Sunday, April 26, 2009


Pursuing my love for photography during the first two and half years of my Purdue career taught me more about myself than about art.  My family has ever been particularly into the arts and so learning to express myself through media was a foreign experience for me.  One I embraced with each class, project, and critique.  

 Often I would be nearly finished with my project before I would realize I could see myself reflected in every image.  I reasoned with myself that they were my work, my heart and soul was in each and so that is why they all seemed in some way a self portrait.  Only later would I find the real connection.

This particular class was designed to help us explore old methods of photography that were art simply my process.  Medium format and I would have a love/hate relationship that semester as I struggled to make my project come together before breaking my bank.  Image after image of houses that could have been the neighbors in the show "Leave it to Beaver".  Perfect houses with picket fences.  Homes.

The first time I drove through that neighborhood I was couldn't peel my eyes away from them.  For years afterwards I would drive that neighborhood over and over, finding some sort of comfort in those houses.  Gravitating there on many a drive but most often in December when they were covered with Christmas lights and playful decorations.

It was my teacher who was finally able to tie my projects together.  The pictures of the Saturday kids interacting.  The pictures of memories, keepsakes, boxes, photos.  Each representing moments I cherished and hoarded.  The letters.  The houses.

He looked at the line of houses after my first round of photos.  He picked each house up, one by one. Taking a closer look at the angles, the edges, the framing, each element I'd been taught to consider as I photographed.  I waited.  Finally he turned to me and said words that would play in my head long after that project had been tucked away and my major had been changed.  He said to me, "Becca every project you pursue is the same topic".  I was dumbfounded.  The same?  

"I can't help but see the same thing in every're searching for home.  Not your home, just the concept of home"...

With a childhood full of boxes, houses, rentals, and goodbyes it's a wonder I didn't make the connection before.  In some ways I think I spent my entire life exploring the concept of  'home'.  Is it really wherever your heart is?  Is it where your rump rests?  Is it always sweet? Do any of these things apply to me?  What if my heart is divided between the people I loved along the way?  What if my rump has rested so many places I can't even remember the addresses or even picture them when I close my eyes?  What about when a house feels foreign? When you first move in and it still feels like someone else's home but you know it's supposed to be yours?  How long does it take to be 'home sweet home'?  Once it is, why do I feel like I'm always leaving?

My Mom always told me that as long as we were together as a family we were home. When I went away to college she would fuss at me when leaving our house to return to school I would slip and say "I have to go home".  This is your home she would argue.  Mostly teasing, but always reminding me.

I decided once when I was a teen that  I would take my children on a road trip someday. I would show them every house I'd ever lived in. I would return to each of them not just to show them, but so that I could try to imprint them forever in my memory. The idea was brilliant right up until I realized that I didn't know where most of them were.  Maybe just the most important ones, I thought.  Which ones aren't important, I wonder?

My desire to feel at home continued through my college years as I fought myself internally every time someone asked me where I was from.  Where indeed.  I was born in New Jersy.  I did the most growing up in Tampa.  My family lives in Indy.  Our family friends are in North Carolina where I imagine my parents will some day land.  I could make a case for each place we lived.  I am "from" each of them, but I imagine that sort of lengthy answer is not what the person was seeking.

Three of the pictures from that project hang above my bed in my Tampa house.  I love them because they remind me of home.  I see my own home as a collection of the images that defined  years worth of self portraiture in my artwork.  The envelope with layers of addresses.  the children playing on the kitchen floor.  The perfect houses with the white picket fences.  The people that made each house feel full, even before we could furnish them.

Home for me is a sort of collage of memories, histories, moments, people, and yes even some actual houses.  Home is a concept that's always growing, making room to include more pieces - yet, somehow is always whole.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A bittersweet return...

Cason, my friend & the Fam First intern.

      Looking out over APD's biggest crowd yet!

I arrived just before 7:00am.  The crowds hadn't gathered yet and there was little activity on the field as I took my trip down the tunnel and onto the familiar grassy field.  Nearly 8 years later and the deja vu was still overwhelming.  I took a few steps and stopped to take it all in.  I was 16 the last time I walked on this field.  This town, this team, is where the NFL journey first began for us, nearly 15 years ago.

I still remember the fateful day my Dad called a "pow wow" in our Clemson, SC living room.  Coach Dungy had just received his first head coaching job and he wanted Dad to join him to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.   Part of me wanted to jump for joy at such a wonderful opportunity for our dear friends as well as for Dad to take the next big career step.  Sailing into unknown territory was regular in the Christensen household but this was bigger than any change yet.  A whole new league.

I was so young then.  5th grade.  I was still selling friendship bracelets at stands on the side of the road.  When I think about all the emotions I experienced it's hard to remember how young I really was.  But the journey was really only just beginning for us...

