Ms. Ella-ism #5 “Baby, nothing from nothing leaves nothing”: Falling in love with RVA

I’m sure you’re wondering how in the world are my title and subtitle for this week’s blog related, well I’ll tell ya. One morning while on my way home from work, I spotted a Grid Magazine with articles on fun things to do in RVA. For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym RVA, it stands for Richmond Va.

The magazine caught my eye because it was first colorful and second the words “PLAY HARD” followed by “CELEBRATING FUN IN RVA” were in bold type across the front. Curiosity got the best of me and practically spilling my breakfast on the floor, I grabbed a magazine. Okay, here’s where a little Savannah J history and candor would come into play.

Although I’ve lived in the RVA-Metro area for over thirty years now, I’ve never really put down roots, if you will. I’ve not found RVA to be fun and often struggle to find interesting things to do. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think RVA is one of the most beautiful Southern cities by far; I love the rich architecture, diversity of the different neighborhoods. But fun? Well, that’s a stretch for me.

So, getting back to the magazine. As I looked through the Grid, I saw smiling faces of adults as well as children all engaged in some sort of enjoyable activity. There were pictures of several areas of the city that were breath-taking, and I felt as though I’d been missing out on a lot. I wondered why I wasn’t out having fun. It was at this point, my mother’s voice came to me.

My mother had a few aphorisms that spoke volumes to many situations. In this case, I thought of her saying used in my title, “Nothing from nothing leaves nothing.” I remember asking her once what it meant. She turned to me and said, “Baby, when you subtract nothing from nothing what do you get?” Of course, I replied, “nothing.” “Right,” she said. Mom went on to explain, “When you put nothing into a relationship or situation, you get nothing out of it.” Here in lies my problem.

I realized, after all this time, I’d put very little into my relationship with RVA. How could I expect to find the city fun if I didn’t seek out opportunities to have fun on a regular basis. And so, I made a decision to challenge myself for the full thirty days of September to find and do one fun thing I haven’t done before in the RVA-Metro area. This includes the days I work as well and since I work night shift, those days may be a challenge.

During the thirty days of September, I will post a daily blog of my adventures, and I hope you will follow me as I’m “Falling in love with RVA. Please feel free to comment or post a recommendation; I’m open to suggestions.

Daybreak by Michael


Savannah J, she adds a little sass in every page.  Follow Savannah on Twitter @savana74

The photograph of the sunrise over the James River was taken by J. Michael Shearn of Javan Shearn Photography. For more information on Javan Shearn you may Google him or email him at

Ms. Ella-ism #4 “Baby, you can’t get blood from a turnip.”







“Baby, you can’t get blood from a turnip,” is a funny little saying, if you didn’t understand what my mother was alluding to. Actually, the meaning of quite a few of her aphorisms were hidden unless you either knew her or she explained.  In this particular instance, she was referring to a person’s integrity. How does “blood from a turnip” relate to integrity you might ask, well I’m happy you did. Allow me to explain.

We all know people (or in the past may have been the sort of person) who consistently makes promises or commitments, they don’t keep. They tell you they will attend your event, purchase whatever you’re marketing, refer you to a colleague for a job or simply return a phone call, yet this individual doesn’t follow through.

In my younger years, I repeatedly tolerated this behavior from so called friends and even acquaintances.  I’ve been stood-up at shows, dinner, and movies. I’ve lost money after preparing hors d’ oeuvres for gatherings which no one attended, and sat by the phone, if you will, awaiting a call that never came.  I could go on but I’m sure you get my drift. Of course, when I’d had enough, I sought my mother’s wisdom.

I would go to Mom sometimes in tears over this situation complaining about the treatment I received. My mother would quietly say, “Baby, you can’t get blood from a turnip.” She would then encourage me to align myself with “better” friends. She would go on to explain, some people are consistently unreliable. They will promise the moon, knowing all along they have no intention of fulfilling their word. Some mean well when they commit but lack the where-with-all to follow through. Anyway you slice it, what Mom was describing, was a lack of integrity.

People of integrity are people of their word. They usually have high moral standards and old fashioned ethics. They say what they mean, and mean what they say. If they commit to something and cannot follow up, you will receive a phone call or these days a text message alerting to the change in plans. This behavior is not only what my mother was trying to teach me about others, but instill in me as well.

How often are we invited to an event of some sort and decide not to attend, yet fail to alert the host or hostess never taking into account the preparation put into the function. I once had a older gentleman invite me to his yearly cookout. When I accepted, he looked at me and said, “Now, don’t tell me you’re coming if you’re not, because it will cost me.” I had never had anyone say that to me, but it only took one time; from then on, my word was my truth.

