As a wife, the homeschooling mother of three young sons, and an active member of a small church, holiday days were one of my breaks from a very busy life. And an opportunity for me to read undisturbed!

This particular Boxing Day, I was sitting in the family room of our Mississauga home, reading a mystery novel I’d picked up at the library. My husband was also in the room, reading the newspaper. Our three sons, ages three to seven, were in their basement play room building their new Lego.

I’d loved mysteries ever since I first found Trixie Beldon when I was about 10. Discovering Agatha Christie a few years later guaranteed I was a mystery fan for life. Unfortunately, the book I was reading wasn’t very good and I figured out “whodunit” long before the end. Annoyed, I tossed the book down on the carpet and said, “I could do better that that!”

My husband, always helpful, and knowing that what I really wanted to do was write, looked up from the newspaper and said, “Well, why don’t you then?”

So I did. I spent the rest of the Christmas holidays writing—in longhand—the beginning of a first draft of a book. After holidays, I put my writing away and normal life resumed. But whenever I could, I took it out and worked on it some more. Seventeen years later, it became my first published mystery, Shaded Light.

Sometimes the gift doesn’t come with ribbons and wrapping paper. Sometimes the gift is simply encouragement from a family member or friend who challenges you to follow the desire that’s in your heart.

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