Trying to explain how the pawning process works to someone who is unfamiliar with the flipping processs isn’t easy. However, it’s a regular conversation with my twin sister and I to folks who just don’t get it. They just can’t understand how we make this all work? Friends, the Texas Twins get up, dress up and show up. There aren’t any sick days when you are in the Dream Event business!

The past year has been a whirlwind of bookings no one could have predicted even me. Why? Within the past 12 months, our client bases have literally shifted to 90% Prison planning and Officiant services. 

Years ago, our bookings were mainly weddings, baptisms and funerals or birthday parties but the times have changed and our bookings have changed too. Clients booking Prison wedding Officiant services rebook after release of their spouse for a Vow Renewal with friends and family along with all of the things that they couldn’t have at their inmate wedding.

Last week was a juggling act of new bookings, running to and from prisons, a journalist writing a story about prison weddings joined me Tuesday to three Units including Polunsky then Wednesday we had an Appraisal Appointment to pick up two bartered mink coats from a Pawning Planners Client using our barter option and Saturday I was officiating a funeral at Restland for a Texas Twins Events Client while seeing firsthand the destruction a Dallas tornado had left behind. 

Cindy and I don’t have a day off unless it’s scheduled and generally pertaining to her twin granddaughters, our husbands or accompanying my son and his wife to their OB/GYN appointments because they are expecting the patter of little feet in March. Finding time to go to the dentist or optometrist is tricky because Prison Weddings occur during the week. Weekends at Units are for visitation. Weekends on our schedules are for Texas Twins Events and Pawning Planners Clients or venues I’m on staff at. 

Fun fact: My son and his wife are using the very same OB/GYN who delivered the twins AKA Maryssa and Makenna as well as Cindy’s youngest grandniece, Madyson. 

Last Saturday as my husband drove me to Restland to meet my clients, I returned a phone call to someone who had called regarding a wedding at TDCJ Henley Unit. Apparently, the caller is out of state and had many questions. After a 15 minute phone call, I looked up at the gates of Restland with shock and dismay seeing firsthand the damage a Texas Twister had left in its wake. 

This wasn’t the type of peaceful scene I had hoped for although I was thankful the rain had stopped. Trees and workers were everywhere. The gates had been uprooted and stood haphazardly. A limousine that a tree had fallen on was parked (if you can call it that) behind a building. Good Lord what a mess. 

My husband drove me to the building we had planned to meet my client at who was setting up for the reception after the memorial but, due to the tornado, a note rerouted us to the main building. 

Locating Christy in the main building and checking in early, I was thankful the main building wasn’t in the path of the tornado. I headed down to the gravesite to check on the set up and go over my ceremony script one last time. 

What a wonderful legacy Pamela had left behind. Two beautiful daughters and a devoted husband of 54 years with a love of gardening, Pamela would be greatly missed. 

Her husband, Wes walked up and hugged me. He also told me how a pain in his wife’s hip was the first sign of trouble. Pamela had stage four cancer. The hip pain was why her doctor ordered a scan that revealed tumors in her brain and lungs. There was very little time to absorb a terrifying diagnosis. I felt her husband’s pain and loss. Giving him comfort and closure through a very difficult time would be difficult. Celebrating someone’s life always is. I realized that none of the markers had been damaged which was truly surprising. The flowers stood in their plastic vases on gravesites as if the tornado hadn’t ever been there. The birds sang in the trees. 

The creek behind Pamela’s site was peaceful and serene. The gazebo for the ceremony had several chairs set up that I began dusting off as we prepared to remember an amazing lady who was gone far too soon. 

All of my clients are like family to me. Their Dream Event may not mirror your own Dream Event and that’s okay. Everyone has their own unique set of circumstances. 

Death is never expected or anticipated. Death is a dark stranger. I’m often asked “what’s the hardest thing you have ever been asked to do?” 

The hardest thing was to have my former military client that I had married ask me to baptize their baby girl and conduct her memorial. DeLilah had Trisomy. 

DeLilah lived only a few short hours. I baptized her at Harris Hospital as my tears mixed with the Holy Water I lightly touched to her precious face. A room full of others crying with me is something that I will never forget. Conducting a memorial is by far more involved than my role as a traditional Officiant (outside of a prison) at a wedding or baptism. Celebrating the life of someone who had an opportunity to live is also wholly and completely different than conducting a ceremony for a child I had baptized only a few days earlier for her parents that I had married a few years before. I was already very close to Burt & Deanna which made my role far more emotional. Seeing their pain and loss was incredibly difficult. Saying goodbye to a child will forever be very difficult for any parent. 

Repeat bookings for services is always an honor. When Deanna had first contacted me, her joy of being pregnant was wonderful news. Months later, her joy turned to fear upon learning the diagnosis of baby DeLilah. 

