Friday, July 29, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

       I do not know how many persons have had a similar experience but I have noticed that the brakes on picture taking often occurs with the passing of a loved one. Anyone visiting this site can see that my twin and I took a lot of pictures over the years. However my mom and I have been searching through our many albums and we can't find a picture of Janine and me in our Marymount High School uniforms. If my memory serves me right I did see one some time ago but where it is, only God knows!

        I am here thinking that we did not take many pictures during those years as we lost our father in our early high school days. Since Janine's death getting my picture taken has been a real struggle as it is so difficult to see pictures without Janine.  When I went to my Aunt Prilly's funeral back in March I took pictures of just about every relative there and did not ask anyone to take a picture of me with other relatives. Anyway my cousin Courtenay whom I was meeting for the first time came up to me and introduced herself and asked if she could have a picture taken of us. I had on my eyeglasses and forgot to take them off! Anyway they concealed how much I was crying. 

         Thanks to a wonderful cousin Brigette Lindo from New Jersey I am getting back into taking pictures even if I am not yet eager to have my picture taken these days. She sent me a digital camera last Christmas and with the help of the booklet and my cousin Molly Chung who visited me from Canada I have managed to get the hang of it. I still have a lot to learn but I am well on the way. By the way, Molly recently reminded me that this camera can also take videos! Now that is something else for me to learn to do. So far I have been taking pictures of my relatives who visit, surroundings, pets etc.

          I remember that early in 2008 Janine and I said that it was about time that we got with it and bought a digital camera. She even wrote an early Christmas list and had a digital camera high on the list. Well, she died in October of that year so you know where that idea went, through the window. 

          I know that Janine would like me to continue taking pictures so I will always be armed with my digital camera to capture pictures. Actually some of the pictures on this Blog were taken with my new digital camera and the digital camera on one of my cell phones. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

       Janine and I have been big fans of music over the years and like a wide variety - reggae (our national music), calypso, gospel, soul, disco etc. As a matter of fact we once had an article titled 'MUSIC AS THERAPY' published in one of Jamaica's national newspapers, the Sunday Gleaner. It showed the amazing effect that music has on human beings, plants and animals.  The science called Music as therapy has as its main aim the use of sound as a stimulus to treat, rehabilitate and educate the emotionally, mentally and physically ill. 

        I mainly get my good dose of music on weekends. I also get to enjoy music videos posted by my Facebook friends from time to time. I have even posted some on this Blog and plan to continue doing so.

       Right now I am just hoping that in the not too distant future I will be able to listen to the CDs that Janine and I bought over the years. Above is a picture of some of them. However they are usually safely packed away in a case as I still find it difficult to listen to them. They include some Christmas CDs that we would play at Christmas time every year.  Maybe one of these days when I am on my computer I could slip in one of these CDs and have it going while I am busy doing something. In the meantime I hope everyone gets to enjoy his/her favourite genre of music. As Plato once said "Music is moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything." Of course our late reggae super star Bob Marley told us "One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain."

Monday, July 25, 2011


Some of the good times I had with my twin sister Janine were the times that we worked together as Freelance Writers. I can still remember how excited we were when our first article was published. Below is an article that we wrote about this with a few changes that I have made to update the facts.


        English scholar and author Robert Burton once said "Hope is a good word.  Without hope we shall never reach the things that give life its true happiness above the changes of chance and time."  These are wise words which every would-be writer should heed.

        In 1980 when we left high school we envisioned a career in media but had no idea that we were destined to become jounalists.  Our interest in this profession was aroused when we saw an ad in our daily newspaper, offering a writing course from Trans-World Tutorial College, a British Correspondence College.  The minute we started the course our interest in journalism soared and we not only successfully completed it but went on to pursue an even more comprehensive course with the London School of Journalism.

