Look for the Good! Costumed Church Community’s Positive Psychology

Look for the Good! Costumed Church Community's Positive Psychology


That’s what my head felt like when the phone rang at 2:25 a.m. this Sunday morning. Can you believe this? Have you had it happen? A blankety-blank PSA! The dreaded Public Service Announcement. Yeah, right. Before I unceremoniously clicked it off, my not welcoming ears assimilated, “You have been placed on the no-call list…”

No kidding, that’s exactly what it said. Ugh.

Random racing thoughts I usually have before answering the phone had no time to emerge before I picked up the receiver. I was still in a half-asleep fog. It was pitch dark. I had no sense to look at the called ID. Just immediate reflex to pick it up. Usually I am awake enough to think, “An emergency!” But this morning, my mind was a blank stuporous state.

Looking back on it, I muse, “I have been a clinical psychologist for over 4 decades (wow, that went by in a flash!). You would think I would get used to these calls, but each has its own unique call to action.

OK, I admit it, I cussed in my mind, “Damn, it’s Sunday morning! I was going to sleep in.” I laid down for a few minutes, but I knew my day had started. Ready or not, your neurons were all dressed up and raring to go. I smiled, listened to my positive psychology brain firing up, now happily clicking in full gear ready for action, “Look for the good!”

I asked myself a coaching powerful question: “What do I want to do?” I paused.

Aha! I want to write a “Pay it forward” blog about one of my dearest lifelong friends, Susie Fair Enger.

Susie, had the notorious pleasure and pride in first grade to be a year older than the rest of us. Her home state of Virginia had kindergarten at age 6, so when she moved to DE from Virginia a year later, she was honored and revered by the rest of us first-graders. Wow, she was already 7! Susie was, and still is, a stunning lady. From the inside of her generously kind, caring soul, to the out, her beautiful visage glows. She is one of my most precious friends. We have loved and appreciated each other for almost 60 years. Been through our mom’s illnesses and deaths and supported each other at every crossroad. We share emails every day.


Costume Stories

I LOVE people’s happiness, meaning, and fulfillment stories. Seeing positive psychology in action. This week, Susie sent me a dandy heart-warmer. She also sent me the photos you see here. Extra special photos, as she and her husband, Don, shot the photos you see here. (Enger’s Designers Images www.englers.com)

Susie is the white hoop skirt, and Don beams in the Gray Civil War Confederate uniform. Way cool. Jerry Knotts, a retired minister, is costumed as a pastor with his wife, Sally. Curt Kimmel, still active in National Guard in New Castle, DE, is on the right.

Why the costumes? Susie and Don’s church was celebrating their 150 year anniversary. How original. I would love to have been there. When I asked her where she was able to score the costumes, Susie’s positivity, make-your-heart-sing, story began:

Posivity Costumes

Costumes… what a story! A kind lady, who will be 80 this year, lives in the development down the road from me. A neighbor taught her to sew when she was 10. She married and had 7 daughters. Her whole family liked dressing in theme costumes. She made cowboys and Indians, Chinese, Disney, patriotic or whatever their fancy. She also made costumes for local school plays and re-enactments. One daughter had a Colonial Williamsburg wedding . Another had her bridesmaids in stunning ball gowns and the guys donned long tails. Her hubby worked 35 years at Getty Oil, retired, had a stroke and died. She had never worked outside the home, but not to be defeated, she created a small business for herself renting costumes.

She proudly showed me her basement. Wow! It was wall-to-wall costumes. She delighted in telling me her grand kids are of course into the costumes. Everyone dresses up for all family occasions. How wonderful is that? I am thankful our paths crossed. I can’t wait to find another excuse to rent another dress!”

So in her grief, for this wonderful lady, creativity, appreciation of beauty and hope blossomed to help her once again smell the roses. To bring joy to so many others, too. Connections. Belongingness. Sharing and caring. I bet you can find many other character strengths adding to the tapestry of this story. How about diligence, gratitude, and zest?

Look for the good.

What story do you recall that fires up your sense of purpose, meaning and oneness with the people in your world? I do hope your opportunity, however, does not come at 2:25 a.m.! But do flash me an email and let me know your story. You matter!

Thank you all for making my book, Photo Adventures in Cuba a continued Amazon bestseller!