Caring for the Soul

January 2, 2013

Caring For Your Soul With Healthy Foods

Cooking Traditions of Bulgaria reaches all time high in sales in the beginning of this new year. If you would like to have your very own copy to display proudly on your counter top visit and order yours today.

We here at Caring For The Soul thank you for all your support in the efforts of keeping the cooking traditions of Bulgarian cuisine alive. Make it your new years resolution to eat healthy this year. You are worth it.

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May 1, 2011

The Real Voronaev Children: Reflection on The (un)Forgotten: Story of the Voronaev Children

The chronology of the history of events in the lives of the Voronaev children is the least to say vague and uncertain. We see only bits and pieces of their experiences. And from what we do know from theses small glimpses, the facts are so disturbing that it is easier to face reality by ignoring it. It’s much more convenient to allow the lives of the Voronaev’s children to get lost in the midst of the politics, procedure and papers (or lack thereof). But, the truth is that “The (un)Forgotten” story is not about the difficulties of anything else but the children. The children are the focus of Dr. Donev’s paper and most definitely should not be forgotten.

Reading the story of the Voronaevs takes a strong heart. It is indeed a sad one that for many of us may seem unfathomable. And yet the sparse historical accounts surrounding their life stories force the reader to confront discomfort. However, the sadist story of all is that when reading this account from the perspective of the children it was not one that I wanted to accomplish. I didn’t want to think about how the children might have felt or what they might have gone through. I refused because it was too painful. It took too much emotional anguish to even think about the pain and trauma that these children went through. Because of my refusal to contemplate the trials these children endured, I was unable to be empathetic. I was powerless to even begin to comprehend what might have gone through the minds of the children who witnessed and experienced events no child should have to. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be a child with no “home” or much less no country. I was not able to walk a mile in their shoes. I have no idea what it is or would be like to live under Communism or to be the child of a missionary family who had so many struggles, which is putting it lightly only so I can verbalize this unfortunate reality.

When a child is in any manner separated from their parents there becomes a disconnect like no other in which a child begins to experience self-doubt, insecurity and uncertainty. When this bond is ripped apart it leaves behind feelings of anxiety and guilt. Yet when a child first hand experiences a parent being dragged off by Communist police in front of them, this leaves an entirely different scar, one which never heals. It is a scar so deep, filled with enormous traumatic stress which no one could possibly imagine. Not to mention the other dynamics of immigrations and foster care that the Voronaev children endured. These children no doubt were left with feelings of loneliness and rejection in one uncertain situation after the other.

So when we look back and we read the history of the complications of obtaining visas and the difficult times of providing a place for these children to stay in addition to worrying about the financial means to do so; when we look at the bickering, the perhaps shady details of people’s character and church politics, we must not over look that there where real children suffering in the midst of the chaos. They were not just characters of a story or pawns in a game. They were real even though they were only foreigners and they were only children of poor missionaries. They have stories to tell. They have a voice which must be heard. They most certainly were not listened too while they were alive so let us at least do them the justice of listening to their whispers beyond the grave and hear their pain, hear their trials and hear their plea to leave the politics behind and begin to see the true reality of missions work. Too often in the world of ministry, the children are the ones who suffer the most and it is quite unfortunate that the littlest ones go unheard. We must speak for the least of these among us. We can not remain silent.

Kathryn N. Donev, M.S., LPC/MHSP, NBCC

April 15, 2011

Michael W. Austin: Wise Stewards

Review by Kathryn N. Donev, LPS/MHSP, NBCC

Wise Stewards begins with the philosophical question “What gives meaning, purpose, and value in life?” But don’t let the philosophical focus of this book scare you away. One of the author’s main accomplishments in the text is his ability to present this concept in a manner that is more of a challenge to our way of thinking than to our intellectual ability. This unspoken challenge is for parents to, regardless if biological or not, obtain a personal theory of a more suitable Godly parenting style rather than relying on unstructured notions of parenting. Austin does not simply discuss key virtues for the Christian family in an abstract way, but intends for the reader to integrate the ideas into a comprehensive framework that can then be used as a resource to enhance their parenting skills. This goal is apparent in every chapter that concludes with a section of questions for reflection and application.

Austin makes sure to clarify early on that he believes in moral realism. Additionally, he begins with a disclaimer that his suggestions are not to replace scripture. I appreciated both of these points. In today’s post modern society, this is a rare attribute in publications related to parenting, which should be valued. The author invites the reader to join him on a journey into becoming a better parent, a journey that will be guided by Biblical truths. If there was one sentence that could sum up the entire book it would be the following: “I seek to develop a sound understanding of the parent-child relationship by combining biblical, theological and philosophical reflections in order to construct an everyday ethic of parenthood that is distinctly Christian.” Finally we have someone who is not afraid to take a strong stand on Christian values. The way Austin opens himself at the onset of this undertaking is inviting and encourages the reader to maintain an open mind to the views that follow.

Wise Stewards has a distinctly philosophical approach to parenting, an approach that may turn away some readers but let me ask the question, should we not all strive to be philosophers and lovers of wisdom? Why does philosophy threaten us so much? Why do we tend to think that remaining in the dark is easier than facing the truth? This book sheds light on the often neglected area of parenting. Unfortunately it has come to the point that parents have to be reminded of their biblical roles. It is not a suggestion to raise your child up in the Lord but a mandate. Austin does a great job of reminding us this by addressing the need for Christian ethics for parents and insists that wise parents must view themselves as stewards of their children. He addresses basic values every parent should already be teaching their children; however after reading about Austin’s thoughts related to humility and frugality, one can’t help but think new thoughts about these basic values and how they relate to parenting. One’s view of a parent and parenthood will definitely change after reading this book. We cannot afford to be unwise any longer.

The call at the end of book is extremely thought provoking. Wise Stewards challenges parents to be exactly that, wise stewards, and calls them to restore the home to be the center for spiritual life and a “sacred place” for worship and study. It is sad we have to be taught what has become a foreign concept that for my generation used to be a given. I remember family meals would be together, around a dinner table and would begin with prayer and end with having to ask to be excused. In the modern family of today’s society most do not even have a dinner table, or “the altar” as Austin describes. This concept is no longer the center of family values. The home is no longer the center for learning or spiritual development. Austin makes a compelling case that parents who are acting as wise stewards must not bow to societal pressures but must live up to Godly standards.

Wise Stewards is more than just a great read for all levels of readers; it is a great tool for parents of all parenting styles. Yet it is not good enough to read this book and leave it on your shelf to show how great of a parent you are, you must be ready and willing to apply these ethical principles of forgiveness, patience, compassion and so forth. You must be a parent willing to embrace a Godly form of discipline. If used correctly, Wise Stewards could change a family forever in which the earthly home is restored to that place of shalom providing a reflection of our heavenly home.