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Quiet Afternoons

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

September 11, 2023


“I don’t know how you do what you do.”

I hear this comment occasionally. Some mean it as backdoor compliment, and some intend the comment as a subtle criticism of what I do, somehow a displacement of my motherly and home duties.

A wise, older mother once told me that she established a routine of quiet time early on in her mothering. As a clueless and “little-bit-older-than-average” mother, I clung onto the concept of quiet time knowing that it was golden, something that I needed in my mothering.

The journey into motherhood was a bit harrowing for me, both literally and personally. The birth of my first child was not an easy one, and though at the time I knew nothing different, my oldest child’s entrance into the world was not without danger for her and me.

Despite the thousands of hours that I sat in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school, very little of that education prepared me for life--real, every day, nitty-gritty life. Don’t get me wrong; I am incredibly grateful for my upbringing and education. I would not be who I am today without those opportunities. I realize that I’m being a bit raw in this post, and though my intentions are not to offend anyone, I want to challenge people’s thinking out of the typical.


The entrance into motherhood was so very hard for me emotionally and spiritually. Nothing had really prepared me for it, and yet, I guess in some ways, nothing fully prepares one to be a mother. All my life was spent in classrooms, and book learning, and tests, and papers, and projects, and recitals, and hours upon hours of music practice. Everyone asked, “What’s your major? What career are you pursuing? What are your job goals? Oh, you just want to be a mom?” they said with a snicker.

My heart was so torn. I did not want to disappoint anyone. In my heart, I knew all along that I wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom. But my training and education taught me that I had to make a name for myself, pursue a career path, and carve out a distinct road in the job world.

Shaking off the typical educational paradigm has taken me many years. For years I was entrenched in the thinking that true education only takes place in a traditional classroom setting. After grad school, I was so burned out on reading that I did not read for quite some time.

Yet there is life beyond the high school and college walls. There is a whole world of learning ready and waiting for eager minds. But sometimes school squelches the eagerness…

My husband, my no-college-degree-fireman-turned-successful-cyber-security-chief-of-one-of-the-largest-hospice-companies-in-Southern-US, taught me to think outside of the box. Now that was very hard for me because I am a box kind of girl. I love everything neatly arranged in boxes in my home, and I like all of life to fit neatly in boxes.


My husband, that patient man, has taught me not only to pursue knowledge but to apply that knowledge in practical ways. That is wisdom. To continuously acquire knowledge with no practical outlet is hardly useful for anyone and usually ends up in a puffed head and no real value. But to learn with the intention of bettering one’s life and the lives of others, now that is wisdom.

So now I am on a quest, a never-ending quest for wisdom. Anytime someone speaks life-giving, life-lived words of truth, I grab those words and tuck them into my heart. I ask myself, “How can I apply these words to my life? How can I apply what worked for him/her to my own life?”


Coming round to the wonder comment of my time, I share my heart, words of wisdom lived and shared from my wise friend. I saw in her a life well-lived, a mother happy, and children growing in mind and body, and I knew that I needed this wisdom of quiet time in my life. This quietness…the time to think and work and reflect.

Now friend, lest you think that I have thrown all books out the window and have abandoned all knowledge, that is very far from the truth. Now that I see life from a more practical perspective, perhaps a wiser one, my mind is more curious about the world around me.

The afternoons are a time of quiet learning for me. I love the time to sit and write music and blog posts. Though the learning process is not always fun, I have learned more after college about technology and its application than in the dreary computer labs.


Why have I learned more after college? Because now I have a heart for learning. Now I have a practical outlet for what I am learning. Now I am motivated to pass on wisdom, that practical life-giving kind, to my own children.

So now to answer those curious about how I do what I do. I have simplified my life as much as possible. I have whittled and whittled (and need to whittle some more) away every extra physical item in my home. Social media is not a big part of my day. Unnecessary busyness and appointments do not fill my calendar.

I am extremely focused with my time. I use my time very carefully in the afternoons, that golden period known as quiet time in our house. My mind is ever thinking and composing. In the middle of laundry, “Oh, this concept will make an interesting post!” During those monotonous minutes of motherhood, “This idea may encourage someone else!”

I have learned to see value in the little. Even a 15-minute window of desk time is precious to me and gives space for composing and creating. A 2-minute sit down at the piano gives birth to a tiny new concept for another music composition.

I have learned to build upon what has already been accomplished. The website is up and running, and now just minor tweaks happen, keeping the interests of readers. One blog post inspires another one. One hymn arrangement grows into six over the years, and now I have written my first volume of hymns.


Friend, I know that this post was a bit more introspective than usual, but I hope that you are inspired to live wisely and well right where you are at. Now matter your past, you can live well today! Keep learning and growing and helping others. Be inspired. Stay encouraged! Life isn’t measured by college degrees but rather what we do with what we have been given!


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Mary Palmer
Mary Palmer
11 sept 2023

Thank you Ashley for a look into your home life! I I'm the midst of sorting stuff to simplify my surroundings! After reading your blog, I feel it will help me simplify my life as well!

You are an amazing encouragement ❤

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Ashley Qurollo
Ashley Qurollo
14 sept 2023
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You are too kind, Mary. Perhaps it's my simple, blonde brain, but I get overwhelmed very easily. Too many things overload my mind. I can function and create much easier with a "quieter" environment of fewer belongings.

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Thank you Ashley!! Another great blog that gets my mind going in different directions. I didn't start off my motherhood journey being able to stay home. However, when our youngest was born over 13 years ago, we decided that staying home would be the best thing for me. With then 7 kids in 4 different public schools we made the leap to a 1 income household 🤯 though we didn't at the time walk closely with God, I can look back and see how God saw us through everything!! I realized a quiet time was also necessary, after lunch everyone would have quiet time, you didn't have to take a nap but quiet was necessary. Some days I would get…

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Ashley Qurollo
Ashley Qurollo
14 sept 2023
Contestando a

Wow, Dawn! Thank you for giving us a peek into your life and sharing your journey into staying at home with your kids. Being at home is definitely a step of faith in many, many ways. Those that make such a sacrifice should not be looked down upon but rather encouraged and nurtured. Our world needs moms at home doing the hard day-in, day-out job of motherhood. No one can do your specific job of motherhood! You are irreplaceable!

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