Meet our Guest Writers

forever years

Sharon Reynolds

sharon2Sharon Reynolds and her family live in Christchurch, New Zealand.   She is a mother, grandmother and an artist.  Sharon works in community within a variety of roles as a Redemptive Artist and delivers her gift of creativity to bring hope and healing to those places that need it most.  This has taken her around New Zealand to Papua New Guinea and USA to date sharing her experiences and helping others bring their stories to life in their own unique ways.

Marcie Watson

Marcie Watson

Marcie Watson was born in Canada and immigrated to New Zealand at age 15.  She is married and has two young sons.  Marcie is a pre-school teacher by training and is involved in children and women’s ministries at her church.  She loves animals, baking and swimming and is a dedicated poet.  Marcie also enjoys dancing, time with friends and finding inspiration in creation.

 Karola Gaede Franklyn

Karola & Emily FYKarola Gaede Franklyn was born in Germany and now lives with her kiwi husband,    three daughters, some dogs and some chickens in New Zealand.  Karola works as a secondary school teacher and is head of Down Syndrome Otago, linked with The New Zealand Down Syndrome Association, which states its aims as being, “to inform and support families/whanau whose lives have been changed by Down syndrome; to promote and advocate for positive attitudes; to promote the rights and inclusion of people with Down syndrome; and to review policies and lobby government, and other agencies”.

Chris Knopp

Chrissy San Fran 2013 FYChris Knopp was born in Balclutha, New Zealand and is an Assistant Principal at a Secondary School for boys, where he also manages IT (Information Technology).  Chris has been teaching for 30 years and has also served as an Education Officer with the Royal New Zealand Airforce (RNZAF).  Chris is married and has five children and one grandchild.

 Jan McLay Bell

Jan FYJan McLay Bell was born in Balcutha, in the South Island of New Zealand.  She is a Primary School teacher by training.  Together with her husband, she has raised three children of her own and is now a proud grandmother of eight.  Jan now lives in Papakura, in the North Island.  She enjoys reading, writing, film and family (historical and current).

 Alyssa Schnell

color headshot Alyassa FYAlyssa has been helping mothers and babies in St. Louis, Missouri, USA with breastfeeding for the past 12 years.  She has been accredited as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) since 2009 and works in private practice.  Her practice, Sweet Pea Breastfeeding Support, provides prenatal, pre-adoption/surrogacy, and postpartum lactation consultations, as well as breast pump sales and rentals.  Alyssa enjoys working with all mothers and babies, but she has an extra special place in her heart for helping mothers through adoption and surrogacy to breastfeed their babies.  She is the author of Breastfeeding Without Birthing:  A Breastfeeding Guide for Mothers Through Adoption, Surrogacy, and Other Special Circumstances.  Alyssa is the proud mother of three breastfed children, two by birth and one by adoption.

Carol D. Meikle

Carol FYCarol D. Meikle (nee McLay) was born in Balclutha, in the South Island of New Zealand.  Carol, now retired,  worked as a secondary school teacher for many years.  Her interests include reading, music, film, gardening, writing and her family (two grown up children and six grandchildren), as well as her family tree and family history.  Search her article “War Babies” on “The Forever Years”.

Julie Holly

Julie Holly FY


Julie Holly, from the United States of America is a mother and writes regularly for the blog “Peacequility”.  She has kindly allowed “The Forever Years” to publish her article “They’re Spoiled: You are the Problem”.  A link to “Peacequility” is posted under this blog article.

Justine Pierre

justine easy to upload FYJustine Pierre is a  musician and teacher based in Dunedin, New Zealand. While her primary instrument is flute, she also teaches recorder, clarinet, ukulele and an after school programme for primary school aged children called “Let’s Make Music”. She is the Senior Tutor for Flute, Ukulele and LMM for Saturday Morning Music Classes.

