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RPM Sand Volleyball Takes The Lead

In 7th grade a teacher, Mrs. Lorenze, would utilize her free period to encourage participation in the ole playground blacktop volleyball, while the students were outside. Ryan Mariano was one of those students. They both quickly found his ability matched his passion for the competitive athleticism that launched his destiny. He practiced and fed his interest until volleyball engulfed his soul and he was hooked! I was able to actually track her down and could share her joy in the memories of this little Ryan kid.

His freshman year, he used to go to a private club where he watched these 4 older men play all the time intensely taking visual notes.  One day, the 4th person didn’t show up, and as he was sitting there waiting for his daily dose of evaluations… they invited him to play! The bundle of nerves in the pit of his stomach filled him with both fear and excitement. He took a deep breath and jumped into this opportunity of a lifetime. These older men not only saw this young kid with talent, but a burning fire of competitive aspirations to be the best he could be. They embraced his eagerness and encouraged him with their tips and tricks of the game, but never made it feel like it was hard work; they made it fun! They fueled him with a kind-handed push him to be one of the top in his game.  Randy Rahn was one of these guys who became his mentor, who fostered his love for the game.  With humbled appreciation in his eyes and a smirky smile, Ryan mentions, “I would call him from time to time, whenever I needed, and he would always answer and inspire me.”

Ryan’s commitment would pay off as he became a worldwide successful professional beach volleyball player. After meeting with him and hearing his disposition – I saw no ego only pure gratitude for that teacher who introduced him and focused his direction into this prosperous career. I saw the heartfelt joy for the men who nurtured it into this fun lifestyle. His life mantra is a dedication to those who inspired him and he only hopes to be that force in the lives of others by running his organization with that same integrity: RPM Sand Volleyball started in Phoenix, AZ in 2013.  He holds vigilante to the value that one person can and should impact another. 

He is also a dedicated father of 2 boys who are just the fire to his modest energy. When talking about them, his eyes light up and provoke a soulful tear of joy for the emphasis of principles on the time he spends with them. 

Ryan has surrounded himself with an amazing team of players, coaches, trainers, sports psychologists and with him as their mentor, he incorporates the full mind, body, and spirit training program. I found he has a commitment to every player – from every walk of life – to embrace the personal growth that his organization has to offer and on every level. From beginners, Jrs to College and Pro, Local to International, depending on the speed you choose to embark on the volleyball journey.

Nick Bowling, who has been with him from the start is a man who holds true to the same desire to impact the lives of others. He met Ryan at a Tournament, and their journeys collided. He is a Spanish teacher, school coach (leading them to a state title game), scouts for Olympic hopefuls with RPM’s International coaching staff, and brings the talented skills of a 2006 Top 4 finisher in the USA Volleyball Men’s Indoor National Championship. His focus is teaching with inspiration, whether it’s Spanish or Volleyball, and believes that his inspiration is fueled by family. Whether student or athlete, he embraces you with a family vibe of encouragement and support that establishes team worth.

Shawn Malkou is not only a national championship coach, but the go to guy for all social media management, web design, and Ryan’s marketing Guru. His mantra of success is to share with others, not only on the court, but off as well. He shares in the enthusiastic power and will astound anyone who asks with the stats of this organization listed below. His strong financial background isn’t wasted and sitting in the background either. he is incredible at making sure everyone gets what they paid for and more. He understands the ethics of money and strategically combines them with dream to set goals. It is his front and center priority and he is always willing to help with a smile.

The Stats of his RPM Sand speaks in volumes. With 6 Junior National Champions, 40 athletes with Top 10 Finishes at Nationals, 3 High School All-Americans, and countless Collegiate Scholarships Awarded, 2 AVCA All-Americans in College, 2 Professional AVP Players, 2 AVP International Tour Tournament Winners, 2 Coaches on the AVP Tour, and a Coach that won the AVP Hermosa Beach Open. “Quality is the vital key to everyone’s success,” Ryan says.

