Candid Head Nodding Relationship Advice from 11 Happily Married couples

Brandon Woelfel1. Avoid resentment at ALL costs Resentment is the single thing that ruins a relationship. Do whatever it takes to avoid it. Honesty and communication are good tools to avoid it. — Raintitan 2. Relationships are two different people Recognize that your partner is not you. They have a separate brain and self-awareness and perception…

via 11 Happily Married People Give Their Brutally Honest Advice For Folks Who Want LTRs — Thought Catalog

Bloody December to Remember for Jamaican Women: 15 Savaged in Christmas Bloodletting Spree



UPDATE (Correction): I reported in error that 14 women were victims of violence when the actual count was 15. Thirteen (13) women died from these attacks in the month of December. 

December 2016 may yet go on record as the bloodiest December to remember for attacks on Jamaican women in recent times.

The recent spate of reported murders and violent attacks continued unabated over the Christmas holidays.

In the latest incident, the St Thomas police are now looking for the boyfriend of 19-year-old Tashoy Barrett who was found with her throat slashed in her Arcadia home in St Thomas on Boxing Day. Her boyfriend is the chief suspect in the murder.

On Christmas Day, Monique Woolery, 27, of Llandilo, Westmoreland was shot and killed while walking with a male companion in Norwood, St James.

5 Killed in One Week



Grieving women comfort each other after Boxing Day killing Photo Credits: Shanna-kay Monteith/The Gleaner


These latest incidents over the Christmas weekend bring the death toll to 13 and culminates a month of bloodletting in which five women were killed in one single week, December 5-10, one per day.

Eight of the 14 women killed or injured were said to be victims of domestic abuse, crimes of passion committed at the hands of their ex-lovers. Gun violence and bludgeoning were the other causes of death in the six other non-domestic crimes reported.  The women’s ages ranged from 18 to 73 years old.

The rampage has once again pushed the issue of violence against women into the public spotlight.

Majority Cases Still Unresolved

With just four days left in the month, the majority of the cases remains unresolved by the Jamaican police even as the death toll climbs for reported female deaths.

Checks made last week with the Constabulary Communication Network, the information arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force to ascertain if any further apprehensions had been made in the cases being investigated did not produce any confirmations at the time this post went live. Follow up conversations with a CCN officer today revealed that the Department’s activities have been scaled down as many of the officers have been deployed to the streets. I was directed to resend my request to CCN spokesperson, Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay. As soon as that information becomes available I will share.

Death Toll Timeline

This round up traces the timeline of the bloodletting violence against 14 Jamaican women as reported between December 2 and December 26 in various news outlets. The incidents are arranged from most recent to the earliest.

14. Fatal Knife Attack: Tashoy Barrett – Monday, December 26, 2016 -Arcadia, St Thomas

Residents found the 19-year-old woman dead with her throat slashed in her Arcadia home in St Thomas on Boxing Day. The Police are looking for her boyfriend said to be the chief suspect in her killing. The Morant Bay CIB is investigating.

News Credit:

13. Fatal Shooting: Monique Woolery – Sunday, December 25, 2016 – Norwood, St James

Woolery, 27 of Llandilo, Westmoreland was shot and killed while walking with her male companion in Norwood, St James on Christmas Day. According to this report, a white car with three armed gunmen aboard drove up and started firing shots at the couple who took cover in a shop. When the shooting ended, Woolery and three other men were pronounced dead. Her male companion was reportedly not hurt.

News Credit: Loop News

12. NonFatal Stabbing: Unnamed Victim – Monday, December 19, 2016 – Runaway Bay, St Ann

On Monday, security personnel at the Bahia Principe Hotel in Runaway Bay, St Ann intervened and saved a woman from a man identified as her ex- boyfriend who was inflicting stab wounds on her. The security officer, a licensed firearm holder reportedly fired one round which hit her attacker’s body, exited and caught her 17-year old son. The injured woman and her son were taken to the St Ann’s Bay Hospital where they are recuperating from their injuries. The woman, a hotel employee was attending a staff party organised by the hotel when the incident happened.

