It is well known that we offer estate liquidation services for folks who can no longer afford their storage units or, are downsizing and need to sell their stuff. From estate liquidation services to “Pawning Parties,” these Texas Twins are often involved in fundraising along with our standard event services that include wedding ceremonies, baptism, house blessings, funeral ceremonies and more.
When Virginia came to me regarding liquidating her two storage units, the Texas Twins Events Team whipped into action loading up her items and bringing them to my garages to sort them. Advertising the sale to my numerous affiliations on social media and Craig’s List, we sold nearly all of her items and donated the rest to Goodwill.
What is a “Pawning Party?” Well friend, if you don’t have any money to pay your rent due to job loss or illness- you’ve got to figure out how to raise those funds. We come in with pizza and soft drinks and advertise your “sale” to generate the shoppers and liquidate your assets thereby raising money for you. How do we get paid? We take 20% of the profits to organize your event and auction your items. When orchestrating a liquidation event- the terms are the same however, we keep the unsold items and donate them to charities.
When people come to me with no idea how to raise money- I help them by giving insights on how to get shoppers interested. A 30 year history of selling and refurbishing items gives me product knowledge that the average consumer doesn’t possess. Why? Because most people have no idea of the resale value of their stuff. When you take trades for services- you had better have some idea of what your “pawning” and what you can sell the item for and, I do. In 2009, I opened an eBay store to sell my own possessions during the second year that my real estate developer husband, Matthew Wortham was unemployed which we now call the real estate crisis. Going from an upper middle class income to struggling on my income put me into a “survival mode” of raising money to pay our hefty mortgage. I successfully sold my jewelry, furs, couture clothing and all of our furniture to “save the farm.” My beautiful items amassed from a twenty year modeling history effectively “came in handy” when we had nowhere else to find money. I’m a survivor and as a survivor, able to evaluate and execute a plan for folks who face similar situations.
I’m interviewed frequently regarding how and why I started a wedding and events business that evolved into taking trades for services and how I sell the items to recover expenses and generate revenue. My sister sites Texas Twins Treasures and Texas Twins Events-Wedding and Event Services are how this “whole business got started.” You see, initially offering low cost services and ceremonies brought to me families who had no money too. Finding ways to help these folks while still generating revenue took planning on my part and the ability to “expand my brand.”
Many of you wonder how the “pawning process” works. A video documenting the Dream Event of Lisa and Terry Williams gives you a better idea of a day in my life with my saucy sidekick and twin sister, Cindy Daniel along with my multigenerational family Meet The Pawning Planners- Wendy Wortham and Cindy Daniel documents how families come to me with a request or “Dream Event” but have no money. While my twin sister and I obviously have a good time doing what we do- we are also helping families that no one else is going to help hence the term “Dream Event.”
Did folks think I was crazy when I initially started my Texas Twins Events Business? You betcha! Even my own family couldn’t see the future of where this business would take me and later, they realized the gift of what I was doing and joined me in my quest to give “anyone regardless of their income the opportunity for a Dream Event.”
For the many families we have helped these past four years, I created an affordable alternative to traditional price structures that directly targeted the low to middle class consumer who would never have been able to afford “traditional pricing of $10k and up.” You see, the truth behind the average wedding cost is that the average person can’t afford it!
Items offered in my storefront are often in a state of disrepair when I acquire them. Having a creative imagination to stain and refurbish them is key when “flipping” the item after the “Pawning Process” has begun. Flipping furniture takes time and elbow grease.
Texas Twins Events and The Pawning Planners Process evolved based on demand and my client base. Being able to evolve and “roll with the flow” is key to my success in this industry.
While I’m frequently interviewed as to how and why it happened, my answer is simple- I saw a need and found a way to meet that need by reinventing and rebranding myself as many times as necessary to make it work for me, my family and our client base.
I don’t have any competition for a very basic reason- my competitors take cash, check or credit cards period. Being willing and able to “do it differently” created a window for everyone who wasn’t able to “whip out a check.”
Creating my own inventory of wedding bouquets, boutenniers, centerpieces, columns, camera equipment and everything ease necessary to pull it all together along with my family to help me was necessary when families had no money to hire a photographer or buy flowers for their event.
Overcoming any and all barriers wouldn’t “come easy” unless you were a survivor. My passion comes from perseverance and for me the joy of the journey is the families we meet, the people we help and our desire as a team to make this world a better place.
Wendy M Wortham
Normally I would have caught up my readers with a new blog post but the past ten days have been hectic with traveling to meet clients while juggling the “ever present tornado in my life,” Stephaney.
Cindy and I were on location yesterday when the friend that took Steph in, Trina, called to tell us that she was returning from an eye Dr appointment in Chicago and saw Steph passed out and sunburned on a park bench. Trina told her driver to stop and picked her up. Trina is legally blind and doesn’t drive. When Steph “talked Cindy and I into flying her to Springfield, Illinois” after we had flown her to San Diego for treatment, the “plan” was that Steph would move into Trina’s second bedroom and be a caregiver. Within 6 days, Steph yet again found drugs and screwed up the plan.
Trina was forced to kick her out. I decided to text her to go to the Salvation Army. For those unaware, the Salvation Army has numerous programs for women including schooling and housing. I never heard back from my niece and assumed (as usual) had either lost the phone or traded it in exchange for Meth. Don’t shake your head. You haven’t been through nearly 18 years of the psychotic circus of loving an addict. You don’t know “the routine.” I do. Cindy does too.
It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and judge when you haven’t had to pick someone up out of the gutter over and over and over again. I don’t care about “other people’s” judgmental opinions.
A few years ago, my grandniece, Makenna sent me a text at the same time she sent the text to Cindy that read “MiMi’s I don’t want to be like my mom. I took all of my anxiety meds.” We were in Abilene after finishing a wedding at TDCJ Robertson Unit. I knew that an ambulance wouldn’t get from Cindys house in Weatherford to Cooks in time to save my grandniece so I called a helicopter while Cindy called an ambulance. See where I’m going with “spare me your judgment?” I effin mean it. You have NO idea of the shitstorm my niece has brought onto our family. Makenna was transferred from Cooks after two weeks to Mesa Springs for suicidal ideation. Makenna has permanent Serotonin Syndrome and heart damage BECAUSE she didn’t want to be like her mother. If I sound angry it’s because I AM.
Cindy had to take a nitro pill yesterday afternoon. Why? Because she was “hopeful” that things would work out between Steph and Trina. BUT when Cindy told her daughter “me and Wendy are NOT going to replace your phone AGAIN.” We aren’t. This angered Steph. We don’t care. She doesn’t need a cell phone. Trina has a cell phone. I had blocked Steph on Cindy’s phone but Cindy isn’t blocking Trina.
Within hours of picking Steph up, Trina was calling Cindy to tell her “she’s yelling and acting crazy again.” Did Steph hide drugs at Trina’s before she was kicked out? I have no idea. BUT that phone call was why Cindy was taking her nitro pills.
I was on the road 16 hours last week when Makenna called because I had instructed Cindy to remind her that “you don’t have to be where you came from.” Why? Because you DON’T. Cindy and I came from a Hellish family and environment. Our mother was a heroin addict who sold all four of her children for $50 each. Cindy and I ARE THE MOTHERS WE NEVER HAD. You CAN be the person you would like to meet AND you can create a life COMPLETELY different from the life you left behind when you left home. Cindy and I did. Our brother did. Our sister, Tammy did too.
ALL of my mothers children BECAME the PARENTS we didn’t have. Intentionally and with forethought ALL of my mothers children BROKE the CHAINS of our past.
Friday afternoon while taking a few hours off to enjoy our grandchildren with a visit to Fossil Rim, my twin burst out crying. This deeply concerned and frightened me. I pulled over. My niece, Leigh Ann was in the “A Vehicle.” She saw me pull over and pulled over too. I asked Cindy “what’s wrong buddy? Please don’t cry. Talk to me.”
My twin took both of her hands and held her own face. “I can’t believe that one of our kids is this self destructive. I can’t believe that we gave them everything we didn’t have and Steph chose this path. I can’t believe we’ve been raising her twin daughters for 17 years in September WHILE dealing with Stephaney’s consistent “relapses.”
She was right. I can’t believe it either. I thought for a moment trying to get my thoughts and words in order. As a child, the trauma we survived caused me to struggle with chronic stutter. In fact, I stopped speaking entirely for a number of years. Cindy spoke for me. I “entertained” myself by reading. Phone books, dictionaries, law books, whatever I could find I read. I taught myself to speak without stuttering by singing along to music in my teens. BUT as an adult, if I’m stressed, panicked OR nervous, my “childhood stutter” haunts me like a Dark Knight. I didn’t want to stutter comforting Cindy. I wanted my “words to come out right.”
I handed Oliver a cookie. I sent Leigh Ann a text that read “give us a few minutes.” Leigh Ann had Maddie in the Rogue I gave Cindy for Christmas.
I looked at my sister, my best friend, the person who has survived so much by my side for so many years and said “we can’t change her. I’ve tried everything. You’ve tried everything. We’ve spent so much money trying to fix Stephaney that we could buy 2 new custom homes my husband builds and sells. Here’s what we can do… we can CHOOSE to STOP trying to fix Stephaney and CHOOSE to live the rest of our lives happy. We can’t change someone who refuses to change. She’s caused you heart attacks. She’s caused my husband heart attacks. She’s caused my thyroid cancer and lumpectomy. She’s caused both of her daughters to attempt suicide. Your husband is now on heart medication. She is LITERALLY killing OUR family. Please sister please let her go. She’s taking up space in your head and heart and she isn’t paying ANY rent!”
I handed Cindy one of my Xanax. It’s so damn hard to look normal with the “Stephaney Cyclone” in the rear view mirror constantly causing chaos that NO ONE fully and entirely understands UNLESS they’ve lived it themselves.
We drove on to Fossil Rim. Cindy had a few laughs. She forgot about Stephaney for a few hours. I was thankful. Relieved.
Friday afternoon I was at Fort Worth FMC. Friday evening we flew out BUT Cindy had her cell phone AND that phone is HOW Stephaney consistently destroys any degree of normality my sister and I might have. Stephaney will borrow a phone to call either of us if she loses or trades the hundreds of cell phones we’ve replaced over this 18 year window. It’s like someone coming up behind you and burning you with a lit cigarette. You are NEVER ready. Stephaney consistently burns us. She burns any degree of normality right out of our lives.
It’s now Sunday and Cindy is resting. I’m sitting in a parking lot waiting on my client fielding texts and emails from other clients and even taking a phone call while writing this blog from my Coffield Client who is “having second thoughts.”
I must stay busy. I must occupy my mind. I was driving to McConnell Unit when I started crying myself. Loving an addict is the most miserable experience that ANYONE can ENDURE. You never stop worrying, wondering, second guessing. Are they dead or alive? Do they care what they are putting anyone who cares about them through? Why can’t they change? Why don’t they want to change? God help me the pain of caring about an addict is like being scraped by jagged glass over and over and over and over.
I’m at Green Bay Unit and Tarrant County tomorrow. I’m at Tennessee Colony Units Tuesday. I have no idea where I am Wednesday because I only check my schedule every 48 hours. Why? Because my schedule is overwhelming.
I’m trying to teach my sister to put her daughter, Stephaney out of her mind. Leigh Ann put things into perspective last week when she told Cindy and I both in the parking lot of Willow Lake Event Center “for nearly 18 years you have both allowed Stephaney to be a PRIORITY. Unless you were working, filming or on location with clients OR trying to look normal with me and Robbie or the grandkids at family events, you both have allowed Steph AND her choices to consume your lives as well as ours. While you were both of trying to “Save Stephaney” for all of these years the rest of us needed you. I can’t even stand to hear her name. She’s taken so much from this family. She’s stolen from me, she’s bullied me, she’s taken so much! Stop letting her take the center stage. She isn’t going to change. I have 2 moms. Robbie has 2 moms. Stephaney HAD 2 moms and she’s abused BOTH of YOU. Your grandkids and your other kids are WORTHY of YOUR ATTENTION. I’m sick of Stephaney. Sick of her.”
Thinking back I was a little shocked at my nieces outburst but she was right. Stephaney WAS taking the CENTER STAGE for ALL of THESE YEARS. I had never looked at “it” the way Leigh Ann was describing “it.”
Cindy and I have always had Leigh Ann. It was Leigh Ann who took care of the twins while Wendy and Cindy ran off on yet another “Saving Stephaney” escapade. Leigh Ann was right.
My client is here. I will try to catch up in a few days but the fear of Stephaney blowing up our lives yet again remains..
The best investment Cindy and I have ever made was to skip advertising and spend our money on creating a massive inventory to loan to clients for their event. Loaning bouquets, bouteniers, wedding dresses, veils, centerpieces and more? Yes! On more than one occasion we have had a bride that couldn’t afford a wedding dress.
When I run across a wedding dress, I buy it because I know someone somewhere might need it. Our clients don’t need to spend money on items and save money by borrowing them from our inventory. We do events differently.
At least once a week I accept a connection request on LinkedIn from someone who immediately “pitches me” about more traffic or more clients. We are so booked and busy that we have no interest in “more traffic or clients.”
Thanks anyway. If you are connecting with me on LinkedIn to sell me on more traffic or clients, you haven’t researched me or my client bases. I don’t market clients. I don’t need “more traffic OR clients.” I NEED more HOURS in the day.
The truth is that no one could target market our unique client bases regardless of how creative they might think they are. From people bartering to people marrying an inmate to LBGT couples struggling to find a “friendly event vendor,” our clients come to us because they have heard about us and find us or a previous client referred them to us.