Recalling the joy at the Villareal’s wedding and seeing their sorrow at the hospital while knowing they had only but a few short hours was a completely different scenario from the Villareal wedding. 

Cindy couldn’t stop crying herself. I struggled to contain my own emotion. Welcoming DeLilah into the world and saying goodbye to her so quickly afterwards will always be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. 

Several months later, I saw Burt and Deanna again for a holiday photo shoot. The Villareals are very interested in adopting and Deanna discussed this idea with me after learning she would be unable to carry another child on location at her photo shoot last winter.

If you or someone you know is looking for an amazing family to adopt, please consider Deanna and Burt.Meeting our client with two furs in two different sizes, Cindy was emotional hearing about my Saturday with the Batson Family as we drove up to meet a client bartering a Vow Renewal. I remember details that most people wouldn’t at my Ceremonies. The woman praying at a grave over to my left stopping to listen to our memorial. The chainsaws all around me. The birds above me nestled in the trees. The tears in the eyes of the mourners. I pass a tissue to Pamela’s cousin who was telling a story about finding her diary and how upset she had been as a young teen. 

Memories and photographs are now precious pieces of a life that touched many others. Saying goodbye is difficult. 

Speaking in public if you aren’t experienced can be very difficult. Speaking at a memorial for a family member is REALLY DIFFICULT and emotional. Honoring the life and legacy of a loved one is a very daunting task.

Cindy does not officiate Memorials. This is a role that I and I alone take on for clients. Spending hours carefully planning out my ceremony to include as much information as I possibly can while offering comfort to loved ones is my role as an Officiant and Celebrant. There aren’t any do overs at a memorial. I’m also ocd which is why I go over my notes for hours before finally typing up my ceremony script. 

Our client choosing to barter was gracious, welcoming and excited to finally meet us in person. Her mother and mother in law had both left her two mink coats. One was a large natural mink while the other was a small mahogany mink. Both had been professionally stored, glazed and well cared for. This is rare pertaining to fur flips. Glazing a fur is and can be a hefty investment ranging up to a few hundred dollars. 

Cindy and I are experienced appraisers who always factor in expenses of refurbishing items. If you don’t know what you are doing- don’t barter as it’s easy to lose money. 

One of the most important aspects of bartering is knowing the value. Secondly, you will need a buyer. 

Flipping items takes time. Flipping furs is seasonal. We would need a model for the small fur so I put in a call to our friend, Angela. This is the perfect time for fur flips with Christmas right around the corner.The second fur had gathered cuffs and a hem with a unique stand up collar. I decided to post a photo right from the post office to Texas Twins Treasures. I was mailing bridal photos and marriage licenses and the lighting outside was perfect to showcase the color of the mink. Cindy has actually taken photos and sold items before even getting back to our SUVs. These are “quick flips.” They require no refurbishing investment on our end and sell as is. 

Modeling clothing items sells them far faster than simply posting a photo of the item on a hangar. Cindy and I frequently model flips ourselves. Occasionally though based on sizes we find a volunteer model. Our dedicated readers recall the three eyed two headed fox but believe it or not we finally did get rid of it ya all. I for one will never forget staring into those three eyes and wondering who how on earth we would flip that item but, Cindy had a great time visiting with our client and we both shared a ton of laughs over what we thought was a flop together. 

One of our funniest experiences was a guy and a case of moonshine. We never know what we are walking into on location unless the client has uploaded a photo and description. If we can’t flip it though we can’t take it. I’m sure someone somewhere might have wanted moonshine but can’t take livestock or liquor. 

We prefer flips that fit into our SUVs but we have been known to rent a Home Depot truck now and again when we had to. I’m not “branding” either folks. Home Depot trucks are by far less expensive to rent. 

Merging Texas Twins Treasures and Texas Twins Events to create The Pawning Planners has brought Cindy and I more than a few hilarious adventures. 

A few years ago, one person contacted us about her fence falling down. I ran an ad on Craigslist for used fence posts and panels and after one bum run found someone who donated panels and posts. 

Cindy and I rented a Home Depot truck and delivered them ourselves. The client found volunteers to fix her fence with our secondhand poles and panels. Sorry kids but our time is valuable. Cindy knows how to fix a fence from years on a farm but quite frankly we don’t have time to run around fixing fences. Our clients and our companies are the main focus for us. We are happy to tell you how to solve s problem not related to client services but we aren’t volunteers ? We aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty. Now and then we are called for advice or insight. Other times a creative request for help piques my interest. Cindy and I are never bored. 

As Cindy and I head into another week of families, flips, clients and chaos we are bucking up for more adventures and travels of the Texas Twins…