Ask Toi: You Got Questions….

Is not inviting someone with kids an acceptable reason for disincluding someone in your wedding?!

No. Bottom line is if you’re being told this the kicker is they didn’t want to invite you. Your kids was the easy get out of jail card and they used it. Anyone with kids knows that if you want to be somewhere even if it’s an adult only invite you will make a way.  So by virtue that you were told the lack of invite is because you have kids I would understand one underlining fact, your friendship isn’t as tight as you would like or thought it was.  Weddings are expensive so I get that brides have a hard time cutting the list but good friends don’t make excuses. They reach out and say hey I need to make some cuts and we are friends but I won’t be able to invite you. The issue is that some brides want to make things right after the fact but sometimes it could be a little too late. I actually had a friend who invited me to their shower but not the wedding for a gift and although I applauded her honesty I sent no gift nor did I attend the shower. If you want to keep the relationship have a conversation if not let it ride and let the natural process of elmination take over.

How do you eliminate group vacation drama??

Be super clear with every detail especially when it comes to money. Prior to paying in be clear who you are inviting. Not everyone that you like is the proper get together group. Too many times do people want their other friends to get along. Keep in mind you need more than one person to cross over the lines of friendship. Once your girl power group is assembled split things properly. When my girls and I went to Chicago we had the accounting friend calculate hotel costs according to the days that everyone was staying. We sent emails out and had everyone confirm that they understood. I made the arrangements and we had everyone pay ahead. It was none of that I got you business. To be ahead of the game, just speak up and keep one thing in mind, do not overbook every minute. Let there be a few group activities and leave space for some in the moment adventures too.  Enjoy, take great pictures and limit social media time and reconnect.

If while there something comes up, speak up and separate drinking arguments from real legit arguments and you should be fine. 


Holiday Reminder-Watch your Children

This blog is meant to educate not to scare you.  As parents we are doing the best that you can to raise great kids but as long as evil exits we can always do better, and be warned of the dangers that our kids face:

Now I am a mom and I think a pretty good one. Having kids in this world these days has created the most anxiety as our entire purpose is to raise children that are healthy, supported, and safe.  Now what I am about to talk about is super serious.  As we progress into holidays and gatherings its important for all parents to be vigilant about your children.  Know where they are, who they are with, and stop having familiar relationships that you put a wall up because you think your friend, uncle, aunt, cousin, etc would never. I do not prescribe to that notion. Everyone is a suspect as far as I am concerned.  Not that I have ever had to wonder about anyone around my kids thus far, but just know I am not a blind parent to put more stock on relationships with folks over my kids.

First of all raise your children with the proper names of their body parts.  If you ask my kids they not only know all of the cute names parents give their kids but they know the names of their body and especially their sexual organs. Man-mans can only take you so far when you are teaching your son to know where his penis is and to know what a good touch and a bad touch is. Same for my girls they know they have a vagina and have been able to say it properly since they could talk.  I read a story a few years ago about a man who raped a girl who was around 3 and he got less time because the girl couldn’t properly say if she was penetrated vaginally or anally.  How sick that someone’s lawyer was able to get a child molester less time with that notion?!  It forever changed how I raised my kids and this was before I even had them.  I might have been pregnant with my oldest. I know some parents don’t agree but for me its important to empower them to know from the gate that anybody who touches them in a bad touch way is going to get the business from me and their father and I mean on site.

I check my kids when they come from other people’s house, have open and honest age appropriate conversations, as well as make sure they know that anything they tell me I believe. I also don’t force them to hug and kiss people to spare adults feelings. No they don’t and won’t sit on your lap cause you bought them a gift.  The appropriate response is thank you, not a lap sit. They don’t and won’t be made to be feel as if they owe you a kiss regardless of your relationship just so you can feel like an outstanding adult. Work on your own emotions. I have had family members say they need to give (insert relationship) a hug and as their parent I step up to the plate and kindly and politely let folks no, they don’t have to. I teach my kids to acknowledge them so in our house a hi, a hand wave is good and appropriate until they are comfortable.  Some kids need time to warm up.  Whatever the reason there is apprehension from my child, I just watch.  Kids have more sense than some adults and the vibes they feel is often not wrong.

