Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape

Remain Flexible

As you can tell, we are so new to blogging and are trying to learn-- but our time for tutorials is limited. So, thanks for visiting and we ask that you stay flexible with us on our Gumby Blog. As we age, it seems to become easier to remain rigid but we want to always be open to learning, change and things of the heart. We pray that we can always be faithfully flexible:-)


Wrapping it up with flexibility

That’s all folks!  It’s time to wrap it up.  Way back in the fall of 2009, we began our journey, not at all sure where it was going to take us.  It is not often that we can start a journey without knowing clearly the destination.  We knew we were headed to Rexburg, ID, then to San Diego and back to Rexburg but that was as far as our vision allowed us to see.  What we couldn’t visualize was how the Lord was and is always in charge and so He took us to Salt Lake City and Provo, UT as church service missionaries and then to Macon/Dublin/Robins AFB and soon back to our home in Kansas.  We are thrilled with our journey because we tried our best to allow the Lord to take the lead and it turns out that He is the Master travel agent:-)  We completed our mission here in Georgia on July 7th, a few months earlier than we had thought but as always, the Lord takes trials and turns them for good.  We will actually stay here in Dublin until October spending time with family here on the East coast.  Roland’s shoulder situation was thoroughly examined and for right now, the steroid shots and aggressive physical therapy are holding off what we thought would be immediate surgery.  It is still up ahead but just not now.  The doctor in Florida was honestly transparent in his assessment and we felt blessed that he suggested that the surgery wait until later so that we would be satisfied with the outcome.  We both agree that he will be the one to do the surgery and so we expect a return trip to Tampa eventually. As always, when a mission comes to completion, there are mixed feelings about whether or not we did enough and how very much we will miss the glorious opportunity to labor in this great work full time.  One of the unexpected bonuses of serving full time is the amazing association with the young missionaries.  And yes, even though they just keep getting and looking younger, they are spiritually mature beyond their ages.  Our lives have been enriched by their commitment, courage, faith and desire to make changes in their own lives and to invite others to come unto Christ. One of our last experience with these young missionaries came as a result of about 50 of us gathering one weekend to create the first Georgia Macon Mission Choir.  Don’t laugh–they graciously included us and we learned so very much.  Our choir director was our very own Mission President, President  Cottle.  We knew that he loved music and had seen him lead us in informal gatherings in rousing renditions of certain hymns but we never knew how gifted he is in this area.  Wow, did we learn a ton and felt the power of worship through music.  On Saturday, we practiced for the first time and later that evening for the second time. On Sunday morning, we practiced for the 3rd time and then shortly thereafter, sang at our Stake Conference.  We were blessed to have angels accompany us as we worshipped through the words of these two beautiful hymns of praise. Hopefully these links will take you to listen to these beautiful hymns:

This Is The Christ-

Behold The Wounds In Jesus’ Hands –

We will never listen, sing or view hymns the same again.  Apparently, it was a powerful experience for the congregation as well. Our overall feeling for the past almost 6 years is incredible gratitude for our beloved Savior whose love for us has transformed us.  Our united prayer is that people who meet us will sense the transformation without us every making reference to His grace.  Roland has coined a phrase when people ask us “where is our home?, “his response is, home has nothing to do with geography, its a matter of the heart and family. Wherever they are, we are at home.”  And speaking of family- we will be forever blessed because of friends we would never have, were it not for our journey these past three missions. To each of you who have enriched our lives by your nonjudgmental  acceptance of us with all of our imperfections, we love you like family. In fact, you have become our new family for the eternities. What would heaven be were it not for family AND friends. Once we return to Kansas, we look forward to sampling a taste of retirement.  We don’t want or mean full retirement but we are excited about traveling, leisurely reading, temple work,dancing, furthering our education, family history research, exercising and eating with wisdom:-)  We also want to invite any of you who would like to come and stay with us while you see the beauties of the  Great Plains and tour some of the historical places within an hour’s drive of our home.  It would be such a treat for us!! Thank you for the many prayers that have been offered for us.  We love you and give thanks for how  your lives have uplifted ours.  We have no idea when and if we will blog again, but stay tuned–there’s a lot of life straight ahead, with some curves, valleys, turns and peaks.  We will travel them together:-)

Just a few pics from the Georgia Macon mission, “makin miracles”

Our favorite "tallest ever" Elder Jones with Elder Griffith

Our favorite “tallest ever” Elder Jones with Elder Griffith 

A fantastic district!

