An Unintentional Gift of Love by Z. Barr

Today’s post is a special short story — special because it was written by my youngest son. We just began our homeschool year — his 7th grade year, and this was his first writing assignment. I love how it turned out (it’s one of the best he’s written and I thought it went so well with the illustration). The photo of the illustration isn’t very good, but in the upper left hand corner, there is a man dressed in a white shirt with a hand in the air, like he’s waving. He only had to make a few minor adjustments. I asked if he minded if I share it here, and he gave his permission.

The assignment was to write a story to go with the illustration and to include what happened just before and just after the picture. If you enjoy it, leave a comment that I can pass along to him.


“An Unintentional Gift of Love”

by Z. Barr

     Three-year-old, curly blond-haired Alice and five-year-old, brown-haired Susan were helping Ma with the dishes.

“Ma, when can we go out and pick flowers?” Alice asked.

“When the dishes are done,” Ma said.

When the dishes were done, Alice asked Ruff, their dog, if he wanted to go along to pick flowers and get some fresh air.

“Ruff!” The dog barked. Ruff got his name because of the way he barks.

“Have a good time girls!” Ma called. “And take this loaf of bread, butter, and preserves to Uncle Richard’s farm. Set this basket around fifty feet from the sidewalk that leads to the house. Then go flower picking.”

“Okay, Ma,” the girls said in unison.

The girls left the house and headed toward Uncle Richard’s farm.

“I’ll put the basket down and you and Ruff stay here, Alice,” said Susan. She left the basket fifty feet away from the sidewalk. Richard’s family was under a spell of fever.

When Susan came back, she, Alice, and Ruff went flower picking. Ruff bounded around the girls happily. The girls picked violets, daisies, morning glories, and buttercups.

They saw their Ma’s friends, Joanne and Amelia, deep in conversation. When they noticed the girls, Amelia said, “Hi. How are you and your Ma doing?”

“We’re fine, thank you.” Susan answered.

Once, Susan looked in the direction of Uncle Richard’s farm, and she saw Uncle Richard picking up the basket and waving ‘thank you’ to them.

After Susan and Alice picked armfuls of flowers, they headed home.

When they entered the house, they showed the flowers to Ma, who was embroidering. “Morning glories! I love morning glories! Thank you,” she cried. “Those were the kind of flowers your Pa gave me before our wedding, and he gave more to me before he died of cancer.”

Ma put all the flowers in a vase with water. In less than an hour, the whole house smelled of flowers.



Abba’s Promise Has Arrived!


This is the book!

“What book?” You might ask.

The book for which I sent a short devotional story for submission about two years ago and it is now published, my story is in it, and you can get your own copy from Cross River Media.


Yes, this is my story! They chose my story for Day One! Yes, this is a teaser. If you want to read this story, you’ll have to buy the book. It’s a beautiful little volume and three of my other writer friends have stories in it too — Jill Printzenhoff, Cheryl Weber, and Renita Gerlach. Altogether, there are 33 encouraging, inspiring stories in this little book!


Big News!

I’m sorry if you came looking for a Flash Fiction Friday post here today, but I just couldn’t wait to share my “Big News”. Flash Fiction Friday will return again next Friday.

The photo below is the cover reveal of a book that holds thirty-three personal stories of God’s provision for the writers’ lives, and I am one of the thirty-three writers who has a story inside!

The following was taken from CrossRiver’s website, explaining a bit more about them and this book:


For us here at CrossRiver and for many of our authors, it has been a challenging year. Our mission is To glorify God by providing high-quality books and materials that ignite an individual’s relationship with God and inspires them to lead lives that honor Him.

Satan doesn’t want God to be glorified, so the enemy strikes where he can. Psalm 34:19 NLT tells us:

The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

God’s promises hold true. He is faithful. We can trust him.

However, we all need encouragement now and then. To that end, in November CrossRiver is releasing our newest anthology, Abba’s Promise: 33 Stories of God’s Pledge to Provide.

Why 33 stories? Because in biblical numerology 33 means promise, and that’s what this book is all about.

From our smallest to biggest need, God has promised to provide. And Hebrews 10:23 NLT tells us, “God can be trusted to keep His promise.” His promises anchor our hope. Additionally, our personal testimony is a powerful weapon against Satan. “They overcame him… by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11 KJV).

From the provision of finances to His guiding presence to angelic protection, Abba’s Promise offers you 33 stories filled with hope and encouragement for today.

Debra Butterfield is an editor for CrossRiver and it was a pleasure working with her to get my story into this lovely anthology. You can read more about her at the CrossRiver website.

You can preorder this book of encouraging stories for just $9.99 (plus shipping and handling) at:

Anyone who knows me and would like me to sign your copy, I would be happy to do so.

20 Short Ones by Dan Salerno

I received an  ecopy of 20 Short Ones by Dan Salerno free from BookLook bloggers to write a review for them.

I haven’t read very many short stories, and I had read that romance stories don’t really work well as short stories.  However, in 20 Short Ones by Dan Salerno, Dan debunks that statement.  The stories in 20 Short Ones are all relationship stories — some friendship and some romance.  His characters are interesting and his plots are sometimes quirky, but between his characters and his plots, he kept me reading.

I loved how in these stories offered so many different aspects of relationships and the problems that can be part of a relationship, whether that problem is caused by both people, an external force, or an internal conflict in one of the two people or even both of the people in the relationship.  These short stories did a good job of exploring many different relationship conflicts and possible resolutions.

There were a couple of stories in this collection that seemed a bit difficult to follow either because the author bounced from one character’s point of view to the other’s quickly and without warning or offering a page break or something to alert the reader.  Also, sometimes long passages of dialogues caused me to have to go back and figure out which character said which part of the dialogue because there were no tags or beats to help clarify who was speaking.  I understand too many tags take away from a story, but beats can actually add to the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed nine of the stories and felt that nine of the stories were good.  There were only two stories in the collection that I found I didn’t really care for and two that I absolutely loved.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading stories about relationships with characters and situations that may remind them of relationships in their past or present, or maybe one that they hope will be part of their future.  I will definitely hold on to this collection and read most, if not all, of these stories again.  I found that short stories can satisfy me and can be a pleasure to read.