Travels of the Texas Twins- Survivors Find Solutions…

For a few years now I’ve been working on an autobiography after a lifetime of being told “you should write a book.” I’ve been a little busy but sit down let’s get into it.

Our mother (I use this term loosely), was a heroin addict. After my siblings were found by a maintenance man and his wife who found Cindy and I begging for food noticed we were not begging for food, they went looking. Sharon had locked us along with our baby brother, Jerry into a closet and padlocked it. These kind strangers used a hammer to free us and called the police. Sharon after months of locking us in car trunks and closets to prevent us from wandering off to beg for food was finally going to face accountability with the Lompoc PD.

Addicts are crafty people and Sharon was no different. She devised a plan to sell us. The person she chose to sell us to was our fathers father. L.B. Thomas also an identical twin whose twin brother had committed suicide on Father’s Day after his daughters told their mother what he had been doing to them. Joe took the cowards way out rather than facing accountability. L.B. Bought a tape recorder back in 1971 these devices were relatively new but he wanted documentation. I will get to why he wanted documentation in a few minutes.

Sharon went to our fathers parents house but there was a hiccup. Sharon “wanted cash no checks.” Due to this unforeseen issue, there’s a lapse in the tape of about 6.5-7 minutes as L.B. Went to a nearby bank to cash a $200 check for 4 children. You see there was Wendy, Cindy, Jerry and Tammy our half sister Sharon had from a previous relationship up for grabs for the bargain cost of $50 each.

That night L.B. Played that tape. The tape he had carefully planned to obtain to use against us and remind us “no one wants you not even your own mother.” For the first 6 years of our young lives we knew the pain of hunger and fear but what we didn’t know was that we weren’t being saved by being sold. Instead we were sold to a man who would inflict such atrocious acts of vile sociopathy until we ran away at 15 years old that I won’t even go into the details in depth. You see Cindy and I learned to compartmentalize that night. We learned a coping skill many people and especially children of trauma learn as a survival tool.

Our father died a little over a year ago. Cindy had paid for a storage unit over 10 years he insisted she rent for him. After paying for a funeral for a man who never wanted children and blamed us for his fathers sins, we wanted closure. I was in Houston at a prison with a client when the text came from Cindy. “He’s gone.” I finished up with my client and her children then contacted Gordon Funeral Home in Monroe, N.C. To make arrangements. Our brother had taken our father in so my twin and I decided to give Jerry all of the assets while assuming all of the debt in order to move on.

Cleaning out that storage facility was the next step in finally closing the book on so many people who had every opportunity to protect Cindy and I who never did. In that storage unit was the tape. May 1971. The names Wendy, Cindy and Tammy were on it with an adhesive red strip identifying the time the tape runs. The wounds this family allowed to be inflicted on us were instantly reopened. They had kept it. A tool of torture used against us by a sociopath no one ever stopped from abusing my twin and myself.

There are many members of our “family” who wish to silence us as I was silent 5.5 years as a child upon realizing no one was going to help us. It wasn’t until 7th grade and a dedicated teacher that I found my voice again. I will never silence myself again in this lifetime.

Cindy and I ran away at 15 with nothing but the clothes on our backs. No one to run to. No money. No car. No resources.

A Juror Who Married The Man Sentenced To Life In Prison? Yes. In 2019 I Married Mary Martin To Lester Butcher At TDCJ Allred Unit…

I’m contacted about this couple frequently. Mary was Juror #10. She also agreed to an interview with a reporter that spent 2 days with her then edited and spliced an interview solely for sensationalism.

I don’t research why an inmate is incarcerated and I don’t research if someone I’m marrying in the free world has ever committed a crime either. Why? It’s none of my business. My role is to conduct a wedding ceremony within the bounds of law and policy at a correctional facility.


Good morning- This week has been incredibly stressful, hectic and unpredictable regarding family issues for the Texas Twins and we appreciate your patience.

Over the weekend, I’ve had several emails regarding Prison Weddings in CA, NY, Georgia and other service area states that make “bouncing back” to Texas is a 24 hour turnaround impossible, I’m terribly sorry but in March 2020, all service area states outside of Texas had been caught up and addressed.

Last March we had many clients who were either already scheduled in Texas or close to the scheduling process that were cancelled. THESE clients are a priority BECAUSE they have been waiting for 2 and in rare cases even 3 years. Marriage licenses expired. The Units returned paperwork to other clients in the planning process stages. EVERYONE in Texas was forced to START OVER which is WHY other states are on waiting lists.

For several months now I’ve been splitting the cost to replace licenses WITH booked clients. If you ARE NOT a booked client, please stop asking and/or EXPECTING me to cover the cost to replace YOUR marriage license. My LOYALTY is to my CLIENTS.

Effectively, Texas had to start over again which is why our primary focus for the next several months will be in Texas in order to address the majority of clients we have located within this state.

We currently have a waiting list for CA. It may be January or February before we begin bouncing in order to address the many clients in Texas. Some of whom have been waiting 2-3 years.

NY it’s in the air as to when we will be back as we can cover CA in 3-5 days by stacking Units.

Currently our main and primary focus is TX and surrounding states on weekends for Federal or County as many TDCJ Units are doing date changes. Robertson is now scheduling on the last Monday and Friday of the month. These two days were previously used to fly to other states for a quick turnaround. They are now no longer available or open due to being used for TDCJ.

Weekends are booked up to 2 years and in rare instances, up to 5 and even 10 years if a previous client books their Vow Renewal in advance. What does this mean? Please contact us ASAP if you are planning your Vow Renewal to ensure our availability.

We already have Texas Twins Events, Pawning Planners, Federal Units and previous clients on our weekend schedules as well as County and occasionally ICE. We are traveling every weekend and have been for many years EVERY weekend year round.

Since I’ve been asked “which TDCJ Unit scheduled first?” I was at Jester 3 with Kim then Allred then Jordan then McConnell in the past 10 or so days. These clients restarted their paperwork immediately when visitations reopened and were therefore ready by the time the May 17th announcement was made. You know when “other officiants” were telling you that weddings WOULD NOT be reopening lol. Idiots. Gossip my arse. Dang the stupidity is hilarious with these “other officiants.” You know the ones who haven’t performed ONE wedding in a TDCJ facility YET other than ME. You “other officiants” continue to make clowns OUT of yourselves. It’s not a “good look” either. Shut up AND get your facts straight.

BOP- Many of the guidelines have been lifted. Although ceremonies are contact and don’t require us to test or wear a mask, there is still a current ban on guests. Please be aware that at this time I have no idea when this guest ban will be lifted.

Rumor Mill Gossip- regarding Contact Visits in Texas, Oklahoma and a number of other State Facilities, FALSE. It’s highly probable that it will be 2022 until Contact is reinstated in many states.

RE: TDCJ Units that are saying “we aren’t doing weddings.” Contact me. Beto and Polunsky both tried to pull this no weddings shenanigans. I will have Access To Courts contact the Unit.

RE: You held your contract or weren’t sent one because you didn’t ask or weren’t at one of the original 24 Units that were cancelled in March 2020, neither I nor my staff can be EVERYWHERE.

If YOU are calling ME “about a date” and I have no idea who YOU are, I can assure you that you are NOT a client. I don’t make dates on my calendars for non clients under ANY circumstances. I won’t even consider the possibility.

We have over 3,000 clients across the US on waiting lists in other states. Get in line and follow our booking procedures. I do not and will not “line jump anyone onto our books” SIMPLY because a Unit calls or “someone I talked to a year ago” WRONGLY assumed that I would just hop on a plane OR drive like a maniac across the country to perform a service that THEY didn’t pay for.