A fantastic district!

An amazing Zone leader, Elder Francina

An amazing Zone leader, Elder Francina

Love this companionship from  Warner Robins, Sister Wheelwright and Sister Madsen

Love this companionship from Warner Robins, Sister Wheelwright and Sister Madsen

Bishop Carlson was a recently called Bishop but he sure knew how to love his flock.

Bishop Carlson was a recently called Bishop but he sure knew how to love his flock.


Stake Conference with family, such a rare opportunity for us!!

In closing:  back in April of 1985, we had the privilege to hear from Elder Bruce R. McConkie at the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You may cut and paste this link if you  wish:

His powerful testimony now has a deeper and richer meaning to us because we have seen first hand the reality of the Savior’s Atonement.  We love Him.


Balancing with flexibility while clicking heels three times!

We have talked often about the fact that it has been a long time since we posted anything on our blog.  And that is where it stopped–we talked, thought, knew we should write something but nope, the buck stopped there.  And of course, at this point, it almost seems insurmountable to try to recap everything that has happened since our last blog.  So, the good news is–we won’t try to recap:-) And the bad news is that we started this blog at the end of April and now it is almost June:-(

We will explain the title of this entry however.   Several years ago, we gained insight into a New Testament scripture that has impacted our lives.  It is found in Luke 2:52  And Jesus aincreased in bwisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.  We recognize Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and He is the perfect example in all things.  In this verse, we believe that He shows us the way to achieve balance in our living.  The verse alludes to 4 areas of our lives:  wisdom-mental, stature-physical, God-spiritual and man-social.  While serving as a full time Military relations senior couple, we actually have the time, opportunity and privilege to work on all of these areas.  And we suggest that there be flexibility built in to our progress towards balance.  One thing becomes clear very quickly and that is when a health crisis or a financial crisis occurs, balance becomes almost non existent. Our sweet young daughter just underwent emergency back surgery at the early age of 30 and her recovery has been painful;  physically and emotionally.  We have seen the Lord’s hand manifest once again as we have been blessed to be here locally and offer up support and relief.  That is where the flexibility comes into play and we are thankful that we are gaining Gumby like stretchability:-)  Part of the balancing act comes from finding peace and rest in all the areas so that when a crisis occurs, we are firmly stabilized in our foundation, (who is Jesus Christ and His teachings and doctrines).  We have been using a financial tool that has helped us take charge of our finances instead of us being slaves to our money.  Wow, that has been liberating and exciting as we have seen results in a few short months.  We have also been using a fitness app that has helped us eat smarter and exercise  on a regular basis.  Between the two of us, we have lost weight and gained improvement in our fitness. We have felt an increase in our strength, energy and stamina which allows us to be used as an extension of our beloved Savior’s hands.

We slogged (slow jogged) a 5 k  in March with some of these great young missionaries and came in 2nd place for each of our age group:-)





There is a tendency as a blogger or poster in social media to share only the positive things.  As we have re-read this, we realize that we make no mention of some of the health challenges that have arisen in the past few months.  Some of you know that I jokingly refer to Roland as my very own bionic man.  Although he carries no medical letters behind his name, he does refer to himself as PP or professional patient.  Even with the very best of medical care and talented surgeons, it seems that our bodies truly are miracles and gifts from God and no one can duplicate the Master Physician:-) And so, due to some needed further shoulder repair, we will be ending our mission efforts here earlier than we thought.  We will be released late June, early July but stay in Georgia so that once the surgery is completed in Florida, we can rehab and recuperate here with a local supportive network of follow up and physical therapy.  Even though we do not have ruby red slippers, we have also made a surprising decision to click our heels three times and reestablish our home in Kansas.  We still have hopes to serve yet another mission but cannot deny the feelings of focusing on family relationships–living and deceased.  Once we return to Kansas, we hope to travel  and  spend time in the exciting field of  family history research and journaling our lives.  In all of these plans, we know how important it is to maintain balance and still be flexible and open to what the Lord’s plan is for us.

Our support of the military families/individuals has slowed up during this time while we have supported our family here but we feel that the Lord understands our efforts for balance and that it is a living process that shifts from day to day, week to week, month to month.  We hosted our first dinner for single Air men and women and really appreciated the way in which the ward members came together in support of that.  We have connected with a few more families who currently need a listening ear and understanding heart and we are thankful for their trust.   

