Anything for You

 Anything for you, 

  but not exclusively.

A practiced phrase used prettily,

  nothing special, nothing new.

Squash your smile and swallow your pride.

  Words, soft and sweet, they build false highs.

It's a long way down when you realize

  anything for you is nothing special, nothing new.

Copyright Marie Drake 05/28/2024


Wedding Day

 Look into his eyes and take his hand.

Don't be nervous; flash a smile.

On my finger gleams a wedding band,

I've longed for this day for quite a while.


Don't be nervous; flash a smile.

Knees together to hold me up, everything blurs,

     including the crowd.

I've longed for this day for quite a while.

Take deep breaths in and out, a brief ceremony,

     shaky vows.


Don't be nervous; flash a smile.

And then it comes: you may kiss the bride.

I've longed for this day for quite a while.

Cameras record joyful tears and emotional highs.

We rush down the aisle; petals escape my peonies,

     rise and fall on the wind in a rolling pink tide.

Corks pop, glasses clink, violin strings hum,

     champagne toasts and my mother cries.


God blessed; our lives entwined.

Look into his eyes and take his hand.

Forever his, always mine.

On my finger gleams a wedding band.

Copyright Marie Drake 2023

Previously Published at Liberty University

Daisy Chains Copyright Marie Drake 2023

      Bethany’s husband calls down from their house on the hill, “There’s a storm coming.” Rumbles in distant clouds punctuate his yell. She raises a hand in his direction, but her mind refuses to acknowledge his interruption. Instead, her thoughts remain in the blissful memory of a carefree summer day. 

     The sun blazed in the sky. Bethany’s daughter, Daisy Mae, was as lovely as her namesake. She danced in the tall grass and bent with the breeze as she moved closer to the riverbank. She smelled several daisies, picked them, and tossed them into the moving water one at a time as she giggled. ‘Mommy, please tell me the story about the curious flower.’ Daisy tugged Bethany’s sleeve. ‘Pretty please.’ Bethany gathered daisies and weaved their stems into a small floral crown as she told her daughter’s favorite tale.

     “Once, there was a curious flower, and she pleaded with her mom to be plucked from her stem because she wanted to see more than the other flowers and blades of tall grass. Finally, after much thought, the mother agreed and asked a rabbit to pluck her daughter from her stem and cast her into the river. A fish swam past, a turtle burrowed in the mud, and a frog hopped on a log. A snake hissed a silly song, a salamander scurried across a stone, and a beaver and his family built a home. For a moment, a dragonfly perched on the small flower’s middle. Then, it joined its mate in the blue sky. A bird with great wings circled. Light glinted from its feathers. The little flower asked the bird how to return to her mother, but the bird said the river didn’t flow backward. Her head drooped, her petals sagged, and the adventurous little blossom felt tired and lonely.

     Something tickled the flower’s tiny petals; her mother had bumped into her. ‘Did you enjoy your trip down the river?’ Mother asked her daughter as she wrapped her in an embrace.

     ‘Yes, but I missed you, Mother.’ 

     ‘I’m here,’ her mother said, pulling her close again. ‘I’ll follow you, always.’”

     Lightning severs Bethany from her daydream, and the first cold drops strike her face. More recent memories invade. Racing heart. Frantic screams. ‘Daisy! Where are you? Help! Somebody, help!’ 

     Bethany takes three steps, clutching a wilted yellow and white tiara. The river drowns out shouts behind her, and the current buckles her knees, but a forceful yank from behind halts her journey into the water. She is once again on shore. Her voice comes in a strangled wail. “No, no, no, I said I’d follow her always.” 

     A struggle continues between husband and wife, and she launches herself toward the water. He shakes her. Bethany stills and meets his eyes. “It wasn’t your fault,” he says. She clings to his soaked shirt. He supports her as they pass their daughter’s ribbon-laden wooden cross and back to their house on the hill.

Copyright Marie Drake 2023

Previously published at Liberty University

The Value Of Hope

      Tragedy can strike anyone anytime; life holds no shortage of heartache or pain. Hope is a blessing. It is not rooted in knowledge and can exist without any basis. It is not optimism. It is a way of thinking that supports an optimistic state of mind. It does not solve problems, but it raises spirits. Distraction from negativity and traumatic experiences can be achieved through hope. A shield from pain, a badge of courage when facing a terminal illness, hope absorbs the shock when diagnosed, and keeps one focused on the positive points of life. Joy and comfort come from hope. However, false hope is a curse; it will draw focus from things in the present, robbing the joy and comfort from the here and now for the expectations of an unrealistic future.

     A beautiful thing available to anyone willing to accept it, hope can be a protector when facing the dread and doom of an illness that will cause life-altering, chronic pain or eventually end a life. It can guard against depression and disappointment and shore up mental well-being. Faith is a gift that blossoms with hope. Combined, they allow looking beyond present pain to see that a patient can handle whatever arises. Reducing helplessness and diminishing stress, hope improves the quality of remaining life. It holds connections between friends, family, and the world. Motivation to get through the worst possible circumstances stems from hope, and embracing hope can help one make the right choices when faced with difficult medical decisions.

     Sometimes, doctors struggle to tell a patient the truth for fear of killing their hope. Still, doctors don’t want to fill the patient with unrealistic expectations by sugarcoating the problem either. Ultimately, doctors must accept hope is possible, even with brutal truths. Avoid false hope. Hoping for healing isn’t wrong, but hope doesn’t equate to a cure. When obsessing with an illusion of the future, a patient or their loved ones can lose sight of things that bring them joy: parents, spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings, pets. All attention is centralized on keeping death at bay. False hope will prevent sufferers from feeling the good in life and savoring the experiences they have left because they can’t face reality.

     Hope can carry one through illness, even death, and it can also help those left behind overcome the grief and despair of loss. Hope is a powerful and valuable force in overcoming what could seem impossible. What do you do when hope seems in short supply? Practice gratitude. Think of the simple things that bring happiness, things that allow peace and contentment. Do sunrises give a sense of renewal? Are sunsets serene? Do waves against the shore make soothing sounds? Will children’s laughter spark contagious laughter as well? Draw close favorite things and cherished people. Make videos of little pieces of wisdom to share with family members later. Write letters of thanks and record teachable moments. Share pleasant memories, and plan occasions to forge new memories. Envision the best possible realistic outcome. Most importantly, find hope in the Lord. He will comfort and lift spirits and take on the worry, anxiety, and fear that make hope and cheer seem unattainable. 

 ©️Tina Gibbons 2023

Previously published by Liberty University

The Falls

 ©️ Tina Gibbons 2022

"I detest the color of these walls. I asked once what shade it was, and the answer was alabaster. Not quite white, or yellow, or gray, but a hue to calm and soothe. To me, it is a tone that shrinks the room and suffocates the mind. I lay my pencil next to the notebook assigned to record the details of my grief and horror: what happened at the Falls. Here, in my heart, lodged deeply behind pain and confusion, hide resentment and anger. Greedily, I don't want to let them go, those feelings that justify my actions or the words that tell my story. As if they could understand my thoughts once out of my mouth, no, only hammer and forge them until they could be used against me."