When It’s Time to Trade UP

CHARLOTTE (11:35pm) – Television news is a demanding, stressful, rewarding line of work.  Little did I know when I started in Spokane, Washington straight out of college – just how far this career would take me, how much it would teach me, and how much I would fall in love with the people who make this business so rewarding.

But in the process of climbing this ladder, I’ve made trade-offs.  This wonderful career, this ambition of mine has cost me.  I missed my daughter’s school plays, and her high school prom.  I wasn’t there when my son lost his first tooth, or when he got his first hit in baseball and forgot to run to first base.  I’ve depended on my husband to carry more than his fair share of the childrearing and household duties.

So tonight, I’m trading up.  Trading in this very good thing – this career I’ve enjoyed so much, and have been so blessed by – and trading up for something even better.  I’m looking forward to a more focused, more manageable life.

In the short-term, that means I’ll pour my creative energies like never before into helping my husband’s business succeed.  He is an artistic genius whose work as a wedding photographer has been held back only by his loving support of my career and my ambitions.  I’m so proud of him, so thankful for him, and so look forward to stepping back to allow him to focus fully on his life’s work.

LyonPictures Photography

Beyond that, I’m looking forward to a new adventure.  I’ll stay in Charlotte because I love this city and its people.  I’ll continue to work with my amazing church, and with the non-profits I love.  I’m entertaining a couple of job offers now – but in this moment, I’m taking a breath.  I’m giving thanks.  I’m looking forward to cooking healthy meals, playing Legos, and tucking my boys into bed at night.

So for one last time, “thank you for watching WBTV.  And thank you for making us your first choice for news at 11:00.  Good night.”

46 Comments on “When It’s Time to Trade UP

  1. Wow Tonia. What can I say? You have been amazing on WBTV and will be sad to see you go. I admire you for making this change and dedicating yourself to your family. It says a lot about you as a person and your personality. I follow you on twitter @BlogLuvr29 and look forward to hearing about your future and the blessings that you have in store for your family and future job. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Jason – I still can’t believe it’s been 10 years. What a blessing.
      A part of me is very sad to leave, but so thankful you’ve allowed me into your home each night!

  2. so happy for you
    and know god
    has amazing things planned for
    you in this new chapter of your life!

  3. Tonia,

    Working with you has been a gift. The two-plus years we’ve spent together at WBTV have been the most challenging and most rewarding of my career.

    I am thankful for the things you have taught me. I am thankful for your spirit and the countless walks in the parking lot where you dispensed your wisdom with the care and affection of a big sister.

    I cannot imagine doing the 5:30 News each day without your sunny attitude. Your chemistry with Jamie was infectious. You immediately made me feel part of a team.

    I know whatever challenge you take on you will succeed. I am excited for your future with Sean and your boys. Ten years from now you will look back and I know you won’t be filled with a single regret. You only get one chance to be a great mom. You’ve been a wonderful anchor, an inspiring mentor, and a challenging teammate.

    Thank you for all that you’ve taught me. It won’t be the same without you.

    Much love,

    • So I guess then it was okay I called you at 1:00am to break the news?
      I love you too, Josh. I’m proud of you, I believe in you. I’m thankful for your friendship.
      You are the best at what you do and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to work with you.
      Friends, Josh Roberts is the stellar producer of the 5:30pm newscast at WBTV…
      His vision and creativity and passion are the reason why it’s been steadily moving up in the ratings since he arrived in Charlotte.

  4. When I saw you on 77 in your minivan on your way to work, I said, ” I don’t know how she does it and manage to have a huge smile for anyone who needs it.”
    I guess that the time has come for you to take a break. You earned it, so enjoy it.
    You are awesome and I will miss you at 11 pm. Take care !

  5. There isn’t a better reason in the world to leave a job than your family. You are an inspiration to us all. Does your husband just do weddings? We are always looking for a good photographer! Have a great time with Legos! 🙂 God Bless

    • Thank you, Kelly – the truth is, you’ve all been an inspiration to ME. My favorite part of TV News was all the wonderful people who blessed me by sharing their stories with me. I’ll miss YOU. And yes – Sean does photograph families and events as well. Ask for the “LyonPictures Leap of Faith” discount in the first 30 days of my retirement! 🙂

  6. Tonia-

    I’m reading this with tears in my eyes. You have made such a bold decision, one I know the Lord will bless abundantly. It has been my privilege to get to know you since the early days of Elevation and look forward to seeing how God is going to use you and Sean in this next season of your life! The best is yet to come!