My TIME is precious, valuable and RESERVED for CLIENTS who have followed our booking procedures fully and wholly. If you “held” your contract that’s on you. Not me. My office mails out contracts Monday, Wednesday and Friday. My scheduling and my businesses don’t have SURPRISES.

I don’t like “surprise phone calls” from people “assuming that their failure to book properly and follow the simple and straightforward task of SIGNING and RETURNING your contract” SOMEHOW is MY PROBLEM. It isn’t.

You were mailed a contract. Our contracts are clear and concise. Return with your deposit. If you failed to do either, you ARE NOT A CLIENT. There is nothing in my contracts stating “return at YOUR convenience” or “don’t bother to return at all.”

Regarding journalists, media and other “entertainment” people calling me at YOUR convenience…listen you aren’t a priority. I don’t give a shit who you are OR who you are with. If I tell you I’m with a client and INSTRUCT you to call back in 2 HOURS and you ARE calling me back every 5 minutes while I’m on location WITH MY CLIENTS I’m going to block you. I’m also going to delete your emails and STOP further contact altogether. Don’t kid yourself Pal, you aren’t important to me OR my clients.

I CANNOT stress this enough- MY CLIENTS and my family ARE MY PRIORITY. No I’m not under contract and no I’m not signing yours. Go tie someone else down with rope you expect them to pay for and STOP assuming that MEDIA is important to me, my staff and/or especially my clients. By the way genius, when you send someone a contract you MIGHT want to sign it. Get outta here.

You people in the “entertainment industry” are a fly in my soup. Buzz off. Don’t call me at YOUR convenience then IGNORE the fact that I just told you I WAS WITH A CLIENT and I’m not available and think you are more important than the client I’m with. You ARE NOT a priority! My CLIENTS ARE MY PRIORITY. When I SAY something I can ASSURE you that I MEAN it.

I do not and will not commit myself to anyone whether it’s a client or a network WITHOUT A CONTRACT.

If ANYONE who is NOT a client thought OR assumed that “calling me with a date” WOULD create a sense of urgency for ME, these folks were wildly misinformed. I don’t have emergencies. My time AND my schedule are prioritized in such a way and so far in advance that I’m often working 7 days a week MOST of the time and AT several Units or venues on the SAME DAY.

Meaning, if I barely have time to go to the bathroom I certainly don’t have time to explain to you why you aren’t a client AND zero tolerance for arguing with someone (anyone) who is NOT a BOOKED client to explain WHY I won’t drop everything on my full AND burdened schedule in ORDER to accommodate them because “they talked to, emailed or DM’d me.”


Stop calling me “about a date” when I have no idea who you are. Do you have any idea how many people contact me in A DAY? Do you have any idea how stressful and repetitive it is to continue repeating myself? Listen, I’m busy. I juggle my family, my clients, four businesses and I’m intolerant of people who ARE NOT CLIENTS attempting to argue that they are.

ESPECIALLY people who cannot follow simple instructions. If my office went to the time, trouble and expense to mail you a contract that you didn’t bother to return, that’s on YOU. Mailing you a contract didn’t create or constitute a client relationship. Anyone assuming it would is wholly and entirely inaccurate.

Now…moving forward here, IF you hired OR paid “someone else” AND you are contacting me because 1. They won’t respond or 2. Their phone was disconnected or 3. They didn’t show up or 4. You believed what they were telling you was true 5. They are too busy to respond to you (what the Hell? This is the stupidest shit I have ever heard). If your clients ARE NOT your priority you idiots then WHO or WHAT in the Sam Hill Hell IS? or 6. You paid someone money for a service that they FAILED to provide to you AND you didn’t demand a contract AND a receipt, you SHOULD have DEMANDED BOTH.

For years now I’ve been getting these types of calls AND my BOOKED CLIENTS are my priority. I CANNOT make this clearer to anyone. GET A CONTRACT! Stop sending money to ANYONE because they “won’t tell you what to do.” Christ, I tell ALL of my clients what to do in ALL of OUR SERVICE AREA STATES and Countries educate them step by step. If you hired “someone else” and they ARE NOT responding or walking you through the process, get your money back and then call me.

For the idiot “other officiants” pick pocketing everyone you can get your hands on OUT there and ESPECIALLY for those of you in New York, California, Texas and Missouri, you people are the biggest bunch of con artist snake oil salesmen in the world. I’m going to educate every consumer out there AND stop the money train you are riding on by victimizing ANYONE planning to marry an inmate by stealing from them. How do you sleep at night? Listen up crooks- I’m going to continually expose you on this page for exactly what you are heartless thugs and thieves.

California, if you HAVE lost your ability to sign a marriage license because you are completely, totally and wholly inept and idiotic and effectively screwed up someone’s marriage license, I’ve instructed EVERYONE contacting me to report you. By the way, if you LOST your ability to conduct a ceremony because even the state of California recognized what a colossal screw up you are AND you continued to accept money for services you couldn’t provide, I’m ALSO going to advise your victims on exactly how to sue your ass too. STOP victimizing people.

As for the other blood sucking “officiants” who used the desperation of ANYONE wanting to marry an inmate to their OWN advantage during this lockdown solely to financially benefit themselves and EFFECTIVELY victimized single income households, I’m reporting and will CONTINUE to report EACH and EVERY one of you to authorities that I come across ON my own OR hear about. Maybe while you are sitting in prison for your fraudulent crimes against the people you stole from by telling them what they wanted to hear all the while KNOWING that they had no idea that what they were paying YOU for was a felony that involved THEM… I hope you FINALLY realize and recognize that karma REALLY is a bitch. I’m coming after you “other officiants.” You thieves are the most deceptive and manipulative swindlers there are. Destroying and ruining someone’s life event and putting them in jeaopardy of a felonious offense? I’m going to take each and every one of you down AND this IS a promise NOT a threat. I’m pretty busy BUT I can ASSURE you that I will MAKE the time it takes to STOP you “other officiants” from stealing AND victimizing INNOCENT people wishing to marry an inmate.

For years there have been so many people that just wanted to get married in a prison literally shook down by swindling “other officiants” OUT there that it TRULY breaks my heart BUT I cannot be everywhere.

What I can do is tell you how to fight back and get your money from these sorry bastards AND I will. What I can do is report each and every one of these “other officiants” for THE felonious offenses they’ve committed pertaining to marriage fraud AND tampering with a government document. You dumb shits HAD better start “shopping” for a criminal attorney because YOU are going to NEED one.

I’m still traveling and will return to TX Monday. I will answer when I can and hope everyone traveling to visits has a safe trip. Happy Fathers Day to all of the mothers pulling double duty as both parents and/or grandparents or others taking on the role and responsibility of raising children alone. I know it’s not easy. Cindy and I were both mothers and fathers to our adult children so we know and understand how difficult it can be. Regarding pamper packages sent out to those struggling in their relationships and feeling isolated or alone, your packages were mailed out via priority yesterday in Texas. Hugs, love and hope to see all of you very soon.

I want to address two fairly alarming things that “other officiants” have been instructing you to do that can get you into criminal legal issues that you aren’t or WERE made aware of that these “other officiants” certainly should have been aware of to begin with.

Pay attention. Why? Ignorance isn’t an adequate defense of the law that’s why. Read your marriage license application. Do you REMEMBER raising your right hand to swear that all of the information that YOU provided on that marriage application was TRUE and CORRECT?

Do you recall the question on the Absentee Affidavit which BY the way also has a warning for providing false information that ASKS if the Absent Party WILL BE PRESENT for the ceremony?