We invested in making Dream Events a reality for anyone coming to us and welcomed diversity and our efforts have paid off. Our advertising budget is and always has been ZERO DOLLARS. We spend money on the things our clients appreciate.
While walking a trade at an Appraisal Appointment in Cleburne yesterday afternoon, I had a text regarding updates pertaining to State Prison Weddings in Texas.
For the record, I do not take calls or texts when I’m on location with another client. I focus on my congregation (the client) rather than the caller (the choir).
As of yet, there is no word from TDCJ regarding when visitation will reopen although the Federal Bureau Of Prisons made an announcement that visitation will be reinstated at all of their Federal Facilities “no later than October 3, 2020.”
Like everyone else, I’m frustrated about Governor Abbott consistently avoiding addressing visitation in Texas.
Will the FBOP force Abbott to make a statement? Only time will tell.
It’s now been nearly 7 months of waiting on visitation to be reinstated while only a handful of states have reinstated limited visitation with preregistration requirements in effect.
After answering the text, I received a response that was a bit surprising and unsettling. I waited to respond as I finished up with my client on location in Cleburne.
My client is concerned about her fiancée and his intentions. His letters run from positive to negative.
This has been happening with other clients waiting to marry an inmate as well.
It’s distressing when you are looking forward to a letter to be disappointed upon reading it.
I’m an advocate for my clients and their needs because it’s not uncommon for them to have very little support regarding marrying an inmate from their family and friends.
Convincing my clients to stop feeling guilty about being on the outside while an inmate is on the inside isn’t an easy conversation. If you are marrying an inmate you need to set limits. You are in charge whether you realize it or not.
Clients on the outside do it all and they do it alone. They go to work, they pay their bills, they raise their children, they pay expensive phone calls and make long drives to the Unit and every sacrifice they can to benefit inmates including putting money on the inmates books.
Inmates often overlook the many sacrifices their loved ones make for their benefit. My clients need to recognize and realize that their needs and their lives are important too. They need to put their own needs first. I often remind them of this when they are made to feel guilty from an inmate.
Inmates can be master manipulators. A handful of my clients have encountered a few con artists playing them AND other women at the same time OR encountering an inmate that wants my clients to send more money than they can afford to.
Inmates can be demanding. I hear everything from my clients regarding their incarcerated loved ones behavior. Who can forget the “Coffield Unit Con Man Who Got The Boot?” The inmate was upset his fiancée had been in a car accident and would need to cut back on prison phone calls and visits in order to cover her deductible. My client called me furious about this while disclosing other details that convinced me she should cancel the wedding and re evaluate. She did. We rescheduled months later only to cancel again after the inmate demanded she send saucy photos. This type of request occurs more than you might think. I advise all of my clients not to send raunchy photos for several reasons. First, the mail is carefully screened. Second, those photos are passed around the Unit. Just say no. Establish boundaries and keep them. After the second reschedule, my client decided to skip marrying the man who was controlling her from the inside and accusing her of fooling around on the outside of she missed a call. She had deliberately missed calls to save money but the ongoing arguments continued to such an extent that the inmate iced himself right out of my client putting money on his books, paying for phone calls and renting hotels after driving 6 hours to the Unit for a visit. People have limits. My client made the right decision. If an inmate controls you while inside they are really going to control you once they get outside.
Inmates often use guilt to get loved ones to “do more” for their benefit.
I advise my clients to set boundaries and limits. It’s not uncommon for me to list all of the things my clients do for an inmate and remind them of their sacrifices.
Often these clients are given little if any recognition from a manipulative inmate.
The texts continued for about an hour between my client regarding her concerns, her unnecessary guilt and her frustration about letters that she should be looking forward to reading that are now creating anxiety and depression.
I advised her to explain her feelings on paper to her fiancée and stop feeling guilty. She’s working long hours and doing everything she can. Establishing limits is essential for any client marrying an inmate. If they don’t, a handful of them will be pushed too far financially and emotionally and often choose to cancel the wedding plans altogether. I support their choice of course because marrying an inmate isn’t an easy path. It’s a difficult path that is often one sided. The hundreds of people I’ve married to an inmate were certain of their decision. They knew what they were getting into and carefully evaluated their decision. They weren’t pen pals. I always ask this question because there are very few pen pal marriages that have longevity. A divorce is painful and I prefer my clients not go through one.
We are in a pandemic. Many people don’t know if their jobs are secure. Many people are struggling through this pandemic. That’s not to say that inmates aren’t fearful or concerned about Covid as I know from my clients that inmates are fearful of this virus too but clearly inmates have structure, predictability and far more leisure time than their loved ones on the outside doing everything they can to provide for the inmate. Inmates have a lot of time to call or write and often expect my clients to write everyday if the inmate isn’t authorized to make phone calls. Video calls are now available at only 12 TDCJ Units.
My clients need someone they can vent to and I’m that someone. I hear everything and occasionally a client just needs to vent but just as often a client needs to draw a line in the sand and establish that they are sacrificing for the inmate. They are in charge of their finances and their generosity. They have the upper hand. I remind them of the importance of knowing how important their self care is and the need to put themselves first.
There are many cracked windows at visitation cells from inmates slamming their fist on the glass in anger. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked a CO to move an inmate for a non contact wedding to another cubicle that doesn’t have cracked glass. There’s too many times. The cracked glass hurts my heart. An angry inmate taking out their anger on the person who went through so much to get there bothers me. In fact, it angers me.
Anger at the person who sacrificed their day to drive to a visit. Stand in line at the shakedown area. Hurry up to wait along with many others. People who should be celebrated for coming to visit by inmates that instead are angry. It’s tragic.
I’ve heard of inmates screaming at their loved ones on phone calls the loved ones are paying for. I instruct them to hang up. No one deserves misdirected anger. Especially someone paying outrageous fees for a phone call.
Occasionally people are confused about who my client is. It isn’t the inmate. My clients are on the outside. Inmates are on the inside.
The diversity of my client bases shocks people. Years ago, my clients were mostly LBGT. For several years now the vast majority of my clients are marrying an inmate at a state, federal, ICE or county Unit within the United States.
I limit coordinator and officiant bookings to referrals only. The time involved to coordinate an event is too trying to my existing schedule.
The number of bookings shifting to bartering from Texas Twins Events or TDCJ Officiant to The Pawning Planners has been a bit of a surprise since traditionally less than 3-5% of our bookings are bartered. Covid-19, the pandemic and job loss has caused an influx of booking changes in Texas.
If you have initially booked through Texas Twins Events or TDCJ Officiant, please contact me to shift your booking and schedule an Appraisal Appointment. We are not taking deposits for prison weddings in any of our service area states at this time. Why? Because I have nearly 50 people who were books prior to Covid and visitation shutdowns that will be scheduled first. All other inquiries will be scheduled in the order the request was received. In March the only state that had clients waiting was Texas. Cindy and I had already addressed all other service area states. I often go to 3 or 4 prisons in the same day and effectively stack Units. If your Unit isn’t an existing booked Unit or within 1-2 hours of an existing booked Unit, you are being pushed into 2021.
I’m going to once again clarify that Cindy and I do not buy items from prospects. We do not loan money on items from prospects. We do not refurbish items from people who think “we love reupholstering furniture.” We aren’t a pawn shop or an upholstery store.
What we do is take items in trade and either list them as is or refurbish them in order to make the sale more profitable.
It should be noted that we also do not sell our heavy upholstery tapestry fabrics either. Why? Because our fabrics are imported and easily run $40-60 a yard and the average consumer has no idea what quality upholstery costs that’s why.
Our upholstery and attention to quality is what sets us apart and why our clients come back to buy refurbished antique furniture time and time again.
Why did we start taking trades? A minority of our clients years ago didn’t have any money. They wanted a service but had no way to pay for it. Cindy and I have been flipping items many years and decided to merge Texas Twins Treasures and Texas Twins Events to create The Pawning Planners and an opportunity for people with no money to book a dream event. Bartering opened a window that hadn’t ever existed in the events industry.
With bartering comes a different set of rules and entirely different contract. An appraisal appointment is required. This appointment must be set a minimum of 30 days prior to the event date. The location of the event must be within 1-2 hours of our location in Fort Worth, Texas.
We do not barter destination events. Why? Travel expenses. Destination events are booked through TDCJ Officiant for inmate weddings or Texas Twins Events for traditional bookings.
When you are in the bartering business, you must have the income to cover the expense of the service and transportation of the item to our storage units until we can refurbish and then sell the item taken in trade.
Box trucks are often necessary to move large items. You will also need to pay storage on your inventory. Bartering costs money.
A lot of people are confused about the process or believe “anyone can make money in the flipping business.” No you can’t. It takes money to make money.
My husband has been a builder and developer for fifty plus years. He would never even consider flipping houses. Why? In the 80’s he tried it and was unsuccessful. He’s very successful in the custom homebuilding business.
Refurbishing a sofa can take up to 12 yards of fabric. Combine the expense of fabric with the cost of the upholsterer. You are either paying a pick up and delivery fee or renting a box truck or van to drop off and pick up. The expenses of refurbishing furniture are incredibly high which is why my twin sister has never taken an interest to any prospective trade involving furniture. I assume all of the risk and I’ve taken a few really substantial “financial hits.” I can afford to. I’m really picky about what I will take in trade. If the structure is unworthy the trade is declined. Furniture structure is critical. I look at structure first and design second. I’m interested in something I haven’t seen before.
I have no interest in big box furniture or home furnishings. I know what I’m looking for and I know what sells.
The prospective client doesn’t set the value of the barter we do. Why? Because we know the market and we know what the future investment on our end will be.
If someone tells me “it’s worth $500” in an effective argument to the appraisal less rental trucks, upholstery cost, labor and storage, I advise them to sell the item for $500 and book through Texas Twins Events instead. I don’t argue about a barter. No one else is going to barter your item. Think about it. We don’t have any competition in the bartering or prison weddings business.
A few people may think that they are making the rules on a barter but they have no idea of the overhead involved. “You’re so good at it that I think I can do it too.” Okay buddy let me know how it works out for you.
People often think that their item is worth more because they are “guessing at the value.”
One guy had moonshine. We can’t flip moonshine. “It has value!” I’m sure it does but we can’t resell alcohol.
We don’t “guess at a value” or what we will be investing on a trade. We look at all the angles.
Condition, construction and cost to transport, refurbish and store as well as whether there’s a market for the item or not are key to making a deal.
There have been people sending or texting photos of items thinking that a photo constitutes a client relationship and it doesn’t. A barter contract, appraisal appointment and deal are struck to create a client contract.
Local pick up means you come to Fort Worth, Texas. Local pick up and free delivery are two different things. Delivery within one hour of Fort Worth for sold items is at an additional cost.
If a truck rental is involved because the item is too large for one of our fleet SUV’s, the cost of the rental is combined with the cost of delivery at the buyers expense.
We are happy to have someone meet you at our storeroom or rental unit. Many buyers prefer the “pick up option” and arrange their own pickup. We are happy to make arrangements to meet your shipping or freight company.
Based on Cindy and my own schedules with existing clients from Belltower Chapel, Texas Twins Event’s, TDCJ Officiant or The Pawning Planners, delivery is at our convenience rather than your own which is why we strongly suggest local pick up. Buyers from Texas Twins Treasures are scheduled like everyone else. Yes, we have a schedule and are happy to work you in.
Someone else on my staff will meet you and assist you with loading of large items.
Items that fit in a USPS priority box or mailer are shipped within 24 hours. Please be aware that priority mail isn’t free to us and it isn’t free to you either.
Furs taken in trade are glazed and stored in climate controlled conditions. We do not store furs bought “off season” as a courtesy until winter. Storage for furs is expensive. Sold items are shipped immediately.
We often discount furs “off season” specifically in order to move inventory. Climate controlled storage is not included in short sale items in our storefront. If you wish for us to hold and store your fur until season, a fee for climate controlled storage will be included in your sale.
Marriage is a merger. Second thoughts about changing your mind about marrying are becoming common during this pandemic. This pandemic won’t last forever.
It’s essential to remember that everyone is under stress right now. Your fiancée’s behavior or attitude may be due to job stress or financial fear. Communication is key to your relationship surviving a tough time.
I currently have a pregnant bride who discovered her fiancée was having an affair after she was furloughed. Being furloughed is tough mentally for many people who feel rejected. She was already depressed about being jobless when this “other woman” entered the scene not knowing my client was at home on furlough and taking a home pregnancy test. Yep. She’s also pregnant.
The issue of moving her fiancée into her home was why and how she happened onto this very upsetting realization. The woman on the outside blew the cover off this “side hustle.” The timing of this situation couldn’t be worse for my client.
She is now in Florida with her mother and her aunt and we are considering flipping her November Wedding to a family reunion since the event is already paid for.
My angst over this tragic situation with a wedding two months away combined with my concern of how my client will confront and hopefully evict this Don Juan who was having this affair under her roof is a volatile situation. She is fragile. She is under heavy stress and she shouldn’t marry but she loves him.
Will she change her mind and raise her child alone? I have no idea but I’m hoping she does. Her fiancée has broken every ounce of trust she had.
The thing I want all of my clients to realize is that if you go into a marriage with emotional baggage, that baggage isn’t going anywhere. It’s a permanent fixture in your life and in your home. Infidelity is a deal breaker for me.
Trust is a primary and necessary component to a happy marriage. Without trust your foundation falters.
I’m already scheduling Federal Prison Weddings in October. Missouri and Oklahoma Clients please be aware that preregistration is required. Masks are also going to be required at all Federal Detention Facilities.
