A Blog Break

I started the blog back in 2017 as a way to write, share and grow as a person. The blog has served me well and I think at times, it has served others. Writing my first blog post and hitting the post button was a scary experience as writing is a very vulnerable action. I will never forget that day and that feeling.

Rosemary and Lemons has changed, grown, served numerous purposes as an outlet about family, our home, leadership, parenting, interior design, and other topics I felt important to write about. So many of you have followed me with dedication over the years as 3,000 or more followers came to my blog annually. Thank you to each and every one of you.

I write this post to share that I will be taking a blog break. For a few weeks or at least till after Easter. My life has become very consumed with a new job transition in higher education, my current full-time professor position and the work I do for as a court program coordinator. I am just out of time, not enough hours in the day and I can’t find time, room or the passion I once had to write.

So a break is needed. To step away for a few weeks. I am hoping that helps give me time to think, reflect, and become more creative and inspired. Please keep checking back and thank you to all my followers. You are awesome.

Please check back after Easter and have a great Sunday!

Spring Break

Well, for many colleges, this week marks spring break which seems to have come so soon. Midterms were last week, most colleges and universities are 1/2 done with their academic semester. Time flies!

Ironic that spring break started with a snow/ice storm this past Friday. But that is Indiana weather at its best. Blink and it will change.

This week, besides grading and finalizing midterm grades, I will be doing the following:

Cleaning my office, working out, running kids, etc. however I plan on taking a day to travel to Michigan on my own. To spend a day looking for inspiration, good food and maybe more signs that spring is around the corner.

Have a great week and may your spring break be safe, relaxing and warmer.

Spring Cleaning of the Soul

This past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday which kicks off the season of Lent.  Lent is observed in many Christian religions as a time to reflect upon our faith-based relationships; reflect on our own deeper purpose and connection to faith; and also the suffering and strife that was observed during this time Biblically. 

Because of these observations, many choose to give up something in observation/or honor of Lent.  Lent is 40 days leading up to Easter.  Some give up chocolate, meat, buying clothes, drinking pop, etc.  While a new trend is to do something kind each day or make donations.  Some collect canned goods for each day and donate after Easter.  Or others clean out items and make a donation (get rid of 1 item each day, keep a box by your back door).  All are great ideas!

When I was in church service on Wednesday, it was stated that Lent is the spring cleaning of the soul.  A time of reflection, deep thought, finding peace, and restoration.  As I have struggled for two months now to find peace (my word for 2023), this gave me some hope.  That making space for reflection, stillness, and peacefulness, can help restore my heart, mind, and soul.  Which I sorely need as a wife, mom, professional, friend, professor, and future dean. 

We spent Saturday in Chicago, celebrating Valentine’s Day and a birthday.  Driving in downtown Chicago does not restore my soul (sidenote) but we spent part of the day at AIRE Ancient Baths which is a combination of a spa, sauna, and pools (think Roman Bath) that varies temperatures and densities of salt all surrounded by dark marble, candlelight’s, no phones, a beautiful and calming experience.  Just sit, be still, and breathe deeply.  That did bring me some peace. 

For the lent season, I hope you find what restores your soul or helps to declutter your soul (mind, heart, etc.).  May this season, like all of life’s seasons, bring you peace, calm, and hope.


We have been up since 12 am with a 2 year old who didn’t adjust well to her new bedroom. Long, very long night. Now at 7:20 am, I finally got her to sleep. I’m sure most parents can feel our pain and sleep deprivation.

Today, we will rest. Today, we will move slowly and quietly. Because I am too tired and will probably have a melt down if you wake the toddler. But on a serious note, nights like that help or force you to go slow for a day.

Church will be watched online. Brunch will be served at 10 am. With no goals beyond feeding my family and cleaning. Keeping little people healthy. Maybe a nap. And a long walk on the treadmill.

Have a restful Sunday.

To Love

Love: a commitment to the well-being of others without conditions.

What a great definition of Love. This week is Valentine’s Day which for me, is more about showing everyone around me, how much I love them, value them, and care for them. I am not as concerned about romantic dinners, flowers, or chocolates (but it that is your idea of Valentine’s Day, that is awesome). But we will celebrate the day with dinner, some fun family surprises, and lots of love.