I’ve since grown in many ways from the days of my mother’s turnip lessons. I no longer give people second, third and forth chances to stand me up. When I find they lack integrity in the beginning, I nip the situation in the bud. I’ve found when we align ourselves with persons of integrity, our personal as well as business relationships flourish. Not only do our relationships flourish, but it encourages us to become better people as well.

The next time you find yourself dealing with someone who disappoints time and again, remember what my mother said, “Baby, you can’t get blood from a turnip.” And then, move on.

Savannah J, she puts a little sass in every page. Follow Savannah on Twitter @savana74


With Wings as Eagles


I have a fascination with Eagles. I’ve studied them, watched movies and videos about them and used Biblical reference to them to encourage myself. In my prayer life, the Spirit of God has spoken to me through visions of Eagles. One such vision stands out in my memory. I saw an Eagle on the ground with cords around her wings. She was in a barnyard with a flock of chickens. Instead of using her wings to fly, she floundered around on the ground never really taking flight.

The Spirit of the Lord spoke to me and said, “Why  are you flopping around on the ground like a chicken? Take the cords off your wings and soar like the Eagle you were created to be.”  I didn’t really understand what God meant at that time but as I’ve grown older it’s become increasingly clear. 

Eagles have the fortitude to fly alone; they don’t fly in flocks or coveys or bevies.  They are the only birds to use storm winds and thermals to propel themselves to higher altitudes. No other bird can fly as high as Eagles or as long. The female Eagle doesn’t mate with the first male to come along, instead she tests him by dropping sticks that increase in weight from heights that also increase with each pass.

Unlike Vultures or Crows, Eagles do not eat dead animals and once they set their sites on a particular prey, they don’t lose focus until the mission is accomplished. There is much more on the Eagle I could post, but I think you get my point. 

As I look back over my life, a few things now make sense. I’ve been somewhat of a loner from time to time, not by choice but by Divine intervention. God could not speak to me with other voices clamoring for my attention. In order to hear Him and have me do His will, He had to isolate me on occasion. I, on the other hand, had to be strong enough to endure soaring alone. If you recall, each time God spoke to a prophet of old, he took them apart from others. Even Jesus separated Himself from the disciples in order to commune with the Father.

Once I made the decision to accept God’s will for my life, I studied Eagles further. I wanted to know which Eagle was the largest and strongest. In my research, I found the Harpy Eagle. It lives in the South America and can have a wing span of  seven feet. I figured, as the young people say, I was going to go hard or go home; going home was not an option.

I would like to challenge you to take a look at your life and ask yourself if you, too, have been called to “mount up with wings as Eagles.” Not everyone is called to everything. If all birds were Sparrows, we’d have no Robins. If all were Blue jays, where would the beautiful and fascinating Humming Birds be (which by the way are the only birds with the ability to fly backwards)?

I believe there is much we can learn from the  Eagle. When the storms of life come, use the winds to rise above it. If you find yourself flying alone, don’t be afraid, instead remind yourself you have the fortitude to soar apart from others. When the crowd is going one way, know it’s not necessary to join the flock or bevy or covey, if your heart says otherwise.

It takes guts and tenacity to fly alone but it’s only in solitude one can truly learn themselves and God. So, when you look about you and only see you, close your eyes, take a deep breath and “mount up with wings as Eagles.” And if you’re going to be an Eagle, be a Harpy.

“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 ESV

Savannah J, she adds a little bit of sass in every page. Follow Savannah J on Twitter @savana74

Pushing through the Birth Canal

In my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to see many births. Each time I see one, it’s as if I’m witnessing this miracle for the first time. As you may know there are two types of births, natural or vaginal and Cesarean section (C-section).

One day I  started thinking about these two types of births from a spiritual perspective. When a baby is born by natural birth as they move through the birth canal they receive an extra squeeze. This squeeze serves an important purpose in helping the baby breathe once it enters the world. Prior to birth, babies float in amniotic fluid while in their mother’s womb. The amniotic fluid assists in the development of some of the baby’s organ’s including the lungs.

While in the womb, babies breathe just like they will after birth but they breathe in amniotic fluid. Once they deliver, they amniotic fluid is replaced by air. It’s very important the amniotic fluid is removed from the lungs in order for proper oxygenation to take place; this is where the squeeze from the birth canal comes in. The squeeze assists in removing the amniotic fluid from the lungs so the baby can breathe properly.

