Living on an island does have some advantages. A beautiful panoramic view of all things tropical, plenty of turquoise water, streets lined with palm trees, and a glaring reminder there are not any mainstream shopping stores nearby. So I will not lie when I say, my location has greatly helped make my first month of the Contentment Challenge almost enjoyable. 

So sit back for a minute with a nice cup of tea, and let me tell you about this first month :)

I read Nancy Ray's post, along with a few other bloggers, who mentioned how excited they were to declutter their home and give away trash bags of items. I remember sitting back and thinking, how in the world did they accumulate so much stuff that they had trash bags to give away?  I let this thought cross my mind, as I walked to my own closet and stared into the mess.  I didn't want to give anything away. I was good at convincing myself I did not need to too. Thoughts would spring to my mind as I played with the idea of what to give. 

- "I might need these shorts one day to wear somewhere."
- "I have so many memories wearing this old shirt, I could never get rid of it." 
- "I might need to wear these cool pants to a Shark Week themed party a friend could possibly host one day."  

Okay, maybe the last one is a bit far fetched, but you get the idea.  I had an excuse to keep everything. Until a story from Lara Casey crept to the forefront of my mind.  A post about how her husband gave away his favorite sweater, because we are supposed to give away what we love too.  Giving is supposed to hurt. 

I once again stood in front of my open closet and slowly allowed my my heart to change.  I gradually altered my thought process from,

- "I might need this one day..."
- "Someone needs this now."

Boom! Ten minutes later, clothes were flying out of my closet and a bag was filled with items ready to be given away. I felt peace wash over me.  I began to hear Christ encouraging me to keep giving, as that first bag was only a small start. 

I knew I needed to clear the clutter, as Lara says.  I needed to let go of the old in order to create room for what matter's most while living more intentionally. 

And I found that by living an intentional August, instead of randomly purchasing items I do not need or wasting time focusing on what I do not have, suddenly there is extra money to give, extra possessions to share, and extra time to spend with friends and family. 
In September I really want to continue working hard to make positive changes, and learn how to be content in all things.

A few steps I hope will help make September a great month for contentment:
- Keep working on cleaning out my closets and letting go of anything I am not using
- Waking up at 7am for quiet time, reading and journaling
- Give more freely of my time
- Conquer a lifelong goal of running my first 1/2 marathon!
- Eating out less, in order to save money for the goals I am working towards

And there you have it! A few steps that will hopefully keep me moving toward a more content heart. It's still not too late if you want to join along :)

How are you with giving items away?

Quote: Nancy Ray

With a grateful heart,
XOXO always

- Live simply - intentionally - gratefully - joyfully -


Meghan Kraft :

Oh my goodness. That photograph is absolutely stunning - this is gorgeous!

Denise Lopatka :

Oh Sheila this post hits my heart hard! I am the exact same way. I am slowly starting to clean out my closet also. But yet I looked at my Valore pants and say what if I need them for a 90s party one day. I love that you reminded us that giving does have to hurt. Beautiful post love you sweet friend!

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