Emily Turner

About Emily Turner

Emily's Blog
Emily Turner is a Bay Area native turned mountain town wife and mom. Her three greatest influences are her daughters. When she's not in mom-mode hustle, Emily is researching the power of story and writing about it. Connection is her life blood. You can find more on her blog Lemons In My Coffee.

Why Family Missions Matter: 5 Books for the Missional Family

With my father being in international sales, his stories from the Great Wall, photos of the real Little Mermaid in Denmark, and then joining him on a family trip to Germany between my freshmen and sophomore years of high school, my young imagination came to life for what the rest of the world looked like. And it felt contagiously wild.

The great beauty and adventure, however, were sure to be saved until I, too, was a traveling professional. But after graduating from high school, I was surprised at the spontaneous invitation to travel with a group of 11 other students and friends, between the ages of 16 and 30. I traded in my global ideals for an introductory missions trip to Peru.

Since my inaugural mission, I’ve since had the privilege of partnering with families and organizations from Jamaica and Cambodia to Bolivia and South Africa. Each experience and every relationship have implanted humility and global awareness in the core of who I am and I am incredibly grateful for that.

I recently sat down for barbeque with one of the pastors at our church, his wife and their family. As an 18 year old youth group graduate, Kathy, was on a missional tour of Africa. She knew, even before then, that missions would always be a part of her life. Nate was the son of a Senior Pastor, and had multiple opportunities to serve, or be a part of missions throughout Mexico and Ecuador.

After meeting in college, they were married and had agreed to full-time missions in Russia. That was until the government took back the renovated camp and they were forced to return to the United States. For the years following, they have tried their hand every which way to go back. “For years, I’d recite Isaiah 6:8, ‘Here I am, send me’. We kept trying to leave but He said, let me bring the mission field to you. We had two girls of our own, and eventually adopted our two boys. Then it made sense”.

Prior to knowing each other, both Nate and Kathy spoke about the influence of their youth pastors to explore family missions. “We never thought about not including our families one day. It seemed like the only option”, chuckled Kathy.

“When we had our first child, it was a natural rhythm of our family to bring her with us on mission trips. She was 3 months old with colic on her first trip to our partner church in Mexico.” They continued to share about the gift it has been to raise their daughters, and now their two young sons around people who look and speak, act and smell differently.

With about 15 years of monthly visits to San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, bringing food to those bedridden, providing care to the sick, and aiding in educational resources for a partnered school, Nate and Kathy have built the value of family missions into their family’s DNA.

“The influence and norms have planted seeds and we’ve seen the fruit blossom with our oldest daughter choosing to spend her Spring Break in Tanzania this year”. They agreed that with the undenying pressure from social platforms and our ever-waving culture, it is imperative that as parents, we raise our children with the gospel of Jesus, and the importance of others in all we do.

Maybe right now, your mission field is within your home. You may be the only Believer in your family and God has called you to serve at the dinner table. You may have been born with the urge to see remote parts of our globe and God has given your family a knack for languages and the resources to be there. You may be a teacher at your children’s school and they witness the way you pray for those students. Wherever your family is, may you be encouraged in the work God has called you to.


Their Best Don’t Advice for Us

  1. Don’t go to just serve other people; go to learn about others.
  2. Don’t wait to be a certain type of Christian, just go.
  3. Don’t fight your kids’ take-aways. They’re living their own experience.

5 Books for the Missional Family

1. After the Trip by Cory Trenda and Tim Dearborn


After the Trip



2. The Missional Mom by Helen Lee


https://www.amazon.com/Missional-Mom-Living-Purpose-World/dp/0802437869/ref=pd_sim_14 _2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0802437869&pd_rd_r=516d2c27-86e2-11e8-94ad-0d6a86c107 a2&pd_rd_w=PF1Yz&pd_rd_wg=Hak7o&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DE R&pf_rd_p=7967298517161621930&pf_rd_r=S9T3TRVGTHGDEW9PW3TV&pf_rd_s=desktop- dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=S9T3TRVGTHGDEW9PW3TV


3. The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler


The Explicit Gospel



4. Window On The World (for kids!)


Window on the World


5. The Mission-Minded Child


https://www.amazon.com/Mission-Minded-Child-Raising-Generation-Fulfill/dp/1932805885/ref=p d_sim_14_4?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1932805885&pd_rd_r=516d2c27-86e2-11e8-94ad-0d 6a86c107a2&pd_rd_w=PF1Yz&pd_rd_wg=Hak7o&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPD

By | 2018-07-20T12:00:01+00:00 July 20th, 2018|

The Pursuit Of Joy: 4 Books You Need to Re-Engage Your Purpose

When my mom first told us she was leaving the dental field to go back to school, I thought her mid-life crisis was surely upon us.