We played our first few seasons in the "big sombrero", a stadium that strongly resembled a tortilla chip if you asked me.  The Bucs hadn't been good in so long that outside of Florida no one paid them much mind.  Until us.  The staff that would later disperse to fill so many positions in the NFL and grow increasingly known.  Herm Edwards, Lovie Smith, Rod Marinelli, etc.  A powerhouse staff that was about more than just football.  

The legacy of those coaches, those players like Trent Dilfer, Dave Moore, Warrick Dunn, Mike Alstott, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch - it lives on in titles, championships, trophies, rings, and even books.  But it also lives in my heart.  So many memories.  Mostly good but some heartbreaks as well.  They flooded me as I returned after what feels like a lifetime.

After proving the Bucs were a team of heart we finally got the support needed to see Raymond James Stadium be built.  It was a huge accomplishment both for the team and the city.  We were able to see Tampa into a season they hadn't dared to dream of in years - a season of winning.  Coach Dungy said this past Saturday that when we came one of his goals was to see people wearing Bucs gear - and he did it.  Later he would do much the same thing for the Colts.

I say that the return was bittersweet because as all good things must come to an end so did our time in the stadium.  I think I've left a piece of myself behind with every team we've been with.  You cheer your heart and soul out in those stands.  Wearing yourself out physically and emotionally with the ups and downs of your team and in my case, your family.  Leaving was a divorce.

The sweetness comes as I find myself back here so many years later.  After leaving Tampa the desire of my heart still remained to be in this city.  Though I don't foresee myself ever returning to the stands in my black and red... I walked on that field to once again be a part of something bigger than football.  All Pro Dad.  When it first started Coach Tony and Dad were the first coaches on board.  As Coach Tony said Saturday, they spent so much time talking about how to parent effectively in the crazy industry they were a part of - they wanted to share some of those ideas with other Dads.

As the daughter of my own All Pro Dad this ministry will forever have a special place in my heart.  I've been so blessed by what they stand for and their support of my family as we sought to put Family First in our own lives.  So it was special for me to return to a Tampa event to see how it has grown.  This weeks event was the largest to date (but don't doubt Indy will continue to give it a run for the money!).  I felt so much gratitude Saturday that God has seen fit to answer my prayers and put me back in this city and that I could be there to witness the works of his hands of his servants at Family First.

Saturday was a great event and for those of you who didn't make it out, I hope you'll be there next year!  : ]


Sunday, April 12, 2009


The entry is dedicated to Trav, who told me that I should blog about my recent thoughts on the Passion of Christ movie as he did a while back (check out his entry if you haven't seen it).

Here are some thoughts I had this time watching....

I don't understand the evil baby. I'm insanely curious as to what the idea behind having satan carry an evil looking baby around in the movie was. And for that matter - my own personal interpretation of satan has never included satan being a woman. With a man's voice. But I'm not saying this as a criticism of the movie or the way they went about it - I truly find peoples different interpretations of the same thing to be fascinating.

One thought I had that I don't remember wondering about the first time I watched the movie was what it must have been like for his friends and family to witness him being treated that way. I think about watching my Dad, my sister, my child be abused in that way and I wonder how they could even stand to watch. How their hearts must have broken to see someone they loved dearly be scorned, mocked, beaten, abused. How much worse must that have been knowing that not only was he not experiencing any of that because he had to or deserved to - but he chose to endure it for those very people who were treating him so.

How thankful I am that such a sacrifice was not asked of me, for I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I would not, could not do as he did. I am thankful for a God of grace.

I've always been a fairly soft-hearted soul. I cry when others cry. I want to save any and everyone. I'm easily inspired by a movie or song. That's just my nature. And so it was impossible for me to grasp how anyone would want to hurt someone the way those people hurt Jesus. Jesus who by nature was so gentle, so loving, so accepting. How could people hate him so much they would want to watch him suffer? I watched the movie as the men were beating him over and over with the whips - laughing as his blood splattered on their faces and my heart ached. I can think of no man or woman no matter how they have treated me that I could do this too. How satan can grip the hearts of men and teach them to hate in that capacity is and should be terrifying.

I wonder often and the movie brought these feelings to the surface yet again...why? How could he possibly love us...ME enough to endure such pain. Scorn. Torture. Daily I know I am not worth such suffering and yet even if I had been the only one, he would have died to save me from my sin. To break down the barrier that could have forever kept me from being allowed a relationship with him. He died for me. He suffered for me. Oh how grateful I am and how much more grateful I should be.

I leave you for now with this song...which make me cry everytime I hear it because I am that girl.

