31 Days of Personal Exploration – Day 2


Day 2

I’m trying to get everything set up with this challenge – graphics, linky link, permalink ….so much to catch up.  Yet, I’m doing my day 2 post.


Today is a reflection of a few books I’ve picked up this past year to help me in several areas of my life – my business, my spiritual and personal life.

It’s funny, because of ease I originally downloaded all these books on my Audible account, then realized it would benefit me more to have the paper versions to highlight and take notes more effectively.

I also realize I can enjoy a book much faster while reading and listening at the same time!  This is huge for me personally.  I’m a slow reader and tend to avoid reading because of the time consuming process.

I pick up at the sale rack in Books A Million last week my latest book: The Customer Rules.  This is the only one I don’t have an Audible version.  That will change later this week.

The point of exploration for me is this:  Audible + Paper Book = Successful reading and learning  While I might be paying twice as much for books (Amazon’s used books pricing makes this work though), the point of success in reading and learning new concepts to run my life is a big win for me.

Now to apply these new concepts, that is the next step of exploration.

31 Day Writing Challenge


One of the many elements I really want to accomplish this year is to have a blog and use it – write in it.  Share my thoughts and ideas to inspire others.  Yet, it hasn’t been a priority.  So, as normal, I discover a tool a bit late and jump on board.

While reading my friends blog, The House of Traquair, she mentioned this challenge: Write 31 Days.  This intrigued me and I thought maybe this will help me focus on making my blog a better extension of me, aka Just Toni.

Now the challenge asks you to focus on one category.  That is hard for me – my life is made up of a large variety of “categories”.  Looking at the list they want you to choose from I’m going to go with Personal Endeavors.

Looking up the word endeavors as a noun:an attempt to achieve a goal.  This is perfect!

My first personal endeavor is to write daily (or more often) in my blog.

As I go through this month long writing challenge, I’ll share a new or recently established endeavor.

**Disclaimer: I am not a professional (or even a causal) writer – I use poor grammar and if it wasn’t for auto-correct my spelling would scare you too.  Please respect my blog and don’t correct me.  It will be a waste of your time and I will remove the comment.  Thank you for reading.

The Unorthodox Coach

That is what I’m calling myself….the Unorthodox Coach.  I laugh every time I get an email because I’m a Beachbody Coach – – yet, I have still to make it through the 21 Day Fix completely!

Yep, you read that right?  I haven’t completely worked through one set of 21 days – exercise, food, shakeology, and water.  Crazy right?  NO!!

My journey started last year in March when I was first introduced to the program and thought sure I’ll try it – spend a little money – well, a bit more than a little – an investment for motivation – so I thought.  Yeah, I like the Shakeology part easy enough – it’s awesome chocolate fuel!  But committing to the menu planning and the exercise wasn’t want I wanted to do in March 2015.  So, life moved on as I did working to get my real life job (I own a quilt and yarn shop) up and running strong.

Then I started Periscoping (thanks to Kim Garst) in January 2015 and meet my current coach Erin Lewis.  What drew me to her was her business concept of Faith, Food, Fitness, and Freedom.  Faith was the key here.  She really stuck a cord with my own spiritual walk and how am I being uneffective in serving others if I’m not taking care of myself.

So, step by step I’ve started to make changes.  Here is how some of the process took place:

  • I started drinking my expected required water (half body weight in lbs.) in January using an app and several water containers until I found one that works well for me – big straw, easy to clean and holds 24oz.
  • Budgeting my shakeology – it’s not cheap, yet built into the food budget it, it is manageable.  That was my goal in February.
  • Joining an accountability group, with daily checkins – I also use my Toni on Instagram now for my own motivation.
  • My main motivation to get going was not to worry about my weight yet to FEEL BETTER.  I was tired of my back, knees hurting and becoming winded going up/down stairs.
  • Started off slow with working out and seeing what time was the best for me to follow through – I wanted to do it after work, yet I was drained from the day’s activities already, I wasn’t motivated to follow through.  Another thing I learned this past weekend, I have to get up even on my days off to work out otherwise my whole day is out of sync.
  • Started in March with daily workouts, set a morning time (6:45am) and give it 30 minutes!
  • Learning I can push myself and not use the modifier workout gal, Kat.

I have to admit, pounds are NOT falling off because I’m still not all IN.  Yet, I have seen inches off my measurements and my clothes do fit differently, I do not get winded and my knees/back are totally pain free.