Her job was secure and our teeth were straight. Being a college student myself at the time, I couldn’t understand what would have possibly prompted this choice to go back, but within a few months, she quit her job, and moved from the Bay Area to began her equestrian studies at Texas A&M. How did Dad approve of all this? It seemed ludicrous.

How long would she be gone? What now? How was she going to find a job or get paid to work with horses in Silicon Valley? It didn’t make sense to me.

The Pursuit Of Joy The 4 Books You Need to Re Engage Your Purpose

“What about baseball?” It was the one question that changed Tim Tebow’s professional career. Sitting at a conference table, lined with agents and trusted family, Tebow stunned everyone with his option to move away from the NFL. Opposing opinions flew through the room at him, accompanied by insults and doubt. In his latest book, This Is The Day, Tebow writes that one such insulting suggestion was that a baseball career could work for him if it were a part of some reality TV show. Ouch!

Committed to the pursuit of his desire to play baseball, Tebow continued to pray for guidance and opportunities to minister in this field. Late in the summer of 2016, it was time to showcase his talent to agents, media and coaches. Lifelong supporter and father, Robert Tebow II, stood alongside Tim, quoting scripture and encouragement. After talking with multiple MLB General Managers, Tebow signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets in September of 2016, joking “there’s no glamour here”, having moved down the ladder to the Minors.

“What if I take my passion for horses and special needs children, and create a job for myself?” We didn’t see it, but she did. Mom saw the life, the dream, the pursuit of her passions falling align in a unique ministry God was providing. For over 10 years now, my mom has worked with hundreds of special needs families and war veterans to aid in their rehabilitation using equestrian therapy. There is not one seed of regret, but evidence of joy.

The agents didn’t see it. The media made jokes of it. But Tim saw it. He knew the beat of baseball, for it was instilled in him from a young age.

“When you believe whose you are in Jesus and strive to thrive in your environment, you are in a way thanking Him for creating you, for being the perfect author of your faith and your life”.

Throughout these chapters, Tebow expresses his ultimate desire to love God while loving others. Whether it’s through athletics, parenting, accounting, or being a neighbor, he encourages us to find our joy and purpose, first and foremost as children of God.

Are you doubting yourself today? Doubting your purpose or walking in the wide open space of searching for joy? Friends! Friends! Friends! Be encouraged! God made us in His image and He knows every beat, every desire of your pumping heart. If it’s fear standing tall against you, slam

it down. If it’s doubt raging in your soul, punch it in the face and step over it. You’re too good to give into that.


4 Books You Need To Re-Engage Your Purpose

1. This Is The Day (Tim Tebow)

Pre-order on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/This-Day-Reclaim-Passion-Purpose/dp/052565030X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=U TF8&qid=1531506938&sr=8-2&keywords=tim+tebow+books


2. Becoming Curious (Casey Tygrett)

Becoming Curious



3. The Story of Everything  (Jared C. Wilson)

The Story of Everything



4. TeachUs To Want  (Jen Pollock Michel)

Teach Us to Want


By | 2018-07-19T11:25:25+00:00 July 19th, 2018|

Top 8 As You Graduate

I’m having another youth group grad over for dinner tonight. This is something my husband and I both agreed to as we got married. He was a Junior High Pastor at the time and we continued to see the digression of students attending church post high school. I knew this pattern as it was my own.

I remember thinking that once I got married and started a family, we’d then go to church because it was important for me to raise my family with Christian values. It was a forethought but not a present priority. So Eric and I agreed that we would do our best to remain in these student’s lives- encouraging them in Christ, attending their basketball games, cheering on their performances and art shows, moving them into their college dorms, being listed as a reference for their hopeful employer.

Each of these young people have fundamental value and indispensable worth, and it has been our great pleasure to accompany them into adulthood.

Top 8 As You Graduate

I think back and can remember her shy disposition as she made her way into the junior high youth room, scouring the scene for familiarity and acceptance. The leap from a large Children’s Ministry building into the smaller, teenage-only portable was vulnerable. Where did she fit in this new space? Who were her go-to’s? What would set her back from engaging?

