Hello! I'm Julie...

Happy wifey to Kevin, my best friend, for nearly thirty years. Mama of eight; two grown children and six blessings still at home. Four boys and four girls! Joy-filled homemaker. Gentle homesteader on our twenty-acre Montana farm. Born-again child of God, disciple of Jesus, saved by grace. Homeschooler for twenty-one years and counting. Extra-crunchy keeper at home. Knitter, crocheter, seamstress, baker, and maker of lots of things. Lover of words and wildflowers, goats and coffee and yarn. Body positive fitness enthusiast, trail runner, and hoop flow artist. Mountain mama. Pioneer at heart. Best of friends with a lovely Jersey cow named Matilda and a boisterous yellow Labrador Retriever named Jack. Thrifty and debt-free. Aspiring minimalist. INFJ-T. Eclectic. Imperfect. Thankful and blessed. Blissfully enjoying a creative and authentic simple life while abiding in the sunshine of Christ's love.

Welcome to Happy Gentle Homestead. This blog is a place for me to keep and share snippets of the lovely simple life my dear hubby and I have been blessed with on our twenty-acre piece of Montana.

My hubby and I were high school sweethearts and have been married for nearly thirty years. We are blessed with eight children... four boys and four girls. Two are all grown up and on their own, and six of our children are still at home.

We are a homesteading, homeschooling, simple living, and rather close-knit bunch, this large family of ours. I am amazed at all the goodness that God has blessed us with, and I am exceedingly thankful.

Our life isn't perfect, of course. But life doesn't have to be perfect to be awesome. {smile} I tend to focus on the best things and let the other things go... there is always something to be grateful for, indeed.

I firmly believe that happiness really is homemade.

:: my cow-friend Matilda ::
We have a bustling barnyard of critters at our place, which is basically a farm sanctuary for our current animals. There is my sweet cow-friend Matilda, the queen of the barnyard... and a lovely herd of goats, some ducks, lots of chickens, and a very old miniature horse named Shadow.

Indoors, we have cats and fish and parakeets and a frog, too. And for Christmas 2017, my family surprised me with a yellow Labrador Retriever puppy that I named Jack. Best present ever! {smile}

:: Jack ::
Being a wife and mama is the joy and calling of my life and I do my best to make our home a refuge for my family. I cook and bake and knit and sew and make lots of things from scratch. My days are spent happily as a keeper at home, homesteading in a skirt... helping my dear husband, caring for and teaching our children, tending our animals, and savoring the beauty of a simple quiet life.

:: my dear hubby and me ::
So here you will find bits of our days and a glimpse of life on our farm. I love sharing my thoughts and recipes and the things we make and do.

We are a one income family and thankful to be debt-free since paying off our mortgage several years early. We live a blissfully frugal lifestyle by choice *and* necessity as it is our large family's priority to always have mama at home. Thus, my reputation of dollar stretching and thrift is well-deserved indeed! And I find great joy in saving up for our occasional splurges! {smile}

We hope to one day (soon!) add to our wee goat herd and resume home dairying and we would like to add more chickens and perhaps another cow and some sheep and maybe even pigs and bees to our barnyard... even after almost twenty years on our homestead, we still have hopes and dreams. But we are quite content and trust that whatever the Lord allows or causes in our lives is for our good and His glory.

:: hooping happiness! ::
As I have gotten closer to fifty years old (!) I have begun a personal journey of self-discovery and simply being myself. It began as a fitness journey, but it has become a joyful celebration of authenticity and becoming all that God created me to be. All of that (and more!) can be found on Run Hoop Julie.

And you can find me sharing my simple photography at Images of a Happy Gentle Life, too.

I am a happy introvert. Blessed to be an INFJ-T! {smile} A paradoxical combination of friendly and outgoing and reserved and introspective, but not shy. I love people and feel true compassion and empathy for others, though face-to-face I tend to be rather quiet (usually) unless you are my dear hubby or sweet children or one of our beloved critters. I embrace this aspect of myself, it is part of who I am.

And I once did a Bible study that showed me my primary spiritual gift is encouragement. I want to use that gift from the Lord to minister to and serve others, to spread sunshine and share sprinkles of peacefulness and joy. That desire is one of the reasons I have my blogs, even though I often wonder how my ramblings could be interesting to anyone else, I feel led by the Lord to write.

I find great joy in sharing snippets of our large family's simple life, my thoughts, yummy recipes, things we make and do, and our homesteading adventures. I hope you are encouraged, and perhaps inspired, by what you find here.

This blog reflects a journey... things change as time goes by, so do have a peek at the archive to see how we got to where we are today. And please come by again to see what happens next! {smile}

I hope you enjoy your visit to Happy Gentle Homestead.

With peace and kindness ~

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