louisiana third in requests for an Inmate Officiant.
Since I was driving without a copilot, I called the prospective clients back rather than emailing them.
Road construction to Tennessee Colony is a virtual mess of mazes through small towns. I often wonder where everyone works or why people just abandon old farmhouses and leave them to decay. What happened?
In Texas towns that have a Prison, nearly everyone works for TDCJ. The number of employees who have retired and returned to TDCJ is impressive.
One law library clerk told me “2025 is my retirement year and I won’t be coming back like everyone else does. I will leave the bars behind me and find something to do outside of the prison.” I am fairly sure he means it. My husband checked in several times along the way and let me know he had a dentist appointment today. Like me, Matthew hates going to the dentist but, it’s a necessary evil.
Listening to Chicago “being without you takes a lot of getting used to,” I remind my husband to take an Aleve to prevent a headache at the dentist.
I then reminded myself to call Cindy since she’s the one “I was without” on my Tennessee Colony trip.
Cindy doesn’t enjoy riding with me to Tennessee Colony because “there’s nothing to do.” She’s right. There are no shopping centers or cafes and the only drop off point is the General Store. There are five Prisons though and I make the trip here at least twice a month to one or more of the five Tennessee Colony Prisons.
Rolling into Tennessee Colony with my bride a few minutes behind me, I sent my husband the “greeting” sign featuring TDCJ Units located in the city that features only one General Store.
Nearly everyone in the General Store either “knows someone employed by TDCJ or is related to someone employed at one of the Units.”
Five Units house inmates within fairly close proximity of one another in Tennessee Colony. Coffield and Michael are both located behind the same guard entrance gate. The close proximity of Coffield and Michael are convenient for me because I can move from Coffield wedding ceremonies starting at 9AM to Michael which usually schedules me in at 10:30 or later which is how I literally “bounce” from Coffield to Michael with fluid frequency to meet my clients and conduct their wedding ceremony.
Often I “stack” clients if I have more than one client at the same Unit with thirty minute intervals for each client. After I complete wedding ceremonies at Units, my clients and I find a place for their bridal photos.
Bouncing from Coffield or Michael to Beto or Gurney wouldn’t be quite as convenient as you would need to leave the Coffield/Michael Units to drive “back through town” and down another two lane road to get to Beto, Gurney or Powledge.
Coffield and Michael schedule inmate weddings on Tuesdays. Other Tennessee Colony Units prefer Thursday’s. I’m in Tennessee Colony so often that I could literally drive it blindfolded. In fact, I’m back in Tennessee Colony on Thursday. This time at Beto then on to Hodge Unit. Hodge Unit is in Rusk, Texas and forty five miles from Beto.
I’ve left Tennessee Colony Units to drive to Huntsville Units on more than a few occasions. Huntsville is also a city of Prisons and one hundred and two miles from Tennessee Colony. It’s a very long day to leave Fort Worth to Tennessee Colony to Huntsville but, it’s doable.
I’ve spent up to eighteen hours driving from Unit A to Unit B and occasionally even Unit C before heading back to Fort Worth to rise and shine at 3AM and start all over again. Whatever I can do to keep from renting a hotel for prison weddings, I do during the week as weekends often find me at Destination Events and staying at hotels. With my schedule, finding time to be home at night and see my family during wedding season is difficult at best but, I give it my best shot. Having a copilot helps tremendously as my twin and I take turns driving to locations over 6 hours from the DFW area.
Arriving at Coffield Unit, I was thrilled to see my beautiful bride wearing a wedding dress. This is a rare treat. I loved the entire ensemble. Her bouquet was perfect match to her dress.
Although my bride wasn’t allowed to bring her bouquet into the Unit, I couldn’t wait to incorporate it into her bridal photos after we left Coffield Unit. Her smile said it all.
My TDCJ clients are nervous, excited and exhilarated to finally be getting married. It’s a long and arduous process. Michael Unit won’t allow dresses or skirts of ANY TYPE inside the Unit. Advising my Michael Unit brides that only slacks are allowed isn’t an easy conversation but, it is necessary. The Rule at Michael is unbending.
The “wait” at Coffield is always surprising. Occasionally you can “get right in” while other times the wait can run anywhere from 1-3 hours inside the Unit. My bride and I checked in together at 8:50AM for a 9:00AM scheduled wedding ceremony. I had expected to be out of Coffield by 10 at the latest. Instead, it would be after 11 before we finally walked out of the Unit together.
“Screening in” can be a time consuming ordeal. I always screen in first. I decided that while my bride was being screened, I would head to the Wardens Office to sign in and pay for Unit photos at $3 each. I always buy three photos for my clients as a courtesy.
Luckily, I had bought 2 rolls of quarters rather than one since I’m at Beto on Thursday as my Tuesday bride had forgotten her quarters and realized it in the parking lot. To solve the problem, I emptied my Beto quarters into the Coffield baggie to cover us for 6 photos at Coffield. I’m nothing if not prepared.
I can (and will) get quarters for Beto on my way to Erath County on Wednesday for Beto on Thursday.
I never go to a Prison without quarters. Often my client may forget to bring quarters for photos and a wedding ceremony is the one event where clients want as many photos as they can get although the quality of the photos is often “questionable.”
If we all have our heads in the photo, it’s a good day. Guards are not professional photographers and “you get what you get.”
Amazingly, Estes Unit by far has the best Unit photos. This is saying a lot from me because all of my clients want Unit photos.
Privately owned Units rarely (if ever) offer wedding day photos. Sanders Estes takes the best Prison photos I’ve seen from any Prison in Texas.
Sanders Estes is also the only Unit where a guest or guests have been allowed to witness the ceremony.
Clear or “in focus” photos are rare at Prison Weddings. Allred actually runs a close second with Hodge Unit coming in third regarding photo clarity and quality.
Back to the waiting area at Coffield, my client and I would continue to wait while another bride waited on her “other Officiant.”
I’m well aware of this “other Officiant” because she is almost always late and always unfriendly. I pay little or no attention to her intentionally although I WISH she would pay more attention to her clients and arrive on time.
The entire Unit accommodates prison weddings and her work ethics are embarrassing and inconvenient to not only her own clients but also myself and my clients who are “effectively forced to wait on her to ride in on her broom with an attitude.” Prison Weddings aren’t planned overnight. The process is time consuming and stressful to clients who anxiously await wedding day.
From start to finish, planning a Prison wedding can take anywhere from three weeks to months. The “person on the outside” will send an Absentee Affidavit and the “person on the inside” will request a TDCJ ID that can take several weeks.
Once the “person on the inside” has the Absentee Affidavit and ID Notarized, the “person on the outside” will use both documents to purchase the marriage license. The “person on the inside” will then file an I60 Request For Marriage Form listing the TDCJ Approved Officiant on the paperwork.
The I60 requires up to 6 signatures. Once approved, the Warden will hand the chaplain the paperwork to set the date and time for the marriage. The TDCJ Officiant will then confirm the date and time assigned. I.E. Prison wedding planning is a lengthy process.
One of my clients, Mary, waited months to get approved for her wedding. Another, JoJo, waited over a year. Still another waited six months at Stiles Unit. Part of the issues these clients faced that made their journey more difficult involved Unit transfers or a CLM status or other “hiccups.” I spend months walking each of my TDCJ client facing “hurdles” through a confusing process. I also become everyone’s mother when a Prison wedding has hurdles.
I spend FAR more time talking or corresponding with TDCJ Clients than I ever will with a Texas Twins Events, Pawning Planners or other client booked through a venue that I’m on staff with. Prison Wedding Planning is by far more complicated than a “traditional wedding.”
On weekends and evenings, I’m often working with “traditional clients” or on site at a venue when a call from a TDCJ client may come in. I juggle everyone everyday and return calls every 2-3 hours.
My “job” never ends with any of my clients because they offer re book with myself and my staff for other services including Vow Renewals upon release of the inmate or Baptisms and these clients ALWAYS refer their friends and family to my staff and I. We have earned our reputation of excellence by exceeding our clients expectations. These clients are like family to my staff and I. They are far more than a “Gig” or “Booking.”
Waiting on “another Officiant” is the last thing any client needs on wedding day. Having everyone else on site for their wedding wait on “another Officiant” who obviously has a blatant disregard for everyone else’s time continues to infuriate me.
The “other Officiant” needs to buy a watch or find a new business that isn’t based on being timely, organized or articulate.
At Allred, my clients and I were forced to wait yet again due to this same “other Officiant.” It’s aggravating to me that people don’t view being late as stealing because it is. You are taking something you cannot replace. These brides or grooms have waited months on their wedding day.
The last thing anyone wants to do on wedding day is to wait on “another Officiant” who is unprofessional and uncaring. When “another Officiant” consistently being tardy to a Unit subsequently forces my clients and I to wait on their arrival for my clients wedding ceremony to take place, such conduct annoys my clients as well as pissing me off at the same time. Some people take no pride in their work ethics.
Hire someone with a stellar track record and responsible behavior. It will save you a lot of grief. It can also save you money. How? Well, if you’ve hired someone who doesn’t return your calls or answer your emails, you might very well have also hired someone so unreliable (obviously not affiliated with Texas Twins Events) that they won’t bother to show up on wedding day!
How do I know about NO SHOWS? Because I’ve been hired as second and even the third Officiant or Planner or BOTH over and over for years by clients who had “hired the wrong vendor to begin with.”
That’s right. I’ve taken calls from hysterical brides or their mothers or members of the wedding party for YEARS who found themselves wishing the had hired Texas Twins Events in the first place but instead, found themselves ALONE at a Unit or venue with a MIA Officiant or Planner (obviously not affiliated in any way, shape or form with my staff).