There’s a REASON. Proxy marriage was banned in Texas in 2013. Only Active Duty Military Members QUALIFY for Proxy Marriage in Texas.

UNLESS the couple AND the officiant ARE all present and in the same place, the absentee affidavit was also falsely and inappropriately filed IN conjunction with YOUR marriage license application. Think about it. The clerks office would NEVER have issued a marriage license to ANYONE with an Absentee Affidavit stating the reason the other party was absent was BECAUSE the absent party WAS INCARCERATED and WOULD NOT BE PRESENT for the ceremony!

Several people have recently contacted me and stated that they either “thought” or that they were ALREADY “legally married.” These same people WERE upset that TDCJ wouldn’t accept their “marriage.” They SHOULD have been upset BUT were unaware that they were accomplices to a felonious offense.

This post is specifically addressing Texas licenses and “fraudulent marriages. So please do NOT confuse this post to Alabama and the other issues attributed to the TDCJ Alabama fiasco.

There are “other officiants” out there who will do anything to get into your pockets including lying, misleading you and in certain circumstances EVEN making numerous innocent people victims by becoming accomplices to crimes they were unaware of.

Being UNAWARE of marriage laws, tampering with a government document or even marriage fraud is NOT and will NOT prevent you from prosecution. Again, ignorance is not an adequate defense of the law.

If ANY officiant is “telling you” that THEY “can JUST sign your license” and you will be “legally married,” that are knowingly, intentionally and with forethought committing fraud. They are also tampering with a government document. A document that YOUR name is on hence the accomplice reference.

TDCJ has had a policy in place since 2015 that REQUIRES the couple AND the officiant in person and on site at the Unit. Do you know why? Because a Formal Marriage License REQUIRES all parties present whether the ceremony is contact or non contact, a ceremony with all parties present must occur. NOT by phone where 3 way calls are strictly prohibited. NOT by video where 3 way video calls are prohibited BUT in person and on site AT a TDCJ Detention Unit.

Anyone “telling you” that they can marry you by “going over, under OR around” the laws, procedure and/or policy is lying to you or THEY are too stupid to realize or recognize that what they are doing is a felony and prosecutable offense.

Regarding the Alabama marriage certificate scenario- this woman is telling people that “they can just get another license in Texas OR another state.” Again, this is NOT legal.

When you fill out a marriage application, READ it. There are warnings on it for valid reasons. READ that marriage application.

A marriage license IS A GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT. Tampering with a government document is a FELONY. Marriage Fraud IS also a FELONY.

Fraud whether it’s marriage fraud or tampering with a government document is still FRAUD. Ignorance isn’t going to protect you from prosecution.

If you have questions regarding something you were told or heard that sound too good to be true, call me, text me, DM or email me but don’t step in a bear trap because you “thought” what you were being told was accurate. It wasn’t. The person you paid to “JUST sign that license” is either a raging idiot or con artist. I don’t care which BUT know that THIS person whether deliberately or due to gross ignorance or incompetence has involved NOT only YOU but also whoever else was listed on that marriage license as accomplices.

“NEVER allow your TEARS TODAY to DETOUR the HOPE you have for TOMORROW.

Leaving San Antonio to return for a memorial in Parker County today, my heart was heavy. For several days now I’ve been hearing from three brides that are upset about letters being sent from inmates that are running from hot to cold. It’s not uncommon for my clients to call me because many of them don’t have family and friends who support their decision to love an inmate. It’s not an easy path and it’s far harder when you don’t know what to believe anymore from an inmate.

A lot of people are surprised I’m so comfortable in prisons. I’m going to share a little background with you to enlighten you. My mother was a heroin addict and effectively in or out of jail or prison most of her life. She forgot my sisters, brother and I on a regular basis. The police station was familiar to us. We spent a lot of time there while officers tried to track down our mother, father or grandparents. Actually, we were comfortable at the police station from a very young age. There were donuts and vending machines and a building full of officers concerned about our well being. You could say we grew up in police stations due to the amount of time we spent waiting for someone to come pick us up. When we were left at the park for hours and another parent noticed, we had the luxury of riding to the police station in the police car.

About ten years ago while in California, I was asked to perform a wedding at Lompoc. Since then I have performed weddings at State, Federal, ICE and County Jails nationwide.

Today while at lunch preparing to go to the memorial for Garrett who was married in June this year, Cindy and I discussed a few emails from brides and grooms planning to marry an inmate as well as a pesky journalist who somehow managed to find out that I am the TDCJ Approved Officiant scheduled to marry a high profile inmate to a woman rather than a man. No thanks. My clients and their confidentiality are important to me. Go fishing somewhere else Pal.

I don’t discuss details of inmates. I don’t share personal information about my clients either. My clients are on the outside. The inmate isn’t my client. The person on the outside is. I’m protective of personal information of my client and the inmate because the inmates crimes often affect perception of my clients from the general public. I’ve never asked why someone is incarcerated. It’s none of my business. Sure, I could look and find it but I don’t. Why? Because my opinion of an inmate is based on their behavior towards me. I don’t want a preconceived idea about an inmate. I “go into every Unit” fresh and without any opinion as to why an inmate is incarcerated just as I would with any client who isn’t incarcerated. Everyone is treated with respect and dignity regardless of where they are marrying.

I’m going to share with you that back in 2007, my twin sister and I literally did everything we could to discourage a relationship with her daughter Leigh Ann and a con artist she bumped into at Target in Lake Worth while we were buying bathing suits for my twin grandnieces on our way to NRH20.

This guy followed us several aisles. I didn’t like him right off. Cindy didn’t either but within weeks Leigh Ann was madly in love with a guy who claimed to be a war hero.

Coming from a military family ourselves, these war stories were fishy to say the least and yet we had no way to disprove everything David said that Leigh Ann believed. This scenario came up at lunch today for a few reasons.

First, because I was discussing a bride who caught her fiancée in a fling with another woman at her house.

Secondly, because she’s pregnant. I don’t want her to marry this guy. I’ve been really pretty vocal about this. I’m always really vocal when I feel strongly against anyone whether it’s my clients or my own family members marrying. I’m a very protective person. I couldn’t win against David. Cindy couldn’t either. Whatever we found on this guy Leigh Ann refused to read.

Playing with her food and probably remembering the drama of David in her life, Leigh Ann looked over and asked “are you going to go as far as you did with David?”

My answer was “I might. He’s going to hurt her and break her heart. This isn’t husband material she deserves better.” I meant it.

Marriage records are public in Texas. Leigh Ann and David had bought a marriage license in McClennan County on their way to his hearing in Amarillo. A reporter would later call Leigh Ann to ask about that marriage license. Thank God she didn’t marry this guy.

Richard David McClanahan knew or must have had some idea that he would be arrested and yet he goes in the opposite direction to Waco to purchase a marriage license with my niece before backtracking to Amarillo? I know the distance because there are prisons near both cities that I have conducted weddings at. Why would he choose Waco? Was it because he was familiar with the clerks office there? Why would he want to buy a marriage license knowing the sentencing he was facing for his stolen valor and financial lies on a bank record? I will never know but I will always wonder.

Leigh Ann didn’t know that David would be arrested at that hearing. She didn’t know she would be driving his car back to drop it at the dealership and turn it in or find a home for his dog or empty his apartment and store everything while he went straight from that hearing to a prison. FCI Yazoo City to be exact.

Even after being called by someone telling her that David was going to prison, Leigh Ann didn’t believe it. She didn’t attend the hearing. She waited at the hotel. I’m glad she did. David was her first real boyfriend. The first person to ask her to marry him. The first person to take her breath away. She believed she loved him. She believed he was telling her the truth. Cindy and I didn’t.

