third-culture thoughts


On the streets of Budapest as thousands of Hungarians remember the Soviet invasion of 1956.

It wrapped its arms around my head and pulled as the revolving door spit me into its dim realm. As the days and years passed, the not unpleasant but pungently earthy smell would become a reminder that I had left the sphere of one world and entered an inner sanctum; a sub-world, if you will, where people carried their burdens in speeding bullets of dark passages. The Moscow metroFresh air became redefined and distributed with the whoosh of 150 kilometer per hour measurements and the multiplication of bodies sharing a tiny compartment. 

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Photo Bomb Mom

mom’s losing it

There is a scene in Cheaper By the Dozen when the 7-year old twins are in search and destroy mode. In her final moments of sanity before her head blows up, the movie-mom who has birthed a dozen says in her final pre-blast off warning, “Mom’s losing it.”

Been there. Done that. Numerous times.

photo bomb mom

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the real story on being an mk

The road on furlough can sometimes be exhausting. It is not always the respecter of age nor is it terribly concerned with yesterday’s equally hectic schedule. Today and tomorrow are such days. We traveled and did two services on Sunday, arriving at the hotel at 11at night. This morning,we were up by 6 for meetings at 8 and back at the hotel at 11 again. The girls babysat all day while we were in meetings. Tomorrow, we have another early and long day.

Please do not hear a complaint here. It does not exist. I love our M-life and I believe the girls do too. That said, I want to be authentic in my communications. Sometimes, the travel and the demands are just plain exhausting.

The up-side is that our 4 girls get to help with the EurAsia registration for the next two days. Imagine what that says to them about their value and identity as the global church entrusts into their hands a job that helps this great, Nazarene event occur.

Missionary kids on furlough take away a huge understanding of what it means to give to the church abundantly and also to receive from the church abundantly (and I do not necessarily mean just financially).

As our Nazarene family begins to descend upon Indy, I want to say how thankful I am that The Lord and the Church have given our family the opportunity to serve as missionaries. While sometimes achingly exhausting and demanding, we truly would not choose any other life for our 4 Sunberg girls.

See you in Indy at the EurAsia Regional exhibit!


travel companions

Just past the x-ray machines, my shoes are on again and my nicely packed bags are in shambles as I look back to see my 4 girls fanning me. I have embarked upon this trip countless times in the last 23 years but I have made only one cross-Atlantic journey without some form of child in-tow. For more than two decades now, I have been shepherding children in various stages across the European and North American continents but today, as I look over my shoulder, something has changed.

This time, I have travel companions. We are 5 women facing the travel task together: cooperating, navigating, consulting. With absolute confidence and comfort, they are utilizing the skills that they have been honing since their first trans-Atlantic journeys made long before they had even tried their first cracker. It occurs to me there in the duty-free hallway that they are just as capable and competent as I am to juggle this journey across oceans, cultures, and languages.

In my rear-view ‘mom mirror’, I catch a glimpse of Sophia, the quintessential teenager with chords draped from her ears, unconcernedly navigating other passengers. ‘This way to our gate, Mom,’ advises 12 year-old Lydia even before I have made that determination. Lexi responsibly updates our ‘flight delayed status’ to her dad waiting for us in the States and 10 year-old Jenna is unfazed when she finds she will be sitting in a seat alone, 12 rows from her closest family member.

Long ago, Jay and I realized that travel with children could be traumatic or it could be fun but the only constant was the fact that it would be a frequent part of our lives. When we wrapped our minds around that fact, we initiated the ‘you pack it, you carry it’ rule. They were that toddler traipsing through airports with the noisy-wheeled case. Training to fly solo began early.

As I anticipate these next years, I think traveling with toddlers prepared us for more than just a cross-Atlantic journey. It taught us something good about parenthood. Our job is to prepare these precious babies for release. Independance is never a product of over-protection. Let them pack their bags and noisily roll them along, it will not take long for them to blossom into traveling companions. Bon voyage.

In fact, they began packing their own suitcases