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Tina B Tessina

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· The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You’re Far Apart

· Money, Sex and Kids:

· It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction

· How To Be a Couple and Still Be Free

· The Real Thirteenth Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance and Independence Beyond the Twelve S

· The 10 Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make Before 40

· The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again

· The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make AFTER Forty

· Do You Understand Emotional Intelligence?

· Dear Dr. Romance: I have a family member with two failed marriages

· Dear Dr. Romance: Please help, our family is growing apart

· Dr. Romance asks: Are you addicted to your smart phone?

· Dear Dr. Romance: Should I give up on her?

· Dear Dr. Romance: What is being a therapist like?

· Dear Dr. Romance: I am a substance abuse counselor

· Turning Poison Into Medicine

· The Good Boss and the Bad Boss: Motivation and How to Create It

· Dear Dr. Romance: Will this guy turn out like my wicked stepfather?

· The Shape of Peace

· Inspiration

· Eternal Dance - Christmas 2005

· On Mitch and Jackie’s engagement

· On love

· Bitter lesson

· Redemption


· Storytellers

· Vessels

         More poetry...
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Books by Tina B Tessina
At holiday time, we turn to family -- even if we have none.

No matter what you observe: Ramadan, Kwaanza, Chanukah, Solstice or Christmas, this is a celebratory time of year, and most of us are thinking of family, whether they’re near or far.  My family is somehow both, since I lost all my aunts and uncles and my father before I was 18. 
They are all very near and dear to my heart, yet also gone.  At this time of year, I long for family, and so I’ve created several of my own.  There’s my husband, Richard, of course – he’s the center, closest to me every day.  Friend and partner, lover and helpmate – sharing life and love that deepens every day.
Then, there are the sisters and brothers of my heart.      

Maggie and I met in 1968, when I became her supervisor in a corporate  accounting department.  Three days after I arrived, she said to me “You are the weirdest person I have ever met.”  I responded “Thank you, Maggie” and we’ve been friends ever since.  We were “Best Woman” at each others’ weddings, I am godmother to her daughter, Amanda, now 18, who introduces me to everyone as “This is my Mom’s best friend.”  Maggie’s Jewish, yet we have celebrated a special family Christmas together for many years.

A toast to you, Maggie, for being my sister/friend, through all of life’s ups and downs. And to my chosen family, in (more or less)alphabetical order: Isadora Alman, Victoria Bryan and Carrie Williams, Sylvia and Glen Mc Williams, Bill and Joan Mueller, and  Rhoda and Riley K. Smith.
Then there’s my in-law family, including Mitch Tannen, Jackie Chin, Maria and Lee Ruiz.  All of you really know what friends are for, and I am surrounded by love, laughter and caring because of you.

There’s a spiritual family – Rev.  Mary Ellen Kilsby, Rev. Jane Stormont Galloway, Rev.  Denton Roberts and Rev Frank Halse, and many other people who share faith.

A publishing family – my dynamic agent, Laurie Harper, and many fellow writers, most of whom are members of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.  Over the more than 20 years I’ve been writing, I’ve made connections with writers, publishers, editors and PR  people like editor/writer Richard F.X. O’Connor who have become more than just business associates.

There’s even a neighborhood family.  On my little street, neighbors say “hello” and help each other out.  Beverly Terfloth has comforted me with tea and sympathy at the Vintage Tea Leaf, and Cindy Cyr and the staff provide warmth and a smile at The Coffee Cup, my other writer’s hangout.

“The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved”, wrote Victor Hugo. He knew there  are more kinds of love than romance and marriage.  No matter what is happening in your romantic life, the solid presence of good friends and family can lift your spirits, fill your days, and give you  the support you need for your romantic relationship.

“Friendship is a strategy for personal growth; it involves a commitment to endure with each other and to make our lives and the world better through keeping each other healthily human and effectively knowing,” wrote therapist John Hoff. “Relationships are our most precious resource.” 

“As creative children,” writes Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way, “we are each of us not only instruments but also a note, even a song.  When we open our hearts and sing to and with one another, we quite literally create harmony.”

Not only does it take a “village” (community) to raise a child, but in our  mobile and fast-paced society, a sense of community, family and connectedness helps us to function more effectively as adults in all phases of life. “We are creatures of community,” writes Dr. Dean Ornish in Love and Survival, “Those individuals, societies, and cultures who learned to take care of each other, to love each other, and to nurture relationships with each other during the past several hundred thousand years were more likely to survive than those who did not... In short, anything that promotes a sense of isolation often leads to illness and suffering.  Anything that promotes a sense of love and intimacy, connection and community is healing.”

You can create various networks (families) of friends to bring that harmony into your life. 
∙ Your chosen family – Warm friend provide a cushion and a shield in life’s difficult times — someone to talk to when you need support or advice, and to celebrate your triumphs with you.  It’s a great blessing to be surrounded by a trusted and trustworthy group of friends who make your life’s journeys with you, and know exactly how far you’ve come.
∙ Your neighborhood family -- Friendly neighbors make your neighborhood, your apartment building or condo complex, your block safer.  Their watchfulness will protect you against vandalism and other problems.  Know your neighbors and they will call 911 for you, or watch your children, take package deliveries, or feed your pets.
∙ Your family of origin – Family is the network we turn to first in times of need, and to share the good times, too.   If your family has drifted apart, try building a partial family network with those you like or who live close by, and soon other family members could be drawn closer.
∙ Your fun family. These people enjoy the things you like to do.   Families who want to do parent/child activities, or fellow single people who share your weekends and holidays. Or couples who join you for fun times.   Parents of similar-age children can share car-pooling, baby-sitting, information and support.

By creating family feelings in several areas of your life, you’ll have the joy of the give and take of friendship, anytime you want.  As you look back on your life, you are likely to feel best about the good things you did for others and the positive contributions you have made to your friends and family. Perhaps life will present you with an opportunity to give back to friends.  Being there in times of need, helping out in times of illness or bereavement, or just being a sympathetic listener when a friend is stressed can be more valuable to them than you imagine.  You’ll create blessings for yourself when you share your rituals, holidays, laughter and information. Welcome friends  who are alone into your family’s good times.  With these “chosen families” you can offer comfort in life’s difficult times, and be a willing participant in celebrating successes. Everything you give will come back to you multiplied.  In the spirit of peace and love, I wish you the joy of connection.  (adapted from The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty) © 2003 Tina B. Tessina

Web Site Tina B. Tessina, self-help author, therapist

Reader Reviews for "The Family of the Heart"

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Reviewed by Nicole Davis Vergara (Reader)
A very nice article and so timely for this holiday season!
Thank You
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
nice article, tina! enjoyed sorry you don't have any family of your own, but you DO have one here at the den, and let me be among the first to say merry christmas (or whatever you choose to celebrate; me, i've always celebrated christmas!)! happy holidays, too! (((HUGS))) and much love, your tx. friend, karen lynn. :D

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