We are attaching a few random pictures that we have taken over the past few months and hope that you enjoy the diversity of our missionary lifestyle:-)


IMG_1174 IMG_1256 IMG_1261 IMG_1315 IMG_1397

the heart month–

We love February because we love LOVE 🙂  Although it’s a short month, it is full of wonderful reminders of what IS most important–LOVE.  We love being here in Georgia because everyone we meet seems to have mastered the gift of loving.  As some of you may have seen on the news or blogs, Georgia came out of a frozen state with amazing stories of knowing how to care for, sacrifice and render unconditional help, food, support, shelter, phone chargers, etc.  Truly reminded us of a current day example of the Good Samaritan.  And so, in our opinion, Georgia should be renamed from the Peach state to the Loving state.

Another reason we love February is because some years ago, we began to use February as the take care of yourself month as far as wellness checkups, etc.  It was in February 2009 that Roland was blessed with a second lease on life and began a 9 month recovery from a surgical anesthesia mistake.  So, for those of you who are in a similar season of life, why not use February as your month to take care of your heart, health, eyes, etc, etc.   It is truly amazing how our Father in Heaven has given us life and we feel a stewardship over the miraculous body that He created for each of us.

This year, we have a few more reasons for loving February.  We will welcome another little grandson into the family circle thanks to Roland and Alaina.  This will be boy #4 for them.  We will also start up our Resiliency classes (finally) on the 4 Thursdays of this month.  We are excited to get to know these families better and have hope that they will feel more loved, appreciated and supported.

Happy Love/Heart Month to all of you!!  We love you so very much.

a musing on discipline

There are plenty of opportunities to start again.  Certainly, the turning of the calendar to a new year is one of the most popular times and this year, we somehow were actually awake to give each other a sweet kiss to welcome in 2014.  We used to find that a new school year gave us a chance to start afresh.   We also discovered that every time we moved, it was like a new clean page of our journey. We also know that each Sabbath day, as we gloriously are given a chance to repent and move forward, we can turn away from things that bind us down and turn towards our beloved Savior.  His arms are always outreaching.   So, we embrace a new year and opportunities for change, improvement, progress and walking forward.

As we spent a good amount of time in our planning session at this new year, we found ourselves almost giddy with the feeling of liberation as we strategized our areas of discipline, such as  studying, exercising, budgeting, and eating.  We continue to stand amazed at the freedom that comes when we follow true and correct principles and even in our season of life, we still have so very much to learn, do and become.  Another delightful benefit to all of this is that we are arm in arm, linked together as we move towards being more disciplined in these areas.

A few weeks ago, we participated in a conference with some of our younger missionaries.  They are given leadership  opportunities to teach and mentor and what a blessing it is to hear and learn from them.  Here’s a photo of all of us at that meeting:   December Zone Conference

This week, we attended our first mission transfer meeting.  Don’t worry-neither one of us is being transferred:-)   We are eternal companions and love that we don’t have to worry about being transferred.  For those who may not know, a mission operates on a 6 week cycle because there are new missionaries that arrive and missionaries who have completed their mission who go home.  As the new ones arrive and the “old” ones return home, it becomes like a game of dominoes and so transfers may happen within a companionship.  This transfer involved about 60 percent of the entire mission.  It is a wonderful opportunity to gather, to renew relationships, to learn and to grow.  So, every 6 weeks within a mission is another new beginning.  It was so great to hear more from our Mission President, President Cottle.  We love him so much as he faithfully and prayerfully leads us in this mission.

We are excited that we soon will be providing Resiliency Training to some of the military families in the area.  We give thanks for the great people that we are quickly growing to love.  And we give thanks for our learning how to be flexible even with some creaking joints:-)  We send our love and gratitude to each of you and pray that your discipline in whatever area will bring you freedom, joy and peace.


All that a little babe brings to us!!

Rejoice— for unto us is born a little babe that changes our lives and all the world!