Marc Townsend is a 1991 National Championship Men’s Volleyball Winner, a winning high school coach with 4 State Final Fours, 2 State HS Championships, Arizona State Coach of the year in 1993, with 85 players playing in Division 1 Schools.  His inspirational style coaching directs his players to successful mindset in all aspects of life.  As a Craftsman, Business Owner, and Professional Fishermen, his ability is not only knowing how to get Dreams into Goals but to their final destination: Personal Growth and Success. His specialty and energy lends itself to the Be the Best Version of Yourself Success for sure !!

Danko Iordanov is a scholarship success story from Varna, Bulgaria, achieving the First Place title in the Bulgaria Tour, and still maintains a AAA player rating since 2006. He understands the diligence of success and most importantly, having fun doing it. He believes in the focus of observing strategies for more favorable results.  He coaches with a fortitude of overcoming the obstacles, and bringing athletes into their next level by structure and planning. He believes in dedication and competitive drive, anything can be accomplished.

Coach Pete grew up playing volleyball in Madison, WI where he won a state championship in 1995. He later went to the University of Arizona for undergrad and Northern Arizona University for his Master’s in Psychology.  Understanding the focus of positive reinforcement is crucial to success. Pete’s coaching career started at Copper Canyon High School in 2011 and set winning school records. In 2015 his teams won back-to-back indoor and beach State Championships from Fountain Hills High School  . His legacy carries   numerous coach of the year awards, including the AZ Central Small Schools Coach of the Year in 2017, and the Co-Beach Volleyball Coach of the Year in 2018. With these types of accomplishments, he is more than just a coach, he is a valuable asset to the coaching team.

Not only do the coaches speak highly of Ryan as a Mentor and Business Professional, his former players possess an eagerness for more of his leadership.  Katie Cross has been with RPM since the beginning. As a player and part of the first graduating class of the organization. She continued to perform at Arizona State University, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Law, and couldn’t wait to be a part of the coaching team with Ryan. The originally inspired participant caught the intoxication of value and impact on others, and is honored to have elevated from inspired to inspiring others as part of the coaching staff.  Her genuine smile of joyful enthusiasm and work ethic can be infectious!

Kyle Boron works at American Airlines and when he’s not traveling… He is just Kyle.. the character, the fun guy who invokes the laughter and the prankster of the crew. He is an element that really makes the kids forget they are working hard by cracking jokes while doing burpees and suicides: Anyone who can do that is an inspiration to the joy of the game.

Cierra Flood is also an Alumni who is one of the top teams at Arizona State University and is earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. This education is adding to her strongest asset of the mindset she is able to instill in her players as a coach. With her own Athletic schedule and schooling, she knows the difference she contributes as part of the RPM program. Her mantra is one that leads by example as she holds herself accountable for her skills as she relentlessly  trains and works at top energy right along side of her players. 

To have former players coming back invoking Ryan’s mindful impact of humility and appreciation for those who have made the differences along the travelled paths of life.  It is an unselfish validation of his pure energy and passion for what he does.

 Ryan has formed a powerhouse tribe, and even has Dr Afremow, author and liscenced professional counselor of The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive, and founder of the Good to Gold Medal, PLLC as a consultant.

To me, this is the push over the edge – to go the extra mile – to ensure that he has an impact on mind, body, but most importantly the soul. This is more than a Sand Volleyball Organization: THIS is the Volleyball way of life. This is an epic example to all organizations everywhere – to strive not for money, but for the love of the game, the vehemence of value in your players, and the success will follow.

Ryan may have started RPM Sand out of appreciation for what others contributed to his life, but he has definitely given back on an international level more than anyone could fathom. It was my privilege to meet with him in person, and interview his staff. All I can say is… Time to Rev your engines and get those RPM’s ramped up, because this organization will leave all others in the dust !!

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Two Rivers Family Restaurant

THE CROSSROADS WHERE COMMUNITY AND TOURISTS UNITE

As I started my morning off at a campsite with no shower-house to be found in the wee hours of the morning, I went in search of coffee to kill time until the office was open and I could ask about the amenities. Luckily, GPS took me in circles, which assisted me in getting pulled over by officer friendly who informed me my brake lights were not working; Both were out and kindly issued a warning.

There is something about the American Family Restaurants: a consistency and dependability that you can count on no matter where you travel. From the 4-6 page menus filled with breakfast to dinner photos sending visual invitations that excite the taste buds and prepare the body for anticipated satisfaction.