These “emergency requests at the 11th hour” have been going on for so many years now that I now have emergency fees in place based on our availability. After all, my staff and I DON’T HAVE EMERGENCIES. The client who hired the WRONG VENDOR is HAVING AN EMERGENCY.
I will never forget the TCU wedding party calling me years ago about “two hundred guests waiting and we can’t get in touch with our Officiant. We need someone here as soon as possible.” I had been working on a Texas Twins Treasures trunk and obviously unprepared to “run off and save the day” but, due to the hysterical phone call, changed my clothes and dashed over to the church.
Arriving with everyone upset and agitated, I had no idea what they wanted for their ceremony, names of the wedding party, who was giving the bride away or anything else for that matter. Also and more importantly, who was paying MY FEE? Upon inquiring about my fee in the midst of the circus environment of chaos, I was told “we didn’t bring any money because we paid the other Officiant.”
Oh, you mean the person who DIDN’T bother showing up? I advised the wedding party of the facts since paying the No Show Officiant doesn’t benefit me one iota. “I received a hysterical phone call on my day off begging me to drop everything and run over here to save YOUR wedding. If you don’t have funding to pay my fee, I will be leaving now and ya all can have a great party.”
Turning to leave, someone managed to come up with my fee. I am not a volunteer. I’m a staunch professional who effectively “goes to work” in exchange for consideration. If you have no money, you can submit a bartered item proposal through my sister site, The Pawning Planners.
After the “TCU incident,” and similar escapades that included excuses pertaining to paying the “other Officiant” that prevented these hysterical folks from paying me or anyone in my staff who ACTUALLY DID SHOW UP when the initial vendor hired and more importantly, PAID DID NOT, all of my sites were updated with “emergency fee structures” as well as holiday fees. I don’t have emergencies and no one on my Team does either.
I abhor tardiness. Worse, are the “consistently tardy people” who assume that by being tardy that their behavior is acceptable to everyone else who are effectively forced to wait on them.
I’m never late. Ever. I leave a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour earlier than necessary for every commitment I have. I plan ahead. Not showing up at an event? NEVER. But, I’m not like everyone else. My staff aren’t either. Our booked clients are OUR PRIORITY.
Since the other Officiant was MIA and most likely running 20-30 minutes late (as usual), her client was alone and feeling somewhat insecure about “screening in” since the alarm kept going off when she attempted to “clear in.”
The “hold up” at screening due to the other client bringing a ring box and ring into the Unit. Ring boxes have metal hinges. Metal interferes with the metal detector. Whether it’s jewelry, a watch, a girdle with boning or a bra with underwire or even a ring box, YOU MUST CLEAR the machine to enter ANY TDCJ UNIT.
I strongly advise all of my clients not to bring anything other than their current state issued ID, Marriage License, car keys and quarters. It will save you and I time screening in and make our visit far more pleasant on wedding day.
Having someone walk in bewildered and alone while wondering if their “other Officiant” is going to bother showing up is just too much for me. I often wish they had someone reliable in their corner during what is often already an emotional process but, again, I cannot save everyone from hiring the wrong Officiant. I’ve seen it happen before and I will see it happen again. I’m not only referring to Prisons either.
My office “fields” emergency Officiant calls on a regular basis because someone hired the wrong Officiant, Photographer or Planner. You know, the “other Officiant or vendor who were paid to show up but didn’t.”
Getting a call from a frantic bride, groom, mother of the bride or groom to one of our Texas Twins Events cell phones from someone in a panic because “our Officiant didn’t show up” or “our planner isn’t here” or “our photographer isn’t here and we need you to send someone over immediately” are the types of phone calls no one wants to take.
Don’t these frantic callers assume that we aren’t already on location? You know with the clients who booked with us. We can’t save everyone. What we can do is put our clients needs first and if I have any available staff, send them to the “emergency” caller. But, these emergency services come at a higher rate. Also, emergency services are based entirely on availability. Our clients don’t have emergencies because they booked with Texas Twins Events.
I’m booked up to 2 years out and no longer take on emergency Officiant bookings. The reason for this is that you are effectively “going in cold” with clients you know nothing about who are often angry, anxious and upset because “someone else” had let them down. It’s an awful situation for the client who trusted the “wrong person” but again, I cannot save everyone. My staff cannot save everyone. Our priorities are our booked clients first and foremost. Everyone else is secondary.
Emergency Officiant situations are redirected to my staff and their availability. I work 7 days a week and can’t run off from my existing clients “to save the day” for a “stranger” simply because they ask me to.
I strongly urge people who have been wronged AKA “STOOD UP” by another vendor to get a refund before calling Texas Twins Events and expecting us to drop everything because “we help everyone.” We help people who hired us in the first place. File a small claims lawsuit against the person who knowingly and willfully “ruined your wedding day.” Why? Because you paid them to show up that’s why. You trusted them to honor their end of the bargain and they failed you. This my friends is called “Breach of Oral or Implied Contract.” It you have paid for a service you didn’t receive, it’s also called “Theft Of Services.” Study up and know your rights as a consumer.
Booked clients take precedence over anyone else coming to us at the 11th hour in a panic because they initially hired someone else. Not OUR luggage- Not OUR trip.
No one on my staff has ever and I mean never will not been on site at a booked event. It will never happen in my lifetime. I have a full staff for this very reason. If someone becomes ill, there is always a backup that will not be scheduled on the same day. I have never missed a booking in my life, if I’m sick, I go to the ER or Urgent Care and get a shot before heading to my booking or after my job is through.
At Sanders Estes Unit, I had three brides and immense pain. Why? Kidney stones. I waited hours to go to the ER to ensure my clients needs were met first. I was also flying to California 36 hours after this photo was taken and terrified my pain was due to a ruptured appendix but, my bloody urine actually eased my mind. Kidney stones again. Ugh.
Would I have gotten on that plane following an appendectomy? Yes. Against doctors orders I would have. I would also have sought medical treatment in California if I experienced any complications from surgery in Texas. But, by the Grace of God, my pain wasn’t due to my appendix. My smile on the railroad tracks literally masks my discomfort. No one has the work ethics that I possess other than my twin sister, Cindy.
There are no sick days or emergencies in the events industry. Whatever is going on in my life or my staffs lives takes a backseat to our clients needs. There’s always an ER or Urgent Care facility open after hours.
“Work ethics AND morals are like a good set of tires. Everything you have is riding on them.”
The ring at Coffield shouldn’t have been there. Since many of my clients inquire about rings, I’m going to go over Section K of the Administrative Directive because the question regarding rings comes up frequently with my TDCJ Clients.
I’ve memorized the Administrative Directive and no, I don’t call wardens and ask them to make exceptions because they are running a Prison and very busy and also because as a TDCJ Officiant, it’s expected that we know and understand the rules and guidelines set forth pertaining to inmate marriage and, I do.
Offender property prevents ring exchanges and yet… the other bride was unaware of the limitations that would require her to leave the Unit with the ring she had brought.
I suggested that the guard remove the ring from the box setting off the metal detector and that the bride wear the ring herself as I also explained to this young bride that wedding ring exchanges are strictly forbidden. The bride then told me “the Warden said I could put it on but I would have to take it off when I left.” Oh, so someone called a Warden to ask to bring a wedding ring into the Unit although it’s unauthorized? Wow. It’s tough to surprise me but, calling a Warden to ask for something because it isn’t allowed isn’t a good idea. In fact, it’s something that I strongly suggest no one does.
I’m just going to put this out there because giving someone a ring on wedding day only to have to remove it and effectively “take it back” is perhaps even more emotionally traumatic than not presenting it in the first place but, that’s my opinion.
My clients are strongly advised against calling the Warden to ask for something that’s prohibited in the first place. It’s far better to follow the Administrative Directive. That’s why there is one put in place giving inmates the right to marry in TDCJ Units.
By the time my client and I were called to go to the Visitation Area, my bride and I were more than ready to “get the show on the road.” After all, we had been waiting for quite some time and having the “other Officiant” haughtily stare at me enjoying a conversation with not only my client but also her own client was more than a little awkward for her I’m guessing.
I can talk to anyone and I can certainly befriend anyone who is unaware that a ring box is going to set off the machine. “Clearing” a machine is essential to entering the Unit. Whether you need to disrobe, take your hair down, remove a ring from the box or whatever else is setting off the machine, compliance is required. My bride had to take her beautiful updo down. It’s very distressing on wedding day but, clearing the machine isn’t “optional.”
Walking through the heavy doors into the visitation area, I decided to use both backdrops for photos because lighting is often an issue at Coffield. I wanted my bride to have the best possible photos from her wedding.
The groom was nervous and thrilled to see his bride. These moments are emotional. My client and her beau have been through phone calls, confusing paperwork and long wait times to stand with me to marry. They are excited and yet, apprehensive. No one knows what to expect. I lay out the rules. “You can hold hands. You can hug. You can kiss twice but no open mouth. No groping. We will be respectful and stay within the guidelines.” I also remind both parties “although this wedding is taking place inside a prison, once I sign and file this license, you are legally married and dissolving your union will require a divorce. Do you both agree to continue?” They always do. I’ve never had anyone change their mind on wedding day but, I have had a few people hyperventilate and even vomit. I’m not specifically speaking only about Prisons either. I’ve seen pretty much everything in my years of the events industry.
My hair was a mess with humidity and my usual ponytail pulled most of it out of my face. I had cut my bangs again while waiting on a client at Green Bay Unit and as usual, messed my hair up AGAIN. I need to throw my cuticle scissors out of my SUV and stop taking whacks at my bangs but, for years I’ve been guilty of attempting to cut my own bangs and botching it. Time is something I don’t have.
