Resources and Inspiration for Discovering Inner Joy
Issue #6 - 2003
Purpose Statement:
The purpose of the Joyful Times Ezine is to uplift the spirit through inspiration and information. To this end we will emphasize the positive and focus on the good that is taking place in this world.
Philosophy statement:
We can create joyful times in our personal world by directing our thoughts and feelings. Seeing or feeling the perfection we want in our lives and in the lives of others has been called the highest form of prayer. This can lift us into the "high joy vibration" and through the "law of attraction" joyful times will result. Our motto is "joy is an inside job."
Pegi Joy Jenkins Ph.D. - Founder of Joyful You - Joyful Child, Inc
Letter from the Editor:
     Welcome to the sixth issue of "Joyful Times Ezine"!  We are an extension of Joyful You - Joyful Child, Inc. (website at )  It is a nonprofit organization founded in 1990 by Pegi Joy Jenkins, Ph.D. 
     This issue's focus is  GIFTS and GIVING.
     The American tradition of gift-giving is a mixture of customs, traditions, celebrations and festivals from all over the world. It is not just something that takes place around the time of winter solstice, but in today's society more and more gift occasions seem to pop up, from your friend's dog's birthday to In-Laws Day.  Some occasions have a religious affiliation, and others are pagan in their origin. Some of the reasons to give are purely social, others are encouraged by various marketing campaigns, yet others have a celebratory meaning.  Many of the occasions for giving or exchanging gifts include special meals, and family, national or ethnic traditions.
     The ideal gift tells the receiver that you have carefully considered him/her.  It makes a statement.  It indicates what you want the recipient to see in you (a friend, an admirer, a grateful employee, a thankful person, a loving relative.)  But even more important, it makes a statement about the recipient; they are dear to you, admired, recognized, significant and important to us, have brought us pleasure, or deserve our thanks.
     Each gift not only reaffirms our relationships, it also can identify what the relationship is, while it flatters (if possible, the taste and personality of) the one on the receiving end.
     The joy in giving gifts comes from listening, choosing, preparing, presenting, and the seeing someone you care about, light up with a smile of pleasure.  Learning to give unselfishly from your heart (within your means), express how much you care, and  is the key to successful gift giving for every occasion.   Money doesn't make the gift valuable.  The gift should speak as an expression of our love.  In several of the sections of this issue - I have suggested COUPON-GIVING.  You can create your own by hand or on the computer (complete with clip art or pictures to color)  and give them as gifts throughout the year.  Sample lists of ideas can be found throughout this issue.
     How and what you give makes a lasting impact.  Think about the individual you are wishing to touch in a special way; and then determine if a material gift that matches one of their areas of interest, or a gift of your time or creativity would be more appropriate.
     Especially since 9-11 -- I am reminded of all the gifts that we have been given as Americans -- which we may have taken for granted.  I hope in this season of your life, you will look upon all the gifts that you have been given and embrace them with joy.  Remember the words to the old Quaker song... "Tis a gift to be simple, Tis a gift to be free..."
     Like many of the trees we decorate outside of our homes in the Midwest at this time of year... "May your joy be evergreen!"   
We welcome your comments and suggestions.  Thank You!
Finding 'joy in the journey,'
Joy Smiley
Table of Contents:
  1. Universal Principles
  2. Big Picture Parenting
  3. Joyful Relationships
  4. Activating My Inner Joy
  5. Global Good News
  6. Book Recommendations
  7. Joy Inspiring Products, Services & Classes
  8. Quotes to Ponder
  9. Contact Information