Leigh Ann and David had planned to marry after the hearing. That never happened. She still has the marriage license.

After the hearing, David’s attorney called Leigh Ann to tell her he wasn’t coming back. She called her mom, my twin sister who called me. The details were sketchy. We wanted to fly her home. David’s attorney wanted her to return his car.

The thought of my hysterical niece driving back to Weatherford from Amarillo was horrific. She was overwhelmed. She was shocked. She was finally seeing through the faux life that David had created.

Something was always off about David. He moved fast. Really fast.

After the Amarillo arrest, we helped Leigh Ann drop off David’s car and find a home for his dog and loaded all of his possessions into a UHAUL and into storage. There was a box of medals. Another box of state issued license plates. There were weird things that supported his charges.

He still called from prison and even talked Leigh Ann into visiting him in Mississippi. She took one of my grandnieces, Makenna with her.

As usual, David claimed to be innocent. “This is all a mistake. I will get put and when I do we will get married.” Cindy and I were both anxious about this and had already begun skip tracing David and his history. David has quite a colorful history.

To those who met him, Richard David McClanahan was quite the hero, an attractive man with an impressive military career. Three Purple Hearts. Three Silver Stars. Two tours in Iraq. One tour in Afghanistan. He was a POW being considered for the Medal of Honor.
The only problem was none of it was true.
Ms. Beard, who has filed for an annulment of her marriage, is now trying to help other would-be victims of Mr. McClanahan’s scams. She contacted my niece. Leigh Ann (at the time) wasn’t willing to listen.
“My perspective is more of a victims’ advocate,” she said Friday. “I just want people to know so they can make an informed decision. I don’t want them to be stuck with a $30,000 debt.”
Since learning about her husband’s habitual lying, Ms. Beard has received e-mails from girlfriends he had while married to his first wife. She’s also been in touch with some of his more recent girlfriends – women he has dated since he and Ms. Beard broke up in April. One bought him a car and a cellphone, she said.
“I’m up to six, if not eight” girlfriends, she said of the women she’s been in contact with.
David literally was living a double life during the time he spent wooing my niece as Cindy and I collected more and more information about David that Leigh Ann wouldn’t read.

McClanahan was arraigned June 13, 2007 in Amarillo, Texas, for the charges pending against him in federal court. He pleaded not guilty.

The felony charge, which accuses McClanahan of misstating and inflating his income on a financial statement in order to get a car loan, carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million, Drake said.

The charge of falsely claiming he had three Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts and the Legion of Merit carries up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The final charge, falsely claiming he received a Medal of Honor, carries a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

David spent about a year and a half in prison. He had a 3 year prison term but was released early on good behavior.

While in prison he told Leigh Ann to use his account to pay for phone calls and put money on his books. We still couldn’t get rid of this guy no matter what we tried. Leigh Ann did everything David told her to do THEN David accused her of bank fraud. This idiot had finally laid out enough rope to hang himself.

Horrified, Leigh Ann told me about this accusation. I immediately began collecting information and evidence regarding where the money was sent and on what as well as letters from David instructing Leigh Ann what to do with the money. I created a defense so strong that the bank went back on David.

Con artists don’t care who they hurt or who they use. David didn’t. He finally showed his true colors. We thought it was over but a year and a half later, David called Leigh Ann after release from prison and she decided to go to lunch.

2-3 years of David in and out of her life had worn her out. Did he love her? Was he a sociopath? Could he change? Our answers were no over and over again. David had a furnished apartment. He also had a two year old car.

Leigh Ann asked “how and why he had obtained these things after just being released from prison?”

His answer? “People give me things and do things for me. Do you want to get married?” Leigh Ann left and never contacted him again.

She didn’t date or anything and later bumped into her current husband while traveling to a Microsoft meeting in Seattle.

Alex is everything that David wasn’t. He’s military and in the Navy. He’s a good father and provider. He’s honest and determined to be the best husband he can be.

David is still living somewhere in Fort Worth. He’s also probably looking for his next wife if he hasn’t found one already.

The best advice I can give anyone is to find out more about who you are marrying. Ask questions. Get answers. Run a background check. Do what you need to do to protect you.

My role is to protect you from things you may not see or notice that I do. My role by far exceeds simply showing up and marrying you. I’m your friend and will always be your friend. I care about your future and your happiness.

“Don’t EXPECT to CHERRY pick a WITHERED branch, FROM a BARREN tree.”

“My father wants to be invited to my vow renewal. I don’t want him there. Miss Wendy what should I do? Am I obligated to invite my parents to my wedding?”

Oh no. Oh no. Here we go again. There are reasons that certain relatives aren’t invited to weddings and vow renewals. What are they? Conflict and chaos. I could add to that parents who were never there for you that suddenly want to “be there” for you although they don’t deserve to be.

I’m going to share with you my parents. Two idiots. One a heroin addict. The other so self involved that he never once put my sisters and I out of the path of his father who sexually abused all three of us for years. Were either of my parents at my weddings? Not just no but hell no.

“You could give some people a free steak dinner and they would still complain that they had to cut and chew it.” Feed yourself first before you starve to death trying to please everyone else.

In old age, I’ve learned wisdom and priorities. In old age, I’ve often been told by family members who weren’t effectively thrown under the bus to “forgive my parents.” How convenient and PS no thanks.

I will never forget about 15 years ago, my father showing up in Texas and expecting my sister or I to move him into our homes. What in the hell was he thinking by assuming either of us “owed him?”

We didn’t owe anyone in our family anything. We left home at 15 with no money, no car, nowhere to go and nothing other than the clothes on our backs. We were found digging in a trash can for food and taken to a homeless shelter. We had run from the abuse of our grandfather that no one in our family would stop from happening. We stopped it by running.

Hard times can define you or empower you. “If the school of hard knocks had a paid internship, we would be rich by now.”

Here’s the deal, if your parents are miserable excuses of being parents, you don’t owe them anything. You certainly don’t owe them being celebrated at your wedding.

Over the years we’ve had clients guilted into inviting their shitty parent or parents. This never ends well. The father in California pretending to have contributed to the expense of his daughters wedding acting like the cock of the walk. The drunken mother at a wedding in Fort Worth barking orders at the groom who nearly divorced his wife over her controlling alcoholic mother. Don’t bring that baggage into your marriage. Save yourself. Cut parasites out of your life, your wedding and your marriage. You will thank me later.

One of my clients contacted me about her husband wanting to move his mother into her home. The background of the bride was shocking. Her mother had given her up for adoption and yet had kept her sister. Her adoptive mother was a hero but this bride kept trying to establish a relationship with her birth mother AKA the zero. Throughout her marriage she had deliberately not established a relationship with the mother in law who over and over again financially helped her husband and effectively her own family. She told me “moving in his mother is a deal breaker. I will get a divorce.” Knowing all the background on this situation, I “enlightened” my bride with a reality check was in order and the truth was going to be ugly. “You had an affair and a child from another man that your husband accepted. You have treated your birth mother like the saint she isn’t. You have chose the wrong people in your life to stand beside. One of the right people was your husband. He has raised your daughter as his own. He is an only child. His mother has always supported him, you and even your surprise of bringing another man’s child into your marriage. Are you prepared to raise three children as a single parent? Are you prepared to think or believe that your worthless birth mother is going to help you now when she has never helped you? You don’t work. Where will you work? What will your future look like? Snap out of it!”