My couple looked fantastic and although the groom was a little nervous, he relaxed before posing for photos.
My bride was a delight in every way. I love my clients. My “client” is the person on the outside. This confuses people but shouldn’t. The person on the outside is responsible for finding their TDCJ Approved Officiant. I don’t advertise and I never have.
Frankly, my reputation is why and how I stay booked. Referral business is a gift. If you are doing your job right, you won’t need to advertise. Moving over to the other backdrop across the visitation area, the groom wanted to see the license after I had signed it. Occasionally, the groom or bride want to view the license and I found this to be a “sweet moment.” I had no idea that this wedding had been something the couple had planned for years. The reason the groom wanted to see my signature was to know “the deal was done.”
My bride had told me something that was not only real but also raw with honesty as we stood waiting on a guard to unlock the heavy steel door. I turned to face her as she said “Wendy, I’m doing time too while he’s in here. For years I’ve thought I can’t keep doing this. He has to want to get it together and, he finally does.” She was absolutely right. I thought of the line in a song on one of my cd’s and just as the heavy steel door was being unlocked “I can’t wait upon a lovers cross for you” Jim Croce. No one can wait upon a lovers cross forever. I understood completely what my bride had meant.
The person on the outside is a warrior. They make all of the sacrifices. My bride had waited because she wanted light at the end of the tunnel and I pray she finds it.
Her new husband went before parole last week and I’m hoping he makes it. I love happy endings and will also be officiating their Vow Renewal upon his release and looking forward to seeing them both again.
I had packed my make up kit but had no time to put on any make up other than lipstick which is why I wore my “no make up” tinted glasses. Time. I have so little of it. I live every moment and I love working. I love meeting new people and I love my job.
I now have 3 pairs of glasses for my “on the dash” days where lipstick and a smile are all I have time for. Makeup? Who has ten minutes for that? I know I didn’t. My bride and I said goodbye to her new husband and walked back to wait another hour near the metal detector. Why? Because the second bride and “other Officiant” were buying photos too and rather than print our photos first, the guard was back in the Visitation Area with the same camera and SD card. It would’ve been far more convenient (for us anyway) to print our photos first but, we wait patiently.
My client and I would wait on the other bride who would come out to wait alone with my client and I on her own photos while the “other Officiant” stomped off and walked right out of Unit leaving her client to wait alone. I felt sad for her. Sitting alone and abandoned after waiting on that “other Officiant” she was now watching leave as my client and I waited with her on the wardens secretary to print out our photos first.
Weddings aren’t a “drive through.” I was glad my client and I were there to keep the other bride entertained with some good company.
Life Events aren’t “on the dash” and yet, arriving late and leaving early, the “other Officiants” behavior didn’t surprise me at all. Frankly, I’m used to it with this “other Officiant.” I always feel sorry for her clients. She doesn’t care about how important their “moment is.” She doesn’t take into consideration how long they’ve waited or what they went through to get to their wedding day. It’s a tragedy.
I can only imagine how lonely a long drive to a Unit for a Prison wedding would be. Driving home after a Prison wedding without your new spouse by your side? Even lonelier.
I had wished the other bride was able to join my client and I to celebrate her wedding and take photos with us but, I can’t save everyone.
My role is with my client. I must address the person standing in front of me although I’m old and wise enough to see how so many things that could make a day brighter for others would only take a moment of compassion, care or understanding if only the person they had hired would make more of an effort. Sigh.
Driving to Tennessee Colony, I had seen an old building I wanted to use as our backdrop and my client followed me as the mist turned to rain. No matter. My hair was already a mess.
I love how these photos turned out! My beauty and I braved the rain and had a great time together. My bride was a natural and I always try to find a unique background to give photos depth and this building was perfect.
As we both wiped the rain off our faces and I changed signs and floral arrangements, I was so glad to have the opportunity to capture my clients joy on film.
I had told the groom that I would send my beautiful bride double prints in order for him to have a set. God Bless this beautiful lady and as always, I’m honored to meet such incredible and resilient people who overcome any and all obstacles to make their relationship work.
I’ve got jam packed few months ahead and wish all of my clients, friends and followers many minutes and moments of joy. They are out there ya all. Grab them. We are all on a short window. Tomorrow is but a promise.
Take a moment to smell the flowers or grab a coffee. Remember that clients are people too. They aren’t numbers. Put yourself in their shoes and I can assure you that you will make them feel as important as you would like to be treated yourself. My clients are worth it to me. They are the fabric of my life.
Don’t forget to put your needs in the same order of importance as the people you care about. I’m hoping to find time to get my hair cut…
This morning while dashing off to meet my gorgeous brides, my husband told me the “Stinky Skunk Scenario In Springtown” still hadn’t been solved. We’ve tried chlorine. We’ve tried Killz being painted. We’ve tried knocking down walls and replacing them. We’ve removed bathtubs. We’ve done everything at the “Stinky Skunk Development.” Not surprisingly, every idea has failed miserably. My husband’s latest idea is to put 6 ozone machines in the house. To date, the expense involved in trying to remove the smell is so far over 4K. The number continues to grow. Heavy sigh.
Dealing with the stinky development has really upset my husband to no end. In fifty years of developing and building custom homes, my husband has never dealt with anything like this before. Only time will tell if this latest idea will work. A few months ago, our roof caved in. The insurance sent 6 Hepa machines to get the dust out of our home for the repairs to begin. I had assumed Hepa and Ozone to be the same machine. Apparently, they aren’t.
Thanking my lucky stars that we no longer live in each development and subsequently move every two years anymore, I was anxious to make “a run for it from WorthamWorld” in order to miss morning traffic on my way to Tennessee Colony, Texas. A literal “City of Prisons.”
I know, ya all think Huntsville is the only city full of Prisons but, it isn’t. Tennessee Colony isn’t the only “other city of Prisons” either. Gatesville, Texas is “home of the female prison” city. I’m there frequently with male clients marrying females and female clients marrying female clients.
While others were fighting the traffic to get to an office job, I was fighting traffic to get to my first prison.
“Thank God for Toll Roads. I have no idea what I would do without them. Whether it costs me $100 a month to use the express or a thousand, they are worth every penny due to the amount of travel I do across Texas highways.”
Wendy M Wortham
TDCJ Coffield Unit is remarkably close to TDCJ Michael Unit. Convenient right? I thought so too. Close proximity Units are how and why I can “cover several Units in the same day.” Michael and Coffield are even behind the same guard gate meaning there was no need to drive out and re enter either Unit. I was cleared for both upon entry.
My first bride, Blanca, had brought her mother and the grooms mother with her. You will hear me complain about photo quality at certain Units and wonder why? To better show you, I’m adding the photo from Coffield Unit with Blanca.
There’s a reason I do my own photos. The reason is to give my clients an opportunity to celebrate and have clear photos of their wedding day.
Sadly, I can’t take my own photos at Units and also, the inmate can’t leave so, Unit photos are a must have for clients whenever they are available for purchase at $3 each. I always buy at least 2.
Blanca and I waited for a little over an hour to finally meet her fiancée who was hilarious. Seriously. He should be a stand up comedian. I’ve never laughed so hard while conducting a wedding before. Due to the wait to perform the wedding at Coffield and another wait for the photos to be printed, I left Blanca at Coffield to drive right over to Michael Unit and meet Bridget.
Heading out of Coffield, I stopped to update both moms on what Blanca was doing and that I would meet them again after meeting Bridget at Michael Unit.
Arriving at Michael Unit, I checked in with Bridget and ran back to my SUV to grab the handwritten vows the groom had mailed me. Bridget went back to her car for quarters.
The amount of walking I do at Prisons should have me losing weight I often think. However, a sonic corn dog and Diet Coke or other “road trip” snack items prevent me from getting skinny. Heavy sigh.
While back at my SUV, I check in with my husband and Cindy who is busy in Weatherford with the twins, Maryssa and Makenna who were both “less than thrilled” about STAAR Testing today and tomorrow.
The twins hate STAAR Testing but what student doesn’t? Maryssa is not nearly as driven as Makenna when it comes to stellar grades.
In fact, Maryssa (below left) is social. Makenna (below right) has a meltdown if she doesn’t make A’s 100% of the time.
Little Madyson is loving speech therapy so much that she’s now talking in sentences which is a great leap from where she was only a few months ago.
All three of my grandnieces are looking forward to getting ready for more adventure together this summer. Maddy loves Hurricane Harbor and the twins love not waking up at 5:30AM. Stephaney is settling in to her new routine at home again and looking forward to finding work to keep her busy.
Yesterday, I had a call from the Attorney General about Stephaney and how she wound up in Valdosta. I involved not only the DA but also the Sheriff’s Department and Attorney General to get Stephaney home. I’m also committed to preventing this from happening to anyone else. A poster wasn’t going to bring Stephaney home. Law enforcement did.
It’s shocking to me that something like this “Valdosta situation” could happen to our family but, based on emails from readers, not uncommon.
Families lose loved ones to mental illness and addiction everyday. The only difference between our family and the family members contacting me were that eventually families gave up. We didn’t. We threatened to for years. Nearly seventeen years. It’s a very long time to deal with chaos. During that window, my twin sister developed hypertension and high blood pressure. During that nearly seventeen year window, my sister also had a heart attack.
In the same nearly seventeen year window, I developed a lump in my breast that had to be removed and thyroid cancer in the same year. Two years later, precancerous lesions in my ovaries required a full hysterectomy.
If you think dealing with a loved one who “has problems” won’t affect your health, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Ask me, I know. Ask Cindy. Stress can and does kill people. It hasn’t killed us but it’s because we are fighters. We smile to hide our pain. Cindy and I are resilient.Perhaps my twin sister and I were unwilling to give up on Steph? I don’t know but, I do know that trying to “fix Stephaney” has taken nearly 17 years of our life so far and when you invest that much time in something, it’s harder to walk away. Ask me, I know.