Latest on Investigations: On December 20, a day after the incident, media reports revealed that the attacker succumbed to his injuries twhile undergoing treatment in hospital. He was identified as taxi operator, 39-year-old Leo Henry from a St Ann address.

News Credit: Nationwide 90 FM, The Jamaica Observer

11. Fatal Throat Slashing: Unidentified Victim – Saturday, December 17, 2016 – Buck Toe Lane, St James

According to a Loop News report published on December 17, the police in St James are investigating the murder of an unidentified woman whose body was found with the throat slashed Saturday morning.

Residents had called the police, about 10:00 am, about a body in the Buck Toe Lane area — between Salt Spring and Cornwall Courts, the online news source stated. The St James Police are investigating.

News Credit:

10. Fatal Machete Attack: Joycelyn Gomez – Friday, December 16, 2016 –Falmouth, Trelawny

Just before 8:00 a.m., 71-year old pensioner, Joycelyn Gomez went to the post office to collect her pension. While sitting on the steps, she was approached and brutally hacked to death by a man said to be of unsound mind. He was detained by the Falmouth police.

News Credit: The Jamaica Observer

9. Fatal Knife Attack: Jennifer Garrison – Friday, December 16, 2016 – Dias, Hanover

An hour and a half later on the same day in Hanover, a  husband pulled a knife and stabbed his wife to death during an altercation at their family home. She was rushed to the Noel Holmes hospital where she died. Her husband was later detained by the police.

8. Fatal Knife Attack: Alisa Garey – Wednesday, December 14, 2016 – Ocho Rios, St Ann

Two days prior, a female bartender,  20-year-old Alisa Garey was killed by her ex-lover at Champion Plaza along the Ocho Rios Bypass in broad daylight. She had just reported threats to the police after her attacker came to her home earlier and threatened to kill her. Her ex-lover was later arrested by the police.

7. Fatal Knife Attack: Shantay Thelwell – Sunday, December 11, 2016 – Sandy Bay, Hanover

More domestic-violence related bloodletting was reported on Sunday after 18-year-old Shantay Thelwell was fatally stabbed by her ex-lover following a heated dispute in her Sandy Bay, Hanover home on Sunday morning. The Hanover CIB is investigating.

6. Fatal Beating: Kerry-Ann Wilson – Saturday, December 10, 2016 – St Andrew

Kerry-Ann Wilson, a 31-year-old resident of Crystal Towers Apartments in St Andrew was not so lucky after her construction worker lover beat her to death, wrapped her body in tarpaulin and was attempting to dispose of her body in a nearby gully. Interestingly, her body was found just across from the Office of the Police Commissioner. Her attacker is now in police custody.

5. Gunshot Wounds: Unnamed Police Spouse – Thursday, December 8, 2016 – Manchester

Loop News reported that  December 8, a Manchester police officer was being investigated after his girlfriend was found suffering from gunshot wounds. Superintendent Wayne Cameron, head of the Manchester Police Division, confirmed the incident, adding that it was being treated as a case of ‘accidental discharge of firearm.’

4. Fatal Knife Attack: Herma-Lyn Bell – Wednesday, December 7, 2016 — Point Hill, St Catherine

The quiet was shattered in the sleepy village of Point Hill when news broke that 45-year-old Herma-Lyn Bell was chopped to death by her common-law husband in their Point Hill, St Catherine home in what has been described as a “crime of passion.”

 3. Fatal Beating: Dawn Loney –  Tuesday, December 6, 2016 – Westmoreland

Dawn Loney, 53, of Chantilly Gardens, Westmoreland was bludgeoned to death when a man forcibly gained entry to her home and attacked her repeatedly with a stone.

 2. Fatal Gunshot Wounds: Chrissy Vaughn – Monday, December 5, 2016 – Bogue, St James

Lecturer and popular mortician ‘Chrissy’ Vaughan, 31, was found in her car with gunshot wounds to the head on December 5, following a shooting incident in Montego Bay.

News reports are that the shooting occurred sometime after 2 a.m. outside a club in Bogue Village, St James. Vaughan was among a group of patrons when a fight broke out between two members of the bunch. Shots were fired and Vaughan was later found slumped over her steering wheel with a gunshot wound to the head, the news said.

