Monday, December 15, 2008

Being a woman in the 21st Century

This whole marriage thing has got me thinking lately. As some of you may already know, I've had a reputation to be a bit more liberal than your average LDS gal. My mom actually refers to me as her "liberal" daughter. I've at times struggled to find peace with the notion of traditional gender roles (i.e. the woman raising the children, cooking dinner, doing laundry, cleaning the house, taking the man's last name). Sometimes I can't help but feel animosity towards this old-fashioned, idealistic expectation of women. But oddly enough, I have to admit I am becoming more conservative as I get older. With society headed in the direction it's going (to hell) I have found that I am choosing a more conservative and traditional stance on things. Yes I actually said choose. With this whole new and exciting notion of straying away or not conforming to today's society, I have discovered and learned to appreciate the unforgiving and enormous duty of motherhood and being a wife.

Why is there such a negative stigma with being just a mother in the 21st century? To be just a mother in our current society seems to be selling yourself short, or in otherwords accepting the fact that a mother is all you'll ever be. Being just a mother means you are not educated, you have no ambition and you'd prefer to just stay at home. But is this what motherhood really is? I would argue no. Motherhood is the single most selfless act any woman could do. Giving up your freedom, career, and education is hardly unheroic. When I think of my mother the word "sacrifice" comes to mind. She sacrifices money, time, energy, and her personal sanity for her children and grand-children. She is constantly giving and never taking. Without mothers our society would crumble under its feet.

I'm writing this post prior to getting married in hopes that everyone will realize that I have come to grips with the idea of motherhood. I know it's a long shot but I think it's almost time to stop the "how can I please Ashley?" lifestyle to the "what can I do for other people?". Motherhood provides the opportunity to forget about yourself and serve others. What an amazing way to live your life. Constantly in the service of your children and your family.

I want to give my upmost respect to all of my friends and family members who have chosen to become mothers. It is such a wonderful gift from God to become a mom. And I can hardly wait...for two or three more years. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dennis the Menace.

For those of you who haven't had the great pleasure to become acquainted with Dennis Blackburn, I'd thought I'd give a little tribute to this great person and some reasons why I am so happy/grateful/thankful/excited/lucky to marry him.

Dennis always...

--Opens my car door. Even when it's clearly impractical and out of the way he always manages to do so.
--Laughs at my jokes. Sometimes I'm not sure if he's laughing at me or the awesome joke.
--Rubs my feet. He insists on rubbing them. I'm not kidding.
--Gives me compliments. I'm convinced I'm the hottest/smartest/coolest girl in the world.
--Listens to me. He is a great listener and always gives great feedback.
--Loves me despite my hygiene issues: not shaving my legs/brushing my teeth/showering/washing my hair (wow, I'm disgusting)
--Makes me breakfast. He is an amazing cook. I think there's a little role reversal there.
--Finds time for me in his busy schedule. He sacrifices a LOT of time for me.
--Watches scary movies with me. Although I have sworn those off.
--Surprises me with chocolate covered raisins. He knows that I am addicted and will do anything for them.
--Puts up with me during that time of the month (I have crazy mood swings lately)
--Drives up to Salt Lake from Provo a heck of a lot more than I drive down there.
--Fixes and builds anything. He is amazing at construction and always offers his help around my house.
--Waits on me hand and foot. Even before I need something he is already up and retrieving it.

The list could go on for days but for your sanity I shortened it quite a bit. Anyway I wanted to prove to Dennis that I could be a little cheesy from time to time, even though it's completely out of character for me to do so publicly. I'm so lucky to be marrying this great guy. I hope you all are fortunate enough to get to know Dennis some day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More pics of me and Dennis...

Check out how hard core I am. I fell over my handle bars mountain biking with Dennis in Washington. I am not a very seasoned biker to say the least.

The happiest day of my parents' life...their 25-year-old daughter gets engaged. (ok, so I'm excited too)

It finally happened. Ashley Engar got engaged. The rumor is true. Dennis officially proposed last Sunday passing through Coeur d'Alene, Idaho on our way back to Salt Lake. It came as a nice surprise and I said YES! The setting was beautiful and it was perfect. We're getting married Feb. 14th (I know completely cheesy and so-not-ashley). So save the date and hope to see you there!!

I provided you with some pictures of me and Dennis, since many of you didn't know that he existed or that I even had a boyfriend. Sorry Dennis :).

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The simple joys of teaching teenagers (part 2)

Because my brother is worried I am going to get fired from my job due to my last post I decided to redeem my negativity with a new positive post.

Today was a great day in teaching (actually, it really was). Sophomores, despite their flaws are hilarious. I was actually almost crying (from tears of laughter) today in class because of a funny comment a student said. So today I am happy to say I enjoy my job, both with the good and the bad. Why am I a teacher? Because students can be very endearing and fun to teach.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Presidential Address

I must say I was surprisingly pleased with President Bush's speech last night. It seemed very sincere and heart-felt. Undoubtedly, he has been under harsh scrutiny the past few years, and I myself am guilty of the "hatred for Bush" bandwagon but his address got me contemplating. Sometimes I find myself actually feeling bad for this guy. Is the economy and country's current situation due to President Bush's reign? Or is it just bad timing for any president to be in office? What would've happened if we didn't invade Iraq? Would America be worse off?