Friendly Staff – calling the regulars by name, the Owner, Sonny Maksuti – Jumping into action to greet everyone who honors him with a visit.

The Display Case – filled with cakes and fresh Pies enticing the brain to go straight to dessert, The Daily Specials –  located on the back page of the menu and a list of extra specials on a huge display board visible from the door, and The Locals – a gathering of the community sharing stories, talking across tables, and invite the tourists without hesitation into the conversation …… it gives you a feeling of home.

Offering everything from breakfast to dinner and deserts, there is so many choices, I found my self in a conundrum of indecisiveness.

The Family Restaurant in Two Rivers is no different. After the morning I had, I just wanted the comfort provided by this establishment and they delivered.  They deliver the lifeblood of community and brought serenity to my soul.  I loved the counter seating in the front of this establishment that started with 3 men and coffee and quickly expanded to a crew.  The owner not only greeted me but seated me, brought me coffee, water, and a menu. With Megan, the only server I saw hustling to get her side work completed and prepare for the rush about to ensue, was genuine. She had a kindness to her eyes, no fakeness in her smirky conversational smile, and just down to earth.   I felt like I stumbled across an old friend, gathering tidbits of info as she walked by. With no stumble to her step, she matched the pace of incoming groups, serving the 10 tables/booths, and counter crew with an easy flow. She kept the coffee flowing, adding tasks along the walk to keep up and never missed a step. I have about 10 years of server experience and she was impressive with her calm disposition and steady pace.

I opted for the Gyro Omelets that arrived overstuffed with Greek goodness. The gyro meat was cut in perfect bite size pieces, the onions and green peppers were grilled tender enough to be fully cooked with a slight crisp allowing the flavor to burst with every bite, and the delicate balance of feta cheese blending everything into mouthwatering goodness. Simply Amazing.  (The picture was taken upon reaching the full level: The savory flavors and aromas beckoned me to devour it upon arrival to the table).

The cross-table conversations invoked a family table throughout the dining area, every table interacting… where are you from… how did you two meet…. I went to school there … what brings you here… and the atmosphere filled with an energy style of reunion connections. Now I have the mindset and disposition to start this day and make it great.

I recommend this establishment for anyone in the area who want to experience a taste of the community integrity of the local residents.

Two Rivers Family Restaurant,

3015 Tannery Rd

Two Rivers, Wisconsin

(920) 553-4444

FB: @TwoRiversFamilyRestaurant

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**FREE** VOLLEYBALL EXTRAVAGANZA SUMMIT

YOUR BODY AND BEACH ARE CALLING…….

This is one of the greatest opportunities to: Meet New People, Find Local Organizations, and have a blast participating in one of the fastest growing Sports… Beach Volleyball!! NO Matter What Shape you are in, NO Matter What Level or Skill you have, NO Matter Where you live…. just get yourself out there and

MOTIVATE * PARTICIPATE * INNOVATE * EDUCATE *

Registration Limited to First 500 !!! Sign up today to reserve your FREE virtual seat!!!

Beach Volleyball Extravaganza Summit

July 6, 8, 10, 2020 from 6-8pm CST

Whatever time is left will be open Q & A from gallery 

3 GREAT DAYS OF FUN IN THE ZOOM SUN COVERING 4 topics:

  1. Positive Mindset Creates – MOTIVATION – Be inspired to take action, become social, get encouragement
  2. Every Walk of Life – INVITED
  3. Focus on FUN – Finish with – FITNESS
  4. With Knowledge Comes – WISDOM – parents learn from College Coaches, Recruiting Scouts, Photograghy,

LANDLOCKED? NO BEACH AROUND? NO WORRIES!! THERE’S A SAND COURT NEAR YOU, EVEN IN IOWA !!!

Registration Limited to First 500 !!! Sign up today to reserve your FREE virtual seat

Communities – Social distance in the most fun way and be a part of promoting community Health

Coaches and organizations – get ready to find out How To Promote Teamwork, Communication, Inspire not just players but your surrounding community, and Level-Up the passion for the game …. We Reap what We Sow

Parents – Find out How to get Scholarships with information from the Best Coaches, and Recruiting Scouts.