1. Reprisal Killing by Intruders: Lina and Lissette Powell – Friday, December 2, 2016 – Craighead, Manchester.

RJRNews ( reported that a mother, 73-year-old Lina Powell and daughter, 44-year-old Lissette were among three members of the same family who were killed and their house burnt to the ground by intruders on Friday night. Residents reported that they had also heard gunshots. The Manchester Police who are investigating has linked the deaths to a long-standing dispute over property involving Delroy Powell, the son/brother who was also killed and the suspect who it is alleged had lived in the family house a year ago.


As indignation in the public space continues to rise pertaining to the killing of women especially by their partners, the discussion women, women advocates and leaders should be having now are about the importance of self-care and self-preservation. Self-defense/protection skills and counseling support can go a far way in changing the trajectory of women becoming victims of their relationships and their known and unknown attackers.

Share your thoughts on this thorny topic

  • How can women decrease their vulnerability ?
  • What red flags can women be aware of in an abusive relationship or in public from a stranger? How can she prepare herself?
  • Do you think enough is being done in Jamaica to protect a woman once she’s reported a threat to the police?


Mr DJ, don’t stop playing the music


Mr Dj, don’t stop that music

whatever you do

Keep the song on the turntable playing

Cause I’m in hiding

from the Blues

Man singing in the jukebox

Let me lean on your croons for just a little while

my heart is breaking

And I feel just vile

Lady in the Youtube playlist

Sorry, I have to rewind you

I need to drown out these sad heartbreak songs

And be free from my mind

Crooner behind my eyelids

Let me sleep

Won’t you stop playing these haunting songs?

Turntables in my mind keep crying :

“That’s a foul, that’s a foul, he did you quite a foul”

Why do you keep spinning out the tune that’s cracking my soul

Still, Mr DJ,  the music must play on

Cause this discarded girl wants to keep on

hiding from the Blues.

Copyright by Karen Taylor, 2016-2021

Fragmented Writer


‘Problems in your head’ by Zakhar Krylov


How do you write through gloomy days?

What do you do instead when you just can’t open a page?

I find it easier to write poetry when my soul and thoughts feel scattered.

I write the fragments down.

That way I get away with one-word lines and stanzas with pieces of thought.

What’s your strategy when you feel lost and the sadness is so deep, you are afraid to open the door to the words?

3 Powerful, Made-For-Writers Playlists You Should Hack


Flow is a subjective state that people report when they are completely involved in something to the point of losing track of time and of being unaware of fatigue and of everything else but the activity itself.”-  Quote from Talented Teenagers: The Roots of Success and Failure 

I have a restless mind. I can’t  read anything for ten minutes without losing focus and switching to something else. And it’s worst online. I am convinced online reading is responsible for this distracting, unsettling habit I’ve cultivated.

I am not sure what causes it, except that it is worst when I am having a depressive episode, and that is understandable, considering the chemical imbalance that depression creates in the brain. (The last eight months I have been dealing with a most stressful experience that sapped much of my brain power, concentration and motivation.)

But I am a writer, and for writers, being controlled by a restless mind is one counterproductive habit that’s a major deal-breaker. Try adding writer’s block to that. On a bad day, I may not get anything done. Sometimes, as my readers here will notice, these ‘dusty days’ have extended for months.

The consequence? Everyday I don’t write delays my dream of getting my freelance writing business off the ground. My confidence plummets. I lose writing flow. My vocabulary becomes constricted. My blogs become ghost towns and I become frustrated with myself for not making the progress I should as a writer.

How I Plan to Get my Groove Back like . . .

But Stella got her groove back, and I’m dead-set on getting mine too. (Ok, ok, maybe the method may not be as erotic… nevertheless I am gonna find a way to recapture the flow I desperately need to get my writing groove back.)

So I am on a journey to find solutions to help myself beat this thing. I am open to ideas from the experts in this writing business.

Over the next six weeks, I will challenge myself to test a few of the free (I have no money, remember) tools and hacks other writers have recommended, plus those I hope to discover  for myself along the way.  I’ll share how each is helping a dusty writer find her inspiration and get her writing groove back.