Contact Justine: justine’s-flute-page Saturday-morning-music-classes-dunedin

Lalita Iyer

Mommy & Re FYLalita Iyer is a teacher, columnist and mother based in India.  She says, “I teach English, I learn, I write, I bake and I often chase butterflies and jump over puddles. It helps me be a child and understand mine better”.  Lalita also wrote a book about pregnancy called “I’m Pregnant, Not Terminally Ill, You Idiot!” For many years Lalita wrote a women’s column, Chickwit in the Hindustan Times.   She currently writes her own blog “Mommy Go Lightly”: reflections about being a mother: a blog, she says, “is a mommy blog with a twist. It will not be about poop and boob travails, and will definitely not be a chronicle or diary, but about the things we think and do not say. Mostly.”  You can find Lalita’s blog at the following link:

Heather/ Gerda van Wieringen

HeatherHeather/ Gerda van Wieringen was born in Holland and immigrated to New Zealand in 1957.  Heather has three adult children and grandchildren.  She enjoys travelling, Classical Studies (Greek and Roman history, art and literature), researching her genealogy, being involved in her church and community and cups of tea or coffee with friends.  Heather was just two years old at the start of World War Two and seven years old at the end of the war, so many of her early childhood memories are of Holland under occupation by Hitler’s forces.  See her article “The View from a High Place: War through the eyes of a child” on “The Forever Years”.

Sumitha Bhandarkar

SumithaSumitha Bhandarkar is the founder of “A Fine Parent”. Sumitha has a five-year old daughter whom she says: “… is my joy one minute and a source of abject exasperation the next.  She can go from nice to naughty (and back) in under 6 seconds flat!”

Sumitha says that “after making a bunch of mistakes and feeling perpetually like a crappy parent”, one day she had the epiphany that Great Parents are Made, Not Born. She is now on a journey to become a better person, and a better parent one itty-bit at a time and warmly invites you to join her in this journey!

Doreen Kyalisiima

DoreenDoreen Kyalisiima founded and still works in an Orphanage, “Family of Orphans” in Homia, in the Western part of Uganda.  Doreen was the eldest of four children.  Together with a sister and two brothers, she became a street child at the age of eight, after unfortunate family circumstances, including her father becoming a drug addict.  As the eldest child, Doreen took on a parental role in the lives of her younger siblings.  They made friends with more young children who were living on the streets, who looked to Doreen as a mother figure.  Doreen did housework for payment or food and by the age of 15 was able to rent out two rooms for herself and her siblings (both biological and “adopted”).  Later, with support, she formed the orphanage, which was then registered with the Government of Uganda.


Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Sharon FYSharon Lynn Pruitt is a writer and recovering Netflix addict from the Midwest, in the USA. When she’s not chasing after her rambunctious toddler, you can find her on Twitter musing about life in a flyover state at @SLPruitt.

Marion Rose (B.Sc., Ph.D. Dip.Couns., Dip.Psych., FPCF FPCC Level 2 “Aware Parenting” Instructor)

Marion FYMarion has two children.  She says, “we are natural learners, we live in a little town in Northern NSW, Australia, and I am passionate about supporting mothers to love their lives, be the most amazing mother that they can be, and share their gifts with their children and the world.”

Kiri Carter, working at ChildFund NZ

Kiri Collage Kiri Carter works  for ChildFund NZ, the New Zealand branch of ChildFund, an international child supporting charity organisation.  Kiri says, “I’ve seen firsthand what extreme poverty looks like for children. Through no fault of their own children suffer. As my mum used to say ‘we don’t choose the bed we’re born in’. But we can choose to help, to make a difference.”   This Photo: Kiri (right) with two “friends” while working in Sri Lanka for ChildFund.

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Erin Sonnier

indexErin Sonnier (based in Australia) has dedicated her life’s mission to serving humanity from a young age.  Through her own life experiences and natural evolution she’s realized how best to serve.  As a practicing professional massage and bodywork therapist for fifteen years, she values health and well-being and believes in the power of touch to aid the body in its own unique healing process. Erin believes all children deserve nurturing and bonding with their caregivers and has developed Nurtured Child,  Nurtured You to guide humanity in a way that is educational, playful and healing all at the same time.   Erin is passionate about giving voice to those with none and seeks justice and education to bring about better health and well-being for humanity, Mother Earth and her inhabitants.  Since 2011 Erin has been facilitating educational classes for caregivers. Erin was trained by Carey Smith, MSC- Director of the Center for Embodied Teacher Education in Siler City, North Carolina, USA. Erin believes in the healing power of touch to aid in health and well-being for caregivers, the growing child and all of humanity. In 2013 Erin began training with Liddle Kidz Foundation, an international organization with a focus on Nurturing Touch and Massage Education for Infants and Children.  She became a Certified Infant Massage Teacher in early 2014 and is actively teaching in the local Perth WA community. Erin’s personal philosophy is that we are all one, connected within a web of universal life which serves a purpose for us to integrate, heal, grow and evolve.

Contact Erin:

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