Sales of our LV and Chanel masks make it impossible for us to keep these items in stock which is why we haven’t listed designer masks in our Texas Twins Treasures storefront. Cindy or I will both have disposable masks with us on site in the event you arrive without a mask.
Please let me know if you have additional questions regarding pick up, delivery, or bartering by emailing me Wendy@texastwinsevents.com or by using the contact us link on any Wendy Wortham website.
It’s not uncommon to have a fairly unique trade proposition come in through The Pawning Planners.
In fact it’s a regular occurrence but Saturday’s barter had the Texas Twins doing a bit of research in the unknown territory of not only doll houses but also miniature furniture and accessories.
I was initially interested in this trade for my grandniece, Maddy but concerned about shipping this item without damaging it to Point Hueneme, CA.
After realizing that antique doll houses are worth hundreds and even thousands of dollars though Cindy and I decided to flip it.
We don’t always list bartered items at our EBay storefront, Texas Twins Treasures to sell them.
Why? Because buyers never factor freight which is often equal or more of the cost of the item.
EBay frequently misleads buyers who assume local pick up is free delivery. Local pick up is also at our location not yours.
I’ve been clarifying this confusion over free delivery since 2009 which is why I occasionally list on FB and Craigslist instead.
The ongoing argument regarding freight costs with “newbies” on EBay. If you want it expect to pay freight in order to get it.
EBay and PayPal fees are a requirement and expense to sellers. EBay even has final value fees for whatever the item sold for which adds another additional cost to the seller. Am I sick of EBay selling? Yes. Which is why I frequently sell on Etsy, FB and Craigslist.
Local buyers can come and pick up items from our warehouse in West Fort Worth or at my home in Westover Hills or Cindy’s home in Weatherford.
Cindy and I began flipping items “straight out of our warehouse” in 2014 to save space.
Storing items isn’t free. Our storage fees the past 7 years alone are over $9k. Why so high? Climate controlled storage to prevent damage to antiques.
Collin County isn’t too far from my location so I made an appointment to walk the trade on the doll house.
Cindy stayed in Weatherford shipping our latest Chanel & LV face masks. We’ve sold out twice and have 79 other buyers anxiously awaiting our latest inventory.
Designer face mask sales literally exploded about three weeks ago for the Texas Twins.
Why? Well this latest idea came to me after trying to buy masks on my own. I didn’t like the fabrics or the quality was lacking. I walked to one of my 6 closets. Six? Yes, I have 6 closets of designer clothing from a 25 year career in modeling. Don’t be shocked I love designer clothing.
I began sending text photos to Cindy on what to cut up. I had bought Chanel logo sheets for Cindy years ago she never used so she had a full King sheet set. I had 14 LV scarves and a Chanel one piece bathing suit with matching duster cover up. Due to the demand of orders, we hired 3 seamstresses in our area. All 3 were out of work due to Covid-19. They were thrilled for an opportunity to earn $12-15 dollars per mask. Our designer masks will be back in stock in 10 days. Prices range from $50-60 each with free standard shipping. Please be patient as we are no longer taking deposits. Why? We must fill existing orders first.
I had done a bit of research on antique doll houses prior to making the drive to my appraisal appointment. Antique doll houses worth the most are in original condition. This client also had fully furnished the doll house with beds, living room furniture and even patio furniture. I was particularly intrigued by the sterling silver miniature fireplace set. I’d found one on google and had an idea of the value.
The best way to flip this house would be by selling the interior items separately.
I loved the detail of the front of the house. My client and I struck a deal within twenty minutes. The service? A TDCJ Wedding at Torres Unit that includes bridal photography with my extensive inventory of veils, bouquets, tiaras, fascinators, summer hats and fun signs.
All of my clients marrying an inmate LOVE photo shoots with my team. Why? Because we bring the fun that’s why. The only thing clients need to bring is themselves.
I bring enough inventory for up to 10 guests.
Of course they can bring friends or family to wait while we are inside them join us at the photo shoot often near Units.
I decided to list the doll house while on location with my new client.
Surprisingly, before even making it back to Fort Worth, the doll house sold for $625. I had listed it just to test the waters on what buyers were willing to spend not expecting a customer from Mineral Wells to buy the house flat out.
By the time I made it home and started listing the interior pieces holding back the sterling silver fireplace set, my new friend in Mineral Wells also wanted to buy the interior pieces too. As is condition.
I decided to list the sterling silver fireplace set on another site though. I held back this really rare set knowing it could be worth more than the doll house or the interior pieces combined and I was right. Sold it!
Now to find a doll house for Maddy. There are a number of new ones on the market. Frankly, Maddy’s mom wouldn’t want an antique. Why? “They are dusty and dirty. I don’t want that kind of stuff in my house.”
Oh well, not everyone shares Leigh Ann’s opinion that newer is better and neither do I. Antiques have a rich history. This doll house was well loved. Most everything in my home and office is antique.
My home office is anchored by an 1800 King Henry desk adorned by brass angels and ornamentation. This rare piece was taken in trade back in 2010 and continues to be my most treasured piece. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a client try to buy it from me. But it’s not for sale.
Tomorrow I’m due at Wallace-Ware Unit for a wedding so I must run and call to confirm with the Unit.
From Trades to Trash or Treasure Cindy and I have had a wild ride of flips and flops but now and again we’ve been lucky enough to barter more Treasure than Trash.
“Success doesn’t grow without planting the seeds of effort and watering your own garden.” Cindy Daniel
Part of the reason for our success is research. The other part is experience. Bartering or flipping isn’t for everyone. You won’t always hit a lick. You need items people want and you need to know the value.
“Success starts with determination and a goal. Consequently, failure begins with chaos and a wish.” Cindy Daniel
Good luck to all of our friends, followers and sellers…
Finding time to go to Appraisal Appointments with a burdened schedule and a sick family pet isn’t easy. I had an interesting proposition come through The Pawning Planners last week but due to my schedule had to bump it until today.
Anyone who has taken care of a sick child or pet is sleep deprived. You put your own needs aside in order to care for those you love. Over the past three weeks, trips to the vet and ER for Foxy have exceeded $5k. Foxy has bladder cancer and Foxy is like a son to my childless husband. Will we put Foxy through treatment and more surgery? No. Coming to terms with saying goodbye has been incredibly debilitating to my husband but like me he doesn’t want Foxy to suffer.
If I had it to do over again, Matthew and I would have taken out pet insurance but Foxy’s too old and it’s too late. Luckily, we can afford the best of care for our Beagle. Hand feeding Foxy and giving him his medication has been a joint job of my husband and I due to my schedule.
I’m on the road all next week and Matthew has taken on the new role of President this year moving up from Vice President at McBee Homes. Due to our schedules, we have enlisted the help of my twin sister to care for Foxy while we are both on the job and effectively on the road.Anna had taken on a care taking role herself by moving her ailing father into her home. She hadn’t been planning to find love. How did she find Eric? She had signed up as a pen pal at her church to write an inmate. Innocent letters became love letters from Hutchins State Jail. Visits to Eric warmed Anna’s heart. Other than work and caring for her many pets, Anna had little in life to look forward to. Eric filled that void.
I’m always a little surprised that people who have never met someone can fall so deeply in love but, it happens.
Many of my clients are struggling to pay their bills, raise their children and get by on a single income. Very few are also taking care of a parent or parent in their homes but there are a handful of clients that do.
Caring for your parents isn’t something most children or even adults “plan on.”
Throughout my years as a premarital counselor one of the Deal Breakers for clients has been moving a parent or parents into the home of a couple. You lose privacy. You add responsibility and you don’t benefit financially. Caring for your parents is a hefty investment both financially and emotionally.
I talked with Anna between clients several times last week. Adding another expense of marrying an inmate didn’t appear to be in her best interest. Also, Anna had found a puppy near her home and taken him in too. From talking to her over the course of a few weeks, I discerned that Anna might be a hoarder. She had shared that picking up discarded items was a regular “thing for her” and that “people throw away items that can be used or recycled so I bring them home instead.” This was my first inkling that Anna’s home might be difficult to “walk.”
I’ve been in hoarder homes for years. In fact, my dad’s girlfriend Gretta was a shopaholic and rooms filled with boxes that were never opened and racks of clothing never worn were the first time in my adult life I had encountered hoarding to such an extent that navigating through the house was arduous. Gretta kept an immaculate Cadillac and was always “dressed to the nines.” Meeting her away from her home, you would never guess that she was a hoarder. I didn’t. Cindy didn’t either. Our first visit to her home about three blocks from my own in an upscale neighborhood was surprising. Getting inside the front doorway was a series of twists and turns.
Gretta prepared me for hoarders. As a child, my aunt Dorothy was the only person in our family I had ever seen bedridden. She was bedridden because she weighed over 600 lbs. In the 60’s, this was rare. Dorothy was a hoarder of a different type. She had been a nurse for years like many women in our family and somehow some way had given in to depression and developed an eating disorder. Her sink overflowed with dishes. Animals were everywhere. Her car abandoned in the driveway. Children half dressed running everywhere. I’ve seen poverty. I’ve walked through filth and I’ve learned there is a wide variety of hoarding. From pets to trash to online shopping to picking up items left on curbs, the reason people collect unwanted pets or items is almost always triggered by emotion.
A traumatic event or experience. A loss. Something starts the hoarding spiral. For Dorothy it was a divorce. I was in my 20’s when I saw aunt Dorothy again and she was walking. This was shocking. She had undergone gastric bypass surgery. She was also headed to move in with her daughter Troy Mae. Obese people can and do lose weight but often medical intervention is necessary.
Gretta never recovered from losing her husband. The love of her life was lost. She never had children due to an accident in her teens. She loved pets and adored her dog and enjoyed shopping. Gretta was also a professional gambler and happiest in front of a high roller slot machine. I miss her. I always will. Gretta had a laugh, a smile and a heart as big as Texas. Following her unexpected death, my father had a 40 foot dumpster moved to the driveway. My father moved everything he could out of the home. It was depressing to see the end result of a home I had been in for years walking around this or that left barren. It was also depressing to know Gretta wouldn’t be there. My visits became less frequent without Gretta. I’d pick my dad up in the driveway instead. The home was empty without her.
Anna wants to marry an inmate at Hutchins State Jail. Hutchins is a state prison although the name would lead you to believe otherwise.
Anna also wants to barter her booking services for a TDCJ Officiant. Anna has an antique bed frame with ornate details. I’m concerned about the possibility of bed bugs and never walk a trade without a blue light. Why? Because moving furniture that has been contaminated into my storeroom will contaminate other pieces. The possibility exists and if you are unaware that flipping furniture has the possibility of bed bugs or even feces or cat urine, you need to know the facts.
Flipping items takes time and money. From renting trucks to foam and fill and fabric to upholstery expenses and storing items while offering them for sale, going into a trade proposition, I go in with my eyes wide open on the front end.
Will Anna find love after lock up? Will Eric accept Anna’s hoarding? Will Anna’s father adapt to someone new in the home? I have no idea but, I’m going in…
Last night while going over details for Saturday’s backyard wedding with a cold front worrying my clients, my niece, Leigh Ann called regarding a possible evacuation at Point Mugu due to wildfires. She had just finished dressing her daughter for trick or treating and wanted to ask “is evacuation really necessary?” Yes, it is. For the many folks who try to stay during an evacuation, it should be noted that there’s a reason for an evacuation and the reason is your safety.
While Leigh Ann and Maddy were excitedly looking guessed to a night of fun, wildfires were getting so close to Mugu and Port Hueneme that military personnel were considering a mass evacuation. People never plan for natural or unexpected disasters.
Cindy and I had sent several princess dresses to California for little Maddy to choose her favorite. Less than an hour into their trick or treating adventures, Leigh Ann’s husband, Alex received a text regarding a “possible evacuation due to wildfires within ten miles of the base.”
Trick or treating for the first time with both of her parents in three years, Maddy’s night was cut short due to the smoke and possibility of an evacuation from the base housing. My twin sister and I are originally from California and have gone back and forth to our home state for over thirty years. We call Texas and California home. But, we are well aware of the fire dangers in California just as we are the tornado threats in Texas. My son told me a few months ago “those warnings are just warnings mom. We don’t have tornados in Fort Worth do we?” I explained that when he was very young we in fact did have a very destructive tornado that he was too young to remember. I will never forget it.
Natural disasters are memorable. Even as an adult, I was unaware of the effects an earthquake has pertaining to the ocean. I would learn though. Staying at the Las Brisas in Acapulco, an undertow was created by the earthquake I had slept through the night before that nearly drown me.
I’ve been swimming in the ocean my entire life but after going down 5 times, I didn’t have the strength to get back up. A Navy Seal saw me struggling and literally saved my life. Frankly, I was so exhausted from trying to pull myself up that I had accepted I would drown. True story. My husband would have drown trying to save me so I lied and told him “I’m okay.” He couldn’t swim out to save me and had he tried, both of us would surely have drown on our honeymoon no less. The Navy officer saw my husband screaming for me to try and get back to the rocks and stepped in. What a honeymoon that was ya all.
My husband didn’t even want to go outside the United States. Talking him into it, I explained that Cindy and I have been going to the Las Brisas for years. My husband hates to travel. Cindy and I regularly travel together while our husbands stay behind. Now and then based on Cindy’s twin granddaughters school schedules, we take them with us on our travels.
While in Hawaii with my son who thought a thirteen foot swell was perfect for boogie boarding, begged me to stop and let him out. Did I know those huge waves were dangerous? No. I’d seen surfers on high waves most of my life and because we were close to shore, expected the ocean to spit my son and I back to the shore. A patrol officer stopped us both and gave me a stern talking to regarding ocean safety and red flags warning posted to keep people out of the water. I didn’t see the red flag signaling the dangerous sea swells. I now look for red flags and warning signs.