What a glorious time of year when so many pause to remember what this season is really all about.  Just last night, as we gathered with some of our family, we stood amongst thousands and thousands of lights, celebrating the life of Jesus Christ and His tender mercies and miracles.  One phrase that touched our hearts was  ” these lights represent prayers answered and miracles given”.  Just think how many prayers are answered that we may not know about and how many miracles are bestowed that may go unrecognized.  Our world is filled with light even when darkness seems to prevail thanks to the Light of the World, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.   We are blessed to be called as full time representatives of His to share His eternal Light.IMG_0840

We wish you each a wonderful time of gathering with those you love and cherish and that your gift of presence and time will be treasured and shared. IMG_0853
We will be gathering tomorrow with many of our family and shall value it because at this season of life, it is really hard to get everybody together at the same time in the same place:-)

This past week, we can literally say that we “had a blast”  or at least,  Sister Griffith did.  Since her kidney stones came to stay instead of coming to pass, she underwent a procedure that basically blasted them.  It was a little more complicated than we thought and took about 2 full days of recovery.  Not our preferred way of having a blast but we are grateful that it is behind us now.

Our home that we enjoyed so very much in Rexburg now belongs to another family,whom we pray will enjoy and love it like we did.  It was amazing how the sale of our home was all done long distance and the transaction was officially recorded on the 18th of December.  We felt strongly that the Lord took us to Rexburg for reasons we could not see until we were in the middle of them.  We also feel strongly that the Lord saw us as having completed His purposes there for us and thus, the successful sale of our home.  It has not gone unnoticed by us that we moved into our Rexburg home in December 2009 and about 6 weeks later, we left for our first full time mission.  This time, we leave for another full time mission and about 6 weeks later, our home sells and another family moves into it in December 2013.   No doubt that the Lord is always mindful of all of us and that He loves each and every one.  It doesn’t mean that life will always go the way we want it to but it does mean that He is always present with us along the way–in the days filled with bright rays and days clouded with heavy rains and fog and all the nondescript days in between.
We look ahead to a bright new year. We anticipate getting to know many more great families who are serving in the military here in this area and our hope is to lift up their hands and hearts if needed.IMG_0841Our hands and hearts are lifted as this is truly our first time to live close enough to family to enjoy day to day living.  It is amazing to watch and see how much of an impact a wee one can make in a crowd.  The other day, we were with Kyleigh, Bryan and Levi (3 months of cuteness) in the grocery store amongst many Christmas shoppers.  The smiles, comments, and warm gazes were countless as Levi and Nana moved together through the aisles.  We give thanks for all of our grandchildren, older and younger and are looking forward to our 11th grandchild joining us in February.  We love the Savior’s example of letting the little children come unto Him.
Wherever you are, we send our prayers and ask for Heaven’s blessings to be upon you and your dear ones.  May you all enjoy this wonderful season of Christ.  Our love and wishes for your Merry Christmas,
Roland and Cathy
Elder and Sister Griffith
Mom and Dad
Nana and PaPa and Oma and Opa

“and it came to pass”

It is hard to believe that we have been here already for 4 weeks and how very right and comfortable we feel! Well, maybe not always comfortable temperature wise!!  We have been hot, warm, cold, chilled to the bone and delighted all within a 24 hour period of time.  One thing is for sure, the climate is ever changing but the warm hospitality of the south remains constant.  We have met such great people and have fallen in love with them already.   While having lunch with one of our Bishops, we met a woman in a very unusual way.  She obviously had noticed our name tags and she called Sister Griffith over to her lunch booth, asking if we were located locally.  This very friendly woman shared that she had earned her master’s degree in Pocatello, ID and that is why she was curious about the name tag but the real thing that she wanted to share was that for Thanksgiving, she had prepared Mormon Funeral potatoes!!  Such a wonderful thing to be known for, wouldn’t you agree?!!

Time surely does pass quickly when  busily engaged in serving the Lord.  We give thanks for such a blessing and for us to be enjoying this season of our companionship together.  We enjoyed having part of our family gather for Thanksgiving.  We enjoyed a quick visit from Lori and Kyleigh, a 5 day visit with James and daily time with Kyleigh, Bryan and baby Levi who only live about 10 minutes away.  So, our time is passing with amazing speed all except two little things that made their appearance on November 22nd–2 kidney stones hit Cathy out of nowhere.  After a 5 hour visit in the Emergency Room, a CT scan and a blessing, we were told that those little kidney stones need to pass.  Well, so far they have come to stay:-(   Unless they come to pass before the 18th, those little guys will get blasted to smithereens in a minor procedure in Vidalia, GA.   Onions, anyone?? On the way back from Vidalia, we will stop in Claxton, Georgia and visit the factory of the famous Claxton Fruit Cake!   Fruitcake, anyone?