This conversation was last year. The husband had suffered a heart attack. The wife had decided that she “didn’t want to be a nursemaid to her husband.” I had stepped up and stepped in to advise her that marriage isn’t wine and roses. It’s weeds and reality. I forced her to go visit her husband at Baylor. Hell, I even bought flowers and went with her.

Now, let’s go over what your parents expect of you and what they forget you should have been able to expect of them as a child. If your parents were abusive, cut your losses. If your parents allowed you to be abused, cut your losses.

Your wedding is a time and place for friends and family to be present and share your joy. It isn’t a place to invite people “because you felt obligated to invite people you aren’t comfortable being around.” Choose carefully.

All of the people guilt tripping you into believing you owe them need a wake up call. If you need help waking them up, call me. I’ve learned to say no and you can too.

“Everything looks worse in black and white” Paul Simon

For months now visitation bans at nursing homes and prisons has affected the ability of the people who need visitors the most to have in person visits.

As State, Federal, ICE and County facilities “pass the buck” to Governor’s, the number of Covid cases continue to climb in detention facilities and nursing homes. WITHOUT visitors Wendy? Yes.

Abbott is planning to reopen schools. Will this reopening of the state reinstate visitation? I’m not sure but I remain hopeful.

For years now I’ve had numerous clients lose their visitation. Appeals filed timely with the DRC continue to be denied. Another six months another appeal.

Meanwhile the inmate is isolated from a loved one. Meanwhile the loved one is isolated from the inmate.

I’m on location in Oklahoma and Arkansas this weekend and still dealing with my bum knee trying to drag myself around in a dreaded knee brace. Three of my clients sent me text photos of yet another denial letter in Texas. Another rejection letter. Another six months. It’s a tragedy for them and their loved one. My heart breaks over these denial letters. It’s so frustrating all the way around.

Last Thursday I had a bit of family drama. As my dedicated readers realize, my family and my businesses often overlap. I’m transparent about these overlaps. Why? Because I answer calls, texts and emails as well as DM’s 7 days a week from 8AM-9PM. The possibility of dealing with my family or other clients when dealing with correspondence is my reality.

I had put my niece (the twins mom) in rehab for six months and picked her up from rehab in Oklahoma on May 5th. She returned home to my twin sisters house that evening. At the time, Steph seemed okay without her medication. She’s bipolar. However over the course of the next few months, isolation due to Covid and a host of other factors may have contributed to the mental breakdown my niece experienced on Thursday.

Last weekend I was working events in Missouri. Returning to the DFW area last Monday, Cindy noticed that her daughter “was talking to herself.” From Monday to Thursday repeated efforts to get Steph back on her medication ended in arguments.

By Thursday I had decided to drive Steph to be evaluated in Fort Worth at JPS. Three miles from Cindy’s home traveling around 10-15mph as I was slowing down for a red light, my niece jumped out of my Sahara and started running down the street after dropping and rolling.

My heartache at consistent attempts to keep my niece stable has been an ongoing debacle for nearly 16 years. My fury over these setbacks cannot be described in words.

I had 2 options. Chase her with a bad knee or call the police and request an ambulance for a 51/50 to get her evaluated. I chose to call the police and wait on an Ambulance.

Why people who require medication refuse to take it I have no idea. My mother self medicated with heroin most of her life. My stepdaughter, Ann who died last year would do fine on meds then go off them and disappear for weeks. I don’t understand why people who function well on medication stop taking it. I may never understand it. Their choices affect their families though.

Friday morning I picked up my niece and took her back to JPS to pick up her medication. I spent several hours with her going over the fact that her choices have affected my twin sisters health as well as my own. I explained that her choices have affected her twin daughters lives too. I then went out on a limb and reminded her that next week she will be 33 years old. At what age would she start being responsible and independent? At what age could her mother and I stop worrying and monitoring her ability to take her medication on her own? I’m hoping my conversation sank in. I’m old. I’m tired and I’m exhausted from trying to keep my niece on a path of stability.

Jumping out of a moving vehicle was a new one for me and something I hope never occurs again. I nearly ran over my own niece. Bipolar people off their medication are highly unpredictable. Bipolar people on their medication can and do function well. But how to keep them on their meds?

I’m at an event where once again there are guests refusing to wear their masks. This frustrating reality has been occurring more and more frequently.

Whether you are pro mask or anti mask, I pray you stay safe and must dash off to go address an unruly guest that believes wearing a mask violates his civil rights…

Love Will Find A Way. Setbacks, Steps Forward & Seeing Hope…

Since mid March, correctional facilities across the United States have cancelled in person visitation.

Isolation from loved ones has been and continues to be difficult for inmates who are concerned about their loved ones and lonely at the same time. Loved ones are concerned about inmates incarcerated and isolated. This type of separation is and continues to be difficult mentally for those on the inside as well as those on the outside.

Oklahoma, Missouri and Delaware are the only states to have finally reinstated visitation. The Marshall Project has been closely following the visitation ban and reporting on it. Why isn’t any other media outlet? Short answer? They don’t care. Media is so biased and one sided that other than reporting on Covid running rampant throughout the criminal justice system without pointing to the direct fact that it’s obvious visitors aren’t bringing this virus into prisons due to banned visitation that whoever is reporting on the situation fails to grasp how and why these cases have continued to flourish although families have not been allowed to visit for months now.

How is Covid getting into prisons? The employees. Correctional officers are either refusing to wear masks or wearing them incorrectly. In Anderson County, Texas Covid was so prevalent that TDCJ was blamed for the outbreak. Beto, Gurney, Powledge, Michael and Coffield Units are all located within close proximity of one another from Palestine to Tennessee Colony. The number of employees working at these 5 Units in a very small area could explain the shocking number of cases but do they?

It’s not visitors. It’s not inmates. Covid-19 in Anderson County was non existent in March. How do I know? I was at several Units in the area in March. Prior to visits being removed entirely for months. In Texas, visits are still banned.

In May Anderson County had 968 confirmed cases. As of July 8, Anderson County with a population of less than 60k residents has 9,979 confirmed Covid cases.

Media would have you believe these cases are due to the number of inmates incarcerated or blame the visitors for this spread but the media would be wrong. Why? Because these 5 Units have thousands of employees coming and going daily to Units. A number of corrections officers refuse to wear masks or wear them incorrectly. These numbers aren’t due to families unable to visit they are due to employees. It’s a fact.

TDCJ issued a statement refusing to chain (move) inmates into TDCJ months ago so it isn’t county inmates being moved to state that are “upping the cases.”

While inmates face stress and anxiety of not knowing when they will see their families again, loved ones worry that the inmates will become another statistic of Covid-19.

What can be done to change the course of Covid in Prisons? Masks properly worn are a good start. Sanitation efforts are and have been under way for months within the criminal justice system.

Whether you are pro mask or anti mask, the fact that this virus has continued to affect everyone and anyone whether they are incarcerated or not should be a warning to you that it exists and it’s non discriminatory.

Covid doesn’t care where you work, where you live, what color you are or what faith you follow. Covid is real.

One of my husbands sales ladies was anti mask in May. In June, her daughter flew to see a boyfriend in New Mexico. She brought Covid home to her mother and grandmother. My husbands shocked office staff began staggering working from home and going to the office. Everyone began wearing masks and sanitizing every surface of the office, model homes and even their cars. Viola was in the hospital struggling to breathe and wondering if she would survive for nearly two weeks.

When I tell you this virus is real, believe me. In April I knew no one Covid positive. It’s July and I now know 42 people. Wear your mask. Do it for others if you don’t want to do it for yourself.