For most of my life, I’ve never turned down an opportunity to travel. As a teen, I traveled Texas for Whataburger Commercials with Mel Tillis.
Later, I went into print and commercial modeling. I never said no to an opportunity to see a new place. I loved adventure and being paid to travel made my life far more fun. I don’t mind living out of a suitcase and never have. I relish the adventure!
I was a frequent flyer for the the better part of my life. At 9 years old, my son was also a frequent flyer. We traveled so much that the Admirals Club was as familiar as our own living room.
I believe part of the reason I found a trip to Georgia appealing was that it would give Stephaney a chance to explore and get out of Texas. I didn’t see danger. I’ve never seen danger and I’ve traveled out of the country to Europe and Mexico with only a few hiccups in Mexico mainly due to driving the pink Jeep identifying myself as a tourist.
I don’t drive Las Brisas Jeeps anymore and discourage anyone else from doing so either.
However, having cash on hand to the people pulling us over claiming to be police officers in Acapulco was a great way to get yourself out of a sticky situation.
While Cindy panicked, a couple fifty dollar bills got us back on the road “high tailing it” right back to our luxury resort and taxi cabs. Leave the driving to someone else abroad. It’s safer.
Bridget was beautiful, bubbly and hilarious. I had so much fun with her that it was as if we had known each other all of our lives.
Walking in to the Visitation Area, Bridget told me about how she had know Pip from years and years ago. In fact, they had met in school. Bridget hadn’t seen him in thirty years.
I’m always fascinated by the back story because every client has one. These TDCJ Clients are warriors. How so? Because for one, I’m not sure if I went to Prison my husband would still be around and two, they make daily sacrifices to make their relationship work. Hence the term “warrior.”
Today, I told my Coffield groom “you are lucky. She has been driving for hours and your mom as well as her mom came with her today.” He said “lucky? How so?” I said “you are lucky to have someone who loves you enough to sacrifice for expensive phone calls and long drives. You are lucky because you have someone who is resilient and has perseverance. There are people on the outside that cannot find anyone to commit to and they aren’t even in prison. Count your blessings and thank this woman because she went through a lot to stand before you here today.” Not surprisingly, he did. I’m honest. I’m blunt and I tell it like it is.
Handing Pip his handwritten vows while he looked at his blushing bride, knowing they hadn’t seen each other in thirty years was a fascinating back story for me. I don’t even remember who I went to school with thirty years ago.
I kept the handwritten vows to send to Bridget with her bridal photos as a wedding gift. I’m corny like that. Here are Bridget and Pip happily married at Michael Unit.Leaving Michael Unit with Bridget behind me, I called Blanca and met her at the Tennessee General Store. I had over 300 emails since last night and ignored them all. When I’m with a client, the best way to reach me is text or phone call. Sorry but, get in line.
Blanca and her new mother in law and mother drove across the street to the Tennessee Colony Church for photos. Bridget met us there too.
I had packed my usual array of fun stuff for photos and had a great time with both of my new brides. Bridget waited for me to get several fun shots with Blanca and her family before they headed back home. While going through my items, Makenna (one of the twins) sent a text. “MiMi, I think I really did great on my STAAR Test today.”
I quickly told Bridget “it’s one of the twins, I need to answer her.” Bridget like all of my clients realize that my family and especially my grandnieces or twin sister are a part of my life and waited for me to not only answer Makenna but also take a call from one of my 7 Beto Brides regarding printing her Twogether In Texas Certificate.
Thank you Bridget. You are an angel and I really appreciate your patience. Here’s my favorite photos from your photo shoot today. As soon as I can find time, we are going to go have that drink! Bridget had to get back to The Colony to take her daughter to work or I would’ve loved to grab a quick bite before heading back to Fort Worth. I decided to head to The Colony instead and check it out.
But, time wasn’t on my side with a phone ringing off the hook in my SUV and a husband who still hadn’t solved the skunk infestation at his Springtown development. I’m suggesting baking soda and hydrogen peroxide next. Jeez, I will be relieved when this skunk situation resolves itself.
The Colony is actually near the airport and I’ve been by many times. I recognized The Dallas Market where I had modeled for years for so many different designers that I can’t even recall all of them.
No, I don’t miss “those days.” Twenty to forty pound bags of shoes while pulling 1-4 racks of clothes in one day? I’m good. In fact, I was thrilled to drive by the Dallas Market to such an extent today that I sped up while doing so.
No more being a hangar for me ya all! Those days are gone forever with half naked models being mean to each other and designers screaming “on the track and out of the racks.”
I won’t miss any of the years I spent in dressing rooms and on catwalks. There isn’t any real glamour as you starve yourself to be the perfect sample size and are fighting the headaches your hungry stomach gives you. I did my time and I still own many amazing couture clothes that were never “given to me” as many believe. Nothing is free. I worked in exchange for nice clothing. I also bought and brought my own shoes. There is no free lunch. I used my designer clothing to obtain high end sales positions. You must look the part and I did.
If you ever try to sell anything without having pride in your appearance, you will fail. I didn’t. I prepared. I created an amazing wardrobe by working very hard to get it for many years. No one buying from me ever knew this. They assumed that I was rich because I looked the part. From crocodile boots to fur coats and $2k silk suits, when you walked in to buy anything, you bought it from me. Not the wrinkled shirt wearing half bored salesman beside me. It’s the truth. I couldn’t afford beautiful clothes so I became a model and worked for beautiful clothes instead. Yep, I’m a pioneer.
Driving to The Colony in the event Bridget had time to meet me, I pulled over to Texas Roadhouse for an appetizer and glass of wine and sent a text to Bridget. Moments later, I would realize they don’t open until 4PM during the week? On a busy access road? Surely they must be losing business? I will have to catch up with Bridget soon as she is equally busy too and a celebratory drink just wasn’t in the cards for either of us today.
I’ve had a few questions about “action shots” on location. Leigh Ann loves getting action shots. She’s the only person on my team who is good at it.
The photo of the groom jumping was also taken by Leigh Ann. I cannot do “action photography” very well I’m afraid. Here’s the pic.
“Why do you wear suits to Prisons and Vestments to other events?” Because vestments are “flowy.” I wear suits because wearing a poncho styled garment into a Unit wouldn’t be practical or within the dress code guidelines.
Thr Administrative Directive pertaining to the visitation dress code is specific about attire and especially oversized attire. Why? An open or flowing garment can hide many things that’s why.
My Vestments are imported from Europe. Traditional Clients love choosing from a wide array of my many closets full of Vestments and suits. Last week, my TDCJ Holliday Unit bride was “shook down” due to her dress. Like a Vestment, it was flowy. Really oversized. I knew when she approached me that a shake down was coming and fully expected it.
The Warden advised me of a “shake.” Knowing why a strip search would be warranted, I offered to join my client for a “strip down.”
I’m adding the photos below to show you why I expected a strip search upon meeting my client in Huntsville. I.E. never question a Warden. I don’t and my clients don’t either.
If you are asked to strip- do it it’s not a request. Quite the contrary, it’s a demand required to enter the Unit.
The other “alternative” is to wear a cafeteria smock backwards. Effectively this “walk of shame” is the LAST RESORT for female clients so, I suggest being complacent and going along with the shake instead.
Clothing is solely at the discretion of the Unit. The AD outlines attire but the Unit has the final call on what’s appropriate and what isn’t. Flowing or oversized clothing is prohibited. Generally, all clients send me photos of what they plan to wear. The TDCJ Holliday client (above) didn’t.
“What percentage of your clients are LBGT” Well, off the top of my head and while being confused as to why this question is asked so frequently, the answer is 30-40% and that applies across the board.
What this means is whether a client booked through Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners, TDCJ Officiant or even bought from Texas Twins Treasures, a large percentage of all of my clients are LBGT.
“What percentage of your clients are rednecks or hillbillies?” Well, this question wouldn’t even be being asked if a few people hadn’t seen my shotgun/Camo themed attire. Seriously, it wouldn’t.
It’s actually not that unusual for clients to ask me to dress a certain way or “in theme.” I can’t count the number of times someone has asked me to dress as Elvis.
But, the answer is less than 5% of our bookings are Pawning Planners Clients. “Why are all of your clients so different?” Different to whom? Pawning Planners Clients have little or no money so they barter their event services. Texas Twins Events Clients are booking by paying.
Venues I’m on staff at keep a percentage of my fee. Often the percentage is more than 50% but, worth it to me because the venue is a non profit and I believe enough in the non profit to forfeit a large percentage of my fee.
I don’t HAVE to work. I choose to work. I enjoy working. TDCJ Clients are an extension of Texas Twins Events. I rebranded and expanded Texas Twins Events to include TDCJ Weddings.
The answer to these “percentage questions” is that we help ALL people from ALL backgrounds. From rich to poor and everywhere in between, no two clients are alike.
The variety of our client bases raise eyebrows. We don’t care. Our clients don’t care either. Opinions of others will never have an impact on our client bases.
In fact, I turn down at least 15-25 new requests for services each and every month all year long or move them to another date down the road. You can either choose someone else on my staff or find someone else to help you. There is only one of me.
It’s not uncommon for clients to be so determined to book with us that THEY CHANGE THEIR EVENT DATE TO ACCOMMODATE MY SCHEDULE.
I have never advertised and I’ve never needed to. I went into the event business to exceed expectations and based all of our fees on people over profit. I don’t have to work and can therefore “write my own ticket.”