What would propel her forward in growth? That was 8 years ago but this is the same narrative, over and over in our lives. With every transition, be it a school grade or location, a new job, a new relationship, we are confronted almost too suddenly with change. Whether we are ready for it, prepared to the brim with knowledge and confidence, or shaking in terror, it presents itself like the rising of the sun.

Today, she is known and continues to move forward. She has a supportive family, a gift of poetry and humor. She attends a local junior college and will be moving out of state to further her education at the end of summer. But there is also a battle waging for her soul. It’s the same battle waging for yours and mine.

It’s recognized by news feeds on certain social platforms. It’s heard in both verbal and virtual disagreements over faith and status and sexuality. There is a strong urge, a wave of gigantic proportions billowing to take you out and under. But there is also a Savior who controls the tides. There is One who has always been and will always be with you, moving you and guiding you towards a good and perfect plan.

As you graduate and the newness is upon you, take heart, my friends. Take heart in He who has overcome, in He who offers justice and peace and strength to you.


Here are 8 things I hope you know you as you graduate:


  1. You belong here. You are needed in our churches today. Your voice and your gifts and your influence is needed in the spaces, in the corners and pockets of church buildings, small group outings and intergenerational teaching. If the space is not provided for you, be encouraged to make one. Settle in and group up. You have so much to teach us and we welcome you.

  2. You are more than your likes on social media. You don’t have to perform or please or bow at the feet of Instagram. You are worthy and you have always been enough. Book recommendation: https://smile.amazon.com/Gifts-Imperfection-Think-Supposed-Embrace/dp/1491513713/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1528233042&sr=1-7&keywords=you+are+worthy
  3. Google doesn’t know everything but God does. Go to Him first.

  4. Plug in and prioritize. There are incredible on-campus, non-cheesy activities through organizations like CRU and InterVarsity. Book recommendation: https://www.ivpress.com/browse/christian-living/all-christian-living?page=13
  5. The truth of Jesus will set you free. That is an eternal promise.

  6. You don’t have to go into crazy debt just because you’re an adult. Learn from the generations ahead of you and the mistakes we’ve made. Set yourself up for success here and let the Uber Of Finances help you out, https://smile.amazon.com/Financial-Peace-Revisited-Chapters-Marriage/dp/0670032085/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1528232924&sr=8-7&keywords=dave+ramsey
  7. You have options. Your college years don’t have to be skewed by partying. I don’t know why this is a thing, but unfortunately it is in our culture. Learn to navigate well and surround yourself with similar world-changers.

  8. You were created for such a time as this. Your presence here is perfectly timed. Your gifts are uniquely your own. Your big, open, purposeful life continues and we are rooting for you!


More book recommendations for graduates and young adults:

After College: Navigating Transitions, Relationships and Faith


What Now?


By | 2018-06-19T02:04:21+00:00 June 21st, 2018|

Top 10 Bible Resources for Young Children

There are hundreds of stories throughout Scripture declaring the perfect majesty of Goodness and Salvation. But if your children are anything like my three daughters, their attention span splits between eight and fourteen minutes. If you’re anything like me, nerves rattle when answering questions like, “So then why did God kill those people? Is he going to kill me too?”

How do I do this? How do I keep it simple and focused? How do we resolve concepts like justice with toddlers without making them think death is lurking if they don’t eat their broccoli? How do I teach to multiple age groups at the same time?

Parents! We hear you. We have your back. With the help of Pinterest and our publishing partners, we have the TOP 10 Resources You Need to Teach Young Children the Bible.

P.S. – There’s a free giveaway of IVP’s Moses and the Exodus Express book running until 5/26/18 at the bottom of this page!



Pinterest links  (FREE!)

 ABC Scripture Printable

Armor of God, (sign up on her site) 

DIY flip books 


Moses and the Exodus Express (Giveaway Below)

Moses and the Exodus Express
List Price: $9.00
Price: $7.95
You Save: $1.05
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ABC’s by Kevin DeYoung

The Biggest Story ABC
List Price: $12.99
Price: $9.65
You Save: $3.34
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The Biggest Story 

Little Bible Hero books via Amazon 

Little Golden Bible

List Price: $6.99
Price: $5.59
You Save: $1.40
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Hidden in My Heart, Scripture Lullabies

Seeds of Courage Family Worship

Seeds of Courage
List Price: $8.99
Price: $8.99
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Post ID#7838 is not a valid giveaway.