My teenage son saw opportunity for fun and as a parent, I should have seen the opportunity for danger but didn’t. I learned.
Leigh Ann isn’t terrified of earthquakes. She can’t recall the earthquake that damaged my home in Temecula. She was too young. We were vacationing in San Francisco and the destruction from after shocks caused massive damage. Cindy and I wound up being stranded in the Bay Area with both of her young daughters for three days. We were all too aware of earthquakes but had never seen the type of destruction that San Francisco did that year. For us at the time, we assumed that an an earthquake only meant books falling or rattling around. We were so accustomed to quakes from a lifetime of them that we never saw real danger from an earthquake but, similar to assuming the ocean would throw my son and I back to shore, an earthquake can be deadly. Earthquakes cause undertows.
As a toddler at my home in San Clemente, Leigh Ann laughed when quakes knocked books on the floor and dishes rattled. I warily waited the stronger quakes out while picking up broken glass from fallen pictures. Leigh Ann remembers none of this. She laughed when I asked about her earthquake preparedness kit. I was being serious. She has a toddler depending on her to plan ahead. Cindy and I worry all of the time. Young Maddy had 2 MiMi’s at her beck and call in Texas and twin cousins to pitch in.
Maddy now has her mom and dad at home together. New parents that FaceTime Wendy and Cindy day and night for advice. “Maddy has a red spot should we go to the hospital?” Or last weeks “Maddy fell on the stairs. Does this bump look normal?” Calming my niece down from Texas isn’t easy. She left Cindy’s house with constant activity and now is alone during the day with Maddy and waiting for Alex to come home. I worry about it but clients will occupy her off time. We will be there in December too. I had planned to go in October but my schedule was simply too heavy.
Leigh Ann needs to prepare an earthquake. After a lengthy conversation about what to pack and have ready to go with Leigh Ann she now understands that being prepared to evacuate takes planning. Wildfires in California are a real threat that should be treated with planning and preparation. Going over a list with her, I brought up her medication first. Leigh Ann didn’t consider that replacing her heart medicine after fleeing the base (if warranted) would be critical to her health. Maddy uses a nebulizer for her breathing that is also a must have. No one plans to run in the middle of the night but if you need to, medication can take days to replace and often require a doctor visit.
I have many friends that volunteer at fire departments, work as police officers and as EMT’s as well as military connections and can assure you that if you are being warned about an evacuation, it is a probability.
Leigh Ann is learning. Alex is learning to be a new dad. Meanwhile… Wendy and Cindy are pushing swimming lessons and fielding FaceTime calls in Texas. The ocean can be a dangerous place. It only takes a moment for a toddler to go under. Wendy and Cindy worry from Texas. We have also signed Maddy up for swim class and her parents up for CPR classes. Helicopter parenting? Perhaps but better safe than sorry. My son and his wife are expecting in March. Unbeknownst to me, they’ve been trying to conceive for years now. First time parents need a support system. My son and his wife frequently travel for work. Cindy and I are really looking forward to March. We love babies!
I’ve learned to be prepared. Nothing prepares you for a roof collapsing. You remember the things you survived. You can’t forget that by the grace of God that you or your dog or your grandnieces weren’t in your office when the roof caved in due to torrential rain last year. You are thankful for just moments earlier walking out of the room before the sound of the attic falling into the house alerts you to danger. No one expects their roof to cave in. It took months to repair the damage to WorthamWorld last year. But no one was hurt thank God.
Cindy, Leigh Ann and I are Approved Prison wedding Officiants. Finding a dry area for photo shoots with our clients isn’t easy. In fact, I’ve been known to borrow hotel lobbies on rainy days to ensure my clients have bridal photos. I want to give a special shout out to my bride, Trishelle, married two years ago at Michael Unit who sent me a text that her husband is being released Monday. God Bless them both and their journey far beyond Lock Up. We were blessed with great weather for her photo shoot in Tennessee Colony. Explaining to our traditional clients that are planning backyard events I can’t control the weather is a difficult conversation. From rain to even sleet or ice, there have been hiccups of unplanned weather.
A few years ago, an unexpected ice storm gave my bride winter wonderland photos. My bride gave a ride after Greyhound closed the terminal. I don’t drive on ice and had taken the bus to Wichita Falls to take a cab to to TDCJ Allred Unit. The Terminal closing posed a problem getting back to Fort Worth BUT my amazing bride, her mother and mother in law not only gave me a lift home but also a fun filled day of photo shoots, lunch and fun!
Weather is hit and miss. We have been lucky over and over again wth outdoor events and we have been unlucky.
Santa Ana winds took down the tents in Lompoc. Dust flying everywhere with dropping temperatures at the rehearsal made everyone uncomfortable. The following day at the wedding though, the sun broke through, the wind died down and the party went on. At a Pawning Planners Event, the weather had been perfect all week. Less than 24 hours from the event though, our “perfect park location” in Granbury was out of the question. Ducks were swimming in the park. On short notice, I borrowed a building from Rudy Smedley. The building? A karate studio. Not ideal but it worked. In three hours, my staff and I transformed a karate studio into a wedding venue.
Rudy’s band was volunteering and we had a film crew documenting the event for a television pilot, Pawning Planners. The band couldn’t risk getting their equipment wet and the film crew couldn’t risk getting their equipment wet either. The karate studio solved all of the problems by offering shelter to the wedding party, guests, film crew and the band. Dream Events are life events. The location and the weather are subject to change. Leigh Ann is scheduled for a wedding in Malibu this weekend. Her camera bag is already packed into an “evacuation ready suv.”
Backyard events “sound less expensive” but this isn’t always the case. Why? Chair and table rentals, linens, tents and other factors “up the cost.” Moving items around and out of camera angles isn’t always easy but we try to clear areas. Sloped yards and fences also affect where we can place tables, chairs and even arbors or tents.
What Cindy and I are looking at with backyard events on top of the weather are access and space. We are also concerned about weather to such an extent that Cindy’s twin granddaughters call us “weatherbugs.” We are “plugged in” to weather alerts for solid reasons. We want your event as special as you are and within budget but the weather continues to be something even we can’t control. Hopefully, tomorrow’s wedding warms up for our wonderful couple. Their backyard event includes an suv full of loaned centerpieces, bouquets, bouteniers, garland for the back fence, a decorated ladder to block entrances for the clients home and limit access as well as drinks, finger foods and more. It will be a 3 suv caravan to move Texas Twins Treasures Inventory from one location to the event location.
I’m always asked about our loaned inventory. Creating a massive array of items to loan to our clients was and is a hefty investment. Cindy and I add new items year round. Why? Because making our clients event affordable to them required “thinking outside the box.”
A few days ago while my twin sister was in the hospital, a notification from Paypal alerted me that an item had sold from my eBay Store, Texas Twins Treasures.
As usual when a furniture item is involved, I checked the location of the buyer. The buyer was over 5 hours from my location in Fort Worth, Texas. The buyer also had a feedback of less than 10 which gave me a “heads up” that they most likely were unaware that local pick up means they travel to my location. I then sent a message through eBay giving my location details.
Due to the distance, I also checked my schedule to upcoming prison locations in Texas. I knew (warily) this buyer most likely didn’t plan to drive to Fort Worth. How? I’ve been selling on eBay since 2009 and unless you live in Fort Worth or Dallas, planning to drive to my location almost never occurs to buyers who confuse free shipping and local pick up. To work with this buyer, I offered to bring the Bombay trunks to Connally Unit. The message below was sent when no response to my addresss and location was left unanswered by the buyer. So, I sent another message.
“I just realized your distance from me and I’m going to Connally Unit on Sept 17 which is within an hour and a half of you. If meeting me would be more convenient, I can arrange to do so while I’m at Connally. I don’t have an Austin Unit on my schedule yet but may be traveling to Travis State Jail this month which would be closer to your location. Let me know if you prefer to use local pick up and I will either meet you or try to schedule a meeting near one of my TDCJ Units if that would work better for you. I can also check freight prices. Driving to Parker and Palo Pinto Units today, I’m now hauling around trunks to go get freight quotes? I’m bending over backwards to try to accommodate a buyer who thinks getting three freight quotes is “convenient.” It isn’t. From this point forward, if you want freight quotes, I will send you the dimensions and approximate weight so YOU can find and secure your own shipper.
Packaging and freight are two separate expenses. Freight companies do not offer “free packaging.” Packing materials are generally at the buyers expense. But, I realized my buyer would appreciate me finding affordable shipping. I know I would if I had bought something from someone else.
Packaging and freight are at the buyers expense. Please be aware that while I try to work with everyone that freight is incredibly expensive and recognize that both eBay and Paypal have fees. It’s not free to me to sell on eBay. It isn’t free to anyone to sell on EBay. In fact, their fees and their policies continue to get more ridiculous but, when you barter, you need selling outlet.
UPS packed the items (for a fee) and shipped them for far less than the other box and ship businesses I located. I went ahead and shipped at my own expense and emailed the buyer that I would split shipping and packing costs.
Thankfully, my buyer was honest and sent half the freight expenses through PayPal. Communication is key to overcoming problems. I’m happy to find a way to get an item to you…
Bouncing around trying to address bartering requests through The Pawning Planners while running here, there and everywhere, I was (as usual) surprised to have a unique booking come through for Destin, Florida. This will be my third trip for a Destination Event with my Team to Florida.
This Dream Event request is “different” than the traditional event booking in sunny Florida though. The client is booking a Baptism for his father first to be followed by a bedside wedding ceremony for he and his partner followed by a celebration of life for his father.
Apparently, my Florida client had been sent my blog regarding the Villarreal Family and the tragic story of Baby DeLilah. He knew far more about me than is usually the case. He had also researched me and understood my reasons for becoming involved in one the saddest event services I’ve ever done and in 9 years and over 2k events, that’s saying a lot.
Cindy and I had expected little baby DeLilah to make it. When she didn’t, the loss was so great that I felt as if I had lost my own child. I’m an emotional person. Composing myself for that Memorial was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and may be one of the most emotionally debilitating things that I will ever do.
I knew Deanna and Burt because I had been referred by a friend at Carswell AFB who met me while performing a marriage ceremony on the Tarmac in a C-130 at Carswell.
The “creative request for a wedding on a plane” and Team of four handling the Carswell Event included our Officiant/Coordinator/Photography/MakeupPackage at Carswell AFB.
The Tarmac/C-130 Event was also the last event my stepdaughter, Anne would join my Team at before losing her this past year.
Over the past 2 years, the loss of Baby DeLilah was a shocking blow followed by the death of my stepdaughter, ex husband and three friends.
Officiating a funeral or memorial for an adult who at least had the opportunity to live a full life isn’t nearly as difficult as saying goodbye to a baby or young child.
But, I am not discounting the fact that whether the loved one was young or old loss is easily accepted because it isn’t.
Loved ones left behind are often in a grieving stage for months and in rare occasions, years.
Grief is a process but Complicated Grief Syndrome is a medical condition that requires counseling and occasionally even medication for the survivor who cannot accept the loss of a loved one.
Death is a dark stranger that brings a jolting and unexpected “blow” when the deceased happens to be a family member close to you, friend or especially your own child.
The death of a child is so tragic that I’ve seen couples divorce over the tragedy they can never accept or endure. Parents never expect to bury their child.
Divorces after the loss of a child do occasionally occur because the couple blamed each other. The “blame game” can destroy a marriage. While both parents struggle to accept a loss of such great magnitude, one parent may cope better than the other.
In this unique situation, the coping parent must also soothe the other parent who assumes that the coping parent doesn’t care. This is not the case. While one parent is “programmed” to mask their feelings and grief, the other parent assumes that their “coping partner” isn’t in as much pain. They are. They simply put their feelings aside to care for their partners needs first.
Understand that your spouse may be grieving differently than you but, they’ve suffered a tragic blow after losing a child themselves. Everyone grieves differently. There is no timeline on Grief.
A few years ago, an older couple that I had married (a second marriage for both) contacted me to Officiate the funeral of their son.
The son was also an addict. The wife resented the constant baggage that her stepson brought into their lives and often blamed the husband for “enabling his son.”
The son had also broke into the home of his father and stepmother stealing numerous items from (for the most part) specifically from his stepmother.
The stepmother called me to tell me the situation. “I cannot understand why my husband pays for Uber’s and hotels for his son. He’s an adult and my husband is enabling him. After breaking into our home and stealing from us while we were out of town for the Christmas holidays, I can’t even speak to my stepson. I’m actually considering a divorce because I cannot continue to live like this.”
The wife (and stepmother) had no children. My former client also had never dealt with an addict. I have. I asked her to meet me for coffee and a shoulder before considering a divorce.
But, due to my hectic travel schedule, our meeting was put off for ten days. Less than a week after the phone call though, the stepson overdosed. His father suffered a heart attack due to the shock of losing his son and I also officiated the stepsons memorial. The stepsons addiction consistently disrupted the marriage of his father and was also the sole reason his parents had divorced years prior. Why? The mother took tough love classes and the father continued to enable the son. The mother and father both took separate paths and in the end, blamed each other for having a child with addiction issues. The end result all those years ago was a dissolution of a marriage.
My “opportunity” to discuss the dynamics of parents or family members who enable addicts would come at the wake of my clients stepson who was suffering with the guilt of not speaking to the stepson prior to his death.
Theirs was a unique situation. After all no one expects to marry into a family that cannot change the path of addiction. My husband didn’t. My brother in law didn’t. My siblings didn’t. My father didn’t either. My mother was a heroin addict.