          Having attained the Honours Diploma from the London School of Journalism we had our first hurdle to get over, that of breaking into print. We live on the Caribbean island of Jamaica and at that time there were limited opportunities for print journalists, when one takes into consideration the fact that there was only one national newspaper, the Gleaner.  Friends and relatives on hearing of our interest in Journalism kept saying "I hope to see your names in the Gleaner someday."  We would just smile and say inwardly "We hope for that miracle too!"

         It was our mother's wise advice that sparked us into quick action. She said, "Judy and Janine, shouldn't you be thinking up some articles to submit to the Gleaner? Remember that this is the time when other student journalists are graduating from institutions and there is only one national morning newspaper."

          After a few hours of deliberations we came up with a column idea, one which stemmed from our favourite hobby of corresponding with pen-pals from many countries.  Over the years, this hobby resulted in our developing an insatiable curiosity about people, places, customs, animals, buildings, monuments, etc. around the world.  All printed matter, radio and television programmes on such subjects would cause us to have our eyes and ears glued attentively to screen or paper.  We would take special note of anything unique and interesting.  We finally decided that we would submit a column titled "Around the World."

        Three days after the idea was conceived, we sent off our first submission giving information on Japan's unique wedding customs, Norways's midnight sun and the blind processionary caterpillars of Italy. We felt that this column would be accepted and continued to gather information. It was therefore a special thrill when we recieved a letter from the Gleaner's Managing Editor which stated, "We have decided to use your very informative article titled "Around the World" in our Sunday Youth Page and look forward to receiving other pieces from you for consideration."  What a relief! We had cleared our first hurdle. The article was printed on August 12, 1984.

Friday, July 22, 2011


"Protect your vision
  Prevail over adversity
  Persevere in the midst of turmoil
  Passionately act upon your convictions
  Purposely walk into the day." - Mary Anne Radmacher

"It is not whether you get knocked down, it is whether you get back up." - Vince Lombardi

"Plant the seed of meditation and reap the fruit of peace of mind." - Remez Sasson

"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship." - Louisa May Alcott

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling but rising every time we fall." - Nelson Mandela

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."- Martin Luther King, Jr

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


     From our  high school days my twin sister Janine and I had a very close friend Cecile and  she was among the few persons who could tell the difference between Janine and me.  Like me I know Janine would be very pleased with her recent success. Heartiest Congratulations to her on receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology with a Sociology minor Magna Cum Laude from the University of Miami.  My family and I appreciate the fact that while she was pursuing her studies in the U.S.A, she took time out to journey to Jamaica and attend Janine's funeral. She also read the following lesson - John 14:1-8.  I would like to publicly thank her for the support she has given me since Janine's death.  Again Heartiest Congratulations Cecile Walter Chin from Judy and Janine (looking down from heaven!)


Monday, July 18, 2011



    Over one month of this year's hurricane season has passed and it is a relief that so far it has been a quiet one on our tropical island. Nevertheless we dare not forget that the season is not over until November 30.

    As I think about the storms and hurricanes that Janine and I have experienced over the years, I must say how much I will miss her if another one comes around.  She was always great company at that time. We would sit  and listen to the radio or move around the house together.  Our first real experience of a hurricane was Hurricane Gilbert on September 12, 1988.  It was one of the worst hurricanes to hit Jamaica. 

      Like so many persons who had never experienced a hurricane we kept asking the question "Can it be so scary?"  Our windows were battened down and we sat tense waiting for Gilbert to arrive. I can remember that Janine and I climbed up and looked through a high window and were so shocked to see how dark and desolate it looked outside although it was only about 11 a.m.  That sight kept us from looking outside until Gilbert had truly departed our shores.

       Packing winds of about 160 miles (265km) per hour it was not only content to let us hear the roar of its ferocious howling winds and pelting rain but left us with no doubt that it had a special thing for roofs. No wonder some Jamaicans called it 'Gilbert Roofus Hurricane.' As Janine and I huddled in our bedroom we looked through the door and after hearing a loud sound we saw the living-room ceiling take an awful dip with water pouring in. As we moved from room to room we could see that it had done damage to several areas. Luckily our room snuggled between rooms on every side was not affected.