  7. I was privilaged enough to meet you several years ago at Badin Lake when you did a story on East Side K9 Search and Recovery. The dogs were one of my Captains. I am the Chief of a local VFD here. Over the years, I have met numerous media folks in various roles, including several weeks after Katrina.
    I have never met anyone that I remember as much as you. Your personality, attitude, style, and interaction are second to none. Thank You for telling our story that day. Thank You for letting Christ shine through each day.
    You will be missed as a regular guest in our home, but not even so much a guest, but a family member.
    God Bless you, love in Christ.

    • Andy, thank you so much. That means so much to me. I definitely remember you, too. It’s such an important reminder, isn’t it – that every human interaction has the potential to leave a permanent impression. And I can’t thank you enough for trusting me to bring you the news each night. It was an honor.

  8. Tonia, congratulations of a wonderful, but probably, a very difficult decision! I know a lot of us are concerned about lifestyles of families today, the direction of this nation with regard to faith and belief in God, and general overall moral decline. One person at a time will make the difference. Sounds like you are off on a wonderful new direction in your life. Best wishes.

  9. Sister . . . I am SO proud of you. I will miss seeing your beautiful face on the news, but at least I get to see you at church! Your faithfulness and obedience to Him will bear fruits with no regrets, and blessings beyond comprehension!
    Oh, the joy of being there for your children and supporting your husband to flouish. I am so excited for you!
    Keep your light shining . . . this is your Sun Stand Still!!! The best truly is yet to come!

  10. I’ve lived in Charlotte all my life and back in the day news anchors never changed. Bob Inman, Doug Mays, CJ Underwood to name.

    The market is in such a state of change its hard to see where the future is taking broadcast news. I don’t blame you for jumping ship, the hours are long and the pay while not bad doesn’t make up for what you leave behind.

    The world is changing so fast, the days news seldom reassuring but just so you know you made a difference.

  11. Tonia,
    You know much Anna & I love you and Sean and the kids. You should also know what a great blessing you’ve been to all us news viewers. But more importantly, what makes you truly amazing is your kind and honest soul.
    You and Sean made my time in Charlotte just that… soulful. TV is fine and all but fairly useless without deep friendships. I miss Sunday nights. But only because it was you guys.
    If you haven’t noticed, people are drawn to you. And boy did I need your loving encouragement. I liked Sean so much I bought a $2000.00 road bike just to spend time with him. And I hate road biking!
    I’ll quit babbling here. Just know how proud I am of you and how much you mean to so many of us you touch in person. TV was a job. You’re so much more than that pretty lady with a gift for news. Your gifts in friendship and family will last for generations in your kids and my kids and so many others.
    What you’re doing takes humility and courage. More than most people can muster.
    Congratulations! You made it!
    All our love,
    Mike & Anna

    • You know how much we love you, too. Thank you for walking this road with us. Your love and advice has been invaluable. And that’s all I can say without crying. 🙂

  12. You will be missed! As one of the best anchors in local television, anywhere, I always looked forward to your newscasts. When you were out and someone else was filling in, it just wasn’t the same without you next to Paul. While this is a loss to Charlotte television, congratulations and good luck to you on your journey.

  13. Thanks for everything you’ve done for the Charlotte community over the years. You we’re a HUGE part of the fund raisers for Cole Jackson years ago and Ava Shifflett this past year and countless others. We will never forget you and hope to see you around town. Thank you!!!

  14. I admire your decision. I am part of a very time demanding and patience demanding profession right now as well. One that I worked hard to get in to, and one that not many people get to be a part of. I am working towards “trading up” very soon also. Very hard decision, but knowing that others are doing it helps give me courage. Tired of missing the best things in life because I have the “best” job in life. Best of luck to you.

    • Dear Jason – thank you for your kind words – It’s such an important decision for me – and I really want you to know that any glory in my decision should go to the one who pushed me to do it. This is really all about prioritizing my life based on what I’ve come to know about what God wants for me, for my family, and for my life. He wants the best for you, too. His best, not the world’s best.

    • Thank you, Terri! You know how important it is to put first things, first. You’ve been a great example to me…
      Following your passion, walking in faith – YOU are a gifted, classy woman and I’m thankful for your friendship.

  15. I also admire your decision, you devotion to your faith, and your devotion to your family.

    Enjoy this new chapter in your life!

  16. Tonia,
    Trading up is such an inspiring statement. You’ve achieved such success as a television journalist and are so incredibly talented! You have a beauitful family and the times I’ve been around your sweet boys, I’ve always been so impressed by them – that’s great parenting! The strive for balance and the ability to make what you value most a priority is difficult. Its a struggle for most and I admire you so much for taking the leap. Even greater joy is yours and I’m so happy for this new adventure for you and your family. I will greatly miss you as part of my evening news, but know we will keep in touch. Many many many continued blessings for you!