I think many of us are quick to judge, especially someone who is in a leadership position. Are humans just innately judgmental and ignorant? Or is it something that is bred in us as Americans? Blame others, blame the president, blame your neighbor, blame your dog. Before we place the blame, I think we need to step back and see what the real cause is. I know I'm guilty of assumptions, and many, many times I am dead wrong. How does the old adage go? "When we 'assume' we make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'". How true that statement is.

Anyway, just some food for your thought.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Democrat or a Republican?

WARNING: This blog entry may seem narcissistic which I vowed not to do. So please forgive me. Wow, that seems narcissistic even to think that people would be thinking I'm a narcissist. Irony at its best.

After hours of an agonizing debate with myself, I decided to publish my current political beliefs. My reasoning behind this decision is to inform readers that I am yet to have firm and solid beliefs on many issues. This inability to commit could be compared to a religious investigator struggling to receive an answer or confirmation that the Protestant, Catholic or Methodist religion is their one and only way to salvation. Even though my opinion may sway at times, I still remain relatively steadfast on my religious beliefs, which of course impact my political positions. Consequently, it may seem appropriate that I would favor to a right-winged, conservative stance, when in reality I consider myself a "moderate".

What exactly is a conservative? Well, I looked up the definition to find that a conservative is "disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc. or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change". So I asked the question, "Do I believe in tradition, the status quo, and keeping things the way they are?" My answer was "sometimes". Ambiguous you say? When it comes to more social, religiously affected issues I tend to sway right.

Liberal. So many connotations come with that word as well as conservative. So what exactly is a liberal? A liberal is "favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs." Political reform. Hmmm. Without political reform or progress, women wouldn't be able to vote today. Without political reform there would be racial segregation, we would be part of the British parliament, and slave trades would be the weekend extravaganza. So do we need political reform and progress? Of course. But where do we draw the line? When does modern tolerance and equality become an enemy to our moral structure and belief system? For me, reform can be counterintuitive when my morals and values are in question. On the contrary, I must remember that the American population may not share my morals and values. So do I vote for a candidate or a bill to appease myself or do I vote for the good of the people, regardless of my value system? That answer is yet to be determined. Again, it goes back to the struggle to find my "confirmation" or "answer" of certain social issues.

In the 1920's women's suffrage was assuredly against the moral belief system of the traditional family. Women were the homemakers, the submissive and subservient housewives that stayed at home to care for the children. So would it have been against my religious and moral upbringing to support women's suffrage? Possibly. Am I grateful for the "radical" liberals back in the 1920's? Absolutely. Who's to say people 100 years from now won't be grateful for radical movements trying to be implemented in our time. But then the question of morality and tradition comes to the surface. When does too much of a good thing become a bad thing?

There you have it. I'm moderate in that I try to hold strong to my beliefs but yet I understand that reform is necessary. Some people may argue that being moderate is cowardly and not standing firm behind your religious fibers is supporting the adversary. I however, feel that moderation is a healthy and wise way to live your life.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ode to Laura. Set her free. New blog world approaches.

I recently received an email from Laura Campbell relaying the "retirement" of our blog. Yes the infamous "Laura and Ashley" blog will seise to exist. But don't get too upset. It will be kept as an archive to show the world our time together. The time I spent with Laura, namely in Arizona will never be forgotten. Like the old cliche goes, we both learned, lost and loved. The year and a half of bliss will forever be burned into my soul and our celibate, man-free, relationship will forever go down in the books as one of the best times of my life. Am I being sarcastic? Maybe a little. But I will never deny the great times Laura and I had living together, supporting each other through tough times (I didn't really go through that tough of a time) and just being best buds. So to my lovely Laura, "c'est la vie". You will always be my diamond in the rough.

Blogging Material: The retirement of our blog and our non-lesbian relationship got me thinking, and the thinking got me to create my own blog. Like Laura, I don't particularly enjoy writing about myself. I find it a little narcissistic. The angle I'm attempting to approach (and I say attempt because my political awareness and understanding is fairly minimal) will be more of a current events/political/issue related blog. I will include snippets of my life from time to time, but my goal is to share with you pressing issues or political discrepancies. As we all would most likely agree, this is a very exciting time for "trailer talk" or in other words, discussing our nation's current issues. With the election around the corner, and our economy hanging on by a thread, there are many stimulating conversations and debates to be had.

Why do I bring up such sensitive issues on a blog? Well for those of you who may not know, I've always had a liking for politics. While political science was my original major at the U, I quickly realized that the classes were difficult (I was on the "do what you can to get a C" train in college) and a communications major was much easier and quite frankly a cop-out. Enough said of my college history. I have grown up since then (my family may disagree) and have become a mature, well-educated, non-ignorant, self-sufficient, self-motivated 25-year-old, excluding all the times my dad had to bail me out of debt. I have minimal maturation in budgeting to say the least. But I am learning and trying to be better. With that being said, I hope to entertain your thoughts and bring to the table interesting and provocative issues that we all may have inconsistencies with.

Because of time constraints I will be posting my latest and most stimulating political dialogue in the near future. FYI--there will always be an underlying sarcastic tone to my writing. So please don't take me serious. Most of the time.