       Electricity was dealt a severe blow and for many weeks there was no television.  Janine and I occupied ourselves writing, crocheting, playing board games, reading, listening to music, chatting together and spending time with family members.  We tried to be content as we gained light from candles and lamps with the familiar slogan 'HOME SWEET HOME.'

        The lack of light made us learn to appreciate nature even more.   As the moonlight shone around homes and on the streets the fireflies popularly known as 'Peenie Wallies' provided us with lights like flashlights to the rescue.

        Being on a farm we could not help but notice the widescale destruction of trees. For example our cherry, plum, Oti eati apple and other fruit trees were destroyed. The cherry tree was laden with big cherries. Throughout our childhood days we regularly picked cherries from this tree and even ate some green ones.

         It was a time for flexibility as we all had to contend with changes in the food we ate and the places we were accustomed to going.  Gilbert certainly reminded us of the saying "The branch that will not bend with the wind will surely break." In true Jamaican fashion culinary experts came up with some new ideas.  For example a restaurant in the capital city of Kingston served a special dish called 'Chicken Gilbert' while a bakery offered a new shaped bread called 'Gilbert.'

       Our ability as a people to look at the lighter side of things was also evident. Our musicians recorded songs on the Gilbert experience but not the terrifying things in a way that made people sad. Like so many other Jamaicans we laughed when we heard the song 'Wild Gilbert' by Lloyd Lovindeer.

        The community spirit displayed during and after the hurricane truly reflected our national motto 'Out of  Many One People.' When disaster strikes it causes a great deal of pain, destruction and death but as many countries came to Jamaica's assistance this quotation became one of our favourites -''The earth is one country and mankind its citizens."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sons of Korah - Psalm 139

My friend Julia from Germany just shared this with me on Facebook. I had to share it here! Love it!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Psalm 23 The Lord Is My Shepherd - Original Song

As I said in my previous post whenever I repeated the words of this Psalm I would picture scenes in my mind to go with the words.  Well, I found this awesome video with breathtaking scenes!

Friday, July 15, 2011



     We have often heard the saying "A Psalm a day keeps the devil away."  Well, I find that a Psalm a day can be just that inspirational lift that one needs.

       Not too long after my twin sister's death I went in search of every inspirational book that I could find in our home, even if I had read them before. I found several but I was particularly struck by a small book of the Psalms. I knew that this book belonged to my father who died over 36 years ago but across the top of it was my name Judy Haughton-James and it was in my handwriting. I could not remember when I had read it but for sure I was going to read it again. I read it quickly and found out that it was just what I needed during the low moments.

         Psalm 23 has become my favourite and until today there is not a day that passes that I do not repeat the words. I remember many a sleepless night reciting the words of this Psalm as I lay in my bed. Oh, how it helped to calm my nerves. As I recited the words I pictured scenes that would go with them. For sure I was in a valley and needed to be strong to make my way out.

       It is therefore no surprise that I could not resist adding the "Psalm for the day" gadget to the right sidebar of this Blog. Verses from the Psalms change throughout the day and they certainly give me that needed lift every time I visit my Blog. I hope readers will also take this opportunity to read them whenever they visit. May God Bless you all.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gregg Braden about the twin sisters born prematurely

This is awesome!  The twin bond is so strong. My twin is no longer around but as we always say "Once a twin, always a twin!"

Monday, July 11, 2011


       This bird enthusiast is certainly having a whale of a time! In an earlier post I mentioned that I won the WDC Power Reviewer Challenge based on a picture of birds.  Well, things have gotten even better as one of the members of the group, Breaker, Metutera Toauriri, sent me this special signature as a gift for my poem. I was particularly pleased that he said he made sure to have 2 birds in the picture, one representing me and one for my departed twin sister. He went on to say that he hopes I will see it as in memory of her.