Universal Principles



Teaching Children about the Gift of Giving


-by Joy Smiley
     Winter is the season of numerous cultural holidays.  Starting in late fall, many sources plant subliminal seeds of  "I want/I need" in children's heads for things they had never heard of in the hot days of summer. These seeds may not necessarily produce the kind of garden you desire to see grow in the spirit of your child.
     In today's American society, more and more money is spent on gifts every year.  And each year more and more people are led to believe they must compensate for their lack of time or ideas by buying expensive gifts.
     As adults, please, if you want to do something really special for the children in your life this year, plant seeds that not only develop a positive character trait in your child but also teach them a value that can change the world.  Help them learn about giving instead of getting.
     Many of today's kids have not developed "generosity of spirit". They don't understand what giving is about. THIS IS A FAMILY VALUE WHICH WE MUST TAKE TIME TO TEACH.
     Many times, children who are only on the receiving end of gifts have no concept of the true meaning of giving.  But even more tragic, they are completely deprived of the JOY that comes from giving SOMETHING MEANINGFUL to another person.  We need to stop emphasizing WHAT to give the children, and spend some time teaching them HOW to give to others.
     If you help your children to learn HOW TO GIVE, you will give them an opportunity to learn to listen to what matters to others, to find the joy in giving, to experience long lasting feelings of satisfaction and to develop self esteem that will prove far more gratifying than any battery operated toy.  The time you spend (in teaching the concept and/or making gifts, or doing the act of goodwill) will be well worth it in terms of things money can't buy... family values, communication and traditions.
     There are many sites on the internet, magazines on current bookstore shelves and books at your local library to give you ideas on actual items your child could make that are age appropriate (I suggest you do a search on "giving" or "homemade gifts" "gifts made by children".)  There are also gifts of time, or physical labor that even the smallest can do to make a difference in the lives of those who are without extended family.  Think about the interests of your children and family, and then research what is available in your local neighborhood (perhaps making up brown bags of sandwiches/chips/soda to hand out to the homeless as a family... or making and decorating small trees with homemade ornaments for families less fortunate which could be identified by your local religious or social service... or visiting an elderly neighbor with a simple gift of fresh fruit, or a plate of leftovers from your big family gathering... or buying pet toys and food or volunteering at the local animal shelter... or making colorful homemade cards with well-wishes for a new year of hope for the shut-ins.)
     Teach a child about giving, and they will learn valuable lessons early about always keeping the recipient in mind when selecting a gift; lifestyle, age, work, interests, dislikes, needs, etc.  Children also learn that in giving, they receive something that money cannot buy.  They become givers with a heart for giving.

Big Picture Parenting

Listening To Children
-author unknown**
Bobby was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow.  Bobby didn't wear boots; he didn't like them and anyway he didn't have any.  The thin sneakers he wore had a few holes in them and they did a poor job of keeping out the cold.  Bobby had been in his backyard for about an hour already.  And, try as he might, he could not come up with an idea for his mother's Christmas gift.  He shook his head as he thought, "This is useless, even if I do come up with and idea, I don't have any money to spend."
     Ever since his father had passed away three years ago, the family of five had struggled.  It wasn't because his mother didn't care, or try, there just never seemed to be enough.  She worked nights at the hospital, but the small wage that she was earning could only be stretched so far.  What the family lacked in money and material things, they more than made up for in love and family unity.
     Bobby had two older and one younger sister, who ran the household in their mother's absence.  All three of his sisters had already made beautiful gifts for their mother.  Somehow it just wasn't fair. Here it was Christmas Eve already, and he had nothing.  Wiping a tear from his eye, Bobby kicked the snow and started to walk down to the street where the shops and stores were.  It wasn't easy being six without a father, especially when he needed a man to talk to.
     Bobby walked from shop to shop, looking into each decorated window.  Everything seemed so beautiful and so out of reach.
     It was starting to get dark, and Bobby reluctantly turned to walk home when suddenly his eyes caught the glimmer of the setting sun's rays reflecting off of something along the curb.  He reached down and discovered a shiny dime.  Never before has anyone felt as wealthy as Bobby felt at that moment.  As he held his new found treasure, a warmth of hope spread throughout his entire body and he walked into the first store he saw.  His excitement quickly turned cold when salesperson after salesperson told him that he could not buy anything with only a dime.  He then saw a flower shop and went inside to wait in line.  When the shop owner asked if he could help him, Bobby presented the dime and asked if he could buy one flower for his mother's Christmas gift.
     The shop owner looked at Bobby and his ten cent offering.  Then he put his hand on Bobby's shoulder and said to him, "You just wait right here and I'll see what I can do for you."  Bobby waited, he looked at all the beautiful flowers and even though he was a boy, he could see why mothers and girls like flowers. The sound of the door closing as the last customer left, jolted Bobby back to reality.
 All alone in the shop, Bobby began to feel alone and afraid.  Suddenly the shop owner came out of the back and moved to the counter.  There, before Bobby's eyes, lay twelve long stemmed red roses with leaves of green, with some tiny white flowers all tied together with a big silver bow.  Bobby's heart sank as the owner picked them up and placed then gently into a long white box.  "That will be ten cents young man," the shop owner said reaching out his hand for the dime.  Slowly, Bobby moved his hand to give the man his dime.  Could this be true? No one else would give him a thing for his dime!  Sensing the boy's reluctance, the shop owner added, "I just happened to have some roses on sale for ten cents a dozen.  Would you like them?"  This time Bobby did not hesitate, and when the man placed the long box into his hands, he knew it was true.  Walking out the door that the owner was holding for Bobby, he heard the shop keeper say, "Merry Christmas, son."
     As he returned inside, the shop keeper's wife walked out of the back.  "Who were you talking to back there, and where are the roses  you were fixing?"  Staring out the window, and blinking the tears from his own eyes, he replied. "A strange thing happed to me this morning.  While I was setting up things to open the shop, I thought I heard a voice telling me to set aside a dozen of my best roses for a special gift.  I wasn't sure at the time whether I had lost my mind or what, but I set them aside anyway.  Then just a few minutes ago a little boy came into the shop and wanted to buy a flower for his mother with one small dime.  When I looked at him, I saw myself, many years ago.  I too was a poor boy with nothing to buy my mother a Christmas gift.  A bearded man, whom I never knew, stopped me on the street and told me that he wanted to give me ten dollars.  When I saw that little boy tonight, I knew who that voice was, and I put together a dozen of my very best roses."
     The shop owner and his wife hugged each other tightly, and as they stepped out into the bitter cold air, they somehow didn't feel cold at all.
** - This article was received in an email. If you know the author of this article - please forward the information to
Make out all the coupons on the back side to say:
A GIFT TO ________ FROM __________  DATE_________
and on the other side - have any one of the following options:
  • One Afternoon of Riding Bikes Together
  • One Meal of Your Choice and Dessert
  • One Ice Cream Cone of Your Choice
  • You Choose the Game We Play
  • We will Color together for 2 Hours
  • A One-on-one Date Night/Parent and Child
  • We Watch a Video Together (your choice)
  • I Will Read You a Bedtime Story
  • Good for 1 Extra Hour of Staying Up Past Bedtime
  • We will do an Arts-n-Crafts project together
  • Cooking Lessons: We will cook a Meal Together and serve it to the rest of family
  • A Sports Event (you pick the event/ I'll buy the tickets)
Make out all the coupons on the back side to say:
A GIFT TO ________ FROM __________  DATE_________
and on the other side - have any one of the following options:
  • I Will Clear the Table and Load the Dishwasher
  • I Will Set the Table
  • I Will Read a Book Out Loud to You
  • I will Vacuum the House
  • I Will Not Fight with my Brother(s) Sister(s) for One Week
  • I Will Do My Homework without Being Asked
  • I Will Sing You 3 Songs
  • I Will Draw You a Picture