Personally, my view of addicts is dim and I must always set my personal feelings aside but, now and then, my experience with a drug addicted relative helps me with clients who cannot accept the damage addiction brings to their marriage. This particular situation needed to be addressed before my client filed for a divorce hastily and blamed herself later. For months, she nursed her husband back to health. For months, she called me or visited me.
For months, my niece had relapsed. My client began to understand the pain and sorrow that trying to “fix” an addict brings to their families. I explained why enablers harbor hope. I also explained how tough love is tough to do because it is.
Compassion for an addict (especially if they are from a second marriage and not your child) is difficult.
Understanding the dynamics of the parent of an addict and their strong desire to “fix” their child or parent or other relative isn’t easy. The person on the outside looking in often becomes angry at their spouse for not giving up.
It’s essential for the spouse without children to “change places” although the role of a parent when you’ve never had children is difficult. Love is sacrifice. For parents of addicts, love is also pain.
The couple that lost the child who couldn’t stop using to the extent that he eventually overdosed are still together and I’m happy to say that they’ve moved on from an unexpected death and the subsequent heart attack of his father.
No one expects a heart attack or stroke however, stress and other factors of trying to save a drug addicted relative can and do often put “the enabler” into a health crisis.
If you are dealing with an addict, I strongly suggest you visit your PCP on a regular basis and get regular check ups. It might just save your life. If you are struggling emotionally and/or blaming yourself for having an addict as a son, daughter or stepchild, visit a psychologist and get anxiety medication.
No, I’m not suggesting that you take drugs. I am suggesting that you have something on hand to help ease your anxiety in the event you need it. Trust me, without anxiety medication, I would’ve lost my sister years ago due to her daughters addiction.
Sixteen years ago, my twin didn’t have hypertension or high blood pressure. Having an addict for a child is not only painful and emotional. Having an addict for a child is physically disabling. The stress, shock, surprise and consistent disruptions an addict brings into your life can cause a number of health issues to loved ones of an addict.
Sixteen years ago my twin sister couldn’t have anticipated her daughter becoming addicted to meth. No one could.
Occasionally, my twin asks “why we were forced to deal with a mother who loved heroin more than her children and now her daughter who chooses meth over her family?” It’s a question that I secretly wonder myself.
I often suggest Grief Counseling to parents who have lost a child as soon as possible in order to prevent them from placing blame on one another.
Funerals and/or memorials are final. There are no “do overs.”
At the time I married Deanna and Burt they were Military Members. Deanna was so devastated by the loss of DeLilah that she is now on permanent disability. Burt is still serving our country.
It’s well known that I offer year round Military, Fire, Police and First Responder as well as Teacher (Active or Retired) discounts year round.
Deanna had seen photos from a Military Couple I had met at the courthouse in Grapevine to obtain their license and marry on the courthouse steps and loved the park we had the wedding ceremony in the following day. Deanna and Burt were (like all of our couples) thrilled to finally be marrying. They had met years prior at another base and literally “ran into” each other at yet another military base years later.Deanna and Burt were ecstatic about Deanna finally becoming pregnant a few years after their wedding with me. But, when Deanna contacted me again a few months after retaining me to Officiate a Baptism for DeLilah, it would be a Baptism followed by a celebration of life due to DeLilah being diagnosed with Trisomy. Like Deanna and Burt, I was devastated to hear this.
It’s far more difficult to plan and prepare for a funeral than it is to plan a wedding, Vow Renewal or other celebration. For months, I hoped for a miracle and for months, I held out hope that a miracle would save Baby DeLilah. But, God had other plans.
Holding that tiny baby in my arms at Harris Hospital was the saddest thing I’ve ever done as a Minister. Knowing a few days later that I would be memorializing DeLilah kept me from finding the peace to sleep.
Burt and Deanna have since decided to adopt. If you or someone you know might need a fantastic set of parents, contact me because Burt and Deanna are willing to meet you anywhere and discuss giving your child the home that they had carefully prepared for DeLilah. They are amazing and loving they are also committed to finding someone serious about adoption.
Burt and Deanna tried IVF but, sadly at 41, Deanna cannot get pregnant in the way she and Burt had hoped for. Adoption is literally their last chance.
My Florida Baptism and Celebration Of Life is significantly different. How so? Unlike DeLilah, the clients father has lived a full and joyous life. DeLilah never had the opportunity.
This booking won’t be filled with sadness. Instead, the client wants Mariachis and a virtual party celebrating the life of his father. Due to his father’s declining health, the client will also be marrying his partner of many years at his father’s bedside.
Although I’m certain that this wasn’t the type of wedding my client had initially planned, we are also planning a Vow Renewal one year from the date of a hastily planned wedding ceremony due to the declining health of my Grooms father.
I’ve had numerous questions regarding how and why I created Texas Twins Treasures in 2009. Today, I will address those questions.
My husband is a real estate developer and builder. Matthew has been in this industry 50 years. Like many others, my husband was never prepared for the “crash” in 2008. He had been finishing The Estates Of Lakeside when the bank called the paper.
In order to close out the development, my husband built an oversized home on the last lot. Did I ever imagine that we would have to buy that house? No. I’m not a country person and the Lakeside development was twenty miles from the city. But, life happens.
Rambling around a home that was four times bigger than we needed, we would be forced to stay in Lakeside until the real estate market picked up again. I reference that home as “my pretty Prison.” Why? Because we literally couldn’t leave it for years.
Developers and builders generally sell their “temporary homes” every 2 years. My pretty Prison held us captive for 6 years. During that window with my husband unable to find work for three years, I began “flipping my furs, jewelry and upscale furniture” in order to cover our loss of income due to my husband’s unexpected unemployment.
When you go from a joint income of $600k to $200k, you sink or swim. You figure it out. I did. You become a survivor. You think outside the box.
My twin sister and I have been flipping items for years. In fact, Cindy’s ebay storefront was opened years earlier than mine in 2003. My twin and I have extensive appraisal knowledge.
In 2014, I decided to merge Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to create The Pawning Planners. As usual, this “rocked” the events industry. Such a “move” had never been done before but, I’m a pioneer.
In 2010, my husband had taken on an Airport in Parker County and was again a genius at tuning it around. How so? The airport sat on 40 acres. My husband sees things I don’t. Driving me over to view the airport, I had said “why would anyone want to fly in here? This place is a mess!”
But, my husband saw the airport differently. The same way he saw the Estates Of Lakeside when I saw nothing but a field and poison ivy.
My husband’s plan was to sell lots for private hangars right on the airport property. This genius move was the first time I realized that my husband is pretty damn smart himself.
The airport opened a window for us to never worry about money or having to “sell everything on eBay” to save our pretty Prison. Our joint income was finally back at where it had once been. In fact, I no longer needed to work.
Because I was also shocked to learn I had thyroid cancer, I quit my job. We sold the pretty Prison and I quickly became bored. I’ve worked all of my life and I needed something to do. Some way to occupy my time.
I thought about my wedding. The minister had charged $450 for the wedding ceremony alone. I’d struggled though my husband’s unemployment and we had sacrificed to save the farm.
There HAD to be others in similar situations? What if I created a People Over Profit based Events business to address others in similar situations?
The idea for Texas Twins Events was born. Although I continued to work as a consultant in the sales industry, I needed something fun that also helped others to give me something to look forward to.
I was in the hospital about to undergo a full thyroidectomy when I “pitched” my twin sister, Cindy about my idea.
As usual, she was “all in.” It was perfect. Cindy could bring her twin grandnieces to events with us. Cindy could also finally get out of the house.
Cindy had adopted her twin granddaughters and subsequently had been forced to give up her “day job” and her income. Her husband, Steve, took a job in Iraq as a fuel tank driver after being laid off from Albertsons. Two years from his retirement at Albertsons with two young babies to support, Steve made a difficult choice.
The photo below was taken on his first visit home again. Steve would later be diagnosed with PTSD after the roadside bombing near Camp Anaconda occurred.
Steve became known as “Real Fast.” The reason was that the drivers panicked while Steve who had never been in battle instructed other drivers to “drive real fast.” Steve spent 8 years at Camp Anaconda and was struggling with survivors guilt when he returned home to see his grand twins for the first time.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Good Friday roadside attack on fuel tank drivers, I am adding the link about Steve and the struggles he faced in Iraq with thousands of other drivers who had never encountered mortar attacks as well as the many military members who were heroes to the Government Contractors taking on dangerous jobs because they couldn’t find work in the states– Steve Real Fast Daniel- Caught In The Crossfire.
My family know hardship. My family circled our wagons to give the twins the life Cindy and I had never had. Together, our families have made sacrifices.
Perhaps, if we had been without hardships and endurance, Cindy and I wouldn’t care as much about our clients as we do but, life wasn’t easy for us and we therefore, understand our clients situations and circumstances far better because we have had a few years of struggle ourselves.
Hardships empower you or break you. Our hardships made us survivors. Our hardships taught us empathy and compassion. Our hardships were overcome and by overcoming them, Cindy I learned to think outside the box. Resilience and passion are the sole reason that we have dedicated clients who refer us over and over again.
We earned our clients dedication because we always strive to exceed client expectations.
Being the person you’ve never met is enlightening. Ask me or Cindy because we know all too well about helping others. We know what dedication really is. At the hospital and concerned that I wouldn’t survive this invasive “C” word, I decided to tell Cindy my idea. “If I survive this surgery and dreaded disease, we can do this” were my last words before being sedated. We became a Twin Team and while doing so, we also became friends of the friendless.
Our journey and constantly changing client base shocks people. We have never advertised and in certain situations, volunteer our efforts. Why? Because we can and because we care.My “idea” was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. We were different in an industry that was all the same. No one cared about others.
Other vendors had no idea how to establish “relationships” rather than treating clients as numbers. Cindy and I did.
The tiny Texas Twins AKA Little Pawners are now 14 years old and work as princess characters at birthday parties. Makenna also enjoys photography on site and Maryssa enjoys videography and helping with young children on location.
My niece, Leigh Ann handles photography and my son and his wife work as an Officiant and Photography team together. I handle Texas Prison Weddings during the week while my son and his wife and niece, Leigh Ann handle most jail or “traditional” booking requests.
Cindy and I work as a team at Appraisal Appointments and traditional events on weekends. Four generations of my family now work with me and our amazing client base. My twin and I had a history of sales and marketing but more importantly, we were focused on finding unique ways to make Dream Events a Reality one family at a time from Fort Worth and, we have….
Yesterday, my twin sister was surprised to hear her friend Brittney say that she was bored and thinking about a divorce. Cindy told Britney “DON’T shake the TREE unless you are WILLING to eat the fruit that FALLS. Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it and it’s not always what you expected.”
D-I-V-O-R-C-E isn’t fun. Divorces are wars and quite frankly, using the threat of a divorce without having a plan isn’t a great idea. Crying wolf might just find leave you crying one of these days.
This morning, a friend we had married a little over a year ago, sent a text message regarding her divorce. Of course, Cindy and I were shocked to hear this after a year of seeing loving FB and Instagram posts of Debbie and her husband.
Meeting my son for breakfast to go over his weekend schedule of events, I told him how surprised I was about not only Debbie but also, Britney and the destruction of marriages that started out with joy and promise. Debbie had called Cindy after sending the text to explain all of the details.
My son turned to me and said “mom, what people post on social media isn’t their real life. It’s the life they wish they had. What they want people to see.” I was shocked to hear this as was my twin sister, Cindy.
My son leaves for Oklahoma tomorrow for a wedding booking that coincides with him delivering a take up machine for Mr G’s. My son works three jobs. For his father at Mr G’s for my husband at McBee Homes and for me at Texas Twins Events, Texas Prison Weddings and The Pawning Planners.
My son also knew something that I didn’t about public postings too. Why would anyone post anything that wasn’t real or true? I have no idea but, my niece, Leigh Ann told me the same thing. The couple I had thought were so happy must’ve been anything but.
I’ve never thrown out the “D Card” unless I planned to play it. Divorce for me is the last resort. In fact, both times I filed, I asked myself “can you continue living this way?” Divorce is like death. It’s final.
Rarely have I ever known anyone to go back to their ex but, I’ve seen it happen. My favorite ex boss, Ken Mattoon remarried his first wife and enjoyed 14 years of happiness before dying suddenly last week.
My ex husband went back to his ex wife after I divorced him and even had a child but, he never remarried. It’s difficult to rekindle a relationship AFTER a divorce.
Before you start planning that “free at last” divorce party, consider what you are leaving behind.
True love is hard to find. Try counseling. Put forth the effort into saving your marriage that you did during your courtship.Not everyone can make marriage work for them. It’s not easy blending two completely different families to create one big happy family. I have two deal breakers. Infidelity and domestic violence. Either will send me to the courthouse but, everyone is different. Perhaps you can overcome infidelities but, I couldn’t.
The truth is that while I’ve had a few Texas Twins Events AND Pawning Planners couples divorce over the years, none of my TDCJ Couples have divorced. Shocking isn’t it? Love After Lock Up couples are in it for “the long haul.” These couples have few of the benefits “traditional” couples have.
There isn’t a splashy wedding or two incomes for couples married to an inmate. One person makes the sacrifices to keep the relationship going. The person “on the outside” makes sacrifices everyday.
Last week, my former client, Priscilla joined four other previous clients who joyously celebrated the release of their Prison Wife or Husband this past year.
If you missed the blog about Priscilla and Joe’s happy ending here’s the link-/ Forever Homes And Happy Endings. My Texas Twins Events Team can’t “wait to celebrate” at Priscilla and Joe’s Vow Renewal this October.
Why couples “on the outside” cannot seem to make a go of things continues to surprise me while everyone else is surprised my Texas Prison Wedding Clients can and do make their unions last through thick or thin. But, they do.