By | 2018-05-16T09:24:36+00:00 May 16th, 2018|

4 Ideas For Moms & Dads This Mothers Day

I remember my unruly emotional heart weeping all the ugly tears at church as we celebrated my first Mother’s Day. I couldn’t believe it. She was finally here. After months of growing her and feeling her twirl and twist and kick my insides from every which way, she was swaddled and still in my arms. I couldn’t stop staring at her dark brown hair taking the form of a mohawk as the choir sang. Her lips would pucker and eyelids twitch in deep slumber. She was magical. She was mine and I was her mother.

I remember the praise of parental veterans, welcoming my husband and I into the big leagues as we walked from the back gravel parking lot towards the main sanctuary. I was the rookie with so much to learn, feeling exhausted and overloaded with information and pride and emotions for this newfound position.

4 Ideas For Moms & Dads This Mothers Day

I watched as other moms passed by with their trophies of multiple diaper bags and badges of “We Made It Through The Teen Years” pinned to their pastel sweaters. I had no idea how to parent outside of a nursing cover and swaddle blanket. Every day was new and nerve-inducing.

As we walked back to our car after service, a friend of ours asked what Eric had planned for my first Mother’s Day. I felt giddy. He had this in the bag. There were gifts and cards and adornments galore, just waiting for me. He had a plan. I was sure of it.

Eric looked at me, then back to our friend, and with shrugging shoulders he said, “I’m not really sure. Whatever she wants, I guess”. Those words shook me, whatever she wants. Didn’t he know I had no idea what I wanted and was leaving it all up to him? As we walked along, me holding our three week old daughter, all I could manage was a forced smile. Didn’t he love me and appreciate the full force of womanhood I just went through to bare this child?

Wasn’t he supposed to love me like God loves the church? Wasn’t he placed on his earth to serve my every whim?

Our oldest daughter just turned six last week and I laugh remembering who I was in those primal days of motherhood. We now have three daughters, ages 6, 4 and 2. The raw expectations for myself and of Eric were outrageous! I remember driving home from church that first Mother’s Day, convinced he didn’t love me. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to now plan an unforgettable Mother’s Day.

What did I want to do? Surely there were celebratory brunches and parades in town to attend. There were special desserts to order and movies to watch at the local theatre. What did I want to do? Friends, full disclosure- all I wanted to do was sleep. And cry without justifying the reasons. And shower for more than 2 minutes. I wanted to eat a large flank steak without the repercussions of our daughter’s sensitive adversity to red meat and breast milk. I wanted to lay in bed for a minimum of 20 hours, binging on medium rare steak smothered in garlic butter, Gilmore Girls and coffee ice cream without any interruptions.

I only have six Mother’s Days under my high-waisted mom belt, and still, to want feels decadent. It feels lush to ask for rest. Or food. Or to use the bathroom sans children. It feels selfish to admit any want or need that takes me away from the focus of my family. And then there’s Jesus. Who, in the midst of relationships and service and healing, went away to rest. He sought prayer and comfort from the source of all rest. He made it excusable and necessary for us all.

There is no award for sleepless nights or terms of breastfeeding. There is no badge of the bottle, or praise for the pace that will conquer the value rate of rest. In Matthew 11, after he introduces John the Baptist, Jesus declares that rest is found in him through the Father. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (verse 29).

Motherhood is a constant learning curve. And it’s not always gentle. Rest is an active pursuit. Some days rest looks like a short walk with our labrador. Some days it’s laying in bed writing or reading while the girls craft and watch their fourth episode of Sofia the First. Other days, rest looks like running the playground circuit with my daughters to tighten our bond and bellies from laughing. But every ounce of rest is restored by Jesus. He allows it. He encourages it. He is rest for you, my fellow weary mom.


  1. Surprise her with time to herself. Get a bath going for her and take the kids outside or offer to put them to bed so she can sit in silence.
  2. Snag something off of her Amazon or Pinterest list.
  3. Schedule a family photo session.
  4. Prep coffee the night before and thank her all the live-long day!


  1. Risen Motherhood with Emily Jensen & Laura Wifler
  2. The Busy Mom with Heidi St. John
  3. Kindled with Haley Williams
  4. The Shauna Niequist Podcast with (dun dun dun) Shauna Niequist

Happy Mother’s Day! xo

By | 2018-05-02T14:47:24+00:00 May 2nd, 2018|


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