Danielle Bernock Shares Different Sort of Love Story in Her Book: “Emerging With Wings”

by Anne Holmes on February 16, 2015

A high-flying welcome to author Danielle Bernock, who joined NABBW recently. Danielle is the author of “Emerging with Wings,” a thought-provoking book in which she uses her one personal experiences to examine the “mega concepts” of good and evil, of truth, lies, pain and the healing power of love.

Danielle Bernock wastes no time pointing out that even our most minor day-to-day decisions can change and even transform our lives. While her topics are “deep,” readers will be delighted to realize that there’s no need to have majored in philosophy or even studied the great philosophers like Soren Kierkegaard or John Locke to understand her thesis.

In her book, Danielle shares many of her most intimate and vulnerable life moments as she examines the major concepts of validation, personal freedom and love in simple, down-to-earth language.  Though she never mentions psychologist Abraham Maslowe’s Hierarchy of Needs model, which posits that humans are motivated to reach our full capabilities once our basic human needs are met, (a huge discussion in college psychology 101 classes), Bernock’s story mirrors this model. And since Maslowe points out that we all want to be loved, protected and accepted, we’re clear that she has offered us a book – and a journey – that is sure to speak to everyone.

One final point: As we publish this “Voices” post, it is February 16th, Danielle’s 35th wedding anniversary. So as we raise a glass to toast Danielle and her life’s journey of love and empowerment, we also thank her for the time she gave to answering our favorite questions. Please keep reading to learn more about what motivates her…and then find out where you can buy a copy of her book!

Using one paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself?

danielle bernockI was born and raised in Michigan but recently my husband and I lived in Arizona for a few years. It was life-changing.

We returned to Michigan in 2011. Since being back so much of my life has changed. One thing is I realized how much I love to paint so I have my own small painting company now.

When sharing my life with people I kept being told I should write a book. People especially loved my road trip story.

Knowing my childhood was painful, I began counseling to help me write about it without hurting myself. Now I am also a new indie author with my first book “Emerging With Wings: A True Story of Lies, Pain, And The LOVE that Heals,” self-published with my own imprint (4F Media).

I am a different person now due to my journey while writing.

  • I laughed.Bernock Wings Book
  • I cried.
  • I discovered.
  • I learned.
  • I am stronger.
  • And I am still learning more.
  • I love to learn like never before.
  • I love questions now – they are tools to explore new places.
Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.

My living family is small. I have just one brother left from my birth family.

I have a wonderful husband and we have been married since 1980. We have two married children (a girl and a boy). So far we have three grandchildren (two boys and a girl). They call me “Mima.” I adore them and they know it!

My husband’s mother became widowed and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s soon after our return to Michigan. I took the lead on her care and subsequent transitioning into assisted living. My husband and  I oversee all her needs. He has two sisters that help as they are able, but one is out of state which makes it more difficult.

What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?

I can remember sing/songy “calling” my neighbor out to play and sitting on the porch playing paper dolls.

What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?

A desire for more which translates into growth, change and improvement. Also a stubbornness or perhaps rebellion that has transformed into a refusal to give up no matter what life throws at me or how many times I fail or fall down. I have not always been but I have become more like the little kid in the room with the pile of manure looking for the pony, instead of the one crying on the floor.

These qualities have changed our world. Being a younger boomer I can see many before me have blazed this trail.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by beauty, colors, shapes and sounds – the artistry of nature. I am inspired by wonder, the universe and stars, fingerprints and snowflakes – the enormousness yet intricately detailed artistry of creation. I am inspired by gracious acts of love & kindness. I am inspired by mercy. I am inspired by music that carries the emotions to a place of love, healing or worship. I am inspired by stories of overcoming, not giving up, making a difference and helping others. I am inspired by the unconditional love of “The Pursuer” I discovered in my book.

What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?

First and foremost would be my grandchildren. They are growing up vastly different than I, and it is such an enormous pleasure to be a part of that. Secondly would be what I call the “new me” which enables me to enjoy life so much more now than I ever did before.

Do you have any interesting hobbies?

Playing with my grandchildren would probably qualify because I do it as often as I can just for fun. Whether it is playing safari, Legos, cars, house, tag, climbing trees or whatnot — I love it!

I love to swing on swings. I also love walking – it doesn’t matter if it is just around where I live, on a nature trail or hiking a mountain. I enjoy doing puzzles in the winter. I have also been known to mow someone else’s lawn just for fun! Another favorite is riding horses although I don’t have the opportunity as often as I’d like. I hope to give yoga, geocaching and kayaking a try.

Princess BrideDo you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.

