Yellow and Orange botanical flower

Note: Welcome to my first blog post! Look for them every Wednesday with special editions to be posted on Saturdays! ~ Cheri Lomonte

I live a full and happy life. Even though there have certainly been periods of incredible sadness, loss, and challenges, I have maintained a deep sense of happiness throughout. With the new happiness craze, I really thought about my own life and started trying to analyze what it is that allows me to be so happy.

I discovered several things, none of them earth-shattering, but collectively, they add up to a pretty happy Cheri!

First, I find time to be grateful every single day. I don’t always write something down, but in the morning before I get out of bed, I think about the incredible things in my life. They’re not expensive or necessarily “big.” The day’s list is often like the list in the play, “Every Brilliant Thing” by Duncan McMillan. Here a young boy seeks to comfort his suicidal mother by listing everything wonderful in the world starting with:

1-ice cream
2-water fights
3-staying up late and being allowed to watch TV
4-the color yellow
5-things with stripes…

These are certainly things to be grateful for.

Second, I have managed to surround myself with amazing friends and family members. I have friendships that go back to my childhood and new friends continue to work their way into the fold. These relationships keep me humble–the depth of caring and commitment I feel directed towards me in times of need can almost be overwhelming. And yes, I am grateful for all of these people every day.

Third, I am fulfilled by working to make this world a better place. My years volunteering for Mary’s Touch and starting Frontline Faith, really gave me a sense of peace and commitment that an ordinary job could never have done. I am very fortunate to have been able to volunteer my time and energy for more than 12 years to develop and spearhead these causes. My current work as a photographer is similarly oriented—I want to give people inspiration and move them to places of happiness and contentment.

Fourth, I live surrounded by beauty. The outdoors, nature, other people’s art. There is color, texture, fragrances, and good foods in my life. Again, this need not be expensive. Think of it as a life lived with vigor, rich and full. I hope my photos can take this beauty into people’s homes.

Fifth, I find great joy in engaging with my creative self. Whether it is an entrepreneurial enterprise, taking photos, writing, or designing a home space, this is when I feel most centered and focused. Remember, a simple doodle can be a work of art.

Sixth, I have always realized that a liprickly artichokefe is just that, a life. With ups and downs, people that move in and out, physical abilities that come and go. I have made it a point to embrace all the stages in my life, seeking the best each one has to offer.

Seventh, I think it’s an attitude thing. I have simply chosen to be happy (the alternative just doesn’t work for me).

Now, why the blog? I want to share “happiness,” and I hope that each post gives you a bit of insight on how to reach and maintain a sense of happiness, gratefulness, and contentment in your life.

I’ll be back next week…

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.
Abraham Lincoln