The number one reason why I don’t force my kids is that I want them to know they have power over their bodies at all times in hopes they keep that power and if God forbid someone tries to take their power from them, it won’t be because they were being groomed by me to allow certain behaviors to continue that they were uncomfortable with from the gate.  I do not devalue their feelings on vibes they receive from adults.  my kids have said, why did (insert family) act like that, say that, etc.  They know.  We tell them there is no secrets policy as well. So we have told them that if someone says don’t tell, they need to be open to us and tell us anyway and realize that as children they aren’t wrong for speaking up.  Now with all of that background there could be an adult male or female that may try to take their precious innocence. I pray that it NEVER happens but will publicly state that my husband is licensed to carry so let’s keep it at just that.

Sometimes as you venture to homes to celebrate the holidays, you start to let the kids roam off. Be careful of that.  Not to scare you but you’re number one job at ALL times is to protect your kids.  So be vigilant in where they are, who they are with and around, and not to be so intoxicated, miscalculating, etc that you let your guard down.  I know of children and we all read of children who daily are being sexually abused, mistreated, preyed upon, missing, etc and I just want to be sure that my kids won’t have that story to tell.  I know I can’t protect them every second of the day, but I along with my husband are doing the best we can to ensure that they know they matter, they should be respected, and just because they are kids no one will just do anything.  I am more than willing to end relationships with anyone who challenges me about their safety. Our kids are precious, all kids are, and you can bet we will try not to allow foolery to happen.  So enjoy the holidays, but be careful that someone doesn’t prey on their innocence and use this jolly time as an occasion to take what didn’t belong to them.

Ask Toi: Holiday Edition

I am afraid to tell my parents that I do not want to stay at their house during the holidays.  How do I do it?

I would have the conversation now before the holidays really shift into gear.  Try to talk to them about the why.  Your why is the biggest reason as to why you made your decision and you need to be clear about it.  Also be prepared.  Some parents will be fine with it and will still want to spend time with you regardless.  Some parents are petty and unfortunately may take it a step further and cancel you even dropping by altogether.  You know the climate of your parents but being an adult means sometimes you have to do what’s best for you.  You not staying at their house doesn’t make you any less their child. Its going to come down to you being okay with their response, show respect always but not letting them or anyone tell you or convince you that your decision is wrong.  Usually unchecked emotions and conversations that should have been had will creep up during the holidays and this is why you need to break the news to them now.  You don’t need to create issues during the actual holidays if you don’t havea to. It will be easier to get it off of your chest and heart.  It may not be as bad as you think, the stress of having someone over during the holidays could be relieved for you and them.  You won’t know until you do it. Put your big girl panties on, talk about it and go from there.

Will my boyfriend propose?  It is making me nervous and I don’t know how to deal.

I don’t know if he will propose.  I would think that you know the status of your relationship.  Are you ready to be wife is the question.  Are you ready to take in another person because you have done all the work to be a whole woman?  You can have the proposal in the back of your mind.  Holidays are a perfect proposal time but don’t play your feelings to be all ready for it and it doesn’t happen. I always tell women to be ideal in the timeline of their relationship. If you haven’t at the very least been with a man through all of the seasons, have been past the honeymoon stage, seen him angry, seen how he does with his family, been around his family and know the dynamics that WILL affect you in your relationship down the line, pump your breaks.  You need time to get there.  Also if you feel that you have are you ready to be a wife vs a bride. There’s a difference.  There are many who love the idea of a big party, and pretty dress, flowers, and photos but don’t want to be a wife that has to deal with when your man for an example loses his job and needs to lean on you.  Be careful that your ideology of what marriage looks like isn’t taking over.  Also have a time in mind that you refuse to sit and wait.  Yes create your own ultimatum but do not tell him.  This isn’t be secretive this is real.  If you won’t honor yourself in what you will or won’t tolerate than you won’t make him honor you either.  Make your moves and stop waiting around for him to do anything.  We put so much pressure on the man and not enough on our own happiness.  This will be key if you want to be a wife so you can be that bomb wife but still complete and go after your own goals.