I don’t take every job because I don’t want to and also because the last thing I would ever do is spread myself too thin for my booked clients who are and always will be my first priority. I’m particular. I only work as a planner by referral. Period. Planning takes months of my time. MONTHS that can be spent addressing numerous other clients.
Planning is a time consuming task. It’s not and never will be my first choice. I’ve been a planner for years and I’m excellent at it but, I can do 30-70 weddings in the time I spend “planning one.” Shocking right? It’s true.
Cindy and I work together as twin event planners. Large events need a minimum of both of us. We enjoy working together. In fact, we are happiest when we are together.
Smaller events can get away with one planner but, we often work as a team to ensure that we are over staffed rather than under staffed. “I heard you on the radio and you’re a little salty regarding language now and then.” Hmm, well, I prefer to be real and honest than fake and dishonest. I grew up on Vandenburg AFB. My first word was most likely “salty.”
Many of family members are active or retired military. I don’t apologize for a little “salty” language now and then. I work hard and I’m driven. I also am a very passionate person. Being “salty” gets my point across. No one expects it but, I’m frank. If I’m speaking salty to you, I’m probably annoyed or irritated to begin with or I’m so comfortable with you, I effectively let it all hang out. In general it’s one of the two aforementioned scenarios that my saltiness will “shine through.” Hopefully, it’s because in comfortable around you.
If I use expletives now and then, don’t be offended by my doing so. I tell it like it is and occasionally, my family life isn’t always pretty. I’d rather say something than hold it inside. But, that’s just me.
“Are you a Christian?” Yes. Absolutely. I was raised to praise numerous different religions. I’m a minister and not only believe in God but also in the power of prayer. My husband is also deeply religious. My entire family believe not only in God but more importantly in giving back.
My faith has been tested throughout my lifetime but, my faith has held true through the good and the bad through the difficult and the easy.
I listen to a lot of old Gospel music as well as country, swamp music, classic rock and even classical music. Often, it’s Johnny Cash who will sing a line that perfectly sums up the way I’ve felt at one time or another in my lifetime. Cindy and I saw Johnny perform at a California prison at a very young age and it’s something that I will always remember vividly.
When he walked out on that stage and said “hello, I’m Johnny Cash,” it was the simplest and yet the most powerful statement I had heard anyone make. As a child, I knew every lyric to the songs he sang with a touch of bitterness one minute that easily transformed to love, hope and promise in the next song. My go to music is Johnny Cash more often than not when driving to a Texas Prison.
“If I gave you time to change my mind, I’d try to leave all the past behind. Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried. Still I look to find a reason to believe.”
Throughout my lifetime, I’ve lost my faith on more than one occasion. My mother was a heroin addict. My grandfather was a child molester. My first husband beat me and my second husband was unfaithful.
The best way out of a difficulty is through it.” – Will Rogers –
At this stage of my life though, I’ve learned that God was never punishing me. Instead, God was preparing me. I would need faith and resilience. I would need strength and wisdom in my life. My hardships would teach me compassion and empathy.
“Listen to the words written down when the man comes around. Whoever is unjust let him be unjust still. Whoever is righteous let him be righteous still. Whoever is filthy let him be filthy still.”
I live and work by a very high set of moral standards. My family does too. There are no grey areas with me. It’s cut and dry. Black or white. My clients are the family I wasn’t born with. They are all like my children.
Long after a Clients event service, these former clients also become our friends. Their loyalty is also why I’ve never needed to advertise any of my businesses. Don’t be surprised, we earned our stellar reputation the hard way.
Cindy would say “close the tent- there are far too many clowns in here again.” I don’t. I can’t control the clowns.
I try to control the chaos but at the end of the day, my life is a unique combination of both my family and my business…
The clowns of course are my family. Cindy doesn’t point that out because our readers already realize this…
Patience during your “Prison Wedding Planning Process” is difficult but a necessary part of marrying an inmate in a Texas Prison.
The I60 Request For Marriage Form is the one last thing we have to wait on. Today, while sitting in a parking lot (as usual) and writing this blog on my IPhone 7 Plus because I hate updating my phone, I was yet again waiting for someone “running late” with the rest of the bridal party and decided after getting a text from one of my brides, to “go over” the often infuriating wait for an I60 to be Approved.
The I60 can REQUIRE up to 6 signatures. If someone is out sick or on vacation, the I60 isn’t “magically” forwarded to the next Department. Quite the opposite. The I60 sits and waits on the signor to return before following the “route” to the next signor. Once again, if someone is on vacation or out sick, the document sits and waits on the signor.
Because neither you or I or even the Unit itself can impede or change the “Paperwork Process,” we are NOT in control regarding the timeline of the I60 being signed off on and FINALLY moved from the Wardens Office to the Chaplain who is in charge of scheduling.
Every timeline for an I60 is different. I remember being shocked when Miguel Martinez was Approved within 7 days of his gorgeous bride calling to book me.
Traditionally, an I60 takes 7-21 days UNLESS there happens to be a DENIAL or DELAY. These case by case scenarios are rare but… they happen and have happened and will continue to happen in rare circumstances.
Let’s go over a DENIAL. It’s every prospective Bride or Groom’s most devastating phone call. No one expects it. NO ONE.
You cannot “simply be DENIED” because the Warden felt like it. There are (mainly) legal reasons or TDCJ regulations outlining why an I60 is either APPROVED or DENIED.
It’s essential to comprehend that a DENIAL IS NOT FINAL. Stay calm. Call me and we will go over the issue and more importantly, how to refile the I60 AFTER correcting the issue that it was DENIED UPON.
First- You aren’t on the visitation list. Easy fix, request to be added.
Second- You have been an inmate or you are currently a TDCJ employed at THE SAME UNIT you are attempting to marry an inmate at. This IS A PROBLEM. I’ve married many guards to inmates over the years but never and I MEAN NEVER have I married a guard currently employed at the same Unit the inmate is incarcerated at. Solution? Transfer Units or change jobs.
Third- Common Law Status AKA CLM to someone OTHER THAN YOU. This is the most WIDELY COMMON DENIAL ISSUE over and over and over.
A few months ago, a prospect wondered why I ask so many questions? I have reasons. I need to know. Upon further questioning, he said “I might be common law married.” MIGHT? I then asked him why he thought he might be married. “Well, we signed an affidavit of informal marriage.”
This gentleman aka “prospective client” was hoping I would tell him that a common-law marriage was not as good as a ceremonial one. I let him know a common-law marriage is just as good as a ceremonial marriage if the Affidavit is filed at the clerks office.
Surprised? Don’t be. Effectively, it is also a “sucker punch” to the bride or groom who had no idea their fiancé had listed himself or herself as being Common Law Married to someone OTHER THAN THEM.
In Texas, many people are aware that Texas recognizes common-law marriage. However, not everyone I meet with is aware of what it takes to meet the Texas statutory requirements of being common law married or why it is important.
Let’s go over and review Texas Common Law Marriage- Common law marriage, also known as marriage without formalities or informal marriage, is a valid and legal way for a couple to marry in Texas.
Section 2.401 of the Texas Family Code states that a common law marriage may be proved by evidence that the couple:
“agreed to be married”; and
“after the agreement they lived together in this state as husband and wife”; and they “represented to others that they were married.”
It’s “tricky” to prove Common Law Marriage WITHOUT FILING an Informal Marriage Affidavit. So difficult in fact that meeting the elements WITHOUT this Affidavit can be nearly impossible.
Most inmates and laymen alike fail to realize that such Informal Affidavits filed at a TDCJ Facility ARE NOT VALID OUTSIDE TDCJ. Texas Department Of Criminal Justice DOES NOT and CANNOT file an Informal Marriage Affidavit at the clerks office. Only both parties IN PERSON can accomplish this legally binding task. An inmate CANNOT leave prison to “run to the courthouse” and file this valid document in person. Also, and more importantly, “claiming to be living together when one party is incarcerated and you (for obvious reasons) were not living with them in prison gives you far better enlightenment as to why TDCJ REQUIRES an Informal Marriage Affidavit FOR THEIR RECORDS. Meaning not Vital Records or the clerks office.
Of course, if an Informal Marriage Affidavit was in fact, filed at a Clerks Office with both parties present WILL legally bind a marriage that will require a divorce. The clerks office is the ONLY way a CLM is or can be legally binding.
Such documents are (outside of Prison) called “Informal Marriage Affidavits.” If the above scenario at the clerks office with BOTH of you present HAS OCCURRED, you ARE LEGALLY MARRIED and will require a dissolution of your marriage. AKA, divorce.
HOWEVER, this IS NOT the case within TDCJ although TDCJ recognizes a CLM Affidavit as binding. Why? Because two parties signed this document in order to OBTAIN CONTACT VISITS in the first place!
A CLM is Notarized. Why is this important? A notary seal is used on legal documents. I.E. A CLM INSIDE TDCJ WILL PREVENT AN I60 APPROVED STATUS to anyone OTHER than the persons listed on the CLM.
Pay attention. I go over this “CLM Sucker Punch” at least once a week trying to explain in detail with clients who feel (and rightly so) angry, betrayed and outraged to be denied based on a CLM to someone “other than them.” Secrets destroy relationships. No one “forgets” signing an affidavit that entitled them to have a contact visit. NO ONE. They might not have realized that it was binding within the TDCJ system but, they knew damn well they were signing it I can assure you.
Frankly, I am mad for my clients! Hiding this “enlightening fact” and thinking someone (my client) a person who is giving up everything in order to marry an inmate is one of the many reasons that I’ve advised more than a few clients not to marry the inmate or at least rethink their decision before “jumping in.” Trust is essential to a working marriage.
