Off Limits was a bit shocked to receive a Christmas card from Focus on the Family last week, since we haven't been big boosters of James Dobson. But we decided to think of it as a classy move in the spirit of the season -- especially since the card was signed with real ink. And maybe Dr. Jim was sending a message with the image on the front: snow-covered trees around a cozy little cottage, smoke wisping from its chimney. No Baby Jesus, no Three Wise Men, not even a damned camel. With the White House coming under fire for sending a generic "Happy Holidays" card, was this ardent defender of all that is religious, right and uptight going secular on us?
No such luck. According to FOF's Lisa Anderson, the group was won over by the message inside: "Hearts always find their way home for the holidays. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year."
"We liked the sentiment on that card, in particular, because it expressed thoughts on family," she explains.
Focus on the Family
And how does an outfit known for its bombastic and wide-reaching statements pick a holiday card that sends exactly the right sentiment? "I don't know if we've ever had a real scientific method," Anderson says. In fact, FOF is just like us: It picks its cards from a catalogue -- specifically, the catalogue from Current, which is also Colorado Springs-based. "We like them because they're local, and we've had great success with them," she adds. "And it's never been our intention to try and make a card more mainstream, because we just don't."
They do, however, turn card-signing duties into an annual holly-jolly Christmas office party, with everyone getting together to eat cookies, drink hot chocolate and lay themselves on the dotted line.
The message is the medium: Denver native Rosa Mazone is getting her fifteen minutes of fame, and all because she came up with the right sentiment, too. In the film-fest favorite Me and You and Everyone We Know, released on DVD this month, Christine Jesperson wears a nightshirt designed by the 73-year-old, which bears the slogan "I am a precious, wondrous, special, unique, divine, rare, valuable, whole, sacred, total, complete, entitled, worthy, and deserving person." The words are printed backward, so the wearer -- or movie fans -- can read them in a mirror.
"It is a physical manifestation of what I feel I can contribute to creating love on the planet," Mazone says. "I want people to understand that they aren't flawed and defective and inadequate and worthless -- that basically without conditions or exceptions or qualifications, that unconditionally who you are as a person are these words that are on the shirt."
Mazone has sold about 6,000 of the shirts through www.femailcreations.com. Her primary business, though, is as a self-realization consultant, a calling she came to about thirty years ago while ironing her now ex-husband's Egyptian cotton, button-down shirts. "It was a July afternoon, and I was grappling with the thought that it was time for me to go in a new direction," she remembers. "So as I ironed, I was looking at all of the possibilities. Maybe I would start a new career, maybe I would work with the U.S. Ski Team or the League of Women Voters, or maybe I would just lie on the deck and eat bonbons. While I was hanging the shirt -- I'm a spiritual person, but I was no longer at that time Catholic -- I raised my hands up and said, 'Well, what shall I do with the rest of my life?' And the phone rang."
The caller had gotten her name from a friend and wanted to know if Mazone would teach a class at a new women's school in Jefferson County. She's been teaching spiritual classes ever since.
She still likes to iron -- but just her own shirts.
Another clothes call: Just after last call at a Christian charity event at Invesco Field a few weeks ago, a man empowered by free beer worked his way toward the field under the eagle-eyed gaze of an Off Limits operative. He'd never make it, she bet the young man's friends; surely one of those walkie-talkie-toting white-haired ladies hovering at the outskirts of the party would hear the laughter and put a stop to it.
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But to everyone's awed amusement, the brave man stepped right onto the turf -- apparently no invisible force field keeps the riffraff out of Jake Plummer's house. And over the next fifteen minutes, the man proceeded to take off his jacket, his shirt, his shoes, his pants and his boxers, then lifted his arms in pride as he ran from one end zone to the other and back, pausing to twirl and dance along the fifty-yard line.
Finally, a guard emerged and told the confident -- and now almost fully dressed -- fellow that he couldn't be on the field. So the successful streaker donned his sport coat, hopped up the same wall he'd jumped down, and rejoined the party as a hero.
Bring that man another beer!