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.
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.
I applaud the choices that led you here. Thank you for your vision, integrity and the quality work that you do. Looking forward to where your journey takes you and all of us.
Karen, thank you for the kind words. You are now officially part of this journey 🙂 My hope along the way is to inspire others to live authentically and ‘fear free’ – not always easy and there are always pitfalls along the way but the payoff is usually worth it! J
Julia you story is truly an inspiration. August of last year I left everything and everyone (besides my husband) in Houston, TX to accept a job offer in Chico as the new CFO of Community Action Agency of Butte County, Inc. It has truly been a step of faith. I love Chico and feel it was the best decision. I still don’t know anyone other than my coworkers but look forward to meeting people like you.
Crystal – Thanks so much for reaching out and looking forward to chatting! So glad you found me here online and that my words and story have been inspirational!
Living in Eastern Shasta County surrounded by several mountains in the Fall River Valley, I get everything you are saying!
Having been born & raised in Torrance CA, worded at Torrance PD, clerical & Jailor, Redondo Beach as a Pier Patrol Office, and lastly at Hawthorne PD as a Patrol Traffic Investigator. The company that my husband worked for, Armco Steel, I was closing the facility. I said you know what I can go anywhere and work. So I started looking for department in California because at that time the school system was better than pretty much anywhere on the West Coast, so I applied for several agencies and was hired at Shasta County sheriffs office. My husband had been a police reserve officer for Redondo Beach PD, so he was hired right away with the sheriffs office as a deputy. I got our two kids 10 and 8 in school And acclimated to living in a small town of Burney! What a change!
A little over a year later I was hired as a first female Deputy at the Burney Substation. However there were three or four trailblazers that had come on in the late 1980s but worked out of the Redding office. I was eventually promoted to detective agent working for the DOJ/BNE drug task force known as Shasta
Interagency Drug Task Force (SINTF). What an awesome job being under cover.
Eventually I return to the Patrol Division in Burney. And thinking it out it was the best thing going to the task force because it was the spring after the Burney Deputy, Kenneth Perrigo was shot and killed. As you know law-enforcement is a brotherhood and that was devastating. So SINTF definitely took my mind off of it. Those several years on the task force allowed me to go back to the Burney substation with sadness gone and able to focus better.
23 years in law-enforcement certainly please havoc on the body and the mind, but most of my body. A daily 12 hour shift occurring at 12 to 15 pound gun belt around your waist doesn’t help once back. All the wrestling and tumbling and falling and chasing bad guys etc. added to it.
Like you, this is the area I want to live. I’ve been here since 1984. However my husband wants to get out of California but it’s so hard to leave the mountains that surround me in the fall River Valley to my Northwest is Mount Shasta a mile to my west is soldier mountain, 10 miles to my east is big valley mountain, to the south west is Bernie Mountain, and lastly, to my East is Mt. Lassen… all of which I can see from my 7 acres. Oh yes I must say, I’m surrounded by he fields and wild rice fields, my son and family are farmers of wild rice. It’s called Fall River wild rice sold in our local stores, however once the rice get shipped to the valley it is then sold to Trader Joe’s under their brand name.
I don’t fear fires, I’m close to the Fall River, Less than a mile yet this property is not in a floodplain.
I’ve had quite a ride, after retiring I went to work The following day at both the high schools in our area teaching an Administration of Justice class and later worked in the Career Center until I retired. I took two years off from that and last year began working clerical, seasonal for May to December with USDA Forest Service. At 67, I’m beginning to slow down so this will probably be my last year of working.
Like I said it’s been a ride I divorced my sweetheart that I fell in love in my teens, married after high school. We were married 20 years but both of us working shiftwork and different days off they all devil got between us we’re both strong Christians but we Didn’t lean on our faith, we took the easy way out. I was divorced 11 years and I married again. I will be married 20 years tomorrow. I have five beautiful grandkids all successful, my kids are all intact with their marriages & secure. We we blessed That the kids were never in any trouble I guess things were different that many years ago you could spank your kids and with mine said I’ll call the police I said you don’t have to I am the police and I’ll call them first, LOL. so I’m a blessed mom and grandma and I think the Lord for that.
With all that being said I love Shasta county I love where I live I hate the crime that’s starting to develop mostly in the Reading and Anderson areas at this time but even little small town Bernie starting to have their problems. My husband wants to move to Arizona because we Snowbird there in the winter I’m not sure about that I don’t like the heat anymore spent too much time on the Colorado river as a little girl with my parents and even after I was an adult they move down there for 20 years and then moved up next to me to be in the cool as they reach their 70s and 80s.
Thanks for letting me ramble on this was meant to thank you for being you. I miss, so much you are reporting, you had so much professionalism! Now I know why because you grew up in the big city.
My husband asked me yesterday why don’t we see Julia anymore and Saturday I sit down and researched it and found that you had left I must’ve missed that addition of your goodbye. I hope to see you again somewhere on TV or the radio or in public speaking. Bye sweet lady
Hello J, and thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful message! PLEASE accept my deepest apologies for such a long delay in reply – MY BAD!!
You have a tremendous story so I can tell you understand the concept of “trust the process” and sometimes you have to make a sharp left turn even when others around you believe you should turn right. And wow – a full career in law enforcement – KUDOS to you! Don’t give up on our state – California is amazing. Yes, it’s expensive but SO many wonderful things about the Golden State – I am thrilled to have finally returned ‘home.’ I’m not with you and your husband early AM on the news – but still in the area and have been working on launching a new storytelling platform. Check it out: http://www.keepingitrealcaregiving.com I’ll be sharing more about that on this site in a post soon. And BTW – LOVE the rice farming in the family – you must have incredible wading birds enjoying your acreage in the season – beautiful!! Finally, didn’t grow up in the big city – I’m from Fairfield, (Travis, AFB) right down the road. It was small and cozy in the 80’s – so really, I’m back home in NorCal after adventuring the country and globe. Thanks again for your wonderful message. Be safe and hope the fires aren’t too bad near you!!! J
Julia will your restless heart ever find peace and a place to settle in with someone that loves you unconditionally and you do likewise?
Thanks for visiting the site! Whatever gave you the idea I am not happily settled within this kooky life journey? You have to admit – trading the traffic, congestion and insanity of South Florida for the tranquility of small-town NorCal doesn’t sound bad, right?? Where else can you look out your front window and watch Wild Turkey and deer and know all your neighbors and not sit in traffic for hours at a time to go miles? 🙂 Be safe and thanks again for being along on the journey!!
Thank you for your reply. I meant a life partner or and husband.