Playlist #1- Music To Listen To While Writing Essays, Papers, Stories, Poetry, Songs

Today, I’m starting with music.

Why music?

Calming music has always been a good antidote for my stressed mind.

So just before I knocked out this post a short while ago, I headed to Google. I entered the long tail keywords “music to help writers focus while writing,” and landed on YouTube. YouTube account, Soundings of the Planet comes up first in the Result pages, and I choose the first song in the 7-track playlist. It’s entitled Music To Listen To While Writing – Essays, Papers, Stories, Poetry, Songs. There are 7 tracks. It’s 47:03 minutes long, and is a series of beautiful instrumentals by Dean Evenson (

The titles in Track Listing looks promising:
1) Pure Light Mind – Meditation Moods
2) Calming Insight of Ourselves – Meditation Moods
3) Touch of Grace – Sound Massage
4) Timeless Spirit – Sound Massage
5) Pondering the Lotus – Peaceful Pond
6) Welcome to my Pad – Peaceful Pond
7) Water Caress – Peaceful Pond

So does the 641,372 views it has attracted. I press ‘Play‘ to see whether this music will deliver on the claim in the playlist titles.

Easy Listening. Check.

As I write this sentence, I am now 27 seconds into the video and I am still on task. Can I finish this post by the time the video ends? Stay with me to find out.

The selection of songs are relaxing. That’s the first noticeable thing. Most of the sounds seem to be piano and violin. Between the stringed instruments, I can hear what sounds like croaking bullfrogs and twittering birds; nature’s music is cleverly integrated. The sound massage the composer intended is working.

From one song to the next, the music is quiet, melodic, never jarring. It’s definitely mood music, easy on the ear and calming to my nerves.

And so far, words are flowing, which is definitely another plus for this solution.

Of course, it helps if you like instrumental and classical music. If this is not your type of music, then this will probably bore you to tears. But it works for me because I’ve always loved classical and instrumental music.

Evocative journeys for your writer’s mind

The sound massages evoke images. In the last 3 minutes of the track, I am transported by the sensory blend of oriental chimes and nature sounds to romantic places in my imaginings: a rugged, open, mountain vistas, birds making sleepy calls as a dusky sunset settles across the landscape as a lone rider on  horseback treks quietly across the desert home. I can see how a writer could get her groove back listening to this music for writing tracks.

The track ends and I have successfully completed a new blog post, breaking the long months-long writing fast  on this blog. Yeaaah. Music To Listen To While Writing – Essays, Papers, Stories, Poetry, Songs definitely gets my voteHere’s the link if you’d like to listen for yourself.

Playlist # 2: Music for Writing 1- The Phantom Music

Writers are listening to and liking this type of music for work, as you’ll see by the comments on the YouTube page. While you are there, check out Music for Writing 1 The Phantom Music, 1:49 minutes of curated music writers commenting on the page attest is successfully helping them. One writer wrote, “This helped me through major writers’ block I can’t tell you how many times. Thank you a million times over,”while another writer said, “Aiming to reach my 100,000 words in my novel. Six thousand left to go. Wish me luck!”

Playlist #3 – Music for Writing 11: Attack of the Music 

Other playlists on the page explore other genres and mix instrumentals with popular songs. Maybe Phantom’s epic theme music selections from the Lion King or Harry Potter movies or the strident tracks in Music for Writing 11: Attack of the Music will give you the writing gears you need to vanquish that 100,000-word novel, difficult speech, college paper, or 17-page creative writing project you have to complete in the next few hours.

Takeaway from Music Hack

So the result of Test 1 is conclusive. Music, not just any music, but instrumental music along the tone offered by this YouTube track does it for me. If like me, you suffer from Distracted writer syndrome (my coinage) as I’ve described, I’d recommend this music as a solution. If instrumental, easy listening is what you are after to quieten the noise in your brain, then try out this Youtube playlist.

Remember I’m hunting for solutions, so why not leave a comment sharing the writing focus hack that works for you while writing. Sharing will help other writers overcome this debilitating writing issue.