Although outside of Prison, this “piece of paper” won’t hold a couple legally married, inside a TDCJ Unit, it will. Solution? A Corrected Affidavit voiding the initial Affidavit filed. Or, find a partner you can trust. Let’s face it, the person on the outside MAKES all of the sacrifices. If the person on the inside cannot be forthcoming about such an important element in the Prison Wedding Planning Process, it might be time to step away and reevaluate.
Let’s review: A Corrected Affidavit? Wendy what is that? Follow closely because you will need to understand how this unexpected hurdle occurred and more importantly, how to overcome it unless of course, you want to go attempt to locate the other party and CONVINCE them to do it. It’s best to have the inmate do it himself in the Law Library.
An Affidavit of Correction can assist you in correcting an error on a government or court record. … The document provides notice of an error in a prior document and offers the correct information. The Affidavit of Correction is a sworn statement, so you’ll need to have it signed and sealed by a notary public.
For all of my spies out there trying to duplicate or replicate, or copy me by obtaining my hard earned knowledge regarding legal remedies, you ARE NOT A CLIENT so go figure it out yourselves!
For my clients, don’t cry. Call me, we will work through it together. Yes, I’ve used this formula successfully again and again but unlike my snoopy spies, I know how.
“Wendy how do you know everything there is to know?” Because dedicated clients and followers, I was reading law books in 6th grade and in my spare time, dictionaries.
Due to a chronic stutter as a child, I rarely spoke so, to entertain myself, I read. I didn’t speak at all from 6 to 11 years old. Instead, I read. No one had the patience to listen to me try to speak so, I stopped trying. My twin sister was the only one that I even bothered to attempt to communicate with who had ANY degree of patience for my speech impairment. Also, she spoke for me (when necessary) during those years.
Yes, there was a “reason” that I stopped speaking coherently. The reason was that on our 6th birthday while the rest of our family was off on East North St planning our first ever birthday party, my grandfather sexually assaulted my sister and I. I hated my family for not protecting my sisters and I. Somehow in my own way, I believed that by ignoring them as they had ignored what was happening to us is what they deserved.
The impatience of having people (especially the one who had hurt and continued to hurt us) scream “spit it out! I don’t have all day,” was why I chose to not bother speaking at all. Cindy loved tv to escape while I chose reading.
At 11 years old, I spoke for the first time after reading aloud a number of years to myself and singing along to songs when I was alone with my sisters. The first sentence? “Take one you cheap bastard.” I was reading a cigarette case which belonged to my grandfather who actually was a bastard. Even at 11 years old, the irony of reading a cigarette case to the very same person I knew to be an F ing bastard was a moment that I had spent years waiting for. You see, I listen and because I listen, I often “spot” things such as that innocent cigarette package and then wait for an opportunity to disclose my knowledge in often surprising fashions. I notice all of the details and can recall documents years after reading them once. While other children were playing, I was preparing for life.
A life that would put me in a position to be earning over 100k by the time I was 23 years old. Not because “I was lucky” either. That’s one of the stupidest assumptions I’ve ever heard. If anyone knew the actual details of my life, they’d realize right off that Cindy and I are the Five Percentile. Never heard of it? Most sexual and physical abuse victims become alcoholics or drug addicts if not suicides. Five percent of these individuals can effectively disassociate the trauma. It’s quite rare and in fact, had we been older at the time of the initial abuse, we might not have so easily overcome it. If I’ve ever been lucky, it was because I could put what we had survived away in a box and lock it in order to represent to the world that I had a worry free life. This was essential in order to model and do commercial work. While others were snorting cocaine, I was reading law books from other countries. Lucky? What a cheap and insignificant term.
The abuse from our grandfather would go on until we left home at 15 with the clothes on our backs. Buckle Up- I was pregnant. Many of you already know how. I will spare you the details. My family wanted an abortion. I didn’t. Cindy fearful of me running away to be homeless and alone, joined me. When others question why we are so close, they have no idea just how close we actually are.
We lived in a homeless shelter and I lost the baby. We were never going back. We both took jobs as waitresses and got by until my first commercial with Mel Tillis for Whataburger. I was 18 years old.
Yes, I’m a survivor. My sister is too. The greatest gift I’ve ever had was the death of my grandfather who had destroyed so many lives and yet, was never held accountable.
My twin and I are passionate and obsessively empathetic SOLELY because of where we have been and what we have survived.
You will never meet anyone who cares more about you as a client than my family and I do. We treat clients like the family we wish we had but didn’t.
The things people don’t know about me are far more enlightening than what they assume. I knew no one could take an education from me and at a young age, began learning everything I could. If I couldn’t find something, I even read phone books but, my mind stayed occupied to move my focus from the environment that my sister and I were effectively forced to live within as a children.
I’ve always studied every element of any industry that I have ever worked within. I knew how to file warranties, special orders and every element of any industry often better than anyone including the owners or manufactures. I could whip through a GM Certification test (while selling Cadillac’s) in 17 minutes. Other salesmen? Hours and even days. They finally passed by failing it so many times they got it right. While begging me to help them, I also taught a few smart asses on the sales floor that 1. I don’t have friends at work. I’m not there to make friends or date and 2. I’m the hardest working MF they would ever meet. I’m so GD dedicated that I never ever left a sales floor to go to lunch. I ate and sold and the same mother fucking time. You will never encounter anyone in your life as dedicated to their clients as I am. EVER.
While the other salesmen were gabbing on the phone or reading newspapers, I was reading manuals. I had the time because unlike them, I also hired a photographer and ran my own ads at Country Clubs direct marketing consumers who could afford to buy. They bought from me. I was the North Texas top GM salesperson every year I worked for Cadillac. The salesmen laughed at my ads. I laughed all the way to the F ing bank. Yes. What you don’t know about me is that I have never been lazy. I left Cadillac and started my own business, Debt Lawsuit Survival LLC. In 2012, I sold it and started Texas Twins Events. No one in my life has ever GIVEN me anything.
I’m self made and successful because my clients all of my years in sales, followed me and continued to buy from me long after the sale. Cadillac Clients booked at Texas Twins Events. Shocked? Don’t be. People and education are valuable commodities that no one can take from you. Trust me. I know this to be true.
Unlike my spies aka “other Officiants,” I also know how to file an Amended Marriage License too.
Before you start Googling, I will explain what an Amended Petition actually is. By the way spies, I HAVE NEVER MADE A MISTAKE on a marriage license because unlike you “other Officiants” when I initially “went into this business 9 years ago,” it was after reading any and all laws pertaining to or associated with signing a marriage license as well as educating myself to “unique situations” such as an Amended Petition.
In California at a Destination Wedding for Texas Twins Events, the groom asked a question and disrupted me as I was supervising both of the witnesses.
Here’s are a sequence of photos capturing the “moment.” I always have a camera pointed at me so, we will go in sequence. Watch the bride.Below though, the bride instantly realizes the second witness “marked out” her old address. The bride is well aware (because the clerk had enlightened her) that any marks outside the lines and heaven forbid, corrections would void the license.
You CANNOT CORRECT a legal document. Meaning, you cannot mark through anything previously written.
My bride immediately started screaming “you just ruined my wedding!” The second witness, horrified and unaware of the magnitude of the issue, apologized. But, an apology will not correct a legal document. Only I can do that.
With over 200 guests staring at my traumatized bride who was also furious at her brothers girlfriend, I “whisked her” into a private area to explain how I could fix the issue. Photo below. The bride recognizing I knew exactly how to resolve the issue and now no longer upset, returned to the party.
Note: It took me five or 6 minutes to explain the remedy. I’m everyone’s mother and also the “fixer.” My production company had me change clothes to film this conversation for another film project. I’m in my vestment specifically for this reason. Naturally, I didn’t allow filming to commence until I had assured my bride and calmed her down. This is why the photo is taken of her back and my face. I always put my clients needs first. You will never ever be filming a project with me where you are seen upset. I wrap my arm around you and whisk you off instead as I did in California.
I change clothing up to 5 and even 7 times during filming. It’s irritating but, its show business. PS- this was supposed to be a perfect wedding and, it wasn’t.
But, the bride was now confident that she needn’t worry and, as always she was correct.
My numerous roles are serious. I’m beyond educated as to ANY situation. I’ve also officiated over 2k wedding ceremonies worldwide. Moments after enlightening my bride, the party went on.As you can see of the photo of me above (far left black skirt) I wasn’t worried at all.
The following week, I flew back to Santa Barbara County, Amended the license and drove to film for Lifetime in LA with Cindy and Cat Deeley.
I can laugh because I’m smart, I know what I’m doing and I never make mistakes. “Other Officiants” often do but, rest assured that everyone on MY TEAM is well educated by me. I’m a helluva teacher.
While my spies are out there “winging it” and screwing up marriage licenses, I was (as usual) laughing about anyone (other Officiants) stupid enough to believe that by signing a legally binding license without realizing the legal ramifications associated with their “role” isn’t serious because it is.
The continued rampant stupidity of my spies “other Officiants” continues to tickle me. “It’s just a piece of paper. How SERIOUS can it be?” You IDIOTS. It’s a Life Event.
Also, screwing up a wedding license can and will get you sued. What? If you make a mistake and ruin someone’s wedding who hired you while spending tens of thousands of dollars, you (spies) are going to get sued. However, I readily realize you “newbies” don’t have the client base I do so you are protected in that you will never find yourself at such high end events as I’m regularly retained to Officiate. I earned my client base the hard way by my stellar reputation.
I’ve taught marriage fraud classes and I’ve also been a premarital counselor with Twogether In Texas from the inception of the program.
FYI spies, if you make a mistake on a marriage license, after your 3rd “mistake” you lose your right to perform a marriage ceremony.
Also, if you FAIL to file a marriage license within 30 days of signing it, it is a criminal offense in numerous states including Texas.
