Thoughts on Thanksgiving 2010

Hey y’all-

Haven’t dropped a line on here in awhile, but I’m feeling a little froggy. I thought I’d reflect on Thanksgiving a bit.

First thought:

A year ago, some friends and I were throwing a party this week in Banciao, Taiwan. We wanted to get together with some college kids we knew and tell them about the American holiday – Thanksgiving. As we told them about being thankful and our American traditions, it was very natural for us to tell them about our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Here’s a shot from that great night:

Truthfully, country music, Starbucks, and flip-flops (three things I am thankful for on a regular basis) are great, but true thankfulness comes when one realizes the gift given by God in his Son, Jesus Christ. And, once you see and receive the gift given by God to free you from your sin, pain, darkness, and hopelessness, then it is very easy and joyous to be thankful in all circumstances. I call this conversion and so does most of Christian history.

So, I am thankful….for Jesus and his love for me that enables me to be cleansed of all unrighteousness and made whole in the eyes of the Father. Can you say you are thankful for that type of love, freedom, joy, peace, and righteousness? If not, message me and let’s talk. This is too important to pass over…..

Second thought:

The holidays make me a little lonely. I see all the adverts on the telly (kinda Brit, right there) and think, “Man, I’d like a hot tamale to snuggle with in front of the fire.” Then, I go hang out with married friends and see the stress and hear the arguments and I think, “Man, I’m glad I’m single.”

Having said that…if anyone has any connections to a hot tamale with low self-esteem and even lower standards, let me know. She doesn’t have to be perfect, but close would be nice….

Third thought:

My Mom makes a mean sweet-tater casserole. It may be wrong to look too forward to a dish, but I look forward to that every year. I missed it last year when I was overseas, so I’m doing a double helping this year. Mom, hook a brother up!

Final thought:

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope and pray that 2010 has been a good year for you. I pray that your family and friends are well. I hope you have peace with God through a relationship with Jesus. I would love to see all my family and friends in eternity…I’m selfish like that.


Livin’ the dream,

Uncle Jeff


Thanksgiving has come and gone…

Hey y’all-

Thanksgiving has come, wreaked its havoc on my waistline, and gone in a swirl of indigestion and vows to “never do that again…” Some reflections:

1. Being away from the family was a little tough on ‘ol Uncle Jeff. My Mom, Dad, sister, brother-in-law, Grandma, niece, nephews, aunt, uncle, cousins, etc. all got together in Crossville, Tennessee for some good eats and good times. Dad usually cleans out the garage, sets up a long table or two, cranks up a kerosene heater to knock off the chill, and we eat out there. More space for more comfort.

After dinner, my folks gathered with my Aunt Janice, Uncle Charlie, and cousin Shayne (and other family members) to sit around, drink coffee, eat dessert, and tell stories. I miss that. That is one of my favorite memories from Thanksgiving. We just hang….I loved it. I look forward to doing it again.

2. Being in Taipei, Taiwan was an acceptable substitute for being home. Why? We have a ton of mission personnel over here and we all got together and had a big Thanksgiving meal. It was basically just like a potluck back home. Only with sweet-tater casserole. Thank you, Jesus! (I am not being flip…I am really thankful for that among other things.)

3. Our Thanksgiving party on Friday night with our college friends in Taiwan was a blast. I loved seeing them have dressing and green bean casserole and pumpkin pie for the first time. Note: they think the pumpkin pie is too sweet. Taiwanese don’t eat desserts as sweet as we do. Just a quick note in case you ever invite Taiwanese friends over for Thanksgiving.


A bunch of Taiwanese Pilgrims and Indians


Me, Example, and Eunice

Me, Example, and Eunice

Me, Joyce, and Rain

4. Black Friday means nothing in Taiwan. They don’t really celebrate Christmas, so they don’t shop the day after Thanksgiving. Oh, they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving either for obvious reasons….

5. I am glad I was here and I’ll be glad to head home.


Uncle Jeff

I am thankful for…

Hey y’all-

It’s Thanksgiving in the United States, so I thought I would post a few things I am thankful for. Hope you can relate…

1. I am thankful for Jesus. (This is an obvious one.) He is my Lord, my Savior, my Friend, my Brother, my Redeemer, my Intercessor, and He wants to be all of those things for you. (Ask me about it. I would love to tell you the truth about Jesus. And, how you can have a personal relationship with Him.)