If you have a question for Toi, you can send the questions to

Ask Toi: We got some questions

Is it okay to air out a grievance about a company or individual who didn’t offer a good service or a faulty product? 

If they have a social media page for their work than yes.  Business is business.  In this social media age, how you deal with folks will air itself on social media.  So if you got to Toys R Us (I say them because last Christmas I aired them out) and they failed, reach out to their customer service.  If that gets you now where its fair game.  I find often times you can get them to respond better if you drop a dime on them on social media.  Make sure when you do that you are okay with others seeing it.  Most times these are not private comments.  To business owners, it would be in your best interest to make even mistakes right, social media has been known to end a business as customers have been known to drag someone for filth.

Is it okay that a grandparent doesn’t babysit a child? 

Yes grandparents are not expected to baby sit.  They are not the golden ticket to your social life now that you are a parent.  Many grandparents are out here living their best lives now that they are no longer tied down to kids of their own.  However grandparents should be involved in their grandchildren lives in other forms.  This means supporting them in school functions, attending birthday parties, holidays, etc A grandparent who doesn’t do these things should be held to a higher standard than them not simply wanting to babysit at will.  If you are experiencing other issues where the grandparents have checked out, it may be some deeper issues. I know some grandparents who do not and miss out on a lot of experiences and it comes out in how the kids interact with them.  Again they will lose precious time, try not to forget that.

How do you deal with a mate who has checked out emotionally?

One you have to communicate and find out why.  Find out if that mate even knows it.  Sometimes they may have things on their hearts and minds and makes it hard to even know that they are missing in action. You are not a mind reader, simply ask. If there is resistance.  Give it some time and space.  However you will have to revisit and if the resistance is still there, try counseling.  Do NOT nag them.  Trust me no one wants that. You are both grown so talking and communicating although not easy still has to take place.

Do you have to exchange gifts for the holidays with your mate?

I think I may have talked about this before but no.  This is something that is between couples.  Some couples do so much all year-long that they don’t see the value in giving gifts to one another. They not only give gifts but they invest in their mate, i.e taking them to the things their mate likes, getting them gifts for no reason, bringing flowers just because its Friday, getting tickets to their mate’s favorite team-overall thoughtfulness. I would opt in some other tradition.  I think that couples should build together.  Maybe instead of gifts you make a new pot of savings.  Maybe make the pot a vacation together, purchase a house, etc. You can decorate it, and place money from both partners.  This way you have something visible to show that you are moving towards goals. However as many complain about these commercial holidays many don’t find out their partners love language and definitely do NOT show them they love them all year. Love is not gifts.  Love should be how you speak, how you protect, how you engage.  Do not give your mate the excuse of not giving gifts on top of an already raggedy relationship.  What is the point in losing all the way around?  No a gift will not mask things but everyone likes to receive.  Its better to have a solid relationship than a bunch of stuff but its horrible to have nothing both in gifts and treatment as well and then try to hide under the no holiday guide as well.  Do better in how you love and show love.  All the ones complaining about getting all year, don’t mean they AND their mate feels that they are being loved on all year-long. Only you know that, also if your mate still wants to give don’t make them feel bad or pressure them to have the same mindset as you do.  Give them a gift because they want to for the holidays.  Relationships isn’t about being one-sided or going along with the dominating mate either.  It should be mutually respected and enjoyed by all.




Check Your Own Body

I have so many tips for doing different work outs but I am not a professional so I really have what works for me.  I don’t even act like my fail proof plan is a Godsend for all, however there comes a time when you have to be on top of things because let’s face it, who else will?  I remember a reader asking an Ask Toi about gynecological exams and if they should continue to have them done after they were married. My answer then and now is an absolute YES!