While I would LOVE to expedite the process of the I60, it’s something even I cannot control. I appreciate your patience and look forward to your wedding day just as much as you do….
Yesterday, I was told I was “lucky.” Somewhat offended, I responded “luck has nothing to do with success. Quite the opposite, luck is a fairy tale. Success comes from hard work, dedication, passion and perseverance. I’m a workaholic and overachiever who pioneered my way into an industry where no one and I mean absolutely no one was either helpful or insightful.” I didn’t need anyone’s help.
This acquaintance who I’ve known since 2012 then asked why I didn’t send him client referrals? Well now, first I’m lucky and then you want to share in my successes? What the? I didn’t get where I am today from someone else’s efforts. I got here on my own. I didn’t ask anyone for help. I studied the industry. There isn’t anything I don’t know or understand pertaining to my numerous roles and job duties. I didn’t “learn” everything through hard work and dedication to make life easier for my competition either. This acquaintance was only buddying up to me to get leads for clients who didn’t contact him. Instead, they contacted me.
Referrals can bite you in the ass to begin with. What if the referral doesn’t work out? Think about it. You referred someone to someone who wasn’t honest or fair. You referred them. I’m cautious because a referral can and will bite you.
Let’s say my neighbor comes over and has a plumbing problem “your husband is a builder and developer. Can he just send one of his contractors over to fix MY problem?” Hell no. It’s your problem buddy. We don’t need your monkeys over here. “I’ve seen his contractors at your house. Just send them over.” I get this kind of stuff all of the time. Usually though my neighbors aren’t asking for a referral especially, this neighbor.
This lady (the neighbor) is not only a narcissist but, she also only comes by when she wants something. I don’t need friends on my block. In my opinion, she should either get a job or find a husband mine isn’t for sale or lease and neither are his employees.
Last weekend, the same neighbor stopped me yet again. “I was talking to our neighbor Suzanne, and she didn’t know you did LBGT marriages and prison weddings.”
I was literally exhausted and, it was past 9. Coming home from a weekend of 6 events, having my bitchy neighbor spreading what she perceives as being “controversial gossip” about me, I knew she was stirring the chili. But, I didn’t give a shit. I never do. Let’s go over why.
My neighbor isn’t going to hire me for anything and NEITHER are my neighbors. If they tried to book me, I’d say I was busy. In fact, I turn DOWN “traditional bookings” all the time. Why? Because I am busy as F for one and 2, rich people are the type of clients I prefer NOT to work with or FOR. They always “want it all but, never want to pay for it.” They are a problem.
In 9 years now, I’ve performed over 2K events. If there is a situation I haven’t encountered yet, it would be a shocking surprise. From the “Bouncing Check Broken Tooth Bride” to the “Banjo Playing Boyfriend” to the “Tardy Party Bride” I can assure you that if there is a scenario or “incident” out there that my team and I haven’t encountered yet, the possibility is slim if not rare or remote.
I’m “recognized” all of the time. “Hey, I saw you on Hot Bench with the Tardy Party Bride who lied. You did one helluva job on that lawsuit.” Yep. I over prepare.
Let’s go over the factual details of “Tardy Party.” She lied to get a police discount. She was over an hour late to her own wedding and, she wrote me a hot check. I sued her the following Monday in Tarrant County, Texas. Here’s a photo of me on the set of Hot Bench.
When I tell you “I don’t suffer fools lightly” I’m not kidding. From Hot Checks to Texas Twins Events Clients “changing the terms of their original contract with add ons, I have seen it all.”
If you “other Officiants” think that being dishonest is acceptable behavior, you are not only an unethical idiot, you are also going to feel the fire when I turn it up a notch and hold you accountable.” I’m good at it.
“Dear LORD please BLESS the PEOPLE that CONFUSE, ignorance WITH righteousness.”
A few of you have been on Texas Twins Events and saw this disclaimer (below). That’s not for LBGT Clients or TDCJ Clients. It’s there to warn “traditional clients” not to get rowdy or demanding.
Last year I had my ribs broken at an Open Bar Event/Brawl trying to separate the groomsmen. Yes, I sued for medical expenses. Yes, I won. I’ve never been hurt at a LBGT or TDCJ event. EVER.
I’ve also had to sue “rich people” who didn’t pay their balance. When I tell you I have had far more problems with “traditional clients,” I’m NOT KIDDING!
In fact, throughout my lifetime, if I have no other option than to sue you in order to hold you accountable, you can rest assured that I have never lost a lawsuit in my life. In State or Federal Court.
I now (and have for many years) hire my own attorneys because 1. I can tell them what to do for me and it’s far more convenient and, 2. I don’t have time for idiots as well as 3. I have plenty of money and don’t have to work to earn a living and haven’t in over 7 years.
I up charge “traditional clients” 300% or more when I do take on their event booking. It’s still not enough. Why? “I need security, photographers, video, Bla, Bla, Bla.” When I tell “traditional clients” how much these “additional services are going to cost (PS I love this part) they are shocked? “I thought you had a Team. Aren’t they part of the deal?” No dipshit.
You don’t hire an Officiant or Planner or both and get a FREE team to work their butt off for free just because you asked. I don’t have this kind of stupidity with LBGT Clients OR TDCJ Clients. Catching on? I turn down 20-30 “traditional clients” all year long. I’m usually laughing when I do too. If I’m not laughing, I’m on location with a client and, laughing later.
Having “other vendors” tell me I’m too cheap is funny because I am when it comes to TDCJ Clients or LBGT Clients. Why? Because I don’t have to work and also because I have a good time with them. I PREFER LBGT or TDCJ CLIENTS.
To prove how much fun I have with my clients, I’m adding photos…eat your heart out haters.
Before I came on the scene doing Prison Weddings, it was a sellers market. They could charge whatever they wanted and people were either not getting services they had paid for or paying outrageous fees.
I changed all of that. I changed it for my clients who had been victimized by people who were trying to make as much money as they could without a care in the world for their clients. I gave the “other Officiants a wake up call.” They are lit about it. F em.
“A LIE travels AT the SPEED of SOUND, meanwhile the TRUTH moves AT a WALKING pace, SEARCHING for an EAR to LISTEN.”
“I’m taking YOUR Clients?!” The people you took advantage of. The people you never returned calls to? The people who trusted you?” Someone needs to close the tent on all of the clowns (aka “other Officiants”) running around wondering why THEY are losing THEIR CLIENTS to ME.
“GRATITUDE is the DIFFERENCE, between APPRECIATION, and a SENSE of ENTITLEMENT.”
I’m rarely home because I work all of the time. I do have clients come to my home if they live nearby and I do have film crews of 3 or 4 suvs with sound equipment or camera equipment show up over here.
I’m the “busy neighbor.” I’m not the neighbor watching maids clean my home or expecting someone else to take out my trash. My neighbors and my unique clients have nothing in common.
Everyone in my neighborhood has either seen production companies lugging equipment into my home OR caught a glimpse of Texas Twins Events Clients or Pawning Planners Clients or even TDCJ Clients coming into my home. Whether they are interracial, LBGT, hillbillies or one of my vendor friends driving up in a Rolls Royce. My clients don’t give a shit about my snooty neighbors staring at them and I don’t either. You never know what you will see coming or going from WorthamWorld.
Everyone in my neighborhood is on a high horse. I don’t know why and don’t care either. After all, I live here myself and try to be nice to these idiots but, if you can’t take your own trash can back from the curb, don’t expect me to.
My neighbor always leaves her trash cans out and has for years. I leave it there. It’s hard. I’m OCD.
But, I ignore her trash can while walking Foxy solely because on the few (rare times) that I have brought it in, she expected me to take it out and bring it back.
Walking Foxy and looking at that trash can annoys me week after week. I am intolerant of laziness and/or entitlement. I have strong opinions about people that expect others to do THEIR dirty work FOR THEM.
No good deed goes unpunished.
Last Sunday’s irritating conversation with my neighbor? “Well, we don’t believe in LBGT Marriage or Prison Marriage and I wanted to tell you about it.” Exhausted, I snapped. “You know what? My clients don’t give a shit about your opinions and I don’t either. I don’t care why you spy on my production team either. Mind your own GD business and stop snooping around my house or hitting on my husband. If you can’t change your own light bulb, go hire someone to do it. I hate judgmental jackasses like you who think you know it all or people care about your opinion.”
The average house in my neighborhood is $600k and up. I don’t have a maid but everyone else does. I clean my own house and always have. I rarely sleep. I’m OCD.
But, people will try to use you as long as you let them. I learned not to let someone else put their monkeys on my back. My husband had learned this years before me.
But, I had “friends.” My husband doesn’t have friends or want them. My husband also doesn’t travel with me either to film or drive to Texas Prisons. My twin, my son, and my niece do.
My husband will tell you “friends are expensive and a lot of work.” He isn’t too far off. All of my life, my “friends” have either had me paying for everything or loaning them money they never paid back doing everything else for them. I’m leery of friends because I have good reason to be.
In 2008, I copyrighted and in 2012 sold “Defending Debt Lawsuits LLC.” My original concept and formula for forcing non suits on third party debt collectors was unique and effective.
Every debt lawsuit defending attorney wanted a copy of my solution but, nothing has ever been free to me and it wasn’t free to them either. I sold my rights and the formula to Defending Debt Lawsuits to the highest bidder.
Since 2012, Defending Debt Lawsuits has been copied and revamped over and over again.
Even today, consumers continue to hire attorneys to fight their debt lawsuits are paying upwards of $1200-1500 dollars per lawsuit. In most cases, these attorneys still “advise their clients to settle. By doing so, debtors literally create a new agreement and “new paper” while other collection attorneys continue to file new lawsuits. It is truly a sick Merry Go Round of money and victims.
