Ep6: Dealing with Discouragement, A Conversation with Natalie Gilday & Jen

Are you disappointed or discouraged over a situation, relationship, or sudden loss, and eager to learn how to get your hope back? In this episode my long-time friend Natalie Gilday and I share how we have learned to walk through disappointment with a heart that is able to return to strength and hope… including my story about how we lost everything we owned and loved (our brand new home and all our belongings) in Hurricane Harvey and how the Lord enabled my perspective to keep me encouraged through the midst of it! AaaaaND because she is a songbird, we MIGHT have recorded a special song at the end to share just with ya’ll! (Ok, we both love to sing and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do it together!). Our hope is after today’s conversation you’ll feel empowered with some new ways to approach difficult situations that’ll infuse you with more hope and less discouragement. Be sure to pass this along to someone you feel could identify, or could use a little dose of encouragement, and thanks for joining me at Java with Jen today!

Important Links:

  • Natalie’s tea company, Honey and Tea   ; You can sign up to try her tea cleanse to get your year started on a healthy detoxed foot! (I’ve done it and it’s so great!)
  • Try Stitch Fix and request me to style you! My personal link gives you $25 toward your first box too, so it’s a win-win! 

I thought I’d include some fun pictures of her visit!  We don’t have a lot of links for you from today’s show, so I wanted to give you a sneak peek into our time together, the first time we’ve seen each other in 14 years!

Breakfast together on her last day with us.

I had fun styling her to look adorbs on Thanksgiving in the dress she found when we were shopping!  She is wearing my shoes, tights, cardigan, necklace and purse LOL!  Good thing we’re about the same size!  The shoes are Nautica brand, tights I think from Ross, the cardigan is from StitchFix!  (I included my referral link to Stitch Fix for you, which gives you a $25 gift to get started, request me to style you!)

Her rockin’ my sunglasses!  The one’s she’s wearing are from Ross, and the ones I’m wearing are from Nordstrom.

She and Baby Violet, who we all fell in love with!

The sassiest preggo you’ve ever seen! 😉

We were trying to find her something for Christmas… ended up tracking down a great pencil skirt and blouse at Burlington.

All my boys having fun with Violet and Natalie outdoors!

Don’t let her face fool you, she loved the boys. 😀

See?  It was love all around. 🙂

Even Stephen got in on the snuggles.  (I’m convinced babies are therapy for him lol)

Natalie joined me for late night black Friday shopping with my friend Becky, and we all came and ate pizza and chatted till 2 am afterwards!  We had a blast.

Levi exercised his babysitting muscles with Violet and helped feed her, change her and put her to bed while we shopped, so Natalie took him to breakfast with us on her last morning here.  We miss them terribly!!


(intro/outro music credit: Bensound)
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Ep 5- You asked Stephen: Money, Missions, Marriage & Ministry- Jen & Stephen Samuel

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Happy New Year!!

Let’s get 2019 started on a really productive foot!

EPISODE 5: with Guest Stephen Samuel on Money, Missions, Marriage & Ministry:



You asked, I interviewed, and in this LOADED episode, Stephen Samuel, (a world-travelled missionary and minister, working on his PhD in divinity- and my husband-) shares his honest insights about managing money, and how that affects your ability to do ministry effectively; about ministry, it’s highs and lows and how to get involved; about Marriage, and some things he’s learned in supporting his wife in various ventures; and Missions… and how you can get involved personally!  At the end, stay tuned because his “Life Hacks” portion is chock FULL of shortcuts and time savers, from how to memorize scripture effortlessly, get more books read in a short amount of time, and how to manage your finances, this is my favorite part of the episode!

*I saved all the links and recommendations he made to my blog (and added a couple pictures!) for easy reference, so check it out: http://www.jenileesamuel.wordpress.com .

*Don’t forget you can follow me at http://www.instagram.com/jenileesamuelstyling for updates on new podcast episodes!

*Be sure to  share this episode with your friends, and I hope you enjoy the conversation!!*


Scripture memory: App “Verses” (paid app)

Missions/giving: Debt is a hindrance to being involved in missions or giving of any kind. Consider taking the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University Course locally through our church in our Wednesday night life class to get your finances in order and free you from the stress of debt, or if you’re further out from the Beaumont, TX area, go directly to Dave’s website.  They also have resources available on Amazon.

Life organization:

  •  Evernote App (Free, but available for upgrade)
  • Calendar app (any calendar app for keeping your schedule organized)
  • Any.do App for to-do lists, calendar, alerts, anything needed for productivity


  • Audible app for audio books
  • Kindle for reading on your electronic device so your books are everywhere you are!
  • Amazon.com for easy book purchases
  • Your local library is a great place to find books if money is tight and you don’t plan to keep it forever!  Sometimes they’ll sell books at a discounted rate, and if they don’t have one you want, often you can request they get it.

TIP: When reading a new author (to you): Start with most recent works because their quality is better and work backwards.   Find books you’ll enjoy, don’t force feed read, read what’s seasonal for you.   If you can’t digest an author, find another author on the same topic!

Missions: Prepare yourself now so you’re ready when the opportunity arises!

Here’s how to prepare yourself:

  • Relationships. Serve locally. Ask your Pastor/missions director who you can connect to for a missions opportunity.
  • Get some training at the recommendation of your leadership to get equipped.
    • Talk with your local Pastor, often they are open to interns, or have resources for training.
    • Bethel Church in Redding California has had a profound impact on today’s church culture, and is one who’s curriculum we have used and greatly benefited from.  We would highly recommend any of their schools.
  • Get a passport:
    • You can apply for your passport through your Postal office,
    • Get photos taken at Walgreens/CVS/Walmart
  • Start Saving money. Have an account set aside to contribute to for when a missions opportunity presents itself.
  • Support Missionaries.  If you can’t get away or just aren’t interested in the international scene, but want to help, you can always support missionaries!  Financial and prayer support is ESSENTIAL for work to continue, this is an incredibly vital way to get involved, and often will create opportunities to go in the future should you decide to.  This is a great way to be involved while you’re in training, but be sure you’re saving for your trip too!
  • How to Choose an OrganizationRelationships are essential in the body of Christ.  Prioritize people/organizations that you’re connected to through your church or personal relationships.
    • If you don’t know anyone and your church doesn’t have any referrals, here are a few trusted ones:

DON’T: Just google for ministries without some way to vet their credibility, there are countless scams out there masquerading as a legit ministry to pull in finances, this is why working through relationships is so important.  Don’t go off of Facebook reaches, we have received hundreds of false out-reach invites; many con artists use this avenue to get money and they will mimic legitimate ministries to do so.  Always go through the ministry’s direct website, check them with the BBB, or some other way of authenticating they’re a legitimate ministry.  Going through your Lead Pastor and/or Missions director at your local church is a great way to weed out the false ones.

And now for some photos!

A few years ago during family photos:

Stephen and our two oldest

☝🏼 when he whisked me away to join on a missions trip for a couple days at the end of vacation in Roatan, Honduras. It was beautiful but hellishly hot!! Lol

👇🏼family photo on a fam getaway two years ago.

👇🏼Guests at a friends wedding, he was in the Bridal party.

☝🏼 Him looking Uber smart and graduating the students where he taught locally. He forgot his shoes so I had to bring them lol

👇🏼Stephen with our son (right) and a friends son for their first mission trip! Stephen took them to Guatemala.

☝🏼We do clean up sometimes. This from another one of our former college students’ weddings! He was again in the bridal party.

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