         I am truly grateful to you Breaker! For one, he fully understands the bond that twins share and went out of his way to remember my twin even though she had already died before I joined the group. It goes to show that there are persons who truly care. Of even more importance to me is the fact that this is coming from someone who is not one of twins. I am truly blessed to be in such a wonderful group at Writing.Com. They never fail to give each other encouragement and lift one's spirit.  God Bless Breaker who is from Kiribati in the South Pacific!

Friday, July 8, 2011


    The two bird figurines above have always been among the favourites that Janine and I have had in our collection. We were always fascinated when we got Christmas cards from relatives, pen-pals and friends and saw a red cardinal featured amid the snow. I have even seen pictures that my cousin Marlene took of a cardinal during winter in her state of Massachusetts and it was such an awesome sight.  The other bird figurine features Eastern Bluebirds.

     Year after year calendars featuring birds were sent to us as gifts from pen-pals around the world. We have also had bird books, pictures and postcards.  There was even a time when we collected postal stamps featuring birds. These stamps can now be seen in an album.

        Since Janine's death I have written this poem. It says it all:-


Birds come in a dazzling array of colours.
I like to see them visiting flowers.
I had to start a bird figurine collection,
And now I have a wide selection.

They are such amazing creatures,
Some build nests of unusual structures.
Each bird's call is rather unique,
The woodpecker announces its presence by beak.

When you enter my home, you will have no doubt,
What a serious bird enthusiast is about.
Calendars and figurines showcasing these gifts of nature,
Each distinguished by a special feature.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011



      As one can see from some of my posts and pictures on this Blog Janine and I were serious bird enthusiasts over the years.  Well, I have shared this fact with so many persons that it is now well-known. At Writing.Com they had a Power Reviewer's Challenge for us to write a  dialogue or poem based on a picture of 3 birds. Now you know who could not miss that! Me, of course!  You can therefore imagine how thrilled I was to receive the Power Challenge Winner Award for this small poem that I wrote rather quickly:


We are like birds of a feather,
When Power Reviewers flock together.
Eyeing many a poem, article and short story,
As writers eagerly seek their moment of glory.

Accolades and advice are deeply yearned,
It is the time for a lot to be learned.
Our monthly raids are so much fun,
That is when many reviews are done.
      Over the years Janine and I have written about birds for local and foreign publications. I can picture this smile on her face right now if she was here with me today.

Monday, July 4, 2011




I look in the mirror and what do I see?
You who looked so much like me.
After your death it made me feel so blue
At times I did not know what to do.

Many a day I was afraid to even speak,
It sounded like your voice and made me weak.
Now as I ponder and wonder for awhile,
Thank God I can manage to smile your smile.

This has been the deepest valley of my life,
But I will fight on when low moments are rife.
For sure I will never forget that what I see,
Is that you, my twin, lives on through me.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Marvin Sapp-Not the time, not the place with lyrics on screen

I love inspirational songs and just had to share this one!  I like the positive message! Never give up!  I am glad that I did not!

Saturday, July 2, 2011



       I have often heard the saying "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning to dance in the rain" by Vivian Greene. In recent times it has definitely become one of my favourite quotations. I just got the great news that I was the Top Member for June on Savvy 24 Seven, a Social Network for Professionals. In an earlier article on this Blog titled 'THE LIGHT THAT SHONE IN THE DARK' I related how I revived my writing career after Janine died, thanks to the book 'TWIN LOSS' by the late Dr. Raymond William Brandt.  I know that Janine would be so happy if she was here today with me. We used to write all our articles together and I never thought I would ever be able to write again after being devastated by her death.  

      These days I write a lot about my experiences being twins and becoming twinless and it is as if Janine is here helping me along the way. It has also proven to be therapeutic.

     Savvy 24 Seven is a Social Network for Professionals.  Members can write articles on their Blogs, participate in forums, discussions and  post videos and events.
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