Joyful Relationships

Eight Gifts That Don't Cost A Cent
by Steve Goodier
This simple checklist can help measure how you are nurturing your relationships.
"Eight Gifts That Don't Cost A Cent (author unknown*)
  1. The Gift Of Listening - But you must really listen. Don't interrupt, don't daydream, don't plan your response. Just listen.
  2. The Gift of Affection - Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds.  Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.
  3. The Gift of Laughter - Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories.  Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you!"
  4. The Gift of Solitude - There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone.  Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.
  5. The Gift of a Favor - Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.
  6. The Gift of a Written Note - It can be a simple "Thanks for the help" note or a full sonnet.  A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime.
  7. The Gift of a Compliment - A simple and sincere, "You look great in red," "You did a super job," or "That was a wonderful meal" can make someone's day.
  8. The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition - The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone."
Those who take care of their relationships build whole and happy lives.
This article reprinted with permission from Steve Goodier's book, ONE MINUTE CAN CHANGE A LIFE.  You may also wish to take the opportunity to subscribe to his free newsletter YOU LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM, sharing life, love and laughter. Just order from the website or call the toll-free number: (877) 344-0989     www.lifesupportsystem.comm/books.html 
*The author of the "Eight Gifts That Don't Cost A Cent" - was not confirmed from internet research. Many versions of its text exist. The author will be given recognition once it has been clearly determined or identified.
COUPONS FOR YOUR FRIENDS (Smiley suggestions)
Make out all the coupons on the back side to say:
A GIFT TO ________ FROM __________  DATE_________
and on the other side - have any one of the following options:
  • I'll Watch Your Kids for  (1 day/ 1 night/ 1 hour)
  • Let's Go Shopping Together (I'll Drive)
  • I'll Run Your Errands for One Day
  • Please come to Dinner at My House on ________day
  • You May Borrow Something of Mine for 1 Week
  • Let's do Lunch (my treat)
  • Movie and Popcorn (my treat)
Make out all the coupons on the back side to say:
A GIFT TO ________ FROM __________  DATE_________
and on the other side - have any one of the following options:
  • Breakfast in Bed
  • Your Favorite Meal and Dessert by Candlelight
  • A Night Away from the Kids (you go out, I'll stay home)
  • A Walk in the Park
  • One no-criticism Day
  • A Drive to No Destination (just you and me - in the car and enjoying the scenery)
  • An Entire Day Just with Me
  • End to An Argument (No Apologies Needed)
  • One No Chore Weekend (I'll do it all for you)
  • Honey Do (You asked me before, I put it off, But now I will do it)

