Writing from Northwest Indiana:

I have to admit, change can be a hard thing to get used to at times.  It’s hard to believe sometimes that we have not been in this part of the country, the part I grew up in, since last June…just a few days short of ten months.  Our lives have genuinely changed since we have last been at Fairhaven.  Looking back, I can recollect exactly when we first started noticing all of the change…

For my entire senior year of college, I still felt like I was in college.  Yes, I knew soon after graduating I would be married, and moving almost 700 miles away to the foreign state of Pennsylvania; but I never realized how much would be different–and at that, a GOOD different.  Even up until the point I was waiting at the altar for the door to open so I could catch a glimpse of my beautiful bride, everything still felt the same.  Nothing was changing yet.  Just another event in the life of Dustin Speckhals.  We said our vows, walked out of the auditorium, shook hands, cut the cake, took a few pictures…still the same.  The change hit me, though, at an interesting time.

After our pictures were done at the wedding, we walked back to the dining room where the reception was, and I told Andrea that I was going to carry her through the crowd (yes, I admit it was a show!).  So I picked her up, carried her through the cheering and jubilant wedding crowd, and into the limo that was going to take us to Chicago.  We got into the vehicle, the driver shut the door, and the change came.  The driver pulled away, and off we went.  It was finally here!  Life was completely different after that.  All of the family I loved, some of the best friends a man could ask for, the best college teachers and mentors–they all faded into the distance.  Soon the steeple of Fairhaven faded away too, and our new life began.

Even after we came back from our honeymoon to pack our stuff up for the move in a few days, so much seemed different.  It was just like God was moving us right along to our new life together!  It never seemed quite like home during those packing day.  At least for me, it was easy to move.

Now, ten months later, we return for a visit, and ironically, not much has changed!  Sure my parents live here now, there a few new people, new family, and a new status (we have a “real life” now–no more college!), but so much hasn’t changed!  It seems like home again…not our home, but a place where we love to be, and believe it or not, were people love to see us!  The best part of all is that some of the things that are different from when we were here are great changes!  After all of that,  though…here are some things I have noticed that are different or the same:


  • College students still sit in the same places in the auditorium
  • All of the verses of the songs are still sung…maybe a little bit slower tempo than our church too.
  • Same ol’ dating couples–minus a few of us who got married
  • Tom Almanza is still himself
  • Lindsey still wonders why there is no band or PE during candy sale
  • NW Indiana still looks as dilapidated as before


  • A great new mother-in-law
  • Two new houses for us to visit (Leslie and Murdock side)
  • I can hold my sweetheart’s hand walking down the path
  • A few folks that were struggling spiritually when we left are making HUGE steps for God!
  • The kids are getting taller, including by little brother and sister

It is great to be back to all of the memories and people, and we look forward to the rest of our short stay here.


Well, here is our little video from our trip to Mexico.  This is the first time I have done anything like this, so bear with me!  Actually, it was a lot of fun putting it together.  Overall, I am happy with how it turned out.  I hope everyone enjoys it!

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The direct link, where you can view this in full screen, is here

I apologize for those of you with dial-up, and some internet filters that may block this.  We are having a few people over for dinner this Friday night, if you would like to come eat and then watch this.  Don’t worry about the driving distance!

A Vacation Worth Waiting For

This is where Andrea and I will be in just…45 days now.  You say, how can a newly married couple in this recession economy end up on a tropical vacation?  Good question!  This was supposed to be our honeymoon spot.  Almost a year ago, I booked flights and paid for bed and breakfast accommodations: I think it was supposed to be from May 25-June 2.  Three weeks before our wedding, though, a little predicament came in our way called Swine Flu.  I know, I know, it ended up being a big scare over nothing; but it was a big deal back then, if you can remember.  We took some counsel over the whole thing, and instead of taking chances during our honeymoon, we decided to stay in Chicago for the week or so after our wedding.  It ended up being perfect, and better than we could have ever expected…especially after what we get now!  Two airline tickets and accommodations that I already paid for a year ago!

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico is where our vacation will take us.  This old pueblo in the Yucatan Peninsula has about 10,000 people in it, the majority of which still have indigenous Mayan roots.  I originally picked Tulum because of its tropical climate, beautiful scenery, very reasonable prices, and overall quiet feel (from what I have read on the internet).  Our “casita” is about six miles north of Tulum itself on the coastal road, just 150 feet from the Caribbean Sea!  It looks incredible!  We are also staying 4 nights in a little “posada” (inn) in the pueblo of Tulum itself–the real Mexico, as Andrea would say.  We plan on eating a lot of Mexican food (I trust my wife to find the places that are sanitary/healthy!), seeing a lot of neat things,  and enjoying the Mayan Riviera winter (85 degrees, and no rain).

Some attractions we want to see are the Mayan ruins of Tulum (in the picture above), Chichen-itza (one of the seven wonders of the world), cenotes (giant sinkholes of freshwater that are popular to swim in), and the jungle itself–which is practically everywhere that the ocean isn’t.  We are so spoiled to be able to go on this trip!  We certainly don’t deserve it!

Pastor Chris will be picking us up to take us to the Baltimore/Washington Airport at 3:15am–a little payback, I say, for us having to do the same thing for him and his wife a couple of months ago!  Our flight leaves at 5:45am,  and after a short layover in Houston, we fly to Cancun, arrive at 11:15am, and drive 2 hours south to Tulum.  And I had better stop now–I don’t want to tell the story before we get there!  Our hotels have internet, so I bet we will post at least once from Mexico.

Our casita on the Caribbean