“SUCCESS is the DEFINITION of placing EVERYTHING you HAVE, into ANYTHING you DO”
The past 4.5 months of my life have been full of surprises, setbacks and scene stealing mask debates on location. But, you “can’t profit from the harvest if you don’t plant the crops.”
My job role involves working with a very wide array of people. How wide? I have clients marrying inmates in several states at Federal, ICE, State and County Facilities. I have people with no money bartering their event services. I have people I married before contacting me to perform a memorial or baptism or Vow Renewal. Traditional bookings come through this site as do Inmate Officiant requests. When I tell people my client base is diverse, I’m being dead serious. You couldn’t find a group of people more different than my clients.
Rolling into Oklahoma yesterday with Cindy, I pull over to review inquiries for prison weddings in Texas. A handful of states have reopened limited visitation but Texas has not. Texas also isn’t releasing inmates “due to Covid” although many other states are.
Governor Abbott reopened visitation to nursing homes this past week. At the time visitation to nursing homes was banned prison visitation was banned also. In March, I had 51 people on my books waiting to marry an inmate. It’s August and I now have over 87 people waiting to marry an inmate in Texas alone. I am the most sought after prison officiant in the United States. My twin sister, Cindy falls in line behind me. Why are we so sought after? Because we treat each and every client like our only clients.
Due to Abbott cancelling visitation in Texas, it’s the governor and not the warden you should be addressing your concerns to. I’m aware of the protests at Units in Texas but these protests are hurting the inmates more than helping at TDCJ Facilities. How so? The inmates are being locked down due to the chaos beyond the prison walls.
Schools are reopening in Texas and for our clients choosing to return their children to school, the number of calls, emails and texts I’ve received is alarming. Since when did bullying someone for the way they raise their children become a matter of public opinion? Generally the people making these rude comments to my clients aren’t even parents themselves. Shocking isn’t it?
Cindy and I began our custom mask sales for Texas Twins Treasures in April after a handful of failed design attempts. For the record, Cindy hates wearing a mask but Wendy insists on it. My twin sister had heart surgery last year and her kooky conspiracy theories regarding masks continue to be posted on her FB wall. However, whether masks help or not they certainly haven’t hurt my twin sister. She begrudgingly wears one of our face masks in public and on location although she isn’t happy about it.
Cindy is pretty vocal about things she isn’t happy with. You don’t need to guess what she’s thinking as she will come right out and tell you. Surprisingly, my “never at a loss for words” sisters saucy sayings for our Pawning Planners Apparel line have boomed during this pandemic along with face mask sales. I never planned on going into the face mask business. This “side hustle” was more out of necessity than product line concept. Why? I had spent hundreds of dollars trying to find a mask online that my twin sister wouldn’t complain about. I gave up. “It’s too tight. It’s ugly. It’s too thick. It’s making my glasses fog.”
After realizing that whatever I bought online would have some issue, I decided to create my own line. Cindy was the tester. “I don’t like this fabric. What if we used designer logo fabric? Folks like designer stuff and why should we wear ugly masks?” Hence, the logo line was created.
Our custom #Cindyism Quote apparel line started the same way. Cindy always sums up things on location and one day after reading a few shirt at Walmart, I told my twin “we need to sell your quotes on apparel. People love them.” Hence, our apparel line.
Cindy was working on a dairy in the country while Wendy was working as a print and high end salesperson in the city. Our personalities are remarkably different. Cindy proudly refers to herself as a hillbilly. Her iconic quotes reflect her Texas flair…
“A BAD attitude IS as WORTHLESS as a SET of WHEELS, on a PAIR of CRUTCHES, because NEITHER will GET you ANYWHERE.”
My sister is always asked “where she heard that?” when busting out one of her observations on life. She didn’t hear it anywhere. Cindy has the ability to adequately describe what is on her mind into a hilarious quote. No one else in our entire family can including me although I’m often asked. Cindy is sassy and silly. Wendy is OCD and serious. We are compensating personality twins.
What I do and who I do it for are serious matters especially in prisons. There are no mistakes. I must fully know and comprehend all policy and procedure within every facility I conduct a ceremony within. I have a photographic memory. I’m not witty like Cindy and there are reasons.
At 6 years old, my sister and I were sexually abused by a family member. Due to this abuse I stopped speaking for a number of years and when I tried, I stuttered. I truly only had real conversations with my sister. No one in my family had the patience to wait for me to articulate what I was trying to say. Instead, Cindy spoke for me. I lost myself in books and was an avid reader by the time I was 7. I could also spell anything. I read dictionaries, phone books, law books. Whatever I could find I read. I didn’t have to talk or attempt to communicate with a book. Cindy hates reading. She always has hated to read. It bores her. Reading enlightens me.