Valentine’s Day comes from the stories of martyred saints for standing up for acts of love in 3rd-century Rome. One story is that St. Valentine helped or stood up for Roman citizens to marry at a time when it was outlawed to marry. Another story is that this Saint help Romans escape their horrible lives under Rome’s rule and was killed. Other stories include healing sick children, showing love and compassion, and dying a horrific death.

I think that most of us have learned about love by experiencing what is NOT love. Some of our hardest lessons in life come from these experiences. But honestly, they are the best lessons learned. I have a very clear understanding of what love does not look like for me (untruthfulness, lies, manipulation, verbal and physical abuse, trying to change people, use others, etc.) Healthy and loving relationships are not built on the backs of name calling, bullying, lying, and installing fear.

Learning to speak in love, act in love, and carry the thought that love is kindness, love is giving, love is supporting, love is nurturing, and love grows is valuable and needed today in all relationships. I hope you have a wonderful week and show someone you love them. Spread kindness and love. Grow in love.

An Advocate for Purpose

I am purpose-driven, if you cannot tell. That purpose is about serving others or using your talents. That is why you are here on this earth. It is also called your why.

What is your purpose? What is your why? Your why or purpose is not the roles you act upon (I am a mom, a daughter, a writer, a teacher, etc.) it is what you do, what you give, what you provide, how you serve, what skills and abilities have you been blessed with or gifted with, and are you using them to fulfill your purpose?

Finding purpose is scary, it is the unknown.  It takes tremendous work and courage to learn, think, and grow in purpose.  Many people spend their lives with no purpose, no need, and no reason to give, help, serve others, or to use their talents and abilities.  How does this contribute to society?  How does this provide for personal growth?  

What purpose is not; often when asking what is my why and purpose, it does not start with seeking out what other people are doing/coping/competing; trying to become something you are not; not being truthful to yourself or others; nor is it heading down paths seeking self notoriety or glory; nor is it shaming or blessing/judging others.    This is not how you build or find purpose.  We all have the ability to be purposeful. 

Purpose, driven, determination, resolution, reason, function, rationale, devotion, dedication, and persistence. 

Social media makes it easy to slip into these patterns, ideas, and comparisons. But to really find your why or purpose, it will not happen from looking at social media. Or Pinterest. Or competing with others. It comes from deep reflectiveness. It comes from hard conversations. It comes from taking ownership of actions, words, ideas, etc. that are not positive; that have harmed others; hurt others; being untruthful to others and yourself; where you have been wrong; what you can do better, what did you learn; that you start to take ownership of your actions, words, thoughts, and can start to grow and dig deep into finding purpose. It takes time dedicated to reading, writing, thinking, reflecting, and working on your mind and body. Finding peace, making a mend, taking ownership of actions and words, focusing on what brings your joy, your talents, and how they can be used.

From growth, comes purpose.  From this process, the ability to think more deeply about purpose comes from this deep, mindful self-work.  WE all need purpose.  WE are all BETTER people when we have purpose.  Purpose is how you live, work, give, serve, etc.  Purpose is vital to many of us.  I wish it was vital to ALL of us.  Our society would be better, our relationships would be stronger, and our work would be improved.   This is why I am an advocate for purpose.

Purpose.  Vital.  Needed.  Serving others.  Giving to Others and to your Community.  What is your why?  What is your purpose?   

New Adventures

Humbled, excited to serve, to grow, and learn…

When I was 22 years old, living in England (Kensington, London) for a summer with an internship and college course, I had a wonderful professor who told me I was smart.  I had gone my whole life up to this point, without ever hearing those words.  He pulled me aside after class one day and said, “ Natalie, you really get the content of the course; you’re smart.  Have you thought of graduate school?”

I was struck by this compliment.  I don’t think I am overly smart or intelligent but I am a very hard worker, very determined, and very consistent.  To get A’s or B’s through high school and college, I had to work incredibly hard.  It does not come easy for me. I didn’t realize with graduate school, that work ethic, determination, and consistency would be my key to success and strong grades.

I wanted to become a professor.  To teach at a college, write, do research, and work with students.  I found myself teaching at Purdue for 4 years, then as an Extension Educator, then Extension Director, then as a court program coordinator and grant writer, and also teaching part-time at Ancilla starting in 2017.  In 2020, when Marian University purchased the Ancilla, my opportunity to become a professor and department head was established.

