I once had a red, upright metal trunk.

Upon opening it, a doll on one side awaited my imagination while on the other a wardrobe that would fuel my ideas for play.

Then there was my walking doll whose hand I would hold as she walked with me wherever I decided to go.

My baby doll filled hours with fun and nurture as I cared for her and let my imagination take us on adventures.

These along with stuffed toys became my students in my pretend classroom.

However, when my cousins came over, the first thing we agreed on was to ‘play house.’ My dollhouse reminded me always of my goal in life … to have a family and a place we would call home.

By God’s grace, that dream goal came true and allowed me to be a stay-at-home mom for my boys. However, he had also planted another desire in my heart. The desire to write.

But how could I do both?

That is when the Lord showed me that he had a plan. I just needed to obey.

And so, my column, Pause…and Consider, was born along with many other writing opportunities that took place when our sons were in school allowing me to work from home.

However, I discovered something about working from home for over 30 years now. I must ‘play house’ first.

The atmosphere surrounding me needs to be bright, welcoming and uplifting. It has to reflect my personality and make me smile. When I have fluffed and tidied the other rooms of my home, I can slip away and write … mind unhindered.

Research books and papers might bog me down for a while. But I can’t work when I feel like I’m going to be attacked by all the stuff around me. So, I dash around … tidying this, straightening that … even hanging a tiny wind chime to catch the breeze from my window looking out on God’s creation.

Today, the setting is different, yet the same criteria remains.

Up a hidden, winding staircase awaits a little nook I call my upper room tree house. A small deck outside invites me to sit awhile, pray and think. On sunny days, birdsong, breezes and solitude may precede or interrupt writing.

In this setting, I am reminded from Colossians 3: 23 NKJV, “And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that … you serve the Lord Christ.”

‘Playing house.’ It colorfully depicts joyful, unhindered preparation and creativity devoted to the Lord in my home and workspace. Selah

Jan Merop, a columnist with the Highlands News-Sun for 30 years, resided in Sebring for 28 years; now living in North Carolina. Visit her blog Journeying with Jan @ pauseandconsider.net.