Trust the Process. That’s what I tell myself. For those who want to make changes in their lives but are fearful of the outcomes, I will share this with you: Be bold and trust that your decisions will lead you in the right direction!

Four years ago, almost to the day – April 4, 2016, I arrived back in my home state of California, in Chico, California to start my next professional and personal chapter. I didn’t know a soul, but for the husband and wife realtor team who worked with me.

I had visited the community only ONCE before deciding on a home — almost 100% site-unseen, thanks to virtual images, etc. (I know, crazy, eh??)

Today, April 5, 2020, I look back over the past four years and it’s almost unbelievable how things have unfolded.

As I watch (and report) on daily events involving the Coronavirus, I am so thankful I chose to change course and relocate to a more rural community outside a large city center. Yes, there are MANY things I miss about the thriving social, cultural and economic landscape of South Florida but…

Three months into getting settled in Chico, the decision was made to add a backyard chicken flock to the life experiences. And what a joy it has been! Four years in, I’m now into the second grouping of birds, which supply 7-8 eggs daily. Always food and a source of such joy to watch them and interact. A few months after that, a small fruit orchard went in. Three seasons later… those trees are producing plenty of great food.

Rooster Boy Finds a Home

Who knew, that four short years later, all of us would be watching as store shelves emptied out of eggs and hatcheries are reporting upticks in sales, as people clamor to purchase chickens? Living ahead of the curve, is what I call this.

Julia & Girly-Girl

Leaving the comforts of being a well-recognized news anchor in South Florida and everything that afforded me was a bit unsettling. But, I hit the ground running here in Chico. Several months in, I met those who directed my local Chamber of Commerce. It is the business community that keeps communities churning. Again, we are seeing just how vital local business is to the fabric of our economy.

I networked to meet several professors on the campus of Chico State University. Our education center is crucial to developing new talent and crafting future leaders.

As the primary caregiver for my elderly mother, I had to meet a hosts of doctors and secure services for mom’s care. Who knew that in three years time, those connections would be a life-blessing as I have had to transition my mother into facility care. But those personal connections have made the process a little less difficult. Still emotionally painful, but I cannot imagine having to navigate all of that in a huge, sprawling city, where people are nothing short of just a number or a dollar amount on a receipt.

About six months into this new journey, I took the initiative to introduce myself to the City Manager and the Police Chief. My time working with the City of Miami Beach as ‘Media Ambassador’ showed me how important it is for citizens to be involved with local municipal operations. It is even more important in a small community. After all, it’s our tax dollars at work — we should take an interest in the civic dealings of where we live.

Those personal introductions evolved into a position offer from the Chico Police Chief; just one day after our initial meeting. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect situation; especially as a newcomer to a community! And I am forever thankful to Chief Michael O’Brien (soon to retire and I wish him well on the next chapter) for that opportunity to work with a solid team of law enforcement professionals.

When I stepped away from the news anchor desk in a primary role with WTVJ in 2009, most people thought I had lost my mind or there was some ‘behind-the-scenes’ drama taking place. There was not. Because really, who would give up a choice and sought-after position like that for no visible reason??? So yeah, knowing what I know now about the industry, the pay scales, the expectations of level of input vs. income… I guess it was pretty crazy of me. Still, if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Stepping off the cliff into the unknown led me to the hugely popular road-trip, blog and ‘oh-so-close’ reality-show of Highway to a Husband, and the chance to travel our country coast-to-coast meeting incredible people and telling amazing stories.

That journey led me to wonderful entrepreneurs crafting life-saving work from Montana to Nairobi, Kenya and hence, a production project which sent me to Africa.

Then, the next journey evolved; a second production project to Africa; Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania for a major global cooperation.

Once again, that experience opened the door to have more flexibility, and confidence, to choose my next career step. That turned out to be the Miami Beach Communications team. What an experience to build governmental messaging reality-shows from concept, to production, to air! And… to win awards for the work produced.

Then one day it happened. I felt the winds of change blowing. You see, my work office was exactly 6.4 miles from my high-rise apartment building, which sat right along the gorgeous Miami waterfront. But that night, traffic was SOOO bad, it took me almost an hour and a half to get home. That was my breaking point. I knew, I had to ‘trust the process’ and despite my wonderful position, and amazing co-workers and beautiful scenery, that life was too short to watch it slip by sitting in traffic.

And so began the process of deciding what would come next? Where? How? When?

One of my favorite sayings is Trust the Process. And while it is sometimes hard to do, especially as we all move through this coronavirus crisis… we must. I say that, because despite setbacks, things have a way of working out. Always.

When I left my high-profile news anchor position, many probably thought, ‘That’s it. She’s finished. She’ll never work in news again. She’s getting older. Her career is over…’ , etc.

To those who want to make changes in your life but are fearful of the outcomes, I share this:

When you are good at what you do…when you have worked with integrity, fairness, dependability and kindness, when you live in an authentic space, things work out.

As I reflect on the past four years, I am now completing two years as the Morning Anchor for Action News Now, here in Chico. I’m pretty sure most of my colleagues weren’t even born when I started in the biz.

Did I ever think I would return to the news biz and in such a small market? No. But it turns out… doors have funny ways of opening. While at the Chico Police Department, I suggested to the Chief we create a series of PSA’s for safety messaging. During the concept development and production of said PSA’s… the station general manager sensed I knew quite a bit about TV. A few phone calls and cross reference of my career background and a return to the news business was put into place. Who would have thought?

The crazy thing about it all? My years of experience in major markets… Miami and Los Angeles, has given me the tools to now help my younger colleagues learn and grow, as they chart their career futures. Because I chose to move to this community long before the news position materialized, my stake in covering stories and informing the public is different; it’s more personal. Because if this community doesn’t do well…I don’t do well. Now more than ever, I have to ‘trust the process.’

Having covered major disasters; hurricanes, fires, the Olympics, twice… crime of all sorts, environmental, feature and yes, even entertainment… I can say with confidence, I’m good at what I do.

So, as I mark my four year anniversary of this chapter, I would like to say THANK YOU to the Chico community for welcoming me and trusting me to come into your homes each morning. I don’t know what comes next; none of us do. But if I am to believe the Trust the Process I tell others, then when I look at what is happening across the country due to the coronavirus…I have to believe every choice I have made has led me to this moment… of rural living, of preparedness, of being able to call my local emergency first responders and decision-makers personal friends and believing that we will all get through this together – apart. TRUST THE PROCESS.