I’m Karen Taylor, a professional blogger, writer and online journalist based in Portmore, Jamaica. Thanks for stopping by. Need help with your next writing project? Reach me at I’m on LinkedIn.

Chicken Soup for the Dejected Writer’s Soul:How to Be Your Own Therapist when these Three Dreamcrushers Invade your Writer’s Soul

chicken souo for lonely writer


Actor/writer/entertainer Spalding Gray’s untimely death in 2013 was shocking to many in his circle. Patricia Pharrel, author of How to Be Your Own Therapist: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Competent, Confident Life remembers Gray as a man of talent and complexity who had . . . . “a great deal of pain in his life, pain he managed to keep to himself and it was depression that drove him to take his life.”

When Swedish researchers combed through population registries looking for a link between creativity and mental illness, they found that writers have a slightly increased risk for depression and suicide, but their relatives do not. Continue reading

Free. . . . dom song. . . finally!

The caged bird can sintrapped bird2g

She is free

Free of the cords of unhappiness that wrapped her too tightly in fear and anguish and despair and misery and loneliness and pity and self recriminations and guilt and embarrassment for far too long

Five years

Lord, what a waste

But she thanks God for the lessonsgirl cage free

Thank Him for even the greying hairs at her temple

(She is stronger than she thought),

and thankful

for the angel fingers that opened the door

And gave the survivor her day dream

Wind beneath her wings

Heart’s song sad and wistful, but happy and fre

Separation from the net song, victory over evil medleys

Cage-free survivorfescaped bird

The hope of raveling net chords, exploding cage.

No longer bound

Watch her rise now,

sky bound.

Copyright. Karen Taylor 2015. All rights reserved. (Images are owner copyrighted)

Have a Courageous Day

Sometime we wish others a good day, a wonderful day, a fantastic day.

I don’t frequently hear or wish others a courageous day.

But every now and then that’s the kind of day we need.

Especially when it has taken everything to roll out of bed and you just feel like sitting in a huddle, wishing not to face the world today

When your nerves are bundled in knots, tears are clogging your throat, you have nothing left to say but your soul is screaming and your hands are shaking

The sun is out but inside a bitter blizzard is brewing.

You need a brighter day

Only God can give you courage

From his infinite resources.

He can empower you with strength.

When faced with mind numbing, courage sapping situations, I often find consolation in music. If what you need right now is just an ounce of courage, here are three songs I use to get some  inspiration when I am depressed. If you too are having just that kind of day, let me share these three songs to help you press on through this tunnel.

Those who have overcome say there is indeed a light ahead.

1. To Find My Strength by Natalie Grant

2. His strength is perfect when your strength is gone – Cece Winans

2 Kings 6:16:  “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

When your strength is gone

You may need to let go and let God.

Lean on Him. Wait on Him.

He will embrace you.

3. Survivors never Quit by Glacia Robinson

You are not a victim. You are destined to win.

Feel the thorns and press on.

For those that are for you are more than those that are against you

Have a courageous day.

The Lost Anniversary

It’s the eve

of our


and I feel

all popped down

I’m popping peanuts

Tension is in the room

Anxiety is lying on my chest

Has been that way since the last fatal words over a week ago

More peanuts

More peanuts

Then everything stopped. The last tether I was holding onto broke.

Poof. Bandaged emotional dams broke.

We stopped




stopped fighting

the fight has gone out

the passion

and the light

and the love

We let it slip away

Not me, him

Four years of CPR

Still vegetated

Time to pull the plug?

Or just walk away

(No further explanations need, we’re all talked out)

And leave the vegetated state

With this ring, on those steps under the canopy of the sunny Friday sky

We’d promised forever, said I do

But didn’t expect that forever meant so much work to keep fires stoked

Except, why did it feel as though I was the only one changing and forgiving and caring?

And while we looked on, the venom took the oxygen out of our air

The flame on the Forever dipped, blew out

and quiet-ly, tiptoe-ing-ly slipped away.

While conflicted, crying heart(s)

helplessly and silently

watched the petals and the promises swallowed up in

the swirling dervish dusk.