  • ✓Bonus Photography Tips
  • ,✓ Bonus Services

Registration Limited to First 500 !!! Sign up today to reserve your FREE virtual seat

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Finishline Finishes First In My Book

So I heard about this free breakfast at a bar in North Pheonix on Facebook: For the cost of a beverage you pick from a list of items to incorporate into your omelette, along with toast, B & G, bacon & sausage links, and his famous cracker barrel casserole. Owner Randy has been here at this location for only a short time before COVID hit and was concerned about losing his investment and business when he decided it was time to serve the community.

His bar offers seating for all ages and free breakfast as listed above for only the price of a drink. It doesn’t even have to be an alcoholic drink!! Serving from 8 am to 1pm. This cost will soon go to $6.00 but still!!!!

The post was Legit, and as we walked into a speakeasy style “UnMarked Door”, we were greeted by Randy and introduced to his cook Sheri, and welcomed by his bartender Megan.

As my mind absorbed this concept of generosity, The Jamming music of Ozzy (War Pigs) As I finished eating,the music fed my soul with a tapping of the war cry to attack the rest of the day: A consciousness of sharing the community love. I met an old die hard supporter and landmark of this fine establishment, known as Dave. What a small world, he is actually from Northwest Indiana as well.

Once football season starts and the business picks back up he will be just fine, but for now he just hopes to survive till then. So if you stop by and take the opportunity to appreciate his generosity, be sure to tip the servers and staff to show your support. 

Finish Line Bar

602-863-2025

1724 W Bell Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85023
United States

Get directions

Facebook: @3finishlinebar

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Phoenix Area

THE FIRE WITHIN

ONE With The Eagle, 1986 by Pat Mathieson

The Arizona sun colors more than your skin, as your body absorbs the heat it reaches into your spirit and ignites the fire of your soul. These pictures are just eye candy compared to the warm welcome from the friendly faces you meet everywhere you go here and the overall experience of being transformed into a Pheonix.

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Get your Boba On at Cafe Boba

As you enter this coffee house the immediate sensation I received was one of family, and I was so right! The owner, Serena, was not available but her sister was covering for her. The father actually owns this small strip mall, and the art that embraces you from the crates of paintings for sale to the gallery on the walls all come from the sister’s business next door which is a Paint and Sip run by his other daughter Frances.

Ted And Yili Bonarski are the Heads and Heart of this family. Ted runs a financial business in the building since 2005 and when the real estate crashed, it created a foreclosure situation on the building he was in. He was able to establish ownership by 2011. The cafe that was here prior was poorly managed and quickly closed upon his ownership. His daughter Serena, who used to work at the previous cafe, started running Cafe Boba, and by taking the experience she had, she resurrected it in her own style. By working with the fitness center next door, they are consistently creating healthier smoothies that even kids will drink! For those of you who do not know what a boba is, it is a tranluscent cassova starch ball otherwise known as tapioca, and they are made here and served fresh daily. I was offered the Quest fitness Smoothie, their newest creation, and it was really hard to believe this was healthy!! The powerful banana covers the avocado and spinach well. A great quest to partake in for sure! Their simplified menu has something for everyone: soup, salads, sushi, snacks, coffee, tea and smoothies.

With plenty of places to plug in, and seating from couches to high top tables, you never run short of comfort or power supplies for work, personal, or school projects, and the background music compliments the creative calm atmosphere. Look out gamers, Friday nights they have a large mounted TV gamestation for battles.

I have to say Serena has done her father proud in the space she has established here for the community. If the coffee house cafe style is not what your into, they always have the Paint and Sip next Door, or the fitness center/gym to the right

Cafe Boba

616-303-0088

4314 Division Ave S

Kentwood, MI

Sat & Sun 11am-9pm

Mon & Tue 2pm -8pm

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The Flow of Coffee, Art, Music and Education at Fluid Coffee

Fluid Coffee Storefront

As a coffee mandated hippie, I am pretty basic. So when I entered Fluid Coffee, I was a little overwhelmed by the sophistication of the connoisseurs menu. I came into 518 Franklin Street with a neighbor friend of mine. She is as illiterate in the coffee terminology as am I, but the barista and coordinator of the Michigan City location, Leanna, showed extreme professionalism, confidence, and patience when describing the differences in almost everything on the menu.

