Goosebumps rise on my cold arms, though I’m covered with a cozy green flannel shirt, a sweater, and a blanket draped over my shoulders. The sky is dingy gray, one giant cloud with a slight hint of blue popping out in the distance, providing hope that maybe spring is making its way to us. Sleet drizzles from the sky, building up icy patches on the dry brown winter grass that crunch under my feet as I make my way out to my studio across the yard. Upon arrival my hot cup of coffee is barely warm, but the cranked-up heat inside is welcoming.

Sadly, there are people in this world who are not having a cozy morning. This week I communicated with Vera Kavera, who is a pastel artist living in Ukraine. I had reached out to see if she was OK, and though she was, she was clearly frightened. She told me the first morning she awoke to the sounds of bombs.

No human, no child, none of us should ever have to experience that kind of fright.

As you know, I avoid political topics because everyone has an opinion. But today, I can’t write this little note without acknowledging what is on all of our minds.

Also this past week, I reached out to my dear friend artist Nicholai Dubovik, simply saying that I know there is a possibility our two countries could be in conflict, and if communication is cut off, I wanted them to know they are loved. He replied that he too loved us.

War is always awful, even though it may be justified by some, but it takes on a new face when you have friends whose lives are being impacted. I know a few other artists in Ukraine, and my heart breaks for them.

The feeling of helplessness overcomes me. I asked Vera how I could help, because I was lost, and she simply asked that we keep her in our prayers. One of my employees suggested that maybe we should suggest people buy her video, because she will be needing more money. But I felt that would appear opportunistic. But if that works for you, I’m sure she would love your support.

Throughout history, small voices, individual voices, have had a big impact, either because they are the relentless squeaky wheel, or because they organize and gather others for protests or to contact their representatives. I can’t tell you what to do. You have to follow your heart.

When I learned about prayer, I was told to use names, and to be specific about the outcome you are asking for. I try not to look at God as Santa Claus or a “genie in a bottle” for my own gain.

But I do call on God when I have needs for others, or for myself.

Years ago, my accountant called me and said, “Eric, we cannot meet payroll next week. I’ve called everyone who owes us money, and no one is sending anything this week.” So I asked the exact amount, and I got on my knees in my office and I asked God to provide that exact amount. The following day Marty called from one of the big networks and asked if he could prepay next year’s advertising so he could get it on the books for the current year. I told him yes, and when the check arrived, it was the EXACT amount, to the penny. That convinced me of the power of prayer and being specific.

I’m praying for my friends over there, and I’m praying for a swift end to this insanity. You may not believe what I believe, so I don’t want to try to force that on you. But if you would, consider closing your eyes and asking your God to intercede and end this.

Eric Rhoads