Activating My Inner Joy

How I Activate My Inner Joy by Dawn (a college student in Muncie, IN)

I activate my inner joy by:

  • waking up to a cd instead of an alarm clock buzzer
  • having living things all around me like plants and flowers
  • visiting a local nursing home where I play cribbage and bridge with a group of ladies once a week
  • being a big-sister/mentor to a young girl n the local elementary school system; where I get a chance to be a kid again by doing simple things like - swinging, playing dolls, coloring, playing jump-rope, and blowing bubbles.
  • by petting my cat and hearing her purr
  • whistling while I work
  • setting aside time for work and study AND time for play every day
  • choosing to surround myself with people who are positive and encouraging
  • sharing my family traditions
  • giving the "free" one (from the "buy one-get one free" offers - which I purchase anyway, from the local grocery store and drugstore) to the local food shelves

Please send in YOUR entries to fill this spot next month! We are looking for the way YOU, our readers, activate your inner joy.




Global Good News


You can be the Good News in your community.  Try a random act of kindness every other day. The gift you bring to others will encourage your soul to give because the giving is a gift in itself. 

Book Recommendations

Adult Relationships and Parenting Books

Giving: Connecting Children's Favorite Stories to Meaningful Life Experiences  by Jeri A. Carroll, Marsha A Gladhart, and Dixie L. Petersen

This can be one of the ways you first begin to share the giving experience.  Children are not only entertained - but also informed and challenged and stirred to action through listening to these stories.


The Giftionary:  An A-Z Reference Guide for solving Your Gift-Giving Dilemmas... Forever  by Robyn Spizman

Have you ever tried to find the right gift for someone you don't know very well, or someone who has everything?  This is a reference book full of ideas for all ages, all occasions and all budgets.  From handmade items, to gift baskets, to appropriate words... it's all in here.

The Christmas Shoes  by Donna Vanliere

Based on a song of the same name (and now a movie on Television) You may have heard of this story of a very busy young lawyer who was working his way up the corporate ladder when he was startled by a box that fell out of a truck.  His random act of picking up that box - set off a chain of events that became gifts of kindness for so many.  This story reminds us that nothing happens without a reason, and that we have opportunities every day to make a difference by doing the right thing.  It will stir your heart to realize that the smallest things we do - can make a huge difference to someone else.  And that all of our lives in this busy and sometimes crazy world - are linked a lot closer than we would think.  The threads of our lives intermingle with others to form a tapestry we could have never imagined.


Rambam's Ladder:  A Meditation on Generosity and Why it is Necessary to Give   by Julie Salamon

Why do you give?  Why don't you give sometimes?  What do you expect (when you give) in return?  Eight chapters; one for each rung of the ladder will inspire you to another level of giving.  Maybe you are at the rung of GIVING BEGRUDGINGLY... but if you read this tale to the end, you will be encouraged to reach for the timeless truth -- that "when we give better, we live better."


Children's Books

Grandmas Are for Giving Tickles by Harriet Ziefert /illustrated by Jennifer Plecas 

This fun lift-the-flap book reminds children and adults alike that one of the greatest gifts a grandma has for you, is her time and undivided attention.


Give Me Half by Stuart Murphy /illustrated by Brian Karas

This book will not only teach your children in a very subtle way about fractions, it will also have them bent over in side-splitting laughter as you read the rhymes about a brother and sister that don't want to share.


The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

This classic story with simple illustrations of a boy and his tree,  shows us that giving the boy what he wants is what makes the tree happy.   From a place to play, apples to eat, shade, wood for building, till it seems there is nothing left... the tree continues to give.  The impact of the story and the questions and discussion it prompts will change as the age of your child advances.  Still, the message of unconditional love is timeless.


The Giving Box by Fred Rogers (of Mr. Rogers TV's fame)

Mr. Rogers has always encouraged children and adults alike to be a giving neighbor. He often reminded us that by being kind and considerate, we could make our neighborhood a better place.  With multicultural folk tales, practical advice, stories, and a bank to save for charitable giving year round... Mr. Rogers leaves behind a legacy to his request, "Won't you be my neighbor?" 


Grateful: A Song of Giving Thanks  by John Bucchino/ illustrated by  Anna-Liisa Hakkarainen and CD sung by Art Garfunkel

A Scandinavian book with unique illustrations and rhyming verses encourage us to look for the blessings of all the gifts we are given each day.  They can be found in everyday things such as our bodies and minds and natures beauty and bounty.


