Saturday, November 19, 2011

Eley House Roasting

So Laura and I have been doing some research recently on how we could roast our own coffee at home.  The first thing we realized was that we don't have to buy a $500+ coffee roaster, which means that it was actually a financial possibility for us to dive in head first to home roasting.  We were relieved to find out we had the option to buy a $15 air popcorn popper or a $20 stove top popcorn popper.  Being more of a fan of the drum roasted coffees I have had rather than the air roasted coffees we got the stove top popper and started learning more about coffees, roasts and suppliers. is the website for a coffee shop and roasting company out of Oakland, CA.  They are a wealth of information on home roasting.  They have a YouTube channel that covers the look of the coffee bean at different stages of roasting, the sound it makes during roasting and many other useful topics.  One their website you can learn more about the stages of roasting and about their wide variety of coffees that you can roast.

Being excited and a little impatient I looked around the Springs to see if we could get unroasted coffee. So I found a place Friday and Saturday morning Laura and I headed out to pick it up and begin our roasting career :)
Unroasted Columbian coffee beans

Here is what the process looked like...

We ended up doing two roughly half pound batches.  I was a little gun shy on the first one and erred on the side of caution and pulled it right when the second crack started to make sure I didn't burn it.  That caution ended up with a roast that is roughly a Full City or a Full City+ roast.

When I went to make the second batch I felt a little more comfortable so I knew how much smoke to expect and how dark the beans will look in the pot compared to how dark they will look out in the light so we went for a darker roast.  This batch ended up being roughly a Vienna or Light French Roast

Now we just have to let it rest for a day to let the full flavor develop and allow all of the CO2 to release :)  We will report back with the taste test ASAP

Friday, November 4, 2011

What we have done recently

Here is some footage that finally got put together.  Aspen leaves changing, coffee on a camping stove, picture taking, hammocks and a drive through snowy mountains :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Update on the Eleys' life

Here is a long over due update on things that have happened since the wedding. We had asked some people to be praying for some of these and have yet to get back to them but we figure everybody can rejoice with us about these things with us now.

  • Safe travels to CO- We had a couple hiccups on the way out here but nothing to change our schedule too bad. We were blessed by the generosity of family and friends through the wedding to have the funds to make the trip as comfortable as possible with good meals, coffee stops, and comfortable hotel rooms for our two nights on the road. When we arrived in CO our friend let us stay her until we fot our feet on the ground and found a place to stay while another friend let us store our things in his apartment until we moved in.

  • Getting jobs- We had a little over a week out here to rest up and get settled before I got a full time, salary job with benefits. Soon after that Laura transferred her part time job from back home. This helped the financial cushion and kept us both busy through the day. The week after we moved into our apartment Laura landed a full time job where she was working allowing her to work more and use some of her HR training in her new management position. This past week we found out that Laura is the top performing Leader on Duty in the whole district! We still don't exactly know why we are here but good things are happening so we are continuing to move forward.

  • Finding a place to live- We were looking at apartments for the better part of a month. Laura did the majority of the leg work in finding the complexes to look at. After searching and looking at a lot of places that we really weren't excited about we found a small 1BR+1BA apartment on the north side of town. It is the perfect size for us at this point and Laura has done a great job at making it comfortable and very "us" :)

  • Finding furniture- While Laura was working part time she was milking Craigslist for all it was worth, and it paid off! Not only were we able to get furniture that is good quality that we really like but after all was said and done we saved roughly 50% compared to buying all of our furniture new. Laura even found the same sofa that she really wanted from the furniture store on Craigslist and we ended up getting the sofa with matching chair and ottoman for about the same cost as the sofa would have been brand new. She's a keeper :)

  • Strong marriage- Marriage has been wonderful. We certainly have had times when we've looked at each other and asked "what were we thinking?" but so many things have proved that this is where the Lord has us for this time. We have both been faced with the ugly sides of ourselves at times. In those times the Lord has given us grace to be humble when faced with ourselves and grace to handle the other person with compassion. We have experienced honesty and openess in communication that has made coming together to function as one a beautiful thing. A variety of things have raised their head at different times, but we've learned first hand that those things can either come between you or they can push you together. I am grateful that Laura and I have stayed committed to pulling together and not allowing things to come between us. Functioning as one and not leaving any negative emotion on the table at night have shown how essential those pieces of wisdom are.