If you’ve ever witnessed a birth, you know it’s a effort for the baby to push through the birth canal. The mother works to push her baby out and the baby works to enter the world. A baby born by C-section doesn’t get this extra squeeze and the doctors and nurses must help the baby by suctioning as much of the fluid from the baby’s nose and mouth as possible.

Now, you may be wondering how I tied this push through the birth canal into our spiritual journey. Well, when we are growing spiritually every now and again, we experience situations that cause us discomfort. These trials, if you will, are like pushing through the birth canal. They are difficult, can be distressing and down right vexatious. But they are necessary to propel us the the next level.

Things which would prevent us from soaring are squeezed from our spirits so room is made for the blessings waiting to overtake us. God, in His infinite wisdom allows us to push through the spiritual birth canal to bring us closer to Him. He chooses not to rescue us in order to facilitate divine birth from glory to glory.

The next time you find yourself going through a perplexing situation, remember you are just pushing through the birth canal. Although it may be grievous and uncompromising,  it’s a necessary part of your birth to the next level. Hang on and hang in there, knowing that when you push through the birth canal, as Job said you shall be as pure gold.

“But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.” Job 23:10 NLT


Savannah J, providing a place of tranquility away from the stress of life. 


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Savannah is the author of The Prey now available in eBook on Kindle and on Google Play Books

Also look for Raising Tristan on Google Play Books and on Kindle


The Torch Has Been Passed…

Olympic TorchIn the circle of life, we should all have a successor, someone to carry the torch forward if you will, when it’s our time to rest. Our job is to guide as well as train a young person (or persons) to carry on not just our legacy, but that of our ancestors as well.

It’s no secret, I feel I’m blessed to come from a great family and as I looked about yesterday during a family gathering at all the young people, I realized, it’s our turn. Our turn to lead, guide and train so that when as, President Kennedy said “The torch has been passed to new generation…” they will be prepared.

My mother, the late Ella Brooks Roane Jackson as well as my god-mother, the late C. Gwendolyn Colvin were two women who greatly impacted my life. They loved, guided, trained and mentored me to carry their torches forward, but they were not the only ones. There were others, male and female, family, friends and teachers who helped shape my life.

Now, it is my turn to give back and to help prepare our next generation of torch bearers; to pour into the lives of  my family and community. So, I ask you, who are you readying to step up and lift the banner high when “The Torch Has Been Passed to a New Generation…”

Savannah J, she adds a little sass in every page. Follow Savannah on Twitter @savana74

If you like to laugh, you will enjoy my friend, Sir Charles at

For inspiration checkout Author G D Grace 

Good day! “The Power of Positive Thinking”

Hot air balloon

Good day! I really mean it, this is a good day! Okay, how many times have you heard someone declare gloom and doom over themselves before the Rooster has a chance to crow. They’re greeted with smile and a hearty good morning to which they reply, what’s so good about it.

What many fail to realize is our words have power. Once released, they accomplish exactly what they’re sent to do. The results may not occur spontaneously or the following day but believe you me, the impact is inevitable.

I’ve learned to be careful what I allow to leave my mouth. I profess health, success and happiness over myself, even when circumstances deem otherwise. One night at work I had a particularly rough assignment. When I went into our lounge for a glass of water, the comment was made by two co-workers how tough my night appeared to be going. One even expressed sympathy for me; my response was silence.  After a few seconds, they realized I wasn’t feeding into the negativity and asked me if I was okay with the way things were happening. I replied, “I have a good helper and besides, this is just one day out of my entire life.” In response to my answer one added, “I should have your attitude.”

Learning to practice positive thinking is as simple as changing our outlook on life, the difficult piece in the beginning, is practicing this on a daily basis. We must retrain our thought process and then stand firm in the face of the negativity the world brings. Sometimes this means aligning ourselves with new friends, turning off the television or watching new shows. It can even bring a change in music for us. For me it’s been worth it.

I believe good health and longevity of life are all tied into our attitude. I intend to spend my years here on earth living life to the fullest. The only way I can accomplish that, is by having a great perspective and greeting each morning by telling myself, this is a good day. Now, I’m not saying all my days are wonderful and I don’t sometimes feel sorry for myself, because I do. During those times, I allow myself a few minutes of feeling down and then I pick myself up by the bootstraps, dust myself off and remind myself of all the goodness life has to bring.

My challenge to you, if you don’t already do so is to rise up each morning and declare, yup, today is a good day! I guarantee, no matter what life throws at you, if you start your day off  with positive thinking and affirmations, anything is possible.


Savannah J, providing a place of tranquility away from the stress of life. 

Follow Savannah on Twitter: @savana74

If you like to laugh, you will enjoy my friend, Sir Charles

For inspiration check out author G D Grace