Why? - Nichole Nordeman

We rode into town the other day
Just me and my Daddy
He said I'd finally reached that age
And I could ride next to him on a horse
That of course was not quite as wide

We heard a crowd of people shouting
And so we stopped to find out why
And there was that man
That my dad said he loved
But today there was fear in his eyes

So I said "Daddy, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why is He dressed in that bright purple robe?
I'll bet that crown hurts Him more than He shows
Daddy, please can't you do something?
He looks as though He's gonna cry
you said he was stronger than all of those guys
Daddy, please tell me why
Why does everyone want him to die?"

Later that day the sky grew cloudy
And Daddy said I should go inside
Somehow he knew things would get stormy
Boy was he right
But I could not keep from wondering
If there was something he had to hide

So after he left I had to find out
I was not afraid of getting lost
So I followed the crowds
To a hill where I knew men had been killed
And I heard a voice come from the cross

And it said, "Father, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why are they casting their lots for My robe?
This crown of thorns hurts Me more than it shows
Father, please can't You do something?
I know that You must hear My cry
I thought I could handle the cross of this size
Father, remind Me why
Why does everyone want Me to die?
When will I understand why?"

"My precious Son, I hear them screaming
I'm watching the face of the enemy beaming
But soon I will clothe You in robes of My own
Jesus, this hurts Me much more than You know
But this dark hour I must do nothing
Though I've heard Your unbearable cry
The power in Your blood destroys all of the lies
Soon You'll see past their unmerciful eyes
Look there below, see the child
Trembling by her father's side
Now I can tell You why
She is why You must die"

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Well my bags aren't even close to packed and I'm not ready to go...BUT I am leaving on a jet plane tomorrow morning. Headed to the cold, grey, midwest for Easter with the Christensen crew. Though I dread the weather and the fact that I don't actually own any winter clothes anymore - I can't wait to see the family.

I think I've decided to leave the laptop at home and avoid the internet for the week but feel free to follow me via twitter (bhchristensen) as I will probably be updating that with texting (it updates my blog as well).

Wanted to share some positive feedback I got this week about this blog...I didn't ask their permissions so I'm not posting the full messages or their names.

From a dear friend via facebook message:

beeks-okay, seriously, you are one of the most insightful people i've ever known in my entire are SUCH an encouragement to me, girl. i've been reading your blog and just tearing up. god is going to use you for such amazing things, and i am SO LUCKY that i am able to call you my friend. - from IL

Thanks for the sweet message friend, I'm so glad you've enjoyed my blog style rambling and it is I who feel honored to have YOU for a friend.

Becca: its fun and meaningful to see you blogging about your relationship with your Dad and with All Pro Dad. - from IN

All Pro Dad will forever have a special place in my heart & life. It gives me the joy of a connection to my own APD, as well as the opportunity to encourage families to value each other. Thanks for reading my blog entry and I look forward to seeing you at events very soon!

Alright, that's all for now.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dad's Story.

Please take the time to read my Dad's story about his adoption at - the title is Clyde Christensen's Adoption or something along those lines. The story is so sweet...and I love the way he tells it.

Love ya'll.


Putting MY Family First...

Dad & I working the Indy All Pro Dad Event - Oct. 2008

I encourage each of you to visit

If you'd like to find the 10 year old family photo I've been begging them to change, feel free. Nothing like having the awkward stage of your childhood documented forever on the world wide web. Anywho, this week I have been thinking about what it means to put your family first. Family has always been a priority in our household. I'm blessed to say that in a somewhat crazy household my parents went over and above the call of duty to make the closeness of our family a priority. They taught us to love each other second only to God and our relationship with Him.

The Family First and All Pro Dad crews have blessed my family in countless ways and I love being back in Tampa so that I am able to lend a small hand here and there and give back to such a great cause. Giving back is a concept I strongly believe in. Throughout my childhood my Dad has always worked a demanding job. I heard on ESPN radio last year that they estimate the average NFL football Coach works 125 hours per week in season (and to think, most people complain about 40!). When you work 125 hours a week that doesn't leave much non-sleeping time in your day-to-day life. My Dad had to work that much harder to spend time with us.

All Pro Dad was started to promote just that. Dad's making their kids (and wives) a priority. The way you spend your time reflects your heart. I truly believe that and often I have to ask myself if I'm spending my time in a way that backs up what I say my priorities are. Dad always makes us a priority. My roommate from my freshman year of college, Alyssa, was visiting me in Florida last week and she brought up the cards my Dad would send me. In college I would get weekly cards in the mail from my Dad. Index cards. One side would be a bible verse - usually one he was praying over my life. The other side would be a note from him, telling me he's thinking of me, assuring me he's praying for me daily, and encouraging me in some way to pursue my relationship with the Lord, my family, and my schooling!

Success on the football field is something we've all wanted in his time in coaching. We have been blessed to see much success on the field in Dad's time as a Coach so far and I hope to see that continue this season. However, the successes we've experienced as a family have been much more rewarding. My Dad called us all into his room the day after the Super Bowl and he reminded us that God has done so much for our family. That he has blessed us in so many ways but that the Super Bowl was just one more thing, it wasn't THE thing.