I had created a way (Defending Debt Lawsuits) that effectively forced non suits against third party collection lawsuits that put a halt to the train wreck.
I also advised debtors to freeze their credit reports to prevent further lawsuits too.
Prior to me coming up with a creative and effective solution, everyone involved in either “fighting” lawsuits or, filing them were living the high life while defendants were committing suicide or facing the dissolution of their marriage due to the stress.
I have no grey areas in my life and a blatant disregard for anyone victimizing others who lack integrity, ethics or a conscience.
By the way, from 2008-2011, I provided my 100% effective formula for free to consumers on the internet.
If you happened to be an attorney just seeking my hard work to financially benefit yourself though, I had my web Team track your URL and refused to provide a password protected download.
I am intolerant of “Sneaky Pete’s” aka the attorneys financially benefiting from the literal FLOOD of third party lawsuits who continually take advantage of the misfortune others.
You know, the folks who can’t afford to be taken advantage of in THE FIRST PLACE.
What debtors didn’t and couldn’t understand and may never understand was that their Failure To Appear resulted in a Default Judgement that would never go away. Years later, their checking accounts were garnished. They never filed an answer or an appearance. They later regretted their decision. But, you can lead a horse to water and never make him drink.
The spiral of debt lawsuits came into play specifically due to the recession. When money gets tight, cockroaches aka Debt Attorneys crawl out of the woodwork.
Consumers have no idea that by responding or agreeing to make a payment on a Time Barred Debt that they are effectively reopening and re aging the original debt.
Debt lawsuits are so predominant that the previous “capped” amounts in JP Courts have been raised in order to account for the hundreds of lawsuits filed each week in courts across the United States. Cattle calls for defenders flood the courthouses everyday across America.
Last Thursday, I witnessed yet another “cattle call” of confused consumers going to the wrong door or limply dragging off their belts, their hats and their shoes to go to court. The Debt Collectors in cheap suits with smirky smiles await these lost souls.
Secretly, I pray that all debt collectors who chose to earn a living by destroying someone’s life solely to make a buck will burn in Hell for all eternity.
Debt Collection attorneys are sharks, parasites, and one day, they will be held accountable for their crimes against humanity and the innocent victims who had no idea how to fight back. In my opinion, “the day of reckoning can’t come soon enough for Debt Collectors.” Why? Because I’ve seen the people they’ve destroyed that’s why. I’ve seen their sneaky tactics of re aging time barred debt or creating “new accounts” in order to age debts with the help of Transunion, Equifax and Experian. I’ve helped thousands of debtors but, I couldn’t save everyone. No one can.
Collection attorneys will bully and intimidate their victims into signing an Agreement. This agreement will be “new paper.” It will also include fees, court costs and interest to the initial debt as well as late fees and other exorbitant costs to the defendant.
It’s a tragedy but, consumers as a whole have no idea how to prepare interrogatories or admissions much less an answer.
Debt collection victims are lost in a sea of paper from collection agents and it’s not uncommon to be sued over and over for the same debt since the paper can be bought over and over again.
Happily, last Thursday, I was meeting two sets of clients for photography and wedding ceremonies. Gone are my days of trying to help people by educating them about debt lawsuits.
Gone are the days of everyone expecting me to clean up their shit. Instead, I was at the courthouse having a good time. Thank God.
Few people realize that my extensive knowledge spans courthouses but, it does. For twenty plus years now, I’ve studied law both criminal and civil.
During my divorce and child custody battle, I also studied family law. Sadly, many consumers are NOT aware that education is essential in order to understand the dynamics of a courtroom. You don’t “wing it” in a courtroom.
Gone are the days when a farmer can simply plead his case and walk away with a win. What you don’t know can hurt you in a courtroom. There are timelines, deadlines and Rules Of Procedure that if you happen to think are “easy to do” are (in fact) far from it. As a Pro Se Litigant, you are expected to know and understand these Rules.
A few years ago, one of my friends, came to my home and announced “I’ve decided to stop paying my credit cards.” Alarmed and shocked since I pay for everything from lunch to shopping whenever we are together, I asked “why? You have no debt. They will sue you over and over again.”
Turning to me, my friend said “I’m old. I don’t own a home and besides you know everything about debt lawsuits there is to know. You can help me.” Help? WTF? “Helping” became opening my mailbox to a Manila envelope chock full of collection letters AND lawsuits against my “friend.” Those were HER MONKEYS not mine.
I walked away from courthouses and clerks years ago. The LAST thing I wanted to do was help someone who had literally stepped in shit and wanted me to clean her shoes. I was angry and questioned my friendship with people who always wanted something from me. I began to wonder and realize if every person I assumed was a friend was instead a user? I was pretty close to finding out.
Months later, I came home to the first lawsuit filed against my frenemy in my mailbox. How convenient for my frenemy to drop her problems into my mailbox for me to prepare her Notice Of Appearance and General Denial. Weeks later, another lawsuit. Then another and another.
My friend or frenemy was sued 15 times over her initial Default of 40k. By the eighth lawsuit and non suit, I was overwhelmed dealing with my friends pile of shit. Now, she was conveniently also leaving IRS letters on the “income” earned by not paying her debts too.
Meanwhile, my father was getting sued for back taxes and I was ready to rip my own hair out.
Instead, I went to my friends house and took all of her mail back in a paper bag. I also told her “hire an attorney, file bankruptcy but, your problems were created by you. I’ve had more than enough of coming home to a mailbox full of your problems or worse, my father’s. Both of you can do what I now do and hire your own attorneys. I’m out of the clean everybody’s else’s shit up business. It’s sucks and it doesn’t pay a dime. Also, filing fees aren’t free. Hours preparing YOUR paperwork consume my time and rather than appreciate me fighting my way through a sea of paperwork, you don’t thank me but instead bring me more of your shit. Our friendship is over because I don’t need friends that take advantage of me, my knowledge or my soft heart. Based on your lawsuits, the initial $40k is going to follow you for the rest of your life. You will be sued over and over again and you will continue to drop more problems into my mailbox. I don’t want your problems. I don’t have problems. You do. File Chapter 7 and stay out of the mall.” My father got the same conversation.
I cut ties from both of them and stopped getting everyone’s problems or piles of THEIR shit dropped off in my mailbox. Goodbye and good riddance!
After years in courtrooms, I put the faces of people who were unwilling to help themselves and their sad stories far behind me. I NOW PAY ATTORNEYS and don’t “help” draw up lawsuits.
If you step in SHIT, don’t call me to clean it up “just because I can” or because “I’m so good at it.” I’m out of the lawsuit business and have been for years! Sure, I can do it but, no one GAVE me the knowledge on how to do it. I figured it out MYSELF.
In fact, I can draw up a lawsuit blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back but, I’m damn busy and not interested in solving everyone’s problems “just because I can.”
My husband and I sold our home and I moved on to a place in my life where I had assumed 10-14 hour days would be long behind me but, success isn’t for couch potatoes.
While at the courthouse, I turned away from the weak and the weary marching into the gates of Hell. Those “courthouse days” are far behind me. Instead, Leigh Ann and I met our wonderful clients and enjoyed hours of fun with them. Here are the photos from the Courthouse-Denika & Tasha Fort Worth, Texas.
For everyone calling me to do their dirty work or do all the work for them that expect to benefit from my sacrifice, here’s a great lesson for ya all, “F Off.”
If you think that I’m lucky you are full of shit. I’m the hardest working most loyal son of a bitch you are ever going to meet but, I’m not stupid. In fact, I’m highly intelligent.
When I expanded Texas Twins Events to The Pawning Planners and later to TDCJ Weddings, I didn’t do it to benefit my competition. I did it to help people. If you cannot get your own clients, that’s YOUR LUGGAGE and YOUR TRIP.
I’m not going to tell you how to make your business successful because mine is. I know all about “shopping competitors.” I also know all about unethical people who have taken advantage of people who eventually found me and I married them instead.
Frankly, they wouldn’t have been looking for me had you been doing your job in the first place. I hate liars, losers, con artists and smoke or mirrors. I also hate unethical people who cry “she stole my clients!” Bitch please. You lost your client because you kept lying and misleading them. Get over yourself.
No, I’m not going to send you MY CLIENTS because I earned their business by being fair and honest and upfront. I made TDCJ Weddings affordable and the rest of ya all can stop the game playing and pity parties.
“You get all of the clients because you are so cheap.” Whatever. I don’t have to work remember genius? Hell excuses are like assholes. Everybody has one.
Stop wondering why I’m on top of Google without paying to be there or how the Hell your clients found me after you screwed them over. I wasn’t soliciting clients- I never have had to Sherlock. These clients started looking because they realized you “other Officiants” were screwing them around.
“Don’t CRITICIZE my PARTY, if YOU showed up, UNINVITED and WITHOUT a GIFT.”
PS- I know who subscribes to my blogs, visits my sites, spies on my social media and all the other childish crap you “other Officiants” are doing to try and copy me. I just don’t care. You aren’t me. You can’t be me and you sure as Hell have never operated a business like me either.
Pretending to be a prospect is one of the stupidest ideas I’ve heard of yet. Did you think my competition hasn’t been “shopping me” for years trying to get a piece of my clients? I’m well aware of your stupidity and your phony phone calls. I simply play along but, you aren’t wasting my time as Cindy and I listen in on Bluetooth. Why, because we are headed to MEET yet another one of YOUR FORMER clients that’s why. Put that in your pipe and smoke it smart ass.
I’m ethical, honest, reliable and I’ve never disappointed any client in my life. If you want to copy something, you might try copying MY integrity….