  • Finding a church- After a long, and often discouraging church hunting experience we finally found a church to settle into. Woodmen Valley Chapel is one of the larger churches in the area but it has everything we have been looking for in a church. They value excellence and do a phenomenal job with their media, classes, communication, teaching and with their worship. They are a contemporary church that steers clear of putting on a concert. Their music is done well enough that is is not distracting but rather engaging and facilitating of worship. AND, on top of it all, the head teaching pastor is committed to the doctrines of grace, something that was very important to both Laura and I as we were looking for a church. So grateful to have a church to call home.

  • Finding community- The week after our first visit to Woodmen Valley Chapel they were starting their 3 week Small Group Launch class so we joined in. That class has turned into a wonderful group of young married couples that we are meeting with weekly and has been such a comfort to be able to look for faces at church on Sunday morning and have a list of phone numbers to call if we want to do anything with someone else. We have already been challenged and encouraged by these wonderful people and we are looking forward to growing with them.
Lots of great stuff going on out here. Thanks to everybody who has been praying for us. We just want you to know that so many prayers have been answered already.

Fall Favorites in the Eley House

This is an Eley family tradition that I always remember and it is one that we will continue on for as long as there is apple cider :)  Here is the recipe for our family's spiced cider.

First you will need: 
4 cups apple cider
1/2 orange 
2 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger 
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

First pour the cider in a small sauce pan and then zest the 1/2 orange with a normal peeler or zester/microplane if you have one. Then throw the zest in the pan, cut the orange in half, squeeze the juice in the cider and throw in the orange.
Next get your cinnamon sticks and cloves and throw them in the pan along with the nutmeg and ginger.
Let it simmer for a little while to make your house smell good and then enjoy a hot cup right then or store it in a pitcher to warm up quickly later.  If you put it in a pitcher, be sure to stir or shake it so you get all of the flavors before you pour a cup.

Next food post will be about our homemade granola :)

Sorry the photography is a little rough. Low light and a shallow depth of field makes for tough shooting.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

No wife at home :(

Things I have realized since Laura has been out of town...

  1. Coming home is not nearly as exciting when your aren't coming home to someone.
  2. Making the bed is a pain in the butt by yourself.
  3. I have missed bumping each other while we get ready for work.
  4. Even if I do a lot of the things that I really enjoy in one day I still wish Laura was with me.
  5. I have almost mastered the pillow chop when I make the bed.
  6. I have become a much more tidy person since May.
  7. I have gotten used to splitting a french press in the morning and have wasted a half of a press each day I have been home alone.
  8. Skype is great but is no substitute for being with somebody.
  9. A half empty bed is an uncomfortable bed.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Husband List

As a husband I have learned to make a regular habit to…
…always give attention to emotion, no matter how you feel or how little energy you have.  Don’t stop at being reactive to emotion but work to be proactive to emotion, thinking about how something could cause emotion to arise in your wife.
…always look for a way to serve your wife.  Both big and small acts of service are appreciated.
…learn what means a lot to your wife and deliver on it.
…tell her what you appreciate about her, both character traits and actions.
…take her on a date, she IS still your girlfriend too you know J
…pursue unity, do not allow distance to creep in.
I used to believe that distance came by neglect to a mentionable degree or by one actively pursuing distance or one choosing not to go with the other.  Establishing and maintaining unity is more like driving a car that is out of alignment.  If you aren’t intentional about staying between the lines the car will drift away, even if you don’t mean to.  We live, and are married, in a fallen world and all things that are good have an inclination to disaster since the fall.  That means it takes work.
…not go to sleep with any negative emotions regardless of whether they are isolated to one of you or they are mutual or between you, you are now one so now emotion belongs to both of you.  Talk them through right then, always yielding to the one that needs some time before talking things through.  You will sleep better and it continues to foster unity and intimacy.
…kiss her.
…touch her.
…affirm what she does.  She needs to know that what she does means something to you and that it is significant.  That extends from her work to decorating and cleaning, it all matters.
…pay attention to detail and be intentional. 
Wear clothes that she likes to see you in.  Ask her to wear a particular outfit if you are going out for a meal or out on a date.  Be open to other suggestions J Know what her favorite flower is.  Know how she likes her coffee.  Know something that she specifically likes and ask her if you can do that together sometime.
…BE A STUDENT OF YOUR WIFE.  You will never finish the course but it is a fascinating class J
…deliver truth in love.  Never let things that need to be addressed go without being addressed.  I am to assume the leadership role so this is my initiative.  Never succumb to the “just say ’yes dear’” or “happy wife, happy life” mentality.  Calling things as they are may bring uncomfortable situations but it brings unity, better times and catalyzes humility.
…pursue compliment.  You do not become the same person upon becoming one but rather you become one higher functioning unit.  Discuss strengths and weaknesses and partner together in them.  Rather than dividing tasks according to each person’s strengths, it is best if one person assumes the leadership in tasks they are strong in and the other should follow, learn, and be involved. Through this involvement conversations will arise from the topic and issues can be discussed.  This ranges from finances to cooking and cleaning.