A few months later I went to watch my Dad speak at an All Pro Dad breakfast at an elementary school in Lafayette, IN. I had organized it with the help of a co-worker of mine. It was my last chance to hear Dad speak before I would graduate and move to Florida, so I was feeling a little sentimental and emotional about it already.

My Dad pulled out his Super Bowl ring and he held it up for all the kids (and their drooling Dads) to see. And he said the words I'll never forget...

Coaches work their whole lives for this. This is the ultimate goal in the NFL, to win a Super Bowl. This year we did that. But this ring, that trophy, that win...that wasn't my biggest success. My biggest responsibility and my greatest success are my three daughters.

The amazing part about that for me is, he's lived his life in a way that confirms for me the truth of those statements. My Dad has done a wonderful job over the years of putting our family first...he has inspired me to work towards doing the same. I'm so grateful for having that desire instilled in me. And I'm grateful for chances like next Saturday, to promote Family to others.



- If you're in Tampa and interested, All Pro Dad has a Tampa event next Saturday, April 18th at Raymond James. Visit for more details. I'll be there.
- Also, look over the next week for a post on here and probably facebook when Dad's story of his adoption goes up on

Thursday, April 2, 2009


In light of recent "events" I'd like to share with you a few of my thoughts about life. At 23 my insights may be minimal compared to some but I have already lived a very full life and so I think some of what I have learned along the way may help some of you in your own journeys. May we all be lifelong learners together in the years to come.

You can't chose everything in life. No amount of planning, hoping, wishing, or even praying will make your life exactly what you wish. Like any journey there will be bumps & detours along the way. When you take drivers ed they teach you to drive defensively. That skill applies to life as well. You do your part & you always respect that you can't control everything around you and so you must be ready for things as they come.

I learned during my four years at Purdue that life is sometimes only what you make of it. It was a trying four years in my life full of hard times. The desire to be elsewhere lay heavily on my heart and often I found myself slipping into the world of the "what ifs". Wish though I did, I couldn't change where I was but I realize now, in hindsight, that my experience at Purdue (both the good at the bad) were largely determined by me.

When I chose to wish I were at FSU pursuing my dreams of being a Seminole it was easy to pick apart all of the things about Purdue I would have changed. The pity parties I sometimes threw for myself embarrass me to remember now. As is often true, when you throw pity parties they're usually parties of one. People do not want to wallow in your misery with you and if they do, they're probably not the type of people you want to surround yourself least if you hope to find the light at the end of your tunnel.

I chose now to be thankful for the good that came out of those years. I built foundations for some friendships that have carried me through my 11 months in Florida. The Alyssa's, Meredith's, Amy's, and Eric's of my Purdue days are quite a consolation prize! I got a wonderful education that prepared my for my career in a way that many academic institutions could not have. I left feeling prepared and inspired for the world of social work and the skills I learned have given me success. That is in fact the point of college, no?

It gave me 4 more years of being able to cheer with all my might for my Dad, my family, and my Colts through some significant seasons. I was there to see us win the final game before the Super Bowl. To cry on the field with 2 of my best friends while I saw my families wildest football dreams coming true. I was there.

I was there to see my sister through most of her high school career. Being only an hour away gave me the chance to be involved in her life. To see her beautiful face. To have movie nights and lunches at Panera. To be there for sleepovers and birthdays. To see her grow as a Christian, a dancer, a student, a person. I was there.

I was there to love and support my Mom. To become more than just her daughter but also her friend. To be home for the holidays with her. To sit in the kitchen while she cooked my favorite meals for me. To laugh and to cry with her through so many different seasons in both our lives. I was there.

Being there, that is a gift I didn't realize would mean so much.

When I think back on that time now I can hear the song on the soundtrack of my life for that time as 'I Thank God for Unanswered Prayers". I thought being in Florida would make me happy, but I had plenty of happy right there. I just wasn't paying close enough attention.

Often people think that a relationship will make them happy. A better best friend. A boyfriend. Getting married. Their first child. Etc. This is a trap I've seen friend after friend fall into. The truth is if you're looking for a relationship to fulfill you than you've already missed out on happiness. Happiness, fulfillment, self-worth...they're not in another person. For me, they're in my relationship with the Lord, they're in my feeling good about me & being the person I want to be. They're in loving my family and friends right where they're at. And my happiness is always growing, like I am always growing. Finding and discovering new things, people, and places to love and enjoy.

I got what I wanted...I just didn't get it when I thought I wanted it. I did move to Florida, just 4 years later than I thought. I'm not at FSU and I doubt I ever will be. But I got to move back to where I belong, with the blessing of my family. And now I'm building a life I love and loving the life I have.