Have you ever met a new friend at a wedding? Well, I made friends with my sister’s photographer at her wedding this past December after finding out that she too was passionate about homesteading, homemaking, homeschooling, and entrepreneurship. Today’s blog guest is Glynne Bliss, of Glynne Ashley Photography. Keep reading to find out how Glynne got started with homesteading and how she actively cultivates slow, intentional living within her home while wearing many different hats.
Tell me about yourself and your family?
I’m Glynne, and I am a wife and stay-at-home mom to 3 (almost 4) kiddos! Carson is 6, Levi is 4, Bristol is almost 2, and our next addition will be here in June. My husband, Kyle, and I got married when we were just a few months older than 19, and we will hit 9 years of marriage at the end of May! We both grew up in the Winfield, KS, area and were so happy to get to settle down here and raise our family close to family.
What are you passionate about and why?
I am the type of person to have lots of passions, so this answer could go on and on if I let it! My biggest passions currently are homeschooling, homesteading, photography, reading, cross-stitching, and cooking/baking from scratch.
The reason I love all of these things so much is that I feel that our society has fallen away from the “slow and purposeful” way of living. People don’t want to put in the work to build skills anymore, but instead are given instant gratification in all areas of life. My goal is to raise well-rounded and well-grounded children who love Jesus and who have all the skills to have a successful life and the desire to raise their own families with the same values – all while still keeping my husband and my relationship at the top of my priority list!
What are your top 5 values and how do they drive the way you live?
My top 5 values are being God-centered, hard-working, kind, respectful, and generous.
When you follow the first one, the rest will come and this is how I aim to live my day-to-day life. Sometimes it works out better than other days, of course!
You mentioned in one of our conversations that you live on land. Can you tell me more about it?
Yes!! We have about 70 acres of land south of Winfield, KS, and are thankful for it every single day.
My husband actually grew up running around on this property. The previous owner was like a grandpa to him and taught him all about hunting and fishing from when he was about 11 years old until he passed away when Kyle was in his teens. The land then belonged to the man’s wife who was suffering from dementia. Her daughter came to take care of her and the property fell into severe disrepair since they didn’t have the time to keep up with it all anymore. A few years later, the daughter passed away from cancer and her kids came to take care of the grandmother. Kyle was still coming out to help with whatever he could, but soon they realized they wouldn’t be able to manage everything much longer.
How did you get your land?
Kyle had always told them that if they ever had to sell, he’d love to have the opportunity to buy it first. At that point in time, we had moved back to Winfield from Georgia and had bought and fixed up a house in town (oh, and had two boys).
When they called and said that they were going to have to sell as soon as possible, we were taken aback. We weren’t really in the best financial place to own two properties and the house on the land was in REALLY bad condition. We weren’t sure it would even be liveable when the current owners moved out.
But this had been our dream ever since we got married (Kyle had been dreaming of it well before then), so we decided to go for it and to trust that God would provide a clear path for us. We ended up buying the land before even going into the house and I just prayed that it would be in decent enough shape for us to sell our house in town and spend some money fixing up the little farmhouse.
Long story short, it worked out! We sold our house in town and spent the next 3 months living with my grandparents and spending every night at the farmhouse working until it was liveable.
What are your goals for your property?
This all happened a little over 3 years ago, and we have made huge progress in those years–even when we still feel overwhelmed by everything left to do.
Our goal for the property is to live here forever! The house is starting to feel a little snug for us – it’s just 1400 sq ft, but does have 3 bedrooms and two full bathrooms which we are thankful for. It’s very cozy and comfortable for us now, but soon we will have 4 kids with the possibility of more, and we would love just a little bit more space and preferably a basement. The plan is to build farther back on our property in the next 5 years or so (sooner would be great too!), and then we will rent the house we are in now to help offset the cost of building.
Another goal of ours is to be as self-sufficient as possible. We have a large pond with tons of fish, a thriving deer population, and have added chickens, a steer, and a bigger garden!
Did you and your husband grow up homesteading with land?
Neither of us technically grew up with land. Kyle moved out to a country house with a few acres (but surrounded by land he explored) when he was 11 and my parents moved out to their home on about 100 acres when I was 14. We both loved being outside though and knew that having land for our kids was a huge priority for us!
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in homesteading and looking for land?
Oh, man. Be patient and trust God! Be open to looking in locations that you wouldn’t normally be drawn to and be willing to make sacrifices in other areas if needed. It’s also great to keep in mind that you really don’t need a lot of land to start homesteading! You can be a very successful homesteader while living in town on a quarter-acre lot. It’s all about how you use your space!
Learning homesteading skills can be somewhat overwhelming. Do you have any resources? What advice would you give to someone who is overwhelmed but wants to homestead?
It is VERY overwhelming. There is so much information out there and it can feel like you’ll never know enough to be successful at any part of homesteading. My favorite places to find resources are Instagram and Pinterest!
My biggest advice would be to just start. There will be LOTS of failures, but if you don’t start now you won’t ever get better!
What do you love the most about being a mom?
The huge purpose and drive in my life. Before becoming a parent, I so often fell into the “life seems meaningless and boring” mindset which created a lot of unrest in my life despite having a lot of good things happening. But once you are in charge of another person’s life, it changes EVERYTHING. Knowing that it’s up to me to shape these little people has given me the most satisfying sense of purpose and direction. What is most important is so clear to me now.
Of course, I also think they are adorable and I love seeing them grow and learn; although it makes me sad how quickly it’s happening!
How do you manage homesteading and learning new skills while raising young children?