Our weeks have been wonderful thanks to the amazing people we are meeting.  This week, we met with an Air Force Chaplain who  shared with us his insight about knowing God and how that truly should be a personal relationship between Him and us.  We look forward to a Christlike brotherhood with this man of great faith.  We still marvel at how the Lord goes before our faces, paving the way for great relationships.  We are getting more familiar with the actual base and will be deciding on how our vounteer time will be spent. It is true that the fields are white!! IMG_0686 especially in Georgia:-)

No Toto– we are not in Kansas anymore or for that matter Idaho either!!

Lest you think there is no flexibility required since our last blog, let us assure you that we have plenty of chances to learn humility and how to submit ourselves to the Lord’s will.  Even though some days offer up challenges, we give thanks for the opportunity to learn better how to become a more careful disciple of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We are thrilled to be in His full time service, espcecially during this season when many pause to reflect upon His miraculous birth and life.  We are attending a Christmas parade today because some of the military folks from Robins AFB are in it and much to our delight, we also just found out that our daughter will be on the float from the VA hospital.  We hope that means we are guaranteed candy)

Our last post made mention of some blessings that have been poured upon our heads.  One specific one  is still coming to pass and that is the sell of our home in Rexburg.  As  much as we enjoyed that lovely home and neighbors, we felt right about putting it up for sale.  We felt the Lord brought us to Rexburg and we now feel like He is moving us on.  We are ever thankful for  a wonderful young family who fell in love with the house as much as we did.  The closing on the home will be in mid December and we are filled with gratitude.  And we are not worried about where and when the Lord will move us to because right now, we feel like we are just where He wants us.  And so from the heart of Georgia, we want to show off our language skills—- we send y’all our love!! Or better yet, send all y’all our love.

We are still on a steep learning curve when it comes to blogging, especially how to insert pictures, headers, sidebars, etc.  As you can tell, we haven’t got it figured out yet but stay tuned.  If we waited for everything to be perfect, we’d never get this posted so stay flexible with us as we continue to learn.  Thanks for your prayers, thoughts, remembrances and support!!

Getting Started (again)

Okay,we are new at blogging and this is our second attempt because the original draft is nowhere to be found.  Good thing we are calling this blog the Gumby blog! We chose the name of the blog because we heard the following quote:

“Blessed are the flexible because they will not be bent out of shape”  We immediately thought of the cute little Gumby of our childhood. If we could only get back some of our physical flexibility:-)

So, we finally got started and pulled out of Rexburg late Saturday, November 2nd after an amazing spiritual feast at the training center in Provo.  It took us weeks to clear, clean, store, give away and pack up our household and finally, we bid farewell to one of the most amazing communities we have ever lived in.  We love and appreciate our wonderful neighbors and dear friends that we made there.

Our getting started seemed to take forever!  Even when we knew that it was what the Lord approved of us doing, we still found obstacles, stumbling blocks and hard things along the way.  We believe that is all part of this journey’s learning process.  Even with this first blog, we really wanted to put up some great pics of our time at the MTC and our journey, but… will notice-there are no pictures.  That’s okay–we really just wanted to get started.  We promise pictures in the near future.

So, just to say that we got started and were on the road, we left our beautiful little home with a  For Sale sign in the yard and drove all of 2 miles down the road and crashed at our fav local hotel, SpringHill Suites.  At least we got started:-)  For the next 5 days, we piggy backed our way cross country–one in the pick up truck, the other in a fully loaded U Haul truck which was towing our little white Honda.  Needless to say, we had quite the adventure and practiced lots of flexibility!!

We arrived in our mission, the Macon Georgia mission on Thursday evening, November 8th, met President and Sister Cottle and then drove to Dublin where we greeted our sweet little Dublin Fam.  On Friday, we moved into our adorable two story apartment and it has taken us about a week to get everything organized and set up.  Elder Griffith was given the blessed opportunity to speak on Veteran’s Day at the VA hospital and that has opened up some doors within the community for us to serve within.  Someone even said that they think they have found the poster child in Elder  Griffith for Dublin’s focus of trying to draw military retirees to this cute little town;-)

We are thrilled to be serving full time once again and feel the blessings that are pouring forth.  More about those in our next blog.  We love our beloved Savior and are so thankful for His tender mercies towards all of us.  Let us all remember that getting started takes a lot of effort but it sure feels good once we take that first step, even when we have to start all over again.  His arms are always outstretched towards us as we start.