Monday, August 8, 2011

His ways are not our ways... Isaiah 55:8-9

God always proves himself faithful and that always reminds us of how dependent we are of his grace, how quickly we lose heart and begin feeling pity on ourselves and therefore begin relying on our own abilities because of our doubt in the Lord.  This is such a slippery slope and is only resolved by the redirecting of scripture or the incredibly humbling experience of the Lord's timing coming to pass.

Laura and I have been learning so much in such a short amount of time.  This whole learning process has been frustrating, challenging, humbling, painful, satisfying and unifying seemingly all at the same time.  We have been learning about ourselves together and individually, our preferences, our needs, our weaknesses, our flaws, our strengths, our gifts, relationships, gratitude and much more.

A continuing theme of conversation and of desire since we have arrived has been the need for community.  We have been so blessed to have such great families, incredible friends all around us and for a church that is second to none as far as we are concerned up to this point.  Even a place as beautiful as Colorado, with a near perfect climate and more adventures to be had than any red-blooded American man can dream of really isn't that much fun without people to experience and appreciate it with.  A beautifully decorated and functional apartment is not as much fun when no one else gets to come in and enjoy it as well.  We are now thoroughly convinced that we were made for relationships.  We were not made to go along this life alone. Period.  People reflect the character of our loving Father, they bring richness and depth to life.  They are the salt that illuminate flavors and the colors that make flowers beautiful.  We are so grateful for our family and friends and while we long for the next chance to share a cup of coffee and hours of laughs together we are also excited for the ways that God is going to surround us with the people and relationships that we need at this stage in our life.  Though we have wavered in this confidence it is much stronger as of today.

We have struggled with finding a church that meets our needs out here.  We have been confronted with times that cause us to sift through our preferences with a fine screen to find the things that we truly need for a church to provide.  We have found comfortable places with great community but until today our heart have not been encouraged by visiting churches out here.  We have been broken over the lack of a church family, the muddy or weak articulation of Scripture and the longing we have for the church that has facilitated so much growth in our lives in the past 3 years.

Before we left Lynchburg the Lord began to grow a desire to serve in the church that was different and much stronger than any desire to serve that we had ever had before.  We no longer felt obligated to serve because we were Christians, we were not longing to serve because we felt that it was the right thing to do or because of an overwhelming need of service in the church.  I think, for the first time, we actually believed in the church, experienced what it was like to benefit from a body of believers that were truly committed to following Christ and we wanted to be part of that.  We did not just believe in our church but we believed in the church.  It is a wonderful thing.  When we arrived out here we were dying to put our hands to work in the same direction the church was moving but that was not the Lord's plan for right then.  Two months of church shopping, hopping, visiting, searching and evaluating and every one was a huge compromise in one way or another.  At first some preferences got in the way but they were sifted through and by the end of the two months we were at the point where we truly appreciated the necessities.  It felt as though we had been traveling by foot for a long time in the heat, first wanting sweet tea with a steak and potatoes for a meal.  As time passed we would be happy with a burger and a soda, and finally we got to the point that we could only dream of a glass of water and some bread.  Our preferences began to wane and our desire for health and life prevailed.

God was so gracious in providing a full time job for me and a part time job for Laura very soon after we arrived here.  We have now constructed our budget to live off of one income so now when the Lord provides a full time job for Laura we will not be tempted to re-do our budget to live luxuriously off of two incomes but now we will be able to be wise with the extra that God provides for us.  In that time before we moved into our apartment Laura worked really hard and was able to milk Craigslist for all it was worth and save us roughly 50% overall on all of our furniture.  Neither one of us would have had the time to do this as well if we were both working full time and therefore would have been tempted to spend more than we needed to on getting started.  The week after we move into our apartment Laura was approached about a full time job opening at her work and we are now waiting to hear about the final results of her interviews.  We have met a couple through Laura's work that we really enjoy spending time with and today we visited a church that looks like it might be home for us.

I have had a hard time with balancing the negative correlation between effort and energy.  It seems like everything has demanded my attention and therefore I was always tired.  The easy way not most often not the best way to go about a situation.  It is easy for me to notice that something is not right with Laura and ignore it and head for bed because I think I am too tired to handle emotions at that point of the day but at that very point, if I turn away from her I establish distance between us.  We are convinced that before marriage the enemy works as hard as possible to bring you together before your time and the instant you are married he changes gears and works with all of his might to establish distance between the two of you.  There is no room for selfishness in marriage.  There is no room for laziness.  There is no room for ease.  We must remain unified.  We must choose to love.  We must always look to the best interest of our companion and not to our own.  We must establish trust.  We must maintain open, raw communication for it is the only kind that is truly effective.  We must fight for the time to remain before the King and not give way to the 9-5 and the Monday-Friday monotony.  We must come together to pray and present each other to the Lord through the day.