“You can’t win together if you don’t work together.”
Of course there will always be “deal breakers” in marriage just as there are deal breakers in life. Bending as opposed to breaking takes patience and courage.
It’s up to you to decide whether your marriage is worth mending or moving on. Without putting the work in to your marriage, you aren’t going to reap the benefits of your partnership.
Pull your sleeves up and make your marriage a priority. I’ve never been afraid of hard work nor has my twin sister. Debbie had decided to move on and she’s thrilled to find peace again. Britney reevaluated her ability to take care of three children on her own and learned that threatening a divorce is a good way to find yourself “holding the bag.” Britney is playing with fire.
The “D” word shouldn’t be the first card you pull- in fact, it should be the last card you put on the table.
Wednesday afternoon while sitting at the post office and getting my marriage licenses together, my sister, Tammy called me from Lompoc to tell me she was unhappy in her marriage because she felt she was doing all of the work.
My brother in law, Rob is a great guy but, he’s far more fun loving than Tammy is and doesn’t worry about work as much as he does sand, surf and sea. I told Tammy that while the differences in lifestyles or hobbies cause issues, it isn’t anything that cannot be overcome. I also suggested taking a holiday and doing something for herself.
Forty five minutes later, Tammy decided that she, Cindy and I would take a cruise out of Galveston in September for our birthdays. I’ve never been on a cruise nor has Cindy but, girl time between three sisters has been limited over our lifetime.
I’ve flown Tammy and Rob to Texas for my son’s wedding a few years ago and Cindy travels with me to California frequently to visit Tammy & Rob. Cindy and I along with my niece, Leigh Ann also helped with Tammy’s daughter, Kori’s wedding last September. Making up for all of the years we lost due to our parents divorce is a priority for us. We lost twenty some odd years of Tammy after our dad took Cindy, Jerry and I to Oklahoma at 11 years old and Tammy stayed behind on Lompoc with our mothers mother, grandma Tinney.
We were torn apart as children and we refuse to be separated as adults although we live in separate states.
Cindy and I visit Tammy every year and occasionally twice a year. We enjoy our time together. All of our husbands get along well too. Tammy is four years older than Cindy and I so the last thing I would want is for her to throw in the towel.
I’m looking forward to a week long cruise catching up when Cindy and I aren’t filming in California and trying to find time to visit Tammy. It will be our very first “sister trip.”
The older we get, the more valuable we realize that time is. Thankfully, all three of our husbands have been very supportive about “finding Tammy again.” Cindy and I gained a family and we are thankful.
I had a deal breaker myself this week at my PCP’s office. One thing people who know me realize is that when I view anything as a deal breaker, there isn’t any going back for me. If you missed the blog regarding the widespread use Physician Assistants at my PCP’s office, here’s the link– Emotions Or Intelligence? Why Both Affect Your Decisions.
With a weekend of events kicking off at 1PM today, Cindy and I are saddling up for yet another busy weekend. We are also thankful that both of our husbands have never been jealous of our relationship with one another.
While pruning, you might want to look around your circle of friends. Frenemies often masquerade as your friends. Be aware that the “Axe that can cut you down was once a tree.” Keep your circle tight. Friends interfere with marriages more often than you might think.
You cannot find Mr Right if you are with Mr Wrong but, after Cindy and I finally found Matthew and Steve we’ve decided that if anything were to ever happen to either of them, we have no plans to remarry. Finding love and acceptance is rare for twins and we are blessed to have found wonderful husbands in our lifetime…
Cindy always has something to say. Today’s blog title is of course, one Cindy’s Quotes that “fits the situation.” I’ve never possessed my sisters “gift of telling it like it is with humor.” In fact, as children, my stutter was so debilitating that Cindy often spoke for me a number of years.
Have you ever noticed that the more you give- the more a few people take? It’s taken far too many years for me to realize it but, I’m older and wiser. I spend nearly everyday with my sister. We work together and we spend our spare time together as well. Over the past year, we’ve had less and less spare time due to clients and our own family.
Now and again, a few requests from family or prospects can be so “out of the park” that I have to reread an email more than once. “Asking for an apple and expecting a pie” or “inviting me to dinner and expecting me to buy the groceries and cook” might sound good to the person asking who assumes that either the customer is always right or because we happen to be related that they deserve whatever they ask for for. I make the rules around here and don’t enjoy diva behavior from prospects or even on occasion, a few members of my family.
Folks assuming they control the terms are often surprised when I advise them to find someone else to help them. I work when I want to and for whom I enjoy working with. I don’t advertise. I don’t need new clients and I no longer take on difficult people who make working with them drudgery. I work because I enjoy working but not to such an extent that it would make me miserable. “Not my luggage- not my trip.”
A few days ago, someone contacted me to send “two photographers and an Officiant but, we don’t have any money so they need to volunteer.” What the? You get the point. I’ve had so many outrageous requests in eight years that even I can be shocked. Cindy laughs while I try to understand what the writer might have been thinking when they hit the send button? I’ve never asked anyone for anything in my life. I attribute this fact to my life.
Quite frankly, in my family, there wasn’t anyone to ask for help other than my sister. Cindy and I have been self reliant since we were fifteen and left home.
In today’s society “GRATITUDE is the DIFFERENCE between APPRECIATION and a sense of ENTITLEMENT.”
It’s not only a few prospects who “want to borrow the ladder to steal fruit from the neighbors tree and then complain it’s sour” either. I have a few family members that fit the same mold.
As incredible as it may sound, last year three of my family members tried every ounce of patience I had by getting themselves involuntarily committed at the same time. While this may sound shocking, all three were committed for different reasons. My niece, Stephaney started the chain of events when her institutional sobriety ended. For those who don’t know the term, it’s drug mandated probation. Stephaney would be the first family member who appeared to be crazy although it was drug induced psychosis. To date, Stephaney has been committed 13 times since last January.
My sister did everything humanly possible to get Stephaney back on track and, we failed. We cared when no one else would and eventually, Stephaney’s behavior became a rock in a pond with ripples that spanned out. Stephaney’s daughter, Maryssa began playing the choking game and also was committed due to suicidal ideation. My father became convinced that invisible people were living in his attic and shot through his ceiling. He was also committed.
Trying to find Stephaney over and over again when she would go missing after being discharged was frustrating. We’d find her. We’d lose her again. For over a month now, she’s been safely committed at JPS/LCA. I have no idea if we will ever get my niece back on track. Stephaney has always been difficult and now faces jail time. Will it help? It certainly can’t hurt. Many Jails and Prisons are the only rehabilitation that are actually effective.
Five years ago, Stephaney was a passenger in a stolen semi tractor trailer. She spent six months in jail and six months in court ordered rehab that I paid for. I told her then that it was her last chance to get it together. I swore I would never help her again and yet, for over a year now, I’ve continued to try.
Fixing our family is something that neither I or Cindy have had much success at. Lord knows we’ve tried harder than anyone else in our lives had ever attempted but, I wonder if we tried too much with Stephaney? If maybe we had let her fail or do hard time if she would have recognized the path she was taking? I will never know.
My niece, Stephaney called my twin sister yesterday “to cheer HER up.” Cheering up someone who has spent over a year consistently disappointing her mother, her twin daughters, and myself is something that neither Cindy or I are comfortable doing anymore. We’ve had a year too much of trying to cheer up our family members at psych ward visits.
It’s hard to be cheerful when you feel helpless. You put on your happy face and walk into a world of other family members visiting their crazy relative who are often either getting yelled at or crying. You feel their pain. You know what they went through to drag themselves into the car and drive to the psych Ward before being screened and herded in like cattle. You know how hard it was for them because you’ve done the same thing.
This morning, Cindy told me “my Pom Poms are out of streamers and all that’s left is me shaking my fist.” Cindy’s right. We are both worn out with continued visits to Psych Wards or phone calls from patients aka our relatives who want or expect us “to lift THEIR spirits.”
In fact, if my father were committed again, Cindy and I wouldn’t bother visiting. On his involuntary commitment, the only thing he recalls is the day we missed visiting because we were working in Houston.
Selfish people will always find a way to make you feel guilty. Visiting my dad at Wellbridge was emotionally draining. Wellbridge is specifically for people over fifty years old.
Cell phones make it easy for your family members to call anytime day or night. My niece calls Cindy first and if my sister doesn’t answer, calls me. These phone calls are depressing. You listen to someone complain about their life who aren’t accountable for the results. Stephaney could have been married years ago. She could have had her own home and made something of herself. But, Stephaney chose the wrong path.
Stephaney also missed her court date while being an involuntary “guest” at JPS Local Commitment Alternative. Because of this, a bench warrant was issued for her arrest.
The counselor at JPS called Cindy and advised her that “picking up your daughter with an active warrant is considered harboring a fugitive. You cannot pick her up. She will be transported by the Sheriffs department.” We were of course, unaware of this and certainly not going to try and drive Stephaney ourselves after the “heads up” from JPS.
My niece had told Cindy and I to pick her up and treat her to a steak dinner before dropping her off at Parker County Jail. Stephaney doesn’t like the new plan but, it’s the only plan there is. I wonder if Stephaney was aware of the jeopardy she had planned to put her mother or I or even both of us in by asking us to transport her? Stephaney rarely if ever considers her actions and/or the repercussions of her choices.
The steak dinner part is funny to me because a steak dinner should be a celebration. Each time Stephaney is involuntarily committed or released from jail, she expects her mother and I to get her “nails done and treat her to an expensive dinner.” I wonder if Stephaney has ever considered that rewarding her for dragging us through yet another depressing escapade is the last thing on our minds? As we continue to write more checks and buy Psych Ward friendly clothing, I tally up the expenses of buying cigarettes for dad and Stephaney when she was at Sundance and he was at Wellbridge or the many times Cindy and I have bought clothing and toiletries over and over again for Stephaney as well as buying Stephaney food and begging her to look for work and support herself. We are now in the thousands. Treatment is expensive but so is gasoline, clothing and if a unit allows smoking, other expenses.
Bouncing from Mesa Springs to Sundance to Wellbridge often was so stressful for Cindy and I that we cried tears of frustration em route only to put on our happy and hopeful masks arriving in the parking lot. You watch other visitors drag themselves in. You know how they feel. You listen to them talk to other visitors hoping for good news or a miracle but weerily accepting the fate of the card they’ve been dealt.
It’s a hopeless situation to pray for a family member to stop disrupting your life. I remember the parents who sued their son to get him out of the house and now understand why. Stephaney would be happy to live with Cindy the rest of her life responsibility free. For years, my sister and her other daughter, Leigh Ann walked on eggshells around Stephaney in Cindy’s house because the Weatherford P.D. refused to help them when Stephaney was in yet another violent rage knocking holes in walls or kicking in doors again and because “she lives here.”
Cindy was forced to quit her job in order to raise the twins herself. Cindy has sacrificed her entire life and Cindy deserves peace. Both of the twins parents refuse to pay the minimum amount of court ordered child support. How much? $100 per child. People should be screened before having children.
Anyone can have a child but not anyone can raise one. Our mother couldn’t. My niece can’t. You see where I’m going with this.
There are so many parents and grandparents raising someone else’s children that it would shock you in America. All of these do gooders are older. Most of them receive no benefits for the sacrifices they make. There are heroes out there and the real heroes are those taking on the burden and expense of raising someone else’s children.
From drugs to mental illness or a combination of both- the lame excuses for not helping their parents or grandparents with the tremendous responsibilities dumped in their laps from loser parents continue. My mothers mother raised our step sister. Tammy had a shot at a normal life. Thank goodness she wasn’t homeless and living in a shelter before her 16th birthday. Our mother was a loser.
If you’ve never been around anyone on meth, you have no idea what it’s like. Anger and hostility are normal from the addict. How my sister kept it together raising those twin babies alone with Stephaney terrorizing her in her own home I have no idea but, once Cindy realized she could evict Stephaney and the police finally realized that Stephaney wasn’t the victim of domestic squabbles and that Cindy and Leigh Ann were, things changed.
Cindy and I were actually relieved that Stephaney was in Cotton County for a year away from us and the children after the “18 wheeler excursion.” Other than hundreds of dollars in phone calls or thousands spent on rehab for Stephaney, we finally had a break from Stephaney.
We finally recognized that once Stephaney was released, probation would keep her on the straight and narrow. If only we could keep Stephaney on probation the rest of her life we might have a certain degree of hope but, this of course is impossible.
Entitlement. We’ve seen it and experienced it although generally the people who think they are entitled are the people who don’t really deserve to be put on a pedestal.
While taking phone calls from Stephaney that consistently disrupt our days, my nieces latest demand is to talk to her twin daughters. Sadly, after Stephaney’s chaos filled ride the last 14 months, the twins have no desire to speak to her or attempt to cheer her up. Cindy and I refuse to force the twins to talk to their mother.
After all, they are both in counseling trying to cope with her choices already. Maryssa and Makenna don’t understand why their mother has continued to spiral. No one understands what happened to dad. I suspect a blood clot but, I’m not a doctor. It’s not my responsibility or Cindy’s to take care of our dad. After all, he didn’t take care of us. Tit for tat. “You can’t profit from the harvest without planting the crops.” Makes more sense when you hear it in terms you can relate to.
Cindy didn’t “owe” anyone the responsibility of taking care of our grandmother but, she was suckered into it just the same. Cindy was trying to give her grandtwins the comfort and security that we had never known when we hired an attorney to save the twins. She was protecting them. It was a tremendous responsibility that required plenty of sacrifice but, Cindy took on raising another generation of twins.