Give a Little Love by Lizzie Mack/illustrated by Julia Gorton

This book contains lots of touchy-feely options to push through the balloons as you listen to the rhyming story.  Your child will learn along with Lizzie that the more love you give the more you get back.


Never Give A Fish An Umbrella   by Richard Thaler/illustrated by Jerry Smath

There are certain gifts you should never give to specific animals.  This book will have you laughing - but could also stir the old and young alike to think about gifts that are appropriate and those that are not when it comes to giving.


Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message   by Jake Swamp/ illustrated by Erwin Printup, Jr.

A diversity of Native American Cultural Experiences with rain, clean air, sun and moon, and other gifts of the earth will enlighten even the littlest ones to the spiritual gifts of our environment.


Joy Inspiring Products, Services, Classes

Give the gift that will help a new parent to develop the "joy" their child was born with!  The book - The Joyful Child: A Sourcebook of Activities and Ideas for Releasing Children's Natural Joy - has become a popular new "baby gift" with good reason.  Today's parents realize that raising a child has more to it than just meeting physical needs.  This book is written in a conversational style that will enable you to discover and nurture a new life from the inside out.  It is a resource that parents and grandparents alike will return to again and again as the child grows and develops.  This book received the Golden Balloon Award at the UN from World Children's Day Foundation (a branch of UNICEF) for it's outstanding contribution to the well-being of children.  Available for you at ONLINE STORE for $16.95 plus shipping and handling (click on BOOKS.)



If you are interested in the wellbeing of children we have a special offer for you.  A magazine that is ageless in it's wisdom and message.  For a limited time - you can receive a Random Assortment of 5 back issues of the Joyful Child Journal magazine (normally $3.00 per issue.) This offer is available for the new year at ONLINE STORE. For only $6 plus postage you will enjoy a random assortment of 5 back issues.  Its like getting 3 issues free! (click on JOYFUL CHILD JOURNAL)



Does your family play games?  Do you struggle with the fact that there is usually only one winner and the rest have no chance to win?  Are you looking and not finding a game that offers the win-win situation?  Well, we have a joyful alternative to that issue.  The Everybody's Right Game is a Question and Answer Game that expands the imagination and fosters creativity.  It builds self-esteem because there are no wrong answers.  For ages 5 - 95.  It includes 126 Question Cards and a Facilitators Guide for parents and educators.  Available for you at ONLINE STORE for $12.95 plus shipping and handling (click on OTHER ITEMS.)



Joyful You - Joyful Child, Inc. will consider products, services and classes to be advertised in this section. Email us for the guidelines or look for them soon on our website at







Quotes to Ponder

"A hug is the perfect gift. One size fits all, and nobody minds if you exchange it."   - Ivern Ball

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." - Norman MacEwen

"The perfect gift for a man who has everything would be a woman who knows what to do with it."  - Unknown

"Blessed are those who give without remembering and take without forgetting."  - Elizabeth Bibesco

"Why does Scrooge love Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?  Because every buck is dear to him."  - Unknown

"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: The presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other."  - Burton Hillis (Better Homes and Gardens)

"The art of giving consists in this; the gift should cost very little and yet be greatly coveted, so that it may be the more highly appreciated."  - Baltasar Gracian

"A compliment is a gift, not to be thrown away carelessly, unless you want to hurt the giver."  - Eleanor Hamilton

"What a child doesn't receive he can seldom later give."  - P.D. James (Time to Be in Earnest)

"I would like to believe that when I died that I have given myself away like a tree that sows seed every spring and never counts the loss, because it is not loss.  It is adding to the future life.  It is the tree's way of being.  Strongly rooted perhaps, but spilling out its treasure on the wind."  - May Sarton

"People who have given us their complete confidence believe that they have a right to ours.  The inference is false; a gift confers no rights."  Friedrich Nietzsche  (1844-1900)

"You must give some time to your fellow men.  Even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it."  - Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)   

"If you want to see what children can do, you must stop giving them things."  - Norman Douglas

"The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value." - Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900)

"A wise husband buys his wire fine china so she won't trust him to wash the dishes."  - unknown

"Treat the earth well; it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children."    - Ancient Indian Proverb

"We know our lands have now become more valuable.  The white people think we do not know its value; but we know that the gift of the land is everlasting, and the few goods we receive for it are soon worn out and gone."    - Chief Canassatego

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."     -Leo Buscaglia, Author and Lecturer


Contact Information

Pegi Joy Jenkins, President of Joyful You - Joyful Child, Inc. can be contacted by email at or through her website at 



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