Though we have been slow to learn some of these things I am grateful that we have at least been aware of them and we continue to pray that these lessons stick and become ingrained in our hearts.   Praise be to God alone for answered prayers.  Thank you to all of you that have prayed for us in this transition.  Know that your prayers were not in vain.  God looks down on his bride with the passion and desire of a groom on his wedding day and will freely give us all things.  He is passionately in love with us and has proven it by extending grace to us by sacrificing Jesus so that we may dwell with Him forever.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

First Video!!!

Our long awaited video camera arrived!  Here is a look at what we did last weekend...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Picture Diary of the move... on the road

These pictures were taken at around 75mph in my car.  Dont worry, I wasn't looking through the viewfinder.  Safety first :)

This is what I looked at for the whole trip

The biggest tires I have ever seen

Leaving GA and entering TN.  We have decided we like TN even though it was the sight of the tire mishap.

Another state down.  Leaving TN and entering KY.

This kind of thing makes driving into the night almost worth it.  

Kentucky boys are serious about their tractors.

Officially entering the west as we pass through St Louis

Had to drop the phone in my lap while I was talking to Carly so I could take this picture.  Another state down!

Authentic Kansas City BBQ... and it was REALLY good :)

Almost there.  At this point we had driven 20ish hours and only had about 2 more to go.

And this was the next 2 hours.  FLAT and STRAIGHT through eastern Colorado

Bug Carnage on the car top carrier from across the country.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Picture Diary of the move...

Leaving Lynchburg with the apartments packed up

The ole Hyundai loaded down

Unloading in GA so we can REload more stuff

making the ole girl road worthy

Trying Turkish coffee for the first time... thanks Bethany :)

believe it or not ALL of this fit in our two cars


... lots and lots of laundry

we crashed

the last few things

Don't worry, I got my window closed

I'm the MR and you're the MRS  :)

We got a lot of smiles and thumbs up from our check list and "JUST  MARRIED" on our cars

Pulling out... CO here we come

From the Springs

The detailed, day-by-day schedule that we’ve been following since May 12th is now completed. June 5th has come and gone. We’ve arrived in Colorado Springs, Colorado and are surrounded by truly majestic mountains that we know as the Rockies.

With the reality that we’ve finished this detailed schedule and now step into a good bit of unknown, I’ve had several thoughts come to mind about this time and thought I’d share some. 

O' how beautiful marriage is! It is so sweet, but also the most challenging thing next to our walks with Jesus Christ that we have ever committed to individually or together. This is Laura writing... I figured it was about time I added my contribution to the posts Taylor has started. One of the things I love about Taylor is just that... his creativity in the ways he seeks to stay connected to our friends and family. And he says I'm the creative one! Taylor, you give me a run for my money, my love. Our hope is to use some of the money we received as wedding gifts to purchase a video camera to document our journeys out here in the beautiful West. So stay tuned. Ok… back to the thoughts.

I have to say... a little over two weeks of marriage and I have come to learn so much through the everyday moments we've walked through together thus far. Taylor's heart is so deep and our unity in marriage has allowed me to experience that in literally a life altering way! Jesus Christ was so right in giving us marriage to model the relationship between He and the church! Marriage will change your world! Sadly, many people only know this change to be a change for the worst. O' how this grieves my heart. It does so because of how good, powerful, and beautiful the Lord has made that change for Taylor and I! Don't hear me wrong that this has been an easy breezy two weeks or that we’ve handled everything with perfect responses, roses, and candlelight. Whew! Not reality! But the change that marriage brings about emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually is one that I believe that Scripture intends to be for our good and satisfaction. However, if I tried to fit the good and satisfying things we're finding in marriage into society's definition of "good" or "satisfying," it would kind of be like Taylor and I attempting to pack all of our things into two cars. Doesn’t fit!

After all is said and done with the wedding, our marriage is redefining our reality! If growth can be felt (rather than just reflected upon), we are feeling it each day. Tears have welled up in my eyes. Selfishness continues to remind both Taylor and I that we still have a flesh nature to battle. I've been tongue tied and lost for words with emotion and thoughts. But! I have been lavished by the incredible, affirming, and satisfying love of a man who knows deep things about me that no one else will know. I have never felt more beautiful, confident, and worthy of love not only because of my husband but because of the way I understand the love of Christ better. All the preparation and words of wisdom from those around us during this time are so helpful and we cling to words such as, "always communicate," "keep Christ at the center," "always remember to seek out community and don't isolate yourselves," "value honesty and sensitivity." However, experience is truly a powerful teacher!