Learning laws within the U.S. pertaining to marriage was fun for me. Learning protocol within State, Federal, ICE and County Facilities was interesting and educational. I advise my clients on a very complicated paperwork process in the planning process. I hold their hand. I know the answers. What you can or cannot do. It’s important. What I do isn’t a job that only requires showing up. What I do involves taking phone calls, texts, emails and DM’s for months from each and every client confused during the process. They need answers and clarification and I have them.
Rarely but during this pandemic have clients either planning or currently married contacted me regarding advice about a divorce.
Stress and the current pandemic along with the political climate we are dealing with coupled with a number of things from a parent in a nursing home my client can’t visit to the death of a parent in a nursing home to job loss, wage cuts and other factors including returning to school have all of my clients under a tremendous weight of stress and conflict. I’m a mother to my clients. I’m their friend. Their sounding board. Their go to gal.
About a month ago, my Wallace Unit client was accepted into TCU. She contacted me immediately to share her joy. This morning I posted her GoFundMe campaign on my FB page. As a single parent she still has expenses that must be met.
For a few days now, I’ve been sharing my Ellis Unit clients campaign for funding to move with her three children into a new home after the landlord decided to list the rent home Amanda has been so happy living in.
Everyone is fighting a battle out there ya all. Everyone is doing the best they can and yet everyone is being judged? No one knows what another person is going through unless they’ve been through it themselves.
I often answer questions on Quora. One of those questions was from a mother concerned about her daughter asking for birth control. The mother didn’t want to put her daughter on birth control. Heads up parents because my answer is going to rattle your cage and I Hope wake you up. “Do you want to be raising your teen daughters child? Are you prepared for the possibility of a teen pregnancy to change the direction of your life? I’m going to tell you a true story. At 15 I was pregnant. A member of my own family had been abusing my sisters and I since my twin and I were 6 years old. I lost the baby while at a women shelter. My twin sister was 18 years old when she was raped in the IHOP parking lot at her job. Together we raised her daughter, Leigh Ann.
My twin sisters daughter was 15 when she became pregnant with twins. My twin sister and I adopted the twins. We were 40 years old. If you aren’t ready to deal with a teen pregnancy then you had better open your eyes and your mind to the possibility that your teen may very well become pregnant. As a parent, you will be either financially assisting your daughter or raising her child. Wake up and stop hiding your head in the sand. Reality bites and it’s going to bite you if you don’t snap out of it.”
A number of my shocked followers were supportive of my answer while another smaller portion were condemning. “Are you saying that teens having sex should be condoned?” No stupid. I’m saying that it happens and every parent kidding themselves need a pop knock on their head if they think it can’t happen to them. It can and it does happen everyday across America. Don’t trust the school to educate your child about sex.
I’m blatant, transparent and honest. I don’t worry about my opinions and experience offending anyone. Generally these offended people have lived in a sheltered bubble that needs to be popped. SERIOUSLY.
Cindy and I used this pandemic and having her twin granddaughters at home to discuss birth control. Don’t be shocked buddy the twins are going into 10th grade. High school where promiscuous teens often get pregnant. We don’t want yet another teen pregnancy to affect our family. My sisters husband is 70. My husband is 68. We have raised the twins without benefit of child support their entire lives. They will be 16 in September. They will be driving soon. Cindy and I work 7 days a week when there isn’t a pandemic going on. We can’t be there every second to watch over the twins. What we can do is educate them and let them know that we are here to listen. We are here to answer questions.
Many of my clients are marrying for the second time and blending families. I answered a question on Quora from someone who had a daughter that wasn’t invited to his sisters wedding. His daughter was a different color. I was immediately upset about this and assumed that there must be some mistake. Certainly his own sister wouldn’t alienate her niece from a life event based on skin tone? Obviously he was upset. My answer was to contact his sister and directly ask if his daughter was invited or not and if his daughter wasn’t invited to decline the invite. Many times communication will alleviate assumptions.
From clients past and present to complete strangers, the number of times I’m asked for advice is and continues to be surprising.
My husband “why are they asking you? People take up so much of your time and many aren’t even clients.” Me “the best advice I can give anyone is from my heart. If they had someone else to ask they wouldn’t be asking me. The greatest gift I can give anyone is my time whether they are a client or not.”
“BE the RARE breed that STANDS out IN the CROWD, before YOU get LOST, in the HERD.”
I’m not like everyone else. Cindy isn’t either. We learned compassion the hard way through poverty and lack of anyone to help us within our own family other than ourselves. It isn’t easy to leave home at a young age with no money, no job and no car but we did. We learned compassion because it was something we weren’t brought up with. No one in our family stopped the abuse. We stopped it by leaving home and we would do it again if we had it to do over. We don’t judge anyone. We accept diversity when others condemn it. But our lives were never easy or simple or cut and dry. We are who we are because of where we came from. We are survivors. We think outside the box. We are creative entrepreneurs because we’ve always had to be.
When the dust settles, the strong will survive. Marriage is a merger. Communication is key to a successful marriage. No marriage is wine and roses everyday but your hardships will make your accomplishments together richer and more rewarding.