I try to include them whenever possible! My kids are at an age where they really enjoy being outside with me and learning all about gardening, chickens, etc. Of course, there are some skills that are better learned without small kids underfoot. Our apricot tree produced this past summer so I spent a lot of time learning how to can and quickly realized that staying up late to deal with all the hot jelly was a much safer plan than trying to do it with all the kids awake and underfoot!
My personality is also very goal-oriented, which can be tough to manage when ALL you want to do is get a project done and your kids are just not having it. I am learning to be easier on myself and not expect to be able to do EVERYTHING all the time, but to spread it out and do little pieces here and there.
Can you tell me about your homeschooling experience as a kid?
I was so blessed to grow up in a family that homeschooled and put a huge priority on quality family time. I am 28 now, so when my mom decided to stop teaching to stay home and homeschool me instead, it was NOT as popular of a decision as it is today.
Growing up, I LOVED how much freedom homeschooling gave me. I chose several of my subjects every year based on my interests. Getting done with school by 1 p.m. was also a huge perk that I became more grateful for every year. When I was in highschool, I ended up joining our [local] highschool’s choir program and enjoyed it, but was so happy to get to leave that building after one class every other day.
I am the oldest of 9 kids (my youngest sister was only 5 months old at my wedding!), and my mom has very successfully homeschooled 5 of us all the way through highschool. [She is] still teaching the final four kids!
What is your “why” for homeschooling your own children?
My biggest “why” for homeschooling is to keep God at the center of our lives and to have the freedom to know EXACTLY what my children are learning. Homeschooling has increased in huge amounts over the past few years and I predict that trend will continue! So happy to see it!
Tell me more about your photography business? When did you start it? What do you love about it?
I officially started my business (did my first paid session) when I was about 14 years old. I had discovered photography with my mom’s point & shoot canon camera when I was around 10, and [I have[ loved it ever since. Most of my babysitting and chore money was saved to upgrade cameras as I learned.
There’s so much that I love about it, but my top two reasons are the people I’ve gotten to meet through photography and the constant learning and new techniques I get to try. It’s never boring!
Can you share more about your mentorship program for photographers?
I started this new branch of my business about 2 years ago. All over social media, I saw photographers (both new and experienced) who were completely burning themselves out on their business. I wanted to encourage other entrepreneurs to scale their business to work WITH their families and lives. Not against it.
My mentorships are focused on creating a business plan that allows people to feel freedom instead of feeling tied down.
How do you balance your business while being a homeschooling and homesteading mom?
I am very careful to manage my schedule and not take on too much at one time. Of course, there are busier seasons (hello, fall!) when I just know that things are going to be hectic for a time, but I keep my family and free time at the forefront of my mind at all times!
My daily schedule is built around me working during nap time. This does adjust for each stage of life, but currently my kids all do quiet time/nap time after lunch and I get about 2 hours of work time each day. When you know that’s all you get, I find that you can get a TON done in that short timespan. Occasionally, I will work in the evenings after everyone goes to bed, but I don’t do that often in order to keep time with my husband kid-free!
What has been a challenge you have faced in the last year either as a mom or in your business?
My mindset! And this goes toward both motherhood and running my business. As I have added kids and homeschooling into my life, something had to give a little and it had to be my business. That was a tough pill to swallow at first, because I have worked so hard on this and I felt that I was finally in the groove and feeling confident in my work. It took a huge shift in my mind to accept that I needed to let go of some of my business goals and ambitions, but that it didn’t make me a failure – instead it showed my kids and family that they are my TOP priority always.
What are your top 3 homeschooling resources for a new homeschooling mom? (Books, podcasts, curriculum, materials, etc.)
My number 1 resource for all things homeschooling are fellow homeschooling moms! I have a great group of friends who homeschool, plus a mom who has successfully homeschooled 9 children. There are so many different options for homeschooling, and it can be overwhelming. Asking what worked for other families has been so helpful.
Since I was brought up as a homeschooler, it feels so natural to me that I really haven’t used much in terms of resources! I do have a list of my favorite pieces of curriculum so far–Rod & Staff preschool workbooks and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I’ll be doing both of these with each of my kids and they are amazing!
What is your favorite book and why?
My goodness, such a tough question. I made it a goal in January of 2022 to get back into reading and read 45 books in the year. So far, this year, I have read over 10 books (not counting the multiple chapter books I have read out loud to the boys)! A big reason I wanted to read more was to show my kids how awesome reading can be, and so the boys and I have enjoyed reading “big kid” books together before bed. We’ve read a lot thus far, but we are currently over half-way through “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe”. Getting to read that book to my kids was HUGE because I have so many amazing memories of my dad reading all Chronicles of Narnia books to us as kids.
So, currently, I would have to say “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” is my favorite!
Do you have any advice for other moms who are also homesteading or pursuing entrepreneurship?
My biggest piece of advice is to keep going if it’s something you are passionate about, but to be smart about your time and energy! A business is awesome, but nothing is worth sacrificing all your time with your family or to be so distracted by business stuff when you’re with your family that you aren’t cherishing those moments.
There are seasons in life for different things and if your kids and family need a lot of your attention, this may not be the season for huge growth in other things and that’s ok!
Where Can I Find Glynne’s Work?
You can find Glynne’s photography business, Glynne Ashley Photography, HERE.
You can follow along with her on Instagram HERE where she shares more of her beautiful photography and the behind-the-scenes of her family’s homesteading life!
Interested in homesteading and renovating your own home on a budget? Check out our Home Renovation Printable Planner and Editable Budget Bundle HERE!
If you, like Glynne, have a passion for homesteading and homemaking, you can find more articles to help you get started HERE.
Leave a Reply