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Marriage doesn’t mean you sexual health is perfect. You as a woman need to be aware that now that you got the ring and are one, you can still be one at risk woman.  I always wish happiness and great sex for married couples but if anything you should know right now, everyone ain’t on the up and up.  Not only that outside of getting an unwanted and unexpected non gift from a mate, is the risk of ovarian cancer. It is your job to do all you can to live a happy and healthy life.  Part of living a healthy life is to be about your health and sexual health is important.  No ring or marriage certificate will keep you safe.  So my advice is simple, get checked.  I’ve told the story before how when I was pregnant with my youngest, my OBGYN asked me if I wanted to get the STD panel done.  My answer was hell yes. Her response is well you’re married and you have kids.  I asked her who licensed her again because if you are giving me of sound mind this advice what in the holy hell was she telling other women.  Ladies get checked regardless of your status even my born again virgins that ain’t had none since Jesus was a baby, you need to get things checked too.

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No married woman should be told, you good and that’s it. Again the amount of women who die from ovarian cancer is enough for me to check.  Also like I said I do not subscribe that my husband is so perfect that there is a chance that I am going to be okay. I do trust my husband but how many women rely on trust alone and find out after it’s too late that there husband was on the “down low” and they have contracted something that a pill or a shot can’t cure.  I have told my husband plenty of times that I love me and my kids enough and I get that sometimes men take chances on getting some new %ussy but I refuse to live my life where I just throw caution to the wind. One of us has to love themselves enough to get things checked out.  So far after 5 years there hasn’t need to put the “man” between us.  I do not live my life on the edge.  If something is wrong I want to know, get a plan and keep it moving. This is why I encourage my ladies and my men to know what is going on with your health.  Avoidance is a sure fail way to not live your best life.  In order to have a good life you need to be here.

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So find what works for you in general.  I would also encourage all to see your doctor as well as a nutritionist.  These two are key to getting your health on track.  What you eat is literally a large component to how healthy your life is.  Eating the wrong things can contribute to high cholesterol, weight issues, etc.  Overall health seems so overwhelming. I think when I am trying to drink enough water, exercise, take care of my kids, go to work, have a good sex life, be good to my husband, and anything else life throws how much it takes to be on point in each other.  This is why I believe in balance.  However when it comes to my health, I believe in going in, getting things checked and then attacking each area.

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Gabrielle Union’s We’re Going to Need More Wine

I am still reading this but have you ever had a moment of pause? I just had mine today. I am almost done with the book and I had to take a pause. There are a thousand and one things in this book that made me jump, cry, or just sit and pause but today’s pause I have to share.

In her chapter, “On mean women and good dogs, Gabrielle describes a boxing session she had with her trainer and life coach.  The coach asked her what 10 things made her happy.  She couldn’t think of 10 things.  The coach reminded her if she couldn’t find 10 things to make her happy what made her so sure she should have gotten married. Pause. This was my pause. I have been in this dark place.  I cried thinking of how I cried in marriage counseling with my husband snotting and having an entire fit over what he was doing, what he wasn’t doing, and why I was ready to leave him. Pause.  I was ready to leave my college sweetheart for a few reasons.  One we have an extremely long and interesting history.  It spans over 10 years almost 20 to be exact off  and on.  This alone was not a recipe to be married.  Two, I got married because I loved him but I also loved what I thought he was when we were together in college.  Pause.  This is not marital love.  This is not one of those things that you rush down the aisle for. I was miserable in my own skin.  I loved my husband, I knew we had been through HELL and back but I didn’t know who I was.  I was a 30/31-year-old women who had put all of my eggs in one basket and with this basket he was supposed to come in and do all the work.  He was supposed to make me smile with gifts. He was supposed to initiate sex while I went with the flow. He was supposed to be my happiness.  How did that work out? Not good if you can imagine. He did it for a while. He opened my life even when we met in college to the finest of things. If things was what I wanted, he got it. His love language is gifts.  He did it well. I can’t even remember what I could have wanted that he wouldn’t have worked his entire behind to get me.  However after the gifts, what did I have to give. Not a damn thing. He was supposed to do the work while I sat pretty.  I was more like pretty damn miserable and it was causing a wedge in our marriage and relationship.