I’ve heard that TDCJ is working on video visitation. I’m hoping that they don’t plan to replace in person visitation with video visitation. They are not equal regardless of who wishes to argue the point. Human contact is and always will be preferred by not only inmates but also their families.

As for my Oklahoma and Missouri clients, we will be required to wear masks. We will be required to undergo temperature checks. We must be on location a minimum of 15 minutes early to shakedown and screen in.

Delaware client’s, Cindy and I will see you in 2021.

Clients in all other service area states, we hope to see you soon and continue to mail checks to split the cost of a replacement marriage license as a courtesy to our previously booked clients.

I was taken back by another vendor contacting me regarding their stupid and selfish idea to charge a “rescheduling fee.” This type of money grubbing is offensive and opportunistic. Don’t fall for this type of stupidity. In over ten years in the events industry I have never charged a rescheduling fee and anyone who is or tries to is unethical.

Be aware such ridiculous tactics. Also be aware of people selling parole packets or letters of support. I will send you links to free services for both.

Stay calm. We will work through this and we will get you married. Wear your mask. Try to limit being in large groups. Love is resilient. Love is the strongest emotion and it will find a way…

When You Throw Rocks In Ponds They Leave Ripples. Warriors Wear Scars…

Last Wednesday as I prepared to leave for TDCJ Allred Unit from Fort Worth, my grandniece was attempting suicide as my twin sister dressed to take her twin granddaughters to school.

For the past week of my life, I’ve worried about my grandson in NICU, I’ve juggled my clients and my commitments and I’ve tried to act normal under extraordinary circumstances.

My sorrow regarding Makenna is profound. A stellar student determined to be the best in every class, Makenna was overwhelmed with schoolwork and yet unwilling to voice her stress to me, my sister or the school counselor.

Moving from Units to two hospitals and answering emails, texts and phone calls from clients while trying to hold it together for Makenna, Maryssa, my son and his wife as well as my twin sister and husband hasn’t been easy for me.

We live in a world of easily offended and or outspoken people who have no idea that words hurt or worse they simply don’t care. Bullying backed Makenna into a corner.

Cindy and I were unaware of this because Makenna chose to internalize her struggles at school.

I’m outspoken and unfiltered as my dedicated readers are well aware. Also, I don’t care about opinions of others who aren’t bound to me by blood, business or friendship.

This morning while answering someone who had apparently “found me on Facebook,” I was once again alarmed at the arrogance of others who assume my clients and their loved ones cared about his views.

Happy Sunday stalker and oh by the way, I’m going to enlighten you as to why your opinions and views have no impact on me or my clients.

Ignorance may be bliss but education and enlightenment can be informative.

The most liberating thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life is not caring about what others who aren’t important to me think about me. It’s a fact.

Nathan believes that everyone in prison belongs there. Nathan is unaware that the majority of people in prison never went to trial. They took a plea deal. There are people in prison who are guilty but there are also people that aren’t.

There are also people who aren’t in prison that should be. How do I know? I will explain.

As a child I had no voice. As a child my sisters and I were not only sexually abused by a family member but also physically abused by other family members. Our abusers were never prosecuted. Hence my knowledge of people who belong in prison that have never been held accountable for their crimes.

My sisters and I all went into our first marriages believing violence was normal. Why? Our childhood was filled with violence that’s why. It was during my divorce and subsequent custody battle over my son that I literally decided no one would ever hurt me physically or emotionally again.

It took years to realize I was capable of standing up for myself. In fact, I was 34 years old before recognizing this.

Spending days at Cook’s under the watchful eye of an observer in Makenna’s room who wrote down our conversations and masking our grief over why we were there, I realized that every parent or guardian on our floor wore the same defeated look. The exhaustion, the worry, the concern was a heavy cloud hanging over all of our heads. Being positive and putting on your happy and hopeful face walking into a visit is a must. You hide your fear until you leave the room to take a call or go to the food court to pick up Chick Fil A for Makenna. You walk out of that room slump shouldered.

You go to your car to cry and you soldier on. You have to. Your twin sister and you are the matriarchs of your family.

You don’t have a mother or father in your life to lean on. You never had a mother or father, an aunt or uncle or even grandparents in your life to lean on.

Cindy and I grew up fast. Runaways at 15 years old and homeless, the police took us to a shelter. We left the shelter found work as waitresses and never looked back.

Last night we followed the ambulance from Cook’s to Mesa Springs.

Treatment for depression and suicidal ideation at Mesa Springs can run tens of thousands of dollars.

You know the drill. You’ve done this before. Over and over again you’ve walked into a visit. Put your purse in a locker. Held your hands out to get “wanded.” Signed in. Showed your license. Given the patients ID code. Signed in. Waited with other worried family members. Shoulders hung waiting in the lobby.

Called to line up, you put your happy face on. Your hopeful face. Breathe through your nose. Control your anxiety. Walk in and hug your loved one.

The remarkable similarities of visiting a relative in a Psych Ward or Prison are many. The vending machines are a focal point. The visiting loved ones are stressed and anxious.

The screening process is nearly identical for a Prison or a Psych Ward.

Cindy and I have become experts at walking into Prisons AND Psych Wards. During the week we officiate State, Federal and County Jail Weddings.

For nearly four years now we’ve been visitors at Sundance, JPS, Wellbridge and Mesa Springs.

Our “Psych Ward Cycle” began when my niece, Stephaney relapsed and began using 3.5 years ago. Stephaney would be the first family member involuntarily committed for drug induced psychosis.

Cindy and I had no idea what to expect on our first visit to JPS to visit Stephaney. We didn’t know about patient ID numbers. We didn’t know about “psych ward friendly clothing and accessories.” We had to learn.

Walking into that first visit with other patients yelling at their loved ones and throwing chairs around at JPS was an eye opener.

Stephaney talked to her “invisible friend” while we were at our first visit.

Acting normal and staying calm was very difficult. On site security was there for a reason. JPS was the worst inpatient facility we have ever visited.

We would visit Stephaney 18 times on 18 involuntary commitments over the past three years. It never got easier.

About two years ago while Stephaney was yet again involuntarily committed, our father believed people were living in his attic and shot at the ceiling. He was also involuntarily committed.

My grandniece Maryssa played the choking game and was also committed.

THREE family members at THREE Psych Wards at the same time?! Yes. Visitation is 7 days a week. Cindy and I missed ONE day of visiting my father and never heard the end of it. Never mind we were working and running to three mental hospitals for three family members everyday.

We became experts at Psych Ward Friendly clothing. We cried in our cars. We screamed. We yelled. We prayed. We endured.

For two years during that window when Stephaney wasn’t involuntarily committed, she was on the streets again. We spent so much time looking for her when she wasn’t committed that we were relieved when she was. True story.

Stephaney is now in treatment and doing better than she ever had in three years. But, Stephaney relapsing was a rock in the pond.

Maryssa and Makenna were devastated by Stephaney’s choice. We all were. For sixteen years now Cindy and I have tried everything humanly possible to save Stephaney. We were forced to learn that Stephaney had to choose to save herself.

Children need stability. Cindy gave up her career to give the twins the stability we knew that Stephaney couldn’t. Protecting them from the childhood we ran from at 15 years old, Cindy and I have and will always put the children’s needs as our priorities.

Had I not been a frequent visitor to a Prison on that first visit to see Stephaney, the screening process would have shocked me.

After leaving Johnson County Jail today and addressing Nathan publicly on my FB Page Prison Weddings With Wendy Wortham, I drove to Walmart to buy Psych Friendly shoes for my grandniece. I cried in my car away from my client at Johnson County Jail. She would never know the stress I was facing. I hide my pain. I’m a professional. When I’m on, I’m on.

