Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Valerie Elliot Shepard's Book, "Pilipinto's Happiness" Kicks Off Week of Great Books!

In the summer of 1991, I was listening to my car radio as I was on the way to my prenatal check up for my second baby. I was riveted in my seat as I listened to two women's pleasant voices talk about teaching table manners to children. The younger woman was saying that she was teaching her children to pass the cookies around the table to their siblings before they took one if they were the first to pick up the plate.

Her description of teaching simple manners to her children left me wanting to know more. I desired to be the best mother I could be, and I didn't want to miss a word! As I sat in my driver's seat with my engine off upon arrival at the doctor's office, I was dissappointed that it was time for my appointment!

Who was this young mother of muliple little ones who radiated such contentment and joy in her motherhood?

It was the voice of Valerie Elliot Shepard—some 30 years after she was "Pilipinto," or little butterfly as you are about to find out she was called amidst the savage, yet simple, happy, uncomplicated Auca Indians of South America!

In March, 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting Valerie Shepard when her mother was staying in my home.  I wrote about her mom's visit here. We began a friendship that I know will continue as Sisters in the Lord together! Who would have guessed it?
Meeting Valerie in my home when her mom came to visit in March, 2013
And who was the woman she was speaking with on the radio? It was her mother—Elisabeth Elliot on her radio program, "Gateway to Joy." How clearly part of the legacy-gift given to the daughter and only child of Elisabeth and Jim Elliot was the unmistakable contentment and joy of the Lord!

In a world that desperately needs the simple contentment and joy that comes from the Lord, Pilipinto's Happiness reads like a soothing balm to the wound-up, strained muscles of our day. It is 5 wonderful chapters that I didn't want to end! Read it with your children beside you, or your grandchildren in your lap! Just maybe they can whet their palates for a simpler, carefree life.

How exciting to kick off this week on my blog dedicated to telling you about great books we are reading this summer with Valerie Shepard Elliot's fantastic children's book on her jungle childhood: Pilipinto's Happiness!

I'm honored to be Valerie's friend!

Valerie's parents are known throughout the world for their outreach along with four other families to reach the Auca Indian tribe in Ecuador. Jim and the other four husbands went missing in 1956, only to be discovered that they were victims of a mass murder by the savage Auca Indians. The very man who took Jim Elliot's life later converted to Christianity as did many other members of the tribe.

Valerie tells her childhood story of this amazing story, as she naturally and lovingly shares details of her wonderful childhood growing up in the Amazon Jungle with the Indians and her mother. Valerie, with her stunning blue eyes and her blonde hair stood out among the villagers, and the natives lovingly called her "Pilipinto," which translates "butterfly," since she frolicked to and fro the village like a beautiful butterfly. You will adore the simple childhood life of Valerie Elliot Shepard and the pure contentment she enjoyed as a child with so little—yet with so very much.

It is only fitting that I took all of today's pictures from Pilipinto's Happiness, with my camera and copy of my book Valerie gave me OUTSIDE! I've included the book captions from Pilipinto's Happiness (illustrations were drawn by Valerie's Uncle, Jim Howard, her mother's brother).
A kind Indian carried Pilipinto in a wooden chair.

The pilot would aim to drop the bundle right in the center of the clearing.
As Pilipinto played with her friends, she learned to speak their language.

They roasted catfish on the fire.

A place to lie down near the fire was home.

Pilipinto learned to like many foods we would never eat in America.

You may order your beautiful hardback keepsake of Pilipinto's Happiness to begin reading it with the special children in your life by sending a check for $19 per book ($14 + $5 Shipping = $19) made out to Valerie Shepard. Mail to:  3693 Sable Palm Lane, Southport, NC 28461

It was Valerie's mom, Elisabeth Elliot,
who first encouraged her to write her childhood story over a decade ago.
Val's blog can be found here.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain." -1 Timothy 1:6

"If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content." -1 Timothy 6:8

"Live life to the hilt." -Jim Elliot

"Wherever you are, be all there!" -Jim Elliot

I'd love to connect with you wherever you most like on FacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter. You may follow my blog here.

Walk by Faith, 


  1. This is SO beautiful Juana!!! I just love seeing photos of these two godly role models - and you there two - that makes 3 :)!

    Lots of Love,

  2. Isn't it wonderful Courtney to have a godly role model!!! They spur us on to do what is right!!! That's you, Courtney! Love, Juana

  3. Awesome! What a beautiful story! <3

    1. So glad you read it, Julia! Thank you for coming by!

  4. Beautiful and inspiring.


Thank you for your comment!