These are beautiful days as we pray for patience, joy, and love to flood our hearts!

Savoring these moments,

Mrs. Eley

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Trans America Adventure Day 1

Day 1 certainly kept us on our toes.  We have some pictures but I don't know where we packed the camera cord so they will be posted lated.  I will try and do the story justice in an abridged version. 

Two days ago we had to get 4 new tires and an allignment on the Hyundai, our first big purchase as a married couple, to prepare for the trip out west.  This was unexpected and set our departure back another day.  The delay was welcomed and allowed us to spend more time with Laura's parents and grandparents, which is always a good time.

We got on the road around 9 this morning and soon after we got on the interstate I noticed a chatter on the right side of the Hyundai and the allignment was pulling to the right.  I personally think driving a car that is out of allignment on the interstate for hours on end is one of the most annoying things in the world.  I didn't think too much of it until we were somewhere between Chattanooga and Nashville and the chatter was getting worse.  We found another branch of the same tire dealer and pulled in for them to take a look at it.  They put it on the lift and looked it over the one of their mechanics and their service manager looked at it and said the couldn't find anything wrong with it.  With a clean bill of health we got back on the interstate to give it another try.  Once we got through Nashville my car sounded like it was going to fall apart at 75mph so we pulled over to look for a service station in Clarksville, TN.  Apparently all service stations close at 3pm on Saturdays and we got in town at 3:45pm. Not good!  We ended up getting the car towed to SEARS and when they went to take a look at it they found that the right front tire was about to fall off.  Apparently the mechanic that installed my tires in Georgia two days ago never torqued my lug nuts properly so from Georgia to Clarksville, TN they were slowing backing themselves off as my tire wobbled more and more. 

The final damage was three stripped studs, a chipped brake rotor, 6 hours of lost travel time and two near meltdowns.

We have been encouraged through the whole process today because of how well we have worked together.   We have remained sensitive to each other so that we could get through the hickups and we are seeing a unity and oneness build between the two of us already.

The plan was to get into St Louis around 5pm, walk around downtown a little before we worked out and went out for supper.  Instead, we arrive in Marion, IL just before 10pm, about 2 hours short of St Louis.  Tomorrow we have 10 hours of driving time in order to make our reservation in Hays, KS tomorrow night.

The good news is that Laura and I worked really well together today, even when emotions were running high and patience was wearing thin.  As much as parts of today were not fun, they were good and served as a good start for Laura and I's life together out in the wild west.

Thoughts from the road:

I think rich people in their really nice cars try to recreate car commercials by driving really fast through mountain roads.

We appreciate the hospitality of Tennessee again.

Illionois has really big bugs that make really big splats on my windsheild.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

1235 miles out of 2654 done

Graduate... check
Get married... check
Move 1400 miles across country... checking  :)

We have begun our journey of driving over 2600 miles in two weeks.  We have driven round trip to Tennessee for our honeymoon, returned back to Lynchburg to pack our two apartments in our two cars and we have convoyed down to Georgia for a few days before we take off for the Rockies.

Tennessee took us by surprise with how much we enjoyed our experience there.  People that we met along the way were incredibly friendly and it is, to say the least, a beautiful state.  We stayed for a night on the Big South Fork Canyon.  It was the first time I have ever seen a canyon and it seems like I am just a much a fan of mountain size hole in the ground as I am a mountain.

We found an awesome coffee shop called Remedy Coffee and Conversation that became a haven for us while we were there.  It is second only to our favorite coffee shop of all time, The White Hart, in Lynchburg, VA.

We got to Georgia with our two apartments packed into our cars and now they are spread out in the garage waiting to be packed up again.  Hopefully we can pack them tighter this time so we can get the last few things in our cars and still be able to see out of our passenger window :)  Today we are off to get lunch at Matthew's Cafeteria and then off to Grami and Dun Dun's to see them and to swim a little.  Tomorrow we are hitting the road and shooting to get to St Louis, MO for the first night.

*** I have pictures to put up with this post but Blogger has been weird so they will be put up later.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We're Married!!! :)

As of May 22, 2011 she will be known as Mrs. Laura Eley  :)

And Jesus said " Haven't you read that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?  So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate"   -Matthew 19:4-6

Pictures by our friend Jordan Mclaughlin at