The work of a professor or faculty member is always filled with challenges, creativity, and lots of room for collaboration.  This position was my dream.  I have loved every minute of it and have worked hard to build a program, build curriculum, teach overloads, recruit students, build partnerships, create internships, etc.

Content and happy with this role, I found myself a few weeks ago in conversations for even a bigger leadership role, as a Dean.  This aspiration was on my professional development documents but I thought if the opportunity was going to come, it would come 10 years down the road.  But it presented itself, now. 

This past week, I am honored to accept a new leadership position in the form of becoming a Dean.  The Dean of Academics.  This was a dream, a goal, a wild ambition and a roller-coaster of a ride the past couple of weeks have been.  Lots of conversations, interviews, and talks with my husband, thinking, praying, and concerned about leaving my current position, going to contractual work, and focusing on this, one career. I have worked at least 2 or more jobs or contracts for years. I am ready to focus on just one.  I welcome having just one career. 

I am very humbled, excited, scared, anxious, and a million other emotions.  But mostly I feel that I will learn so much in this role and continue to grow as a leader.  I shared with the faculty a quote I found (Dr. Brene Brown quote) that states “Clear is Kind.  Unclear is unkind.”  That is my focus, that is my quote, and that is how I will lead.  From a position of servitude, with clarity, and with kindness.  Thank you for all the kind words of support, well wishes and congrats that have been sent my way. 

Cheers to new adventures!   

New Year, New Habits

“If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

I am sure we have all heard this quote.  It goes for about everything, including your body and mind.  When you don’t use your mind, your body; strength starts to fade, memory gets slower, the movement gets harder, it hurts or takes more work, your mental capacity gets smaller, and the ability to hold conversations, or go for a walk takes more time and energy.  A lot of time, this comes with age but we have also seen people of all ages do amazing things with their bodies and minds, no matter the age.

This year, as I am still working on goals/inspiration board/etc. I decided to start with habits.  A habit is an action that becomes routine once completed in repetition (some say, 25 times or more) and then it becomes part of your lifestyle.  Starting a habit is hard and the book “Atomic Habits” which is a great read, takes you through the process of forming habits and how to set yourself up for success. 

I love routine, I like structure which I think is a gift from my Grandpa Polstra (Jerry Polstra) as he served in the Army and then returned home and LOVED his daily routines.  He hardly stopped his daily schedule if you made a surprise visit.  But his routine was his comfort, his joy, his way of life.  One of his daily habits was walking in Star City.  He loved to walk. 

Like him, I form habits and I am pretty good at making them routine.  I find joy in routine.  Case in point, I get up 5 days a week at 4:30 am to work out and run 3 miles.  I usually take a picture of my run and send it to my husband each day.  He was looking at my recent run photo and said, “I cannot believe how happy you look in your picture.”  As he hates to get up early.  I responded, “ I was happy to run, to work out.”  Consistency, routine, and habits bring me joy.

A few actions I do to help me with a habit include:

  • Layout all my workout clothes the night before.
  • Pre-make my workout drink and put it in the frig.
  • My shoes are out by the treadmill.
  • My accountability dry-erase board is ready.
  • My iPad is charged (or I make sure to charge it when it gets below 30 %).
  • I watch the time between workouts/lifting and running to make sure I on schedule.
  • I check in with my sister-in-law each morning as we well (another form of accountability).  
  • I food prep meals for my husband and I on the weekend which helps with our diets.

And off I go.  These are all simple steps but make getting to our workout space and treadmill much easier and quicker on a Monday morning at 4:30 am.

Another new routine I need to incorporate is more time for reading and devotions.  That would be time to be still, to think, to reflect, to listen, to pray, etc.  This is where I struggle.  But I am starting to take steps to make this a habit as well. This will help me with my word, and peace.   I hope that 2023 brings you opportunities to start new habits and have them grow into routines.  Best of luck!!

Your Word for 2023

What is your Word for 2023?

