15
Apr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two days later I officiated Delilahs memorial.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Absentee Affidavit REQUIRES a notary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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