I am a wife and homeschooling mother of six children, living in rural New Zealand. My passion is to encourage and inspire others. Over the years I have been able to communicate this passion through songwriting and singing, and public speaking. For the last ten years I have discovered the thrill (and effectiveness!) of writing – my books travel far further afield than either time or money enable me to go myself. Let me tell you a bit about myself and the wonderful family I have been blessed with…
We are eight Booms living on a small homestead in Whangarei, New Zealand. Chris and I have been married now for 25 years. I met him in Hamilton shortly before I went to Borneo to be involved in missionary work. Some months later he came over for a visit and declared his love. When I returned to NZ a year later our romance blossomed and we married in 1987. We have been blessed with six beautiful children! I am a full time home schooling mother. What a wonderful life it is.
I spent some of my childhood in Papua New Guinea, where my parents were missionaries. It was a fantastic childhood – weird and wonderful pets, jungle clubs, huts by the river…
We came home to NZ when my twin sister Penny and I were ten. I went on to do my nursing training and worked for the next ten years in both public and private hospitals and as a practice nurse in a doctor’s surgery. I finished nursing when our oldest son was born, and since then have swapped my nurse’s uniform for my teacher’s garb. I have been homeschooling now for 17 years and it has been my ‘magnum opus’. But whenever I get a spare moment, I love to write! More of that below.
Chris is involved in agricultural research and farm consultancy, and in his spare time has been building our new family home (with lots of help from his wife and children!)
Chris and I are also singer/songwriters (in our spare time!), and have been travelling around New Zealand now for 20 years, singing at churches, camps, conferences etc- most anywhere we’re asked! This has become more and more challenging and complicated as our family has grown, but what a blessing it is! We now have the added joy of having our children perform with us at our concerts…exciting! Let me introduce the family:
From left to right: Jacob 12, Eliza 18, Angel the dog, Kate 21, Samuel 13, Rosie and Chris, Josiah 22, Milly 16
Josiah, our eldest son, is 23 and has just returned from a three-month stint in Washington D.C where he was a leader at Sonshine Camp. He loved it! He will be sitting the last three exams next term of his degree at Massey University. (Property Valuation) He is also working at Homewood stoves with his uncle and cousin. He loves to play soccer and guitar. He writes a song nearly every day!
Kate is 21 and has been living for five months in Cambodia after completing her music degree at Vision College. She has written a music programme for the prions in Cambodia, and has just recently come back to Hamilton, where she is teaching at Vision College and also private students. My book Where Lions Roar at Night is dedicated to her, because without her help, I would never have found the time to write it. She ‘gave’ us her gap year and spent 2008 running the barn, cooking all the meals and home schooling her younger brothers and sisters, so I could get out and help Chris build (and write!) What a joy that year was. We miss her very much.
Eliza is 19, and loves music. She has passed Grade 7 piano, and last year she passed her ATCL in singing. This year she left our home and went to live with her grandparents in Hamilton while she studies at Vision College. We miss her so much! Another daughter doing a music degree despite Dad’s attempts to steer her into something scientific!
Milly is 16, and thrives on farm life. She has a pony, chickens, Indian Runner ducks and a milking cow called Missy. She is enjoying making her own butter and yoghurt and icecream with the milk. She has got a beautiful singing voice, and also has a real gift for piano. Life is never dull when Milly is around. The good news is that Milly is making noises about maybe going nursing! (I have always hoped to get one nurse out of my brood!)
Samuel is 14, and loves building. He is always busy outside making tree huts, swords, and such like. He is also mad keen on soccer! I am teaching him guitar and he enjoys singing, although he has a deep voice and the songs are always too high for him now. He also loves going golfing with his Grandpa every Tuesday. Samuel really struggled to learn to read, but last year he just took off and is now devouring books every day, much to his younger brother’s disappointment. “All Sam ever does now is read!” Pure music to my ears! But when I clapped my hands at Jacob’s complaint, he told me, “It was not meant as a compliment!” Sam has just finished re-reading the complete Redwall series by Brian Jacques. A real joy for his mother to see. He has always said he will be a carpenter when he leaves school, and I reckon he will!
Jacob is 12 and full of fun. He loves soccer and recently was a soccer star in a movie made for the NZ 48 hour movie competition. He enjoys learning piano from Ellie. Both he and Sam have bows and arrows and spend ages doing archery competitions. Jacob spends hours doing all manner of flips and stunts on the trampoline, all designed to freak his mother out. He and Sam love to play with LEGO and make all sorts of amazing creations. Maybe he’ll be an architect or an engineer??
The big move. In 2007 we made the big move from Hamilton to Northland and bought 11 acres of land, complete with river and a 90 year old barn which was to become our home. When I first laid eyes on the ancient barn, all I could think was, ‘We could live here!’
I never dreamed that the next four years would hold so much fun and so many memorable moments. We knocked the barn into some semblence of order, evicted the resident possum, put in a few windows and best of all, set up a Homewood stove which was to become the heart of the barn – cooking our food, heating our water and keeping us warm through the cold winter months.
I love cooking on our woodburning Homewood stove, tending the vegetable garden, and enjoying the constant challenges that go hand in hand with a small block. In the first six months, we survived two ‘one hundred year’ storms. The barn creaked and shook and groaned, but outlasted the onslaught. Those were exciting, nerve wracking days and nights of gale force winds, rain so loud on the tin roof that we couldn’t hear ourselves shout, rescuing animals and anxiously watching to see if the barn roof would lift off.
In our second year I began writing Where Lions Roar at Night, a family read-aloud book telling all the fun and adventures we had in our first year of living in the barn. The second book in The Barn Chronicles, Where Arrows Fly, was published in 2010, and the third, Where the Crickets Sing was published in May 2012. I am currently writing the fourth book in the series. For more information on the series please check out The Barn Chronicles page.
While I have been writing and homeschooling, Chris has been working hard at building the new Boom family home. It has been a family project with all the children helping. It took us three years of hard work, but we finally moved in Sptember 2010, just in time for Josiah’s 21st. We still have more internal doors to make, landscaping etc to do, but we are loving living in our very own home. It’s warm, too!
In 2002, Chris gave me an enrollment into a four year comprehensive writing course for my birthday present. It was my best presie ever! I loved the course, and writing quickly became a passion. It took perseverance and lots of discouraging moments before I finally had my first story accepted for publication in Guide Magazine. After that initial acceptance it seemed to became easier and easier.
One of the passions I have had for many years is to encourage parents in the wonderful and challenging task of raising their children. So, in 2006 I began writing a series called The Gift of Values. Volume One was published in 2007 and in 2008 The Gift of Values ~ Volume Two was published. I am in the process of writing Volume Three.
After a year of living in our barn, the story of our life here just had to be told! Where Lions Roar at Night just about wrote itself. I have always kept a very detailed diary and the book was very easy to write as I chuckled my way through the entries, remembering those special moments.
One of the great joys (and challenges!) of my life is home schooling the children. I’ve been doing it for 17 years now, but am learning all the time.
One of the joys of our home schooling has been seeing the creation of a children’s book and CD, The Happy Prince. This began as a simple unit study for school on compassion, which developed into something much bigger.