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Ladies this is not how marriage starts off.  This is how marriage will end.  Had I not taken a chance to go to martial counseling the divorce would have been finalized.  Ladies, had I not gone to counseling on my own after that, I would be a miserable rut. NO man or woman is your source.  Let me repeat that for the folks way, way in the back-they are not your source.   You have to come with more than some thighs or checking account to make things work.  You have to be able to be whole before you can unite.  We had done it backwards or at least I did. I take full responsiblity for my part. I came in looking for a dream.  College sweethearts unite, marry and build a family. It sounded cliché and enough until it wasn’t.  Gabrielle is spilling the tea that every woman and man better get with as your progress through life. If Gabrielle or you or me can’t find things that make you happy, that gives you purpose how in God’s green Earth are you to survive?

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Take a point in this book and the tea I am spilling on what I did or didn’t do to get secure.  So many women and men want marriage but have done zero work on themselves.  You haven’t pulled one credit report to fix your own junk.  You realize that when you get married they marry that junk.  You can’t just let it pile up and hope it goes away because it won’t.  You work a job instead of finding a career.  You have never been out of the country or traveled with friends or even by yourself but you’re ready for marriage or just life.  Remember not everyone wants to be married. Marriage is not the end all.  So to my married friends stop selling these fast dreams.  You walk around with your piece of rock and feel and act as if you have made it.  You are the main ones like me (I was) out here stunting on your single friends like you got some badge of honor.  Your husband ain’t seen a genuine smile out of you in years.  You are miserable and you making his life just as miserable. Just stop.  Your husband or wife ain’t seen the real you since Jesus was a baby.  You hide with the lights off and you fake like everything is everything-just stop!

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Get clear.  Self love is important. You should be able to name more than 10 things that make you happy.  These are not to be thought of things that make you temporary smile.  I mean 10 genuine things that make you happy.  The things that makes you smile about yourself.  If you can’t say that, work on that before you connect with another person. Do that while you are with another person. I had to be real with myself during the months it took.  I was frustrated with the fact that I had to go to counseling but I was serious that even if he and I went our separate ways, at least I could walk out whole and happy even if that meant I had to revert to my maiden name.  Ladies and gentleman the time for this soul-searching is ever-present.  Get there and get clear.  To say it lightly, I need a glass of wine just bringing up these old emotions. Well played Gabrielle, well-played.

Never Forgotten; Year One….

Well as many of my readers and followers know a year ago today, my mother in law transitioned from Earth.  It was such an experience.  This blog is dedicated to the memory of Deborah Ann Wilson-Storr.  We have lost a piece of her and we are trying our best to hold it together. This year has had so many ups and downs.  These are the things that I have personally noticed:

  1. Time right now hasn’t healed our hearts. My kids are still visibly moved by my mother in law’s passing.  My oldest will go to the gravesite but will not get close.  My son is still missing her and asking for her, but then will remember that she’s not here. My youngest was only 2 when she passed away but will say things like momma said….. Trust me it’s really spooky and the things that she says really sounded of things she would have said.  We were super worried that she was the one who didn’t have a close relationship because she was so young.
  2. Holidays and birthdays aren’t the same.  I try to still keep in line with what we would have done if she was here, but you can feel it.  I can’t think of a holiday where we as a family haven’t talked about her and what her presence not being here has meant.  She died right around Halloween and before Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It’s been hard.
  3. I notice that I didn’t cry as much as I did when she first passed but now I do more and its overwhelming.  I never thought what life would be like without her here. I always thought she would be a part of whatever we were doing and not having her here has been unbearable at moments.
  4. I include her memory in everything. I do not want my kids to loss her memory.
  5. My youngest still inter changes my mom and my mother in law’s name.  They call my mom Hanmom and her Mom-Mom and she will ask to go to mom-mom’s house but she really means my mom.  It’s not just a little slip up, we correct her and she is convinced. She has been asking to go to my mom’s house more lately.  It’s hard to know what a 3rd year old means all the time.
  6. Her passing has made me think of my own parents, and the relationship with my kids.  They are now the main grandparent here on Earth. I want them to be closer. However on grandparents day because of distance we had were honored to ask my mother in law’s best friend to stand in but I remember my son being upset and stating how unfair it was his grandparents weren’t there.
  7. As a mother I want to be sure that my words towards my kids are better.  I do not want any words between me and them to be in left field that when I am no longer here, they don’t have to heal from anything negative.  Her death makes me want to be as honest, right, and more loving to my own children.
  8. Lastly anger.  It has been weird and I try not to bother my husband about it, but I have felt angry at times. Like why there wasn’t more that could be done to keep her here with us a little longer.
  9. Not to take life for granted. I remember my mother in law had this list of these great things she wanted to do like take a trip to the Bahamas, buy a new car, or take her grandkids to Disney and sadly those things never happened. I remember when she was in the hospital and telling me what she was going to do, I told her that I would hold her to it.  Now she can’t and I will forever use that energy to do all of the things I possibly can. I don’t want to wait until later, etc.  I want to be sure that I live my best life daily.  So now I move differently in how I honor myself.  In this, will honor her and be a great testament to my kids at the same time.

