Greetings and Happy New Year to all of you, my relatives. I’m looking forward to this year of challenges and the enormous potential for positive change. And as I sit here on New Year’s Eve, drinking champagne, and overlooking the Pacific, I’m thinking about where I am and what I want to be doing, and this is my resolve: I want to come from a loving place everyday and love where I am, what I do, and the people who fill my life with joy (even those I don’t see).

Last week I read this story in my local paper about Pauline Ehrlich, a 95-year-old widow who has kept a 70-year love affair alive with Christmas cards. Born and raised in Czechoslovakia, at 19 she fell in love with Ferry Marks. It was horse and buggy rides, swimming in the woods, and holding hands in movies, because as Pauline said, “that’s all you did in those days.” But in spirit, she said, the relationship had gone far past the handholding stage; this love was the real thing.

It was a love affair torn apart by war; the Nazis came — she was Jewish and escaped with her family to America. Ferry stayed behind and fought with the Czech army in World War II. Three years after their farewell, each married and led different lives.

They never telephoned or exchange lengthy letters, but since 1939 they did write each other a short note at Christmas. Pauline has kept most of those cards. They were simple — they’d each speak of the changes that occurred over the past year — but the most important part to Pauline was the words at the end. Ferry always ended with, “I always think back to when we were tied together…and I will always be tied to you.” Pauline says, “It’s one of my best presents as long as I live.”

The story of these Christmas lovers captures the spirit of my New Year’s message . . . love passionately and endlessly.