Wow, time flies, and I can’t believe that we are at the end of the year!  Many of us like to take stock of what we did, accomplish, didn’t accomplish and what we have to look forward to in 2023.  Each year, our goals, objectives, focuses, etc. change depending on life, family, health, relationships, etc.  So, this year, I have decided to find a word.  A word that is mine for 2023.  A word that does not define what I am (like mom, sister, wife, professor, etc.) but a word that I spend the year working towards becoming.  That word is peaceful.

I want to find peace, calmness, and stillness. To relax, slow down, and enjoy life more.  I can’t even sit still for very long and I carry two laptops around. I work, move, clean, read, write, care for, and cook, all day long.  With little time for myself.  My word is peace. To make time to be still.  To be quiet, to pray, think, write, and read.    

Do you have a word for 2023?  A word that helps you grow and become a better person, friend, or partner? 

Now with a word, I have been working on my inspirational board for 2023.  This past year, I focused on health, travel, and family, and we had goals around finances which was paying down or off bills.  I am very proud of us because we were able to achieve many of our goals and especially the ones around money.   I love the quote “There is only one way to eat an elephant, one bite at a time.”  This quote helped me stay focused on my goals for this past year.  I had also cut out a picture of a Florida beach and put it on the board last year without knowing that we would spend the holidays in Florida as a Christmas gift, with our family.  What an awesome blessing and gift. 

 One other big goal this past year was my health and running.  My running board will start over on 1/1/2023.  I have run over 1,200 miles this past year.  My treadmill is a huge part of my routine, helps me keep my sanity, and keeps me healthy to keep up with a 2-year-old.  We are excited to add some more to our home gym this next year. We are all healthier, happier, and feel better about ourselves when we work on ourselves, consistently. 

One final goal is to continue working on a book.  A book that I have been writing for the past two years.  It keeps changing with the seasons of my life.  Which is not a bad thing, but doesn’t help me move it along.  This year, I am hoping to finish it and e-publish it.  The book focuses on creating spaces/homes that are peaceful, calming, and yours. 

Thank you to all my readers, and followers of the blog.  I hope you have a wonderful 2023. 

What will 2023 bring for you?  I hope you can find a word that encompasses what you want or needs to become.  Happy New Year! 

Readers Become Leaders

“I cannot live without books.”  Thomas Jefferson, 1815, in a letter to John Adams.

As a small child and through elementary school, I was a poor reader.  I remember being in low-reading classes, struggling to sound out words, and I didn’t like to read.  It was hard.  I would stumble through words, not making proper phonic sounds, and was embarrassed. 

Sometime, late high school and into early college, I found British Literature and fell in love.  Then I started to read like a mad woman.  As I took more literature and history courses, the more I was required to read, and the more I loved the authors, the storylines, the linguistic styles, the substance, and the appreciation for a good story.  Especially when I could learn and grow from it. 

Today, I hope to instill in my children that same love that has been challenging with electronics, their own interest which is not in reading, but I still expose, and model those behaviors and I think as they get older, they will grow to love reading as well. 

While giving Ada her bath, I read to her.  She is a captured audience.  We are fortitude that we have lots of books for all ages due to the boys and she has a growing library.  Before she was born, I bought a Jackie Kennedy children’s book.  I admire Jackie Kennedy and have read every biography published about her.  When I saw this children’s book, I had to get it.  Not that my daughter has to love Jackie Kennedy, but that she can look to strong, smart women, who liked to read and hopefully admire them someday. 

When I think about people like Thomas Jefferson and Jackie Kennedy; these two people have lots of admirable and not-so-admirable qualities, but both loved books and reading.  That is one reason I look to them.  They were both hard-working, and intelligent, served their country in leadership, loved art, had impeccable taste and loved to read. I believe that people become better people and can learn much about themselves from reading.

Readers are leaders.

Reading helps you see the world differently.  Helps you understand yourself, and those around you, and how to think, grow and expand your mind. My hope for the holidays is to spend more time reading.  Pick up a good book, find a cozy blanket and sit down and read.

My husband got me an early Christmas gift of a Kindle E-Reader.  Game changer!  I love it!  It is different to read on a screen instead of a physical paper/book but I can put dozens of books on this tiny device and it fits in my purse.     Below are some photos of the Jackie Kennedy book and some of Ada’s favorite reads.  Here are a few of my favorite books that I am working through.  Have a warm and restful week!   Pick up a good book!