Last Wednesday after hearing Makenna attempted suicide, I drove to not one but two prisons to meet and marry my clients. Neither of them knew I was under extreme stress. I’m a great actress. Only when I’m alone or with my sister does our pain and fear manifest itself.

No shoelaces. No buckles. I find the shoes. I buy them. I drive to Mesa Springs. I park. I cry. I walk in. I hold it together. I stay positive. Strong. Resilient. Determined.

Makenna sits with me and tells me she wants to come home. This breaks my heart. I need her to get counseling. I need her to realize the gravity of attempting suicide. I need her to know how devastated our family would be without her in it.

The counselor comes by to schedule a family visit Thursday. I’m at Coffield Unit Tuesday and Prairieland Detention Center Wednesday. I’m filing licenses and buying books for Makenna tomorrow. I’m going to see my grandson who was released today tomorrow. I’m helping Cindy remodel Makenna’s room next weekend.

I’m trying to remain strong for my grandniece and her sister as well as my sister.

What I’m not going to do is listen to arrogant and one sided views about my clients or their loved ones from people like Nathan…

Work Ethics Are Like Cooking. Without Reliability, Dedication & Productivity AKA The Right Ingredients, Nobody Gets Fed…

This morning I had a call from someone stating that she was a reporter. At the time of the call, I was attempting to navigate the gift registry for my son and daughter in law while sitting in the parking lot of Half Price Books. Why was I book shopping? I was searching for a gift for my bride. 

How excited am I for my first grandchild? Very! I can’t wait and for three months now, haven’t had time to shop the gift registry at Bye Bye Baby. Stephanie is ready to have this baby!

I’m an avid reader and explained to one production company executive a few years ago why. When other children were playing I was reading. I read everything from dictionaries to phone books to law books. My love of reading surpasses any other bobby I have. I’m consistently interested in learning.

Today’s call from someone who apparently is too busy to do her own research wasn’t surprising because for three years now reporters and production companies have been contacting me to educate them at their convenience.

At the risk of sounding bitchy, my job isn’t to do your job for you. For anyone unaware of what this means or who might assume that I’m thrilled you contacted me, here goes… I don’t have 1-2 hours to chat with you about my clients, their decision to marry an inmate or address your questions. I’m busy. Schedule an appointment.

As for reporters who assume anyone can show up and interview an inmate, you are obviously new at your job. Policy and Procedure are a requirement to enlighten you on exactly what’s needed to gain access to a Unit and more specifically, an inmate.

“I heard Polunsky has a media day where journalists and reporters can come and interview inmates.” You heard what you wanted to hear. Media Access to Polunsky requires several key elements to meet the criteria first and permission to even enter the parking lot. If you are not on the list, you will not get in at Polunsky.

“I read one of your blogs about helping a journalist get access to witness a marriage with your clients at Polunsky. You helped her why won’t you help me?” Hmm, first Ella contacted me and wanted to join me on a 24 hour day in my life to 4 Units in 3 cities. Ella wanted to go into all Units that day and was only granted access to one. She had to choose which one and chose Polunsky. I contacted TDCJ and helped coordinate her access. I don’t do this for anyone contacting me because they expect me to do so. Without consent from an inmate, media does not have access to an inmate or the Unit.

Last March, someone claiming to be casting a prison based show contacted me on Instagram. He wanted me to do his job for him. I strongly dislike arrogance. I also am well aware that media access is possible but only by strictly adhering to Policy. Secondly, the inmate must agree to media access.

Regarding media access… The Supreme Court established definitively in Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401, 404 (1989), that prison regulations affecting prisoner’s First Amendment rights should be analyzed under the reasonableness standard set out in Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89 (1987), and such regulations, therefore, will be found valid as long as they are “reasonably related to legitimate penological interests.” Turner, 482 U.S. at 89.

In fact, in three separate contexts, the Supreme Court has upheld prison regulations that prevented the media from conducting interviews with inmates. See Houchins v. KQED, Inc., 438 U.S. 1 (1978) (upholding denial of media requests for a special inspection of facilities and interview of inmates); Pell v. Procunier, 417 U.S. 817, 827 (1974) (upholding regulations that limited media selection of particular inmate for interview); Saxbe v. Washington Post Co., 417 U.S. 843 (1974) (upholding regulations prohibiting the media from conducting face-to-face interviews with specific inmates).

Moreover, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has held that, to the extent the policy in 28 C.F.R. § 540.62 “may impinge on a prisoner’s first amendment rights, it is nevertheless valid as ‘reasonably related to legitimate penological interests.’” Kimberlin v. Quinlan, 6 F.3d 789, 791-92 n.6 (D.C. Cir. 1993) (quoting Turner, 482 U.S. at 89).

Analogously, in Johnson v. Stephan, 6 F.3d 691, 692 (10th Cir. 1993), the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that state prison officials were permitted to deny television news personnel access to their prison to conduct a face-to-face interview with the inmate.

The prison officials had determined that providing such access would cause a disruption to the orderly operation of the facility. Because there were alternative means for communicating with the media (the inmate was free to communicate through the mail and telephone).

Nor does the media itself have any special or enhanced right of access to an inmate.

Although the right of the press to gather news and information is protected by the First Amendment, Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 681 (1972), “the First Amendment does not guarantee the press a constitutional right of special access to information not available to the public generally,” id. at 684.

In this regard, the Supreme Court has held that the press has “no constitutional right of access to prisons or their inmates beyond that afforded the general public.” Pell, 417 U.S. at 834.

Further, the analysis employed by the courts to determine the validity of regulating an inmate’s access to the media is the same regardless of whether the media is asserting a First Amendment right to have access to the inmate or the inmate is asserting a First Amendment right to have access to the media.

Compare Johnson (media sought access) with Kimberlin (inmate sought access). See also Thornburgh, 490 U.S. at 410 n.9 (rejecting any attempt to apply a separate standard for cases implicating the rights of outsiders verses prisoners).

Media access to inmates is closely controlled. While reporters and production company’s might assume they have Carte Blanche, they don’t.

For anyone unaware of how access works, please review policy and procedure within the state of the Unit where an inmate is located in order to attempt access for filming or a recorded interview.

Pertaining to my clients and their loved ones, I advise my clients to advise their loved ones to get a contract strictly outlining the scope of the interview. Why? Because in general any interview with an inmate is going to be as far from a positive outcome for the inmate as one might expect. So, if you are attempting to go through me to get to my clients loved one for an interview, good luck. While an inmate may be a ware of their ability to limit the scope of an interview, I am not.

Moving on to next weeks scheduling. Monday I’m filing licenses in Tarrant, Dallas and Parker Counties. Tuesday I’m at TDCJ Garza East Unit. Wednesday I’m at TDCJ Allred Unit then TDCJ Roach Unit. Thursday I’m at Lasalle Correctional Center in Alvarado. Friday I’m at Green Bay Unit then on to Mercado and Marlin. Please contact me ASAP to verify available dates left in February. I already have bookings in March and I’m limiting new bookings in order to address my existing clients awaiting dates.

Pertaining to new additions to photo booth inventory. I’m working on a Spring cascading bouquet for the season and have added new umbrella props as well as a lavender fur and coordinating bouquet. Per a request to add Dallas Cowboys blue, I will have a blue bling bouquet by April in stock.

While I do not design custom colors for anyone since my inventory is at my own expense, I do add new inventory year round and attempt to have a wide array of options to address my varied client base.

Cindy and I no longer create and sell custom designs. It’s rare for me to take on a custom order and custom orders require a deposit and balance satisfied prior to shipping.