Like I have said our interactions between my mother in law had intense moments like any other daughter in law and mother in law could have.  However it was always my desire to be closer to her.  What I enjoyed about her was her ability to handle her money and save.  She has taught me that. I know for a fact that I am a better shopper, a better woman of my finances as well as better at ruling my home because of her.

She taught me how to love my husband. My husband is an only child.  You can imagine above all else of what I have learned, how I may be mending, or how our children are doing is his emptiness.  She showed me how to love unconditionally. I always thought that was something that was so natural but it’s not.  She showed me how to handle people mistreating you, talking about you and still being yourself.  EVERYONE knows how it is to be in “Debbie’s world.”  She never wavered in who she was, how she felt, who she like, or who she didn’t like.  She was her, and she didn’t try to change.  She showed me how to love through people.

Whenever I hear my youngest talk, I say okay little Debbie.  She looks like her too.  My 3-year-old is the most sassy but not disrespectful child I have ever encountered.  She reminds me of my mother in law and I just look at her with a side eye at times just like I would my mother in law if she was here.


One thing I would say with anyone who has a in law, to speak up for yourself and not be disrespectful.  I know that at times I came off as disrespectful and I have always admitted that there were things that I could have done like leave etc.  However I can say with 100% certainty is that I was in her full corner when it came to making sure she had the BEST care possible.  It was after I moved from her home that our relationship got back on track.  Also at the end of the day there isn’t anything that was done that I felt like I feel guilty about now that she is gone.  That comes from working things out and learning how to work it out.  I am not saying things were perfect at all, but we left things on the track it should have been on way before she passed.  Also keep in mind that regardless of what is done you can be cordial to an in law.  This is a respectful hello and good-bye especially if children are involved.    Do you know how hard it is to explain to a child while you were “being mean” to that grandparent?  Kids watch what you do regardless of what you say. However even in kidless marriages, it will still matter in how you interact.  You can put distance where it’s needed, I am for that. I did the same for a while too, but when you come back, try.  Always find a try within you.  How you handle those around you matters.  Also keep in mind, that just because you don’t like your in-law, they are the root of your significant other.  The love relationship they have regardless of how many times they complain to you is always going to be there. When that in-law transitions they will resent you if you have treated them any less.  They will not care what was done on the opposite end because the in law won’t be there to speak for themselves.  So be truly careful in how you talk, act, and handle this very delicate relationship. I am telling you it WILL matter.

Deborah, I know you are watching over us, making sure we give your grandbabies anything they ask.  I know you know we will not but you would want us to.  You would want us to give them as many kisses for you. I try daily to do just that and more.  The way you loved those 3 grandkids of yours was nothing more than I could have given and I am their mother. I pray that as we continue in this life, that your memory will burn bright everyday. I pray you are honored in how we move and live daily.  Until you can give me another side eye, I love you!!