WestleyThe Princess Bride was the first movie I ever watched over again, way back when they had video stores. I have seen it so many times now that I can almost quote it when watching it. It is funny and romantic. And Westley is definitely eye candy.

Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?

Mainly I travel with my husband, or when he is out of town for work I travel by myself to visit him. We’ve been to a number of places in North and Central America together. There are more places I’d like to see that are further away. I also like a good road trip with a friend.

Do you practice preventive medicine? Please elaborate.

I had eating disorders many years ago and needed to learn how to eat. I had various health issues as well which have lead me to do a variety of things to be well.

I have an exercise routine I do first thing every morning to wake up, stretch and strengthen my upper body and back. I started it many years ago and have added things as I find them useful. It isn’t elaborate or really very strenuous and it isn’t uncommon for me to do part of it with my eyes closed and in the dark before I am totally awake. I also love going for walks as well as hiking whenever I can.

A number of years back I started taking a daily probiotic © for a healthy digestive system. Around that time, I also started eating an apple a day. This year I added a B complex (stress formula) vitamin.

I have received acute Chiropractic care numerous times over the years and it has always been a very positive thing. Because of this I see a Chiropractor about once a month or so to keep my body healthy.

Our diet is generally on the healthier side (fresh or frozen vegetables, chicken, good cuts of beef but not too often, whole grain etc.) but we do splurge from time to time which I think is important for the soul.

And speaking of the soul I also have words I feed my mind every day by speaking them out loud. Some people call them affirmations, some call them confessions. Some are from the Bible and some are not. For me, it is a way to set my mind and attitude in the direction I want to go. I also have what I call “quiet time” every day that is faith based.

What do you stress about?

Stress is a part of life and it would be easy for me to stress about everything, especially my family. It is not healthy to allow stress to drive me so I look for ways to meet or overcome the pressure. I have had panic attacks and that is very unpleasant as well as not helpful. So I want stress to be a noun instead of a verb in my life. In the last couple years I have learned about a thing called “rest” that is connected with my faith and that is what I endeavor to do on the inside when anxiety arises. I love the Serenity Prayer.

Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?

I have kidded that I have a Peter Pan mentality and although it is tempting I do not believe I have any plans for aggressive actions. I use a regenerating face lotion everyday but that is probably it, other than doing what I can to be healthy.

Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?

I am in the process of this right now. Writing my book has helped me with embracing the changes. In it I come to the place where I say “I feel like I have gotten wings although I am still learning how to use them. And that’s OK, because forever starts today…” (Emerging With Wings)

Do you plan to retire?

I feel perhaps I am just getting started. I was primarily a stay at home mom for most of my children’s lives. After they graduated, I worked part time until we moved to Arizona, where I got my 1st taste of what a career type job was and I loved it. Moving back to Michigan, I had planned to jump right back into the career world, but that is not how life unfolded.

Instead, my reinvention began with caring for my mother-in-law, starting my own LLC, becoming an author, getting a DBA to self-publish and on it goes.

So as I said, I feel I’m just getting started and only plan to continue to grow in embracing life more fully every day.

Are you doing anything to GO Green?

We recently purchased a new home and I am thrilled that we will now be able to recycle.

Can you pinpoint major turning points in your life that led to your life’s work/play at midlife?

One big one was my road trip to California when I was 18 (detailed in my book). Another was when my husband and I moved across the country to Arizona where we did not know a soul. And finally writing my book brought about enlightenment and change in me.

Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?

I have one that got temporarily hijacked that I am addressing and I will continue to have more. I believe it is good to always have dreams and visions to keep your life moving forward.

How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community, your world?

I do what I can. We have partnered with certain ministries and organizations to accomplish common goals. The goals include: working to help eliminate hunger, rescue from human trafficking, provide clean drinking water, helping the poor in multiple ways (food, shelter, medicine, education etc.), disaster relief, helping/rescuing abused children and women, helping the homeless, preach/share the love of Jesus, and more.

I have gone on working mission trips to Guatemala and Mexico to help children. I’d like to do that some more.

I give blood. I love to encourage people and started a group on a private social media website. I also look for ways to do good things every day and make a private note of it. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It could be as simple as picking up litter in a parking lot or opening a door for someone. This is simply an exercise for me to have my mind set on helping others. I wrote, published and promote my book “Emerging With Wings” because I have learned that my story can help others.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?

Most likely that would be my husband. He was the 1st person to show me unconditional love. He chose me – the good, the bad and the ugly. I wrote an entire chapter about him in my book.

If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.

I want to be a representation of the love and grace I have come to know in the person I call “The Pursuer” in my book. Everyone matters – I want my life to show that.

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