Creating and adding inventory to our rolling photo booth suvs is an expensive endeavor but ensuring all of our clients have an opportunity to celebrate their wedding and have bridal or groom photos as keepsakes sets us apart from ANY OTHER VENDOR. My staff and I will also buy 3 Unit photos as a courtesy for our clients.

Regarding Unit Photos, please be aware that correctional officers are not professional photographers with professional equipment. I’ve had many comments regarding the quality of so and so’s photos being better. Each Unit is different.

Updates regarding booking policy and procedure… in order to be on our client roster you are required to return your contract and your deposit. The balance is due one week prior to the scheduled event. If you are not on our roster you have either not returned your contract or your deposit or both. I will not confirm a date with any Unit in any state without anyone fully following my booking procedure.

My roster as well as my staff’s is compromised of booked clients not “people who have talked to me, messaged me or emailed me.” If you have not BOOKED ME or MY STAFF you ARE NOT A CLIENT.

“It May Be The Cock That Crows, But It Is The Hen That Lays The Eggs.” Margaret Thatcher

Friday afternoon at 1PM, my sister and I walked into Harris Methodist Willow Park Emergency. Cindy could barely walk due to the pain of angina coupled with a shortness of breath. 

My twin sister had been popping nitroglycerin pills like candy all week. It should be noted that she had to argue to get a prescription for these lifesaving pills from our PCP. 

Cindy had been admitted and released from Harris Southwest on September 1st after being “diagnosed with angina.” What does angina mean? It means something is wrong. I was upset that Harris Southwest they hadn’t bothered to write Cindy a script for nitroglycerin. If you have heart problems, you need nitroglycerin. 

Cindy and I have recently learned that an EKG is unreliable regarding diagnosing heart problems. How so? Cindy’s had several EKG’s since August and all of them were “normal.” 

Here’s a tip kids, if you are having chest pain and your EKG is normal, request a blood test, CT scan and MRI. Following these revealing tests, get a stress test. It could just save your life. A normal EKG doesn’t mean you don’t have a heart problem. Each and every one of Cindy’s EKG’s have been normal. 

After being “accepted” which is a requirement by a cardiologist at Harris Heart Tower, my twin sister was moved by ambulance. I was thankful and relieved that she was finally going to get some help.

I left my suv and drove her suv to pick up her twin granddaughters, Maryssa and Makenna at the 9th grade center and had them both pack overnight bags to stay at my home AKA WorthamWorld with my husband. Thankfully, the twins are out of school this week. Running them to and from school when I live 25 minutes away can be hectic. My son, my husband and prior to moving to California, my niece have all helped Cindy and I with the twins.

Feeding the twins cats and making sure they are okay for a few days, Maryssa and I loaded up the directional signs for McBee Homes while Makenna grabbed homework to finish this weekend for extra credit.

My sister has been helping my son with his sign route by putting them out in Weatherford Friday night and picking them up Sunday night. I’ve never performed this route before so Maryssa was giving directions on where to stop and drop signs as I drove Cindy’s suv. 

Maryssa also helped me figure out how to put gas in Cindy’s suv while my suv sat at Harris Willow Park for the duration of the weekend. 

After getting the signs placed, I headed to my home to drop off the twins with my husband, Matthew. I then headed to Harris Tower to check on Cindy. 

Masking my fear and worry, I put on my “brave face”while parking Cindy’s suv in the lot and find my way to the Heart Tower. I’d been here before with my grandfather, grandmother, father and aunt. Heart disease runs in our family. Terrifying and true as this fact is, no one had heart problems that they were aware of at 55 years old. Hence my apprehension. Cindy and I now know she has heart problems. 

The greatest fear I have or have ever had is losing my sister. We’ve been through everything together. Cindy can also “read me.” 

All weekend long I’m coming and going to check on Cindy. As I park and walk to the elevators and look up at the photo painted next to the horse on the parking floor and say to myself “fourth floor horse.” This is to remind me where I’ve parked this time. 

Walking out of the parking garage, I remind myself “3rd floor C310.” Last night I was parked on floor 6 aka “sixth floor jack rabbit.” 

The entrance to the Heart Tower is private and separated from the main hospital. Even the ambulance for heart patients enters from a separate area. The visiting hours are “anytime” and the signs warning of heart disease line the walls. 

My twin sister is alone in her room. It is a private room. There are circles under her eyes. She’s tired, frightened and nervous. I’ve brought her heating pad, warm socks, a phone charger and protein bars. I forgot to bring her a toothbrush and hairbrush. I would continue to forget things for days. Lack of sleep, stress and worry do that to you. 

Throughout the weekend I would forget where I had parked. I would feel incredibly guilty leaving my sister to go meet clients and honor my schedule. I would also check in with her husband, Steve who was in Cleveland Friday, Nevada Saturday and El Paso today. Steve is a long haul driver for Ryder. Like all of us, Steve is worried about Cindy. Several times a day, my niece Leigh Ann FaceTimes me with Maddy from California. My son is out of town working a wedding this weekend. 

Saturday, my husband watched the twins and keeps them entertained with shopping sprees. I’m back at Harris after meeting clients at Belltower Chapel. Cindy is wheeled in and out for more tests. Each time she falls asleep, she’s awakened for medication or a shot in the stomach to thin her blood. Her enzymes are rising. I would learn a lot of lingo at Harris Heart Tower. 

I would also make a commitment with Cindy to quit smoking and to go vegan if only my twin can walk out if this hospital with me. I’ve prayed. I’ve asked others to pray. I’ve cried. I’ve had panic attacks. I’ve realized how fragile my sister actually is. 

I’ve recognized that my sister has always put her own needs last. From her adult daughters to her granddaughters to caring for our selfish grandmother who lived with and mooched off Cindy for 18 years while our grandmothers children (our father and our aunt) “lived their lives.” I have balked at the many times my sister’s generosity was abused by others. Usually our own family members. 

As usual, there are workers at Cindy’s house. Jessie and his crew go around and around with me. After twenty plus years of Jessie and others charging Cindy and not performing the work they’ve been hired to perform. I have also threatened not to pay the barrage of jicky handy men who show up but never come back to Cindy’s house after collecting money. Cindy’s handymen and I are always at odds. Frequently, Cindy’s handymen are always disappointing her. This week, Jessie and his crew were supposed to be at working on the gutters of her house but each time I ran over to check on them, they weren’t there. Cindy has roofers coming Wednesday that want the handymen gone on Monday. 

Today, I brought one of Cindy’s twin granddaughters, Makenna up to visit Cindy while her sister stays home with my husband. Originally, both twins wanted to come but I don’t have all day to wait around and one or both of the Twins is almost always bored. The last thing I need to hear.

I caught up with the cardiologist and addressed contracts for my clients and handling paperwork for Texas Twins Events and TDCJ Officiant while worrying about my sister and pretending I wasn’t worried. 

After several hours, I finally had stacks of contracts ready to mail along with photos from all four of my brides last week. Makenna was also bored and ready to go back to Uncle Matthew. 

Guilt and worry haunt me each and every time I leave the hospital and my twin sister. I’m anxious. I pray tomorrow the cardiologist can find the blockage causing her all of these problems. I pray her health can be restored.

My husband asks what he can do to help while Cindy’s husband tells me when he will be here and asks what he can do? I tell them both continue praying. 

Leigh Ann feels guilty because she’s in California and we haven’t heard from Stephaney which is an actual relief. Cindy’s daughter is the primary cause of our health issues. 

“It takes courage to have hope.”

Louise E. Johnson