It’s now April – – 14 months since I truly got invested in this and I feel motivated, slimmer, confident and successful.  You do not have to rush or commit all in – – especially us who are resistant to changes.  Taking one step managing it fully for 3-4 weeks then adding another step.

I have set some long term goals now and plan to lose 50lbs by end of 2016, yet it’s taking the first step in daily routines that has this journey if full swing.

If you are interested, I would love to help you as well start you journey, it’s never too late to get started.

Will the real me, please stand up?

I'm the real me

So this past weekend, I took time to play on the internet and change every username I’m currently using in to one simple username: tonicarringer

No more quiltingpirate or sunflwgal

QPBlogIcon    ToniPirate-babybelle83  sunflwgal  sunflwgalsunflower_by_blizzardskies
I didn’t realized how easy it was to change names, so everywhere my name is the same….. pinterest, facebook, instagram, periscope, twitter and ravelry (well, apparently I’m tonicarringer1 there because I originally set it up with my name and now I can’t access it).

I was asked the question So what inspired you to reclaim your own name?” over the weekend regarding this recent change of my online identity.  I actually have to ponder the answer to be sure I was doing it for the right reasons.

My responses was:  “I’ve been interneting for over 16 years, through that time I’ve been blogging, creating webpages during different “phases” of trying to be something that others would “follow” me, feeding my own self worth thru and to be honest – being popular.

Sunflwgal was my first go to persona because I love sunflowers, next was quiltingpirate because I was a rennie and a quilter. Yet, as I’ve “matured” (using it lightly) I realize I’m not being real to me.

I need to regather all my personas and be the one real me. I’m here to inspire not be “liked”. I do want my personal relationship and business relationships separate so I can still have some personal intimacies.

Over the past 4 months of empty nester syndrome, I’ve had to grow into who I am now and where I want to be. How is my life working for me, what is my purpose and how do I use it for others. ….

I’m still working through my own answers, but as of today I’m happy to know I’m the real me (aka Toni)

My original blog is still up and I might move it here as well, yet you can see it at The Quilting Pirate I didn’t realize it but it covers 6 years.

He has RISEN!

Taking time to reflect today the many blessings God brings into my life daily and knowing I have eternal life.

John 11:25-26

John 11:25-26

New Blog!

I've got this!

Here I go again, creating a blog to document thoughts and progress as I travel through this year.

Relearning all the new things I can do with WordPress is fun as well.

I’m not sure what I’ll share and how I’ll do it, but here I am starting again.

What have I been doing?

A lot of knitting and spring cleaning and trying to be more diligant on my bible studies. . . man, it’s such a balancing act.

I have done, been doing commission works as well, including this quickie embroidery add on to this center piece.  This is by Karen Davison, a true newbie to quilting and she is making this for her grand-daughter.  I’m so impressed by her willingness to jump right into those challenging techniques of quilting.  She is taking my beginner classes now, but she has learned a lot by just stopping into the shop asking a few questions at  a time.  And all I did was add the name and date 🙂  This is about 36″ x 42″.

And one of our largest local guilds had their annual quilt show a few weeks ago.  I didn’t take a lot of pictures (camera was dying), but here’s a few to enjoy.  The Smokey Mountain Guild, based in Knoxville, TN has over 200 members and host a show every year.

Created with flickr slideshow.

He Has Risen!

Matthew 28:6 NIV He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

Rejoice in knowing our Savior lives and has risen for me and you.  What a blessed day this is to remember the importance of this event.

I’m trying to re-energize my blog this week…new layout, new “about me”, just renew.  I’ve been working through how I wish to use my blog.  And I have several blogs – – – it’s hard to combine them all into one because they represent different parts of my life, at the same time it’s hard to keep up with 3! 🙂

So, let’s try simple with one post at a time. 

Happy Easter!

Grateful Thoughts

Happy New Year’s!

It’s funny every year I read and listen to folks mention how bad the previous year has been and how they hope and wish for a better new year.   I wish they find that peace and happiness they are looking for and deserve this year.  Everyone deserves happiness and peace.

Every year is hard, difficult and sad – – yet, there is always positive and so many blessings to be thankful for.  It seems sometime we focus more on the bad because of the emotional impact it has.  But I think if we list all the good, the bad seems to disappear – or at least minimize.

I think, if we start the year off with a mindset of gratefulness, when trouble does happen we can adapt to it a little easier.

I’m grateful for:

  • My husband and his journey home.
  • My kids and their challenges and successes in their lives.
  • My furry friends.
  • My new relationships with friends.
  • My old relationships with friends that continue to grow.
  • My paycheck, food on the table, roof over my head, electricity and the internet.