Stephaney has a long road ahead and at 31, needs to figure out that finding a job and stability are now “on her” rather than her mother and I. Both of our husbands are lit about our families and their chaos. Neither of our husbands have living parents or adult children “butting in” to their lives.
Understanding why Cindy and I continue to run off and try to save the day has become a cloud over both of our homes. We walk off to take phone calls from Stephaney. We don’t bring up “the latest on Stephaney” for Steve or Matthew. They both don’t want to hear it anyway. Our husbands simply want happy wives but, the “caboose of chaos” aka “our family” aren’t going anywhere.
With boomerang kids moving home, responsibility has flown out the window. These adult “kids” don’t pay rent and don’t learn how to survive on their own. It’s a problem for parents who never enjoy the luxury of an empty nest. Steve and Cindy may never know what having a quiet and predictable home life are like.
Cindy is raising her SECOND generation of kids and if you count 17 years of dealing with my grandmother mooching off Cindy while taking up two rooms of her home, you could say three generations. Even today, Cindy is angry that she allowed herself to be taken advantage of all of those years saddled with the burden of our grandmother. If she knew now what she didn’t know then she would have never allowed my father or our aunt to dump grandma on her but, Cindy is a caretaker.
Being a caretaker is a thankless task. People abuse your generosity. Trust me. I’ve had so called friends that borrowed money and never paid it back. I had one friend, Glenda, who walked into my home and took whatever she wanted from my closet. For years this bothered me but, I didn’t know how to address her entitlement to items I had sacrificed to buy. I do now. No one rifles through my things and helps themselves anymore.
My sister has a million moocher quotes because she has lived through them. “You CANNOT profit from the HARVEST if you don’t plant the CROPS” being one of her all time best received Quotes.
For Cindy, wondering if all of the people she’s sacrificed to care for all these years will pay off in our old age is a literal crap shoot. The odds of Stephaney waking up one day and recognizing all we have done to get her life on track are slim. She resents the fact that Cindy won’t allow her to move home. Sure, Cindy warned her everyday not to ever get back on drugs but, people don’t listen.
Addicts are difficult to understand. They destroy their families. My mother destroyed ours. She was a heroin addict. I have very little tolerance for addiction. It’s selfish and self destructive.
For years, Cindy and I have been “BUSIER than a narcissist with a SELFIE STICK” running here, there and everywhere to hold this family together. Sadly, no one in our family (other than our husbands) has made any effort to take notice of our own needs.
Arriving back home after yet another Psych Ward visit, I’m depressed and melancholy. I wonder if these visits will ever stop for me or my sister? If we can ever have a predictable life of making dinner and reading a book or watching a show?
All three of our adult children are too busy thinking about their own lives and futures to consider ours. Parenting is the hardest job you will ever take on. It never ends. You are always “the fixer.”
If you are lucky- one day your kids will take care of you but, don’t count your chickens before they hatch kids. If you’ve raised a spoiled brat, your needs will always be invisible.
Stephaney is now upset that she won’t get that steak dinner and will instead be transported from the Psych Ward to the county jail. We are upset that Stephaney will calling us in her boredom from Parker County at a cost of $7.30 to set up phone calls from Jail and fees $2 and up a minute to listen to her tell us how miserable she is. Prison and jail phone calls are incredibly expensive to the “families on the outside.”
The main difference between Psych Ward phone calls and Jail are money. Sure, it’s upsetting to be enjoying your day and have your relative call complaining you aren’t visiting or bringing them items they want but, at least you aren’t paying for outrageous inmate phone calls. Count your blessings. If you have a problem relative, it’s VERY expensive if they happen to be an inmate.
Thankfully, our dad still hasn’t bothered to call us after leaving his home on an internet date two months ago. It’s one less thing for Cindy or I to concern ourselves with. Trying to save dad was just as debilitating as trying to save Stephaney.
Quite frankly, neither our father or our grandmother much less our mother were good examples of parents. Cindy and I became the parents we never had. Did we overdo it and enable our adult children? I wonder myself. Were we so hellbent on being perfect parents that our own needs or boundaries flew out the window in our quest to be the best? Perhaps.
Parents raise children in the hopes that their adult children will visit or look after them in their golden years but, I don’t see that happening for either Cindy or I. Our best hope is looking after each other. Our husbands are both significantly older than us. We’ve spent the best years of our lives raising children and grandchildren. We’ve sacrificed. We’ve cried. We’ve had moments of true despair dusting ourselves off to walk in on yet another Psych Ward visit and we’ve wondered if we can ever stop mental institute visitations? If we will ever catch a break from craziness?
“If some people have a clear conscience, I’m left to assume that they suffer short term memory loss as well. Honestly, their character says a lot about them, it’s just too bad that they don’t listen.”
Cindy has a lot of quotes regarding entitlement, mooching, trust, narcissistic behavior and more because she’s seen it all. Cindy now asks herself “what would Wendy do?” I’m far less tolerant than my sister. In fact, I always have been.
I’ve limited visits to Stephaney on her 13th mental institution stay intentionally. For my own well being. I am sick of Psych Wards. I have no idea how Cindy and I have kept from breaking down due to the stress. We are warriors. We are fighters. We are survivors but, going through the motions of three family members in three psych wards would try even the strongest and most resilient people I’ve met. We trudge on but, it’s not easy.
“You could give some folks a new car and they would still complain that they had to pay for gas and buy insurance. They expect you to make gravy outta water. Dirty deeds leave you with unclean hands that are clearly visible to the person who refuses to shake them.”
Cindy has a lot of material just from looking around. I don’t possess the same talents of “turning shit into silver.” Cindy has something to say about everything because it’s her outlet of dealing with stress.
Cindy is somewhat famous for blending whit, humor and truth into the same sentence. Cindy says it first. People may copy her but, Cindy has never copied anyone. She doesn’t need to. Her brain can configure a summation in seconds to fit any situation. I have no idea how she does this. In fact, Cindy is so quick whitted that often it takes anyone listening a few minutes to get the punchline.
Now and then, even I don’t always get her punchlines but, many times I have. We are Compensating Personality Twins. Cindy and I both endured a horrific childhood which may be why we are so committed to trying to give our children and grandchildren the love and support we never had but, at what point do you step back and realize that you are doing too much? Cindy and I often laugh to keep from crying when it comes to our family. We have jointly decided that worrying about Stephaney or even our dad is a thankless task that no one should be forced to endure.
Cutting loose is essential to finding peace. It may sound bad but, we are at a point in our lives with other family members AND clients who need and deserve our attention far more than my dad or Stephaney.
While juggling phone calls from Stephaney and thankfully, none from our father, Cindy and I already have full plates. It’s time to stop trying to have faith or trust that Stephaney will get it together and force her to do it alone without our help.
We can’t continue praying for Stephaney to do the right thing anymore. It’s time to let her fly alone and suffer the consequences of her actions. Stephaney’s phone call to Cindy yesterday was regarding “needing help when Stephaney gets out buying a car and paying for a place to live.” Cindy responded “you are going to need a man or woman to help you. I don’t care which because I’m already overwhelmed raising your kids without child support from you or their deadbeat dad much less any help at all from you. If you want the honey from the hive, don’t complain about the stings that come with it. Getting what you want is painful. I been getting stung my entire life and ain’t never even tasted that honey. My own needs are always last.”
Why my niece continues to expect her mother to support her I haven’t a clue. But, Stephaney does. Stephaney refers to Cindy’s house as hers. I don’t get it.
Cindy has to focus on the future and forget trying to save everyone else first. Cindy isn’t “crying about past failures because she’s too busy laughing about her successes. Making sure my grandtwins are successful is my highest priority.” Cindy’s right.
Raising teenage twins is a full time job with the only benefit being that one day the twins may realize just how much Cindy and Steve have given up to ensure they had every advantage in life. Maybe just maybe the twins will come visit when Cindy and I are old and grey? We can hope.
Since Cindy was busy driving Maryssa to school and working on transferring Makenna from home school to public school, my son joined me to drive to Ferguson Unit.
Ferguson Unit is a bit of a trek from Fort Worth and about twenty minutes from Huntsville. My last visit to Ferguson caught me off guard when the inmate was behind glass. I wasn’t prepared for the glass or separation and needed to confirm with the guard that the inmate could both hear AND understand me. He could. He was also smiling. I was nearly crying.
Before leaving my house, I read an email about my Allred Unit bride agreeing to do a news interview in Wichita Falls regarding her upcoming marriage.
This is my second “high profile client couple” in two months. I’m surprised but, then again, I don’t google anyone. High profile cases are never really a good sign. Media attention is what actually make for a high profile case.
The Allred groom had already agreed to an interview. The client told me they had met when she was a juror at his trial. I was somewhat surprised by this and concerned that a television audience wouldn’t warm up to this unique love story but, it’s not my call.
Since the Allred client and her fiancée were “set on the interview,” I advised my client to smile and, if she was uncomfortable answering a question to politely decline.
Reporters and journalists alike look for sensationalism. Often, the person being interviewed has no idea that not everyone will accept their choices. It’s a slippery slope.
Last week, a Dutch television producer contacted me regarding “finding European women who have married someone serving a life sentence.” Due to the legal ramifications of a “Marriage of Convenience” and Marriage Fraud, I advised her that I haven’t married anyone in a Texas Prison who didn’t speak English or happened to be a pen pal.
It’s very difficult to prove a marriage and I strongly advise against such unions. Marriage Fraud is a crime and it’s a crime that continues to flourish across the U.S. choosing to marry an inmate in order to obtain a Visa isn’t something that surprises me though. After 8 years in the events business, I’ve seen it all.
I recognize “pen pal” friendships, unions or marriages exist but, my clients all knew their fiancées personally prior to incarceration.
TDCJ Clients always voluntarily tell me their stories. I don’t ask questions. Neither does Walmart or any other business. People ask me all of the time “what were they in for?” I don’t know. I don’t investigate and it’s not my concern.
My Allred Unit couple shared one thing in common with my Hughes Unit couple. Both men had been inmates at Polunsky Unit aka Death Row and transfered out. This on its own is very rare.
In general, the only way out of Polunsky is in a box. Polunsky Unit houses “lifers.” For women, Mountain View Unit is equally permanent. The term “Death Row” is on its own, intimidating. It’s not often that anyone “transfers out.”
Will there be backlash for my client and her fiancée at Allred Unit from this interview in Wichita Falls? I have no idea but, I know this, after my interview with the Dallas Morning News making me somewhat infamous for being LBGT Friendly, I received numerous death threats. I’ve also endured several nasty emails regarding officiating Texas Prison Weddings.
Not everyone agrees with inmate or LBGT marriage and for those who find the time to share their views with me, I’m adding the fact that I’m marrying an LBGT Couple AGAIN next month in a Texas Prison and no, I’m not concerned about YOUR opinions regarding same sex or inmate marriage.
Everyone deserves to find love and have love. Please hold those hateful emails. I can do without them and although you might be trolling to find a new reason to contact me, I’m not interested in your beliefs, views or opinions.
Arriving at Ferguson Unit, my bride was nervous and anxious. Most clients are. No one planned to marry inside a Texas Prison.
My last visit to this unit had the inmate on the other side of the glass. The glass surprised me and I didn’t realize the inmate had not only been on the other side of the glass but he was also inside a cage. I couldn’t see the cage as I was beside the bride on the other side of the glass.
Yesterday, I was inside glassed area that my previous groom had been behind at Ferguson Unit and saw that there are also cages around the glass for inmates talking through the glass. The cage saddened me. On the inside looking out, I controlled my breathing. Closed spaces can and do cause me to hyperventilate. After two years inside Texas prisons jails though, I’ve learned to control my anxiety.
“I never planned on officiating Prison Weddings. A creative request was presented to me by someone who had seen me on CW33 stating Love Is Love. I believe everyone deserves happiness.” One month later, I was standing at TDCJ Estes Unit officiating my first Prison Wedding after undergoing the process to become a TDCJ Officiant. It’s not my place to judge anyone and, I don’t.”
Everyone asks how I became a Prison wedding Officiant but, the opportunity presented itself because I was LBGT Friendly and open minded. Had this fact not been publicized, my guess is that Misty might not have found me. But, she did and I wasn’t hiding in a box. For someone wanting to marry an inmate, finding an open minded Officiant willing to undergo the process to become TDCJ Approved had been such a struggle that Misty nearly gave up before finding me.
Texas Twins Events was openly LBGT Friendly off the bat. I welcomed anyone from any background and I was always blatantly clear about this. Inmates aren’t my clients. I don’t talk to inmates much less meet them prior to the wedding ceremony. My clients are all on the outside and believe it or not, well educated and well informed. Marrying an inmate is a lengthy process. No one is running off to the courthouse in a fit of passion or eloping. It can be a time consuming and frustrating process.
A few years ago, I was recognized on the CW33 interview since I was standing next to my twin sister and twin grandnieces by people who knew or had met me. Many of my former clients and/or friends called to tell me that Cindy and I were on the news that night but, two sets of twins always get attention. I thought nothing about it. The death threats didn’t start then. People who didn’t know us had no idea who we were. It would be a newspaper article that started that hate.
The Dallas Morning News interview and not the CW33 interview that “outed me.” People immediately began googling Texas Twins Events and/or Wendy Wortham.
Most assumed that I was LBGT although I’m not. Others decided that by officiating and welcoming LBGT couples that they should project their hate or opinions on me. I was shocked and hurt by all of the hate but, I wasn’t going to stop being who I was because of it.
One person even wrote a ten page letter to me describing ways my family and even my dog would die. I called the police and used his return address (yes, he used his real address) to get a restraining order. I also installed 16 video cameras in my home.