  17. Hi, Tonia!
    I was out of town for a few days and spent part of yesterday reading the newspapers that had accumulated in my absence. I was surprised to read the story about your leaving WBTV and, although I will miss working with you on this year’s Thanksgiving parade, I am very excited for you.
    It was such a pleasure to share Thanksgiving morning with you the past few years–your enthusiasm for the parade and its importance to the community were truly appreciated. Thank you so much.
    I wish you all the best as you embark on a new journey. I know you will have many exciting and wonderful experiences and I hope our paths meet along the way.
    Warm regards,
    Linda Healy Vespa

    • Hi Linda! Thank you so much for your kind words. I’ll miss you, too – I too will miss the Thanksgiving Day parade with you…
      It’s been such a tradition for my family!!! And I can’t speak highly enough about how organized and wonderful the whole event is.
      Blessings to you as you take this year’s event to a whole new level!

  18. Tonia,
    I’m Hayley and Hannah Parker’s mom (from Elevation) and I don’t know you very well but what I do know is that you’re making one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in your life. I am so proud of you and your decision to trade up. God will honor your sacrifices and he will bless you beyond what you could ever imagine. Your boys are only small once and I am so excited that you’re going to be there for them. Thank you and Sean for all you do for us at Elevation.

    • Thank you SO much – Sean was just telling me how much he loves your family – thank you for your kind words and YOUR example of living a Godly life and raising such beautiful, kind children!!!

  19. Tonia,

    My wife, Karen, my son, Landon, and I were at the Lego store in Concord Mills on Saturday. I told my wife that I thought this lady I had just seen was one of the anchors on WBTV, but for the life of me I could not pull up a name. When we got home, I went to the WBTV website only to learn that you were no longer with the station. (Somehow I had missed that information). Further searching led me to your blog. I commend you for your choice. I am sure it was a difficult decision to make, but I’m sure you have found it to be the right one. I am also glad to learn of your faith in Christ. May the Lord bless you as you and your family begin this new chapter in life.

    • Thank you so much, James – lots of fun in the Lego store – our favorite place. Thank you for your encouragement – I hope to see you again there, soon!

  20. Tonia,
    I just know you will never regret the decision to spend more time with your family and invest yourself in the Kingdom and in the lives of those you love. I am so proud of you!!! I will lift you up as the Lord brings you to mind and I hope to have the opportunity to get to know you better soon.
    All for Him All the Time,

  21. Oh Tonia – How you are already missed! I did not hear that you left WBTV – thought you were on vacation. Then I started hearing hints on the news and I finally searched for you and found this.

    You are such a class act!! And you will never regret the time you now have for your family. I will be following your blog to see what you are up to. While it’s a loss for us, it’s a blessing for you. Be VERY happy.

    Cathy Perkins – Hickory, NC

  22. The news biz seems to be getting tougher and tougher these days. Your grace to handle it throughout your career was easily seen and is missed. I’ve been wanting to reach out when I heard but I’m off Facebook so had no idea where to find you. Nothing like go through a few blogs to find you. I’ve been attending Elevation since the first Sun Stand Still message and love it! I think of you each time I attend. Good luck in the next steps. God’s plans are perfect! –arden

  23. Speaking as someone who was there at the beginning of your television career – in fact I think I even shot your first stand up (remember covering the fire at the adult “toy” store on Wellesley?) – I must say I’ve enjoyed seeing you go on to great things both in and out of television. I was around when you had your first child and later when you finally found that one man who was your perfect match and through it all I always knew you were one of the special ones that would really make an impact in this world. I couldn’t be more excited for you as you once again transition into a new role because I know no matter what the next phase will be you will attack it with zeal and make it your own. My only regret is that we live so far apart and don’t get to see each other – you guys alway have a place to visit if you ever get to Portland. Much love and happy thoughts to you, Sean and the kids!!!

    • Thank you, Curt! I appreciate you so much – and I DO so remember all those moments…
      From that crazy SOB fire in Spokane, to your presence at my daughter’s birth.
      Sean’s daughter and much of our family remain in Oregon – and we look forward to taking you up on your kind offer… or at the very least – coffee and dessert at your place! Thank you my dear friend for staying in touch – and for all your kind words and wishes.

  24. I will miss you being on WBTV News, but I am proud of you for making your family your first priority and I support your decision 100%. I will continue to follow your success. You may be out of the news business but not forgotten. May God bless and keep you safe. In Christian Love, Bill

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