2. I am thankful for godly men in my life. Here are two:

Wade Hampton Gayhart

This is my Grandpa. He is my Dad’s dad. He loved the Lord.  He loved me. He loved me enough to tell me about Jesus. And, he loved me enough to tell me when I was in rebellion against God and God’s desire for my life. He was a master cornbread maker. He was a fisherman. A public speaker. A good husband. A good father. A good provider. He loved to play golf. He loved to laugh. He was fun. He was serious when he needed to be. If I could be half the man he was, I might turn out okay.

Melvin Leroy Parton aka "Doe Pop"

This is my Mom’s Dad, my Papaw. This picture represents him pretty well. When he wasn’t running the roads of East Tennessee, he could be found in that chair reading. Favorites? The Bible and the newspaper. I’m guessing the paper on the end table is sitting on top of his Bible. My Mamaw gave me that Bible when my Papaw died. I treasure it. He was a godly man who loved his Lord and his family. He, too, told me about Jesus. He loved me. He was a storyteller. He could eat….a lot. He loved black coffee. He loved people. I can still hear him singing as we rode around Knoxville….”Take that ribbon from your hair……shake it loose and let it fall….” Man, he had good taste in music.

Again, if I could turn out to be half the man my Papaw was, I might be okay.

3. I am thankful for the promise that I will see my Papaw, Mamaw, Grandpa, and all of my family members who trusted in and followed Jesus someday in heaven. We will live together for eternity. What hope we Christians have! Hope built on a promise given by the Living God. That is awesome.

4. I am thankful for the rest of my family. They love me. They support me. They correct me when I need it. They even try to help me when I don’t need it. (Like helping me find a wife.)

5. I am thankful for my new friends in Taiwan and my old friends in the United States (and other parts of the world). God has blessed me with many great people in my life. They are not all followers of Jesus, but I pray that they will be. Why? I love them and I want the best for them for all eternity. Not just temporary happiness in this life. Eternal joy. It’s guaranteed, trust Jesus!

6. I am thankful for too many things to mention but here’s a silly list: coffee, chocolate, friends, guitars, country music, Jeeps, leather jackets, boots, books, Skype, apple pie, old country churches, fall leaves, snow, the beach, rain, sunshine, mountains, surfing, basketball, french vanilla coffee creamer, soccer, cornbread, and many, many other things……

Be thankful!


Uncle Jeff





Fall in Trimble County


Hey y’all-

I thought I would post a quick note on Thanksgiving. Our friends in Taiwan hear about Thanksgiving, but they don’t really understand what we are celebrating. Also, people in the United States hear of Thanksgiving and do not really understand what we are celebrating. Let me tell you a bit about it…

Thanksgiving came about as a holiday to remember the debt of gratitude owed by the first American settlers (the Pilgrims) to the native Americans for their help in surviving in a new and harsh land. The Pilgrims were trying to escape religious persecution and came to the New Land to worship as they saw fit. They weren’t really into religious freedom for everyone, but that idea did come later….much later….

Nonetheless, when they landed in America, the living condition were rough. People died. Starvation. Wild animals. Disease. Cold. All kinds of hardships. The Indians (this is a term of endearment in my book, so fret not PC police) befriended the Pilgrims after a time and taught them necessary survival skills. They learned to farm, fish, hunt, and live in the new land.

The Pilgrims decided to celebrate and thank God for their survival. They invited their new friends the Indians to the party. Thanksgiving was born….the year was 1621.

Today, in America, Thanksgiving is the start of the Christmas shopping season. It is an excuse to take a day or two off from work, eat a lot of food, hang-out with family, and overindulge. Thanksgiving is far from its original intention in the American landscape. What to do?

Take it back. Be thankful to God. Praise Him for all He is. Praise Him for all you are. Praise Him for all you have. Praise Him. Worship Him. Be thankful to the One who made you, loves you, and offers you salvation through His Son, Jesus.

The ultimate act of thankfulness? Accepting the free offer of salvation made by God through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. Be thankful….for eternity.


Uncle Jeff