The death threats and hate mail lasted over a year after the Dallas Morming News story. Anyone “who didn’t believe in LBGT marriage,” decided to tell me about it.
For two years now, everyone who doesn’t believe inmates should have the right to marry, contact me via email, phone or snail mail to VOICE their opinions about prison weddings or LBGT prison weddings or even Biracial LBGT weddings. Come on ya all and keep “your opinions” to yourself. Ugh.
Did I know that answering a phone call for a simple interview would open the floodgates? No but, most people don’t realize or suspect others will take the time to contact them. I didn’t either.
Everybody who was against LBGT Marriage suddenly “knew my name.” I was easy to find on internet searches and from my business P.O. Box to my home address, began getting the most horrific letters you could ever imagine with graphic photos to boot.
My husband was both angry and frightened that my firm beliefs would get me killed. Thankfully, he never read the 10 page letter. It was the worst.
We tightened security at WorthamWorld and rather than be bullied, my business boomed. I am resilient. I am a warrior and I will not be intimidated. I’ve met bullies before and I’m still standing.
It’s going to take more than hateful prank phone calls and letters to sway my belief of treating everyone equally. In fact, I don’t believe anyone can. I’m opinionated myself. Opinionated regarding fairness. When I decided to undergo the process to perform Prison Weddings, I knew that others might not approve. I simply didn’t care.
My goal was to help others. If their situation was different or unique, that didn’t sway my belief that everyone should be treated with the same courtesy, compassion and respect.
Prison weddings are different. They are structured. Death row inmates cannot leave their cells. I’ve walked into a few Units and I’ve heard the steel doors slamming behind me. I’ve learned not to panic about being locked in. I’m never alone. There are guards as well as my client with me at all times.
Walking into a Psych Ward isn’t all that different than a Prison. Don’t be shocked. It’s true. I’ve been an Officiant at many Prisons and a visiting guest at several Psych Wards. You are screened in and cleared. You cannot have an electronic device or cell phone. You cannot bring outside food or drinks. Prisons are structured while mental institutions are a free for all. It’s true.
I am now accustomed to the glass after officiating numerous other Prison or Jail wedding ceremonies in similar circumstances where the couple can’t touch and much less, kiss.
Being inside the cage area was frightening to my Bride yesterday so, I attempted to calm her while surveying my surroundings awaiting the groom.
No one expects to be standing inside a secure room with guards to repeat their vows. It’s often awkward and occasionally, uncomfortable. Signing the marriage license and posing for photos with guards in the area with us, I knew my bride was nervous and uncomfortable but, it’s not easy to be comfortable on the other side of the glass area staring at the cages. Knowing that this is where her husband has been on weekend visits, my bride never assumed that she would be on the other side of it. I didn’t either.
Prison weddings are generally held in the visitation area and not the cage. This was a first for me too. I nervously looked at the numbered cages and imagined how the prisoners must feel looking through the glass locked in a cage and shuddered.
Walking into Ferguson, I noticed the rabbits playing in the courtyard and asked how they had gotten in? They looked to be having a great time as we waited for the photos of the ceremony to be printed by the guard. “The pond used to have turtles. Somehow the rabbits got in and we enjoy watching them play in the area.” I thought about the prison walls meant to keep prisoners in that had somehow not kept the rabbits out? I found it incredible that those rabbits were perfectly happy hopping around and wondered had they dug under the walls to get there?
My Bride was thankful for the ceremony to be over and get out of the locked area. I assured her that she would have fun at her impromptu photo shoot less than a mile from Ferguson and, she did. Shaking off the awkwardness of her Prison wedding, my bride was relieved it was over. My traveling photo booth of bouquets and clothing options gave her a moment to feel like a bride and she enjoyed changing out of whatever my son or I handed her for her next photo. The rain didn’t dampen our spirits.
Heading home three hours from the walls of Ferguson Unit, I told my son about the glass and the cage I didn’t know was there on my last visit with Nikia.
My son looked at me thoughtfully and said “mom, you want everything to be happy and perfect but, life isn’t for an inmate. In fact, finding someone to love you and go through all of this for you is rare to me. The person on the outside goes through hoops to find you and go through the Prison wedding planning of marrying an inmate. You make things celebratory by doing photo shoots with them and that’s more than anyone else would do. You are everyone’s mom walking them through a confusing and intimidating process. You want there to be a happily ever after when there isn’t always going to be wine and roses. Don’t be sad. All of your clients are happy that you came all the way out here to meet them and walk into a Prison although you are claustrophobic. You put your own fears aside to help people and although their situation may be unique, don’t focus on the cages, razor wire or the glass. Focus on the fact that hopefully, one day, like all of your other TDCJ clients, he’s released and we see them again at their Vow Renewal beyond the razor wire, glass and locked cages. Hopefully, once released, these inmates won’t make the same mistakes twice and will have a shot at life and/or happily ever after.”
My son was right. I want things perfect but, I cannot always control my family or the circumstances of Clients who come to me. Their journey is difficult. They also sometimes face discrimination regarding their union and their paths are difficult and expensive.
Loving a Prisoner is a lonely life for those who choose to do so. It’s not something that works for everyone.
Marrying a Death Row inmate is something that I may never understand but, it’s happened and, it will happen again.
Although I’ve never married someone from another country to a Texas Death Row inmate, after researching the matter, I’ve found that California prisons have plenty of women willing to marry someone on Death Row.
Ironically, there aren’t nearly as many men waiting to marry women on Death Row. Women want to “save someone.” High profile cases bring tons of mail to mass murderers or other types of well publicized crimes.
My ratio of men versus women TDCJ Clients would surprise you. 98% female 2% male. This statistic isn’t limited to Texas either. Females are the major number of clients marrying inmates.
The life of a spouse married to a Death Row inmate cannot be easy. However, for all of the journalists contacting me regarding my clients contact information, I must point out that I don’t share personal information of clients in order to protect their privacy. If you’d like to share your contact information with me though, I’m happy to forward it to my clients.
Their stories are unique and yet, they are stories of love, loss, resilience and faith. Prison marriage isn’t for everyone. But, for my clients who choose this path, rest assured that they entered into the process with their eyes wide open.
I’m hoping that jail rehabilitates my niece and praying that her choices never land her in prison. But, Stephaney’s choices like my fathers are beyond my control….
This morning, I reviewed an email through eBay regarding a buyer interested in my three piece Baroque curved sofa, tub chair and ottoman. I’ve had several inquiries about this majestic set but, freight is a huge factor when it comes to heavy furniture.
This prospect is in Dallas though and has her own freight company. Due to eBay’s rules for selling though, selling off of eBay is grounds for eBay account closure. I carefully explained that I could only sell through eBay to the buyer. Finding time to meet her with my schedule will be a hurdle but, we will work it out.
Over the holidays, my husband who rarely discusses the decor of our home mentioned finding a three piece end table and coffee table set. I’ve been hoping to run across a barter through The Pawning Planners and did with a beautiful wrought iron set. The problem? Both end tables were missing the glass. Knowing the coffee table glass would be by far more expensive to replace, I took it on the chin and found replacement glass for both end tables for $60. The coffee table glass was perfect and to replace it would have been easily over $200.
When you barter and/or flip items, you quickly learn the cost of refurbishing or replacing parts. The coffee table weighed a ton but, my son came to help me to save the expense of involving movers. Nothing in my home really “matches.” I’m a collector of things that pique my interest and perhaps because of this, the other coffee table had never really fit in.
My husband had decided that “while I know you’ve put time into that piece staining and sanding, I don’t believe it fits the house. Since I never chime in on things around here, I’m chiming in that I’d like you to find a matching set for the main living area. We have three other living areas but, we spend the most time in the front.”
It’s so rare for Matthew to throw his two cents in that I suggested just buying a set. A trip to Dillard’s opened Matthews eyes to just how expensive “claw and ball foot” furniture actually is. While our home has many heavy and unique pieces that feature ball and claw or even my King Henry desk, finding heavy Baroque furniture “to match the rest of the house” is not only quite expensive but also difficult to do. We couldn’t find anything my husband really liked or approved of and what we did find was ridiculously expensive at $600 and up for an end table alone.
I decided to sell the other coffee table that “didn’t fit our home” and listed it on FB Marketplace. Although Matthew didn’t believe anyone would buy it, I sold it at a nice profit within 24 hours. My husband didn’t think it would be picked up on the curb much less that I would find a buyer but, my husband isn’t in the flipping business. He’s in the land development business. My husband can look at a field and see a beautiful development. I see a field, weeds and poison ivy. We have completely different views and experience. I could never develop a field and he could never flip a piece of furniture. We are Compensating personalities.
Leaving WorthamWorld at 8:30AM to head to Tarrant County Green Bay Facility to meet my client this morning, I scheduled a meeting at 2PM to sell the other coffee table that my husband had never really liked. I loved it because it was found and perfectly fit with my custom Bassett half moon sofa. The sofa was also a flip through a The Pawning Planners. If my husband had any idea how much the Bassett sofa actually sells for, he’d be shocked. Matthew just doesn’t understand why furniture is so expensive but, quality furniture is expensive. It’s meant to be bought once and last for years.
My husband has picked out one piece of furniture in our entire home. It’s his recliner. It’s an inexpensive piece of furniture and after just two years, the fabric is tearing. Matthew loves it. The recliner in my opinion is an eyesore. I hate it. I want to have it reupholstered. He doesn’t want to be without it. It’s an ongoing battle. The fabric matches nothing in our house. His end table is overflowing with all sorts of things. It’s “his area.” I leave the area alone. Three years ago, this request for a recliner caught me off guard but, if my husband wanted a recliner, how could I refuse?
I’ve talked to many brides and grooms who such it up with items they don’t want their new partner to bring into their home but, I never knew I was one of them myself until the recliner request. If I could just reupholster it, I know I could blend it in somewhat but, my husband won’t be without it. We are at a crossroads. Matthew is winning. His “new to him” end table and coffee table set thrilled him though and although matching tables aren’t important to me, they are apparently important to him. All is well that ends well. The recliner war though…rolls on.
Pulling up to Green Bay Unit, I text my client and find that she’s arrived early as well. I move my SUV to park beside her and she hops in going over what’s going to happen and what to expect. She looks beautiful in cowboy boots and a dress and she’s excited to finally be marrying. I like her off the bat.
I answer a few calls from Bridgeport and Ferguson Unit clients before firming up my 2PM appointment to meet the buyer for my other coffee table. Walking in, my client is thrilled she found me and the process isn’t nearly as complicated as she had assumed. Jail weddings are significantly easier than Prison Weddings.
I’m now doing an equal mix of jail and prison weddings since my father is no longer handling county jail weddings. I have decided to talk to my son and niece, Leigh Ann about taking on more county jail weddings due to my schedule.
Leaving Green Bay Unit to wait on my client, my son called to see if I was available for lunch? Since I was and needed help picking up the coffee tables and end tables, I had the luxury of spending a few hours with my son that I rarely have. We enjoyed a nice lunch and went over why I can’t be everywhere all of the time. My son has been handling traditional clients and a few jail weddings but the county jail wedding requests are literally pouring in.
After picking up the new to us set, my son and I headed to Vital Records to file a stack of marriage licenses including Green Bay Unit. I file licenses Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week in person. I don’t trust the mail with legal documents.
Headed back to WorthamWorld to meet my 2PM buyer and my 3PM Bridgeport client, my son agrees to take on more business for county jail weddings. I’m relieved about this because quite frankly, I need another hand to address short notice requests. My schedule is already booked out. Juggling clients from Texas Prison Weddings With Wendy Wortham, Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners, venues that I’m on staff at and county jail requests as well as meeting or delivering sold items for Texas Twins Treasures leaves me with very little time.
Since my niece, Stephaney is still a patient at JPS/LCA, visits to the Psych Ward roll on. My twin sister and I are so tired of visiting family members in mental institutions that I cannot even begin to describe how overwhelmed we are trying to juggle work and family. It’s emotionally exhausting to put on a happy face and walk into a visit for both of us. I’m hoping this is Stephaney’s last “visit” but, who knows, it’s her 13th involuntary commitment in the past 15 months. I remain hopeful that my niece will get it together but warily realize that another setback may lurk right around the corner. I cannot predict my niece. I’ve never been able to.
After years of disliking my husband’s recliner in favor of my Antique club chair and ottoman, I’m actually considering getting one myself. Taking one for the team? Maybe but, my husband loves that recliner and perhaps it would be more comfortable that my stylish set? I’m considering it.
I’ve had a number of detours the last year that no one could have expected. From my father being involuntarily committed to my niece, Stephaney and her revolving door of impatient stays, trying to anticipate what lies ahead for my dad or my niece is beyond my control. Their fate is also behind my twin sisters control too. We are lost in a land that we cannot understand.
Thankfully, our work and our clients keep our minds occupied and we have no idle time to sit and worry. I’m glad my husband is pleased with his “matching set” in our main living area although I think the coffee table is a bit too big.
I hate to say goodbye to my magnificent Baroque set but, for the right price, I’m willing to see this set go to a forever home. My husband thinks I’m a furniture hoarder but, the truth is that I love beautiful pieces whether they are comfortable or not. Carved wood, elegant lines and ornate details thrill me. I’m in love with the furniture I could never find in a store. The Treasures left in a barn or back room always grab my attention. I see what they could be and I put the investment in them to bring them back to life.
Yes, I will always hate saying goodbye as I did today to my other coffee table but, the buyer was thrilled with the piece and loved it off the bat. There’s always another treasure to refurbish and I’m looking forward to meeting my next Pawning Planners client with Cindy next week. There’s a barn full of unwanted items and we are ready to go “dig through some trash and find a treasure.”