I love the artistic vibe and framed articled biography located by one of the displayed accomplishments. It has a warm relaxing hip atmosphere with welcoming faces from the staff. 

music is endorsed by offering stickers for sale

The Plain Jane that I am, ordered a “drip coffee”,  and my neighbor decided on the Vanilla Latte. The skull shaped spoon to stir the latte with was the perfect touch to integrate the reverent music which  set a mood of accomplished independent defiance: the humanity of it all!! 

 I admired the options for privacy and group meeting areas. With a private cupping room available for reservations and will have coffee educational tastings, “like a wine tasting but for coffee,” according to Leanna. The next one scheduled for Michigan City is March 14, and only cost $10. Samples  I look forward to this as I am coffee terminologically challenged!!!!  

Our barista for the day Nick, was delicate in his artistry of crafting the perfect latte for my neighbor complete with a feather design on the top: 13 years experience has served him well in establishing his craft, and it shows in his passion for appreciation of his customers’ approval. Originally from here, he improved his skill in Bloomington, IN for 10 years and recently moved back two years ago. We are privileged in having his talents here in support of our community.

Leanna comes from the Ukraine and adopted into the US in 2007, successfully went to Chesterton High School, lived in Valparaiso, and recently chose Michigan City as her location to learn about the third wave coffee shop way. She is excited about the upcoming cupping room tasting March 14th, where they share information about the direct relations of this coffee shop and how it’s beneficial for the farmers related to which they serve.

Overall, I think this is going to be a great place for community growth,education, and an artistic establishment. Join them in thier waiting gallery.

See how they roast the beans in their clean production back room.

http://FluidCoffeeLove.com

IG: @FluidCoffeeLove

FB: @FluidCoffeeLoveMC

HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR COFFEE?

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Bite Cafe is a Mouthful of Goodness

This little unkranian village cafe has the meraki vibe as you enter off the street: laid back with the aroma of passion and epic food. The staff genuinely is there because they enjoy what they do, the company of their co-workers, and it shows in their flow from service to stocking: synchronicity is present. 

As for the food, all I can say is, wow! I ordered a staple of any breakfast joint: Eggs Benedict. The layers of flavor burst on your taste buds like the yolk does to your fork. Arugula, grilled slices of ham, and pimento cheese smothered with a Hollandaise Sauce that brings this classic to a new level of life. My taste buds were dancing to the rhythm of my chew. The goodness dissipated in a swallow, just to be followed by another explosion of what they call mashbrown.

Every meal should be followed by dessert and their meals are no exception. The AM Bread is served warm with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, like a coffee cake french toast, followed with a sip of their signature Dark Matters Coffee, and the soul is satisfied and ready to take on the challenges of the day. It is a higher price than I would normally spend for breakfast, but worth every penny. This place was a real treat !!

BITE CAFE

1039 N Western Ave

Chicago, IL 60622

Sunday8AM–4PM
5PM–12AM
Monday9AM–4PM
5PM–12AM
Tuesday9AM–4PM
5PM–12AM
Wednesday9AM–4PM
5PM–12AM
Thursday9AM–4PM
5PM–12AM
Friday9AM–4PM
5PM–1AM
Saturday8AM–4PM
5PM–1AM

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You Can’t Help Go Down The Rabbit Hole

Street art graffiti invites you to travel into the rabbit hole and the service, food, laughter and giant Jenga on every table keeps you there.

Front Row Seating to Sports

Six TV screens internally circle the encompassing bar to keep the sports enthusiast satisfied from every angle, while music spirals from one genre to the next with a flow that just keeps the good times rolling. As you walk in, you are greeted by the invitation to play rabbit pong; calling you to drop the days issues at the door and embrace your “you-time”.

Rabbit Pong Champion… Oh yeah!!!
Camron and his Camron Action Figure

Now, the man with the plan to set you on your travels for your your time here is Camron. He has been at this location for 10 years, and basically is contracted with the building because of his dedication to a good time, good food and good service. He is a bartender, manager and community icon. One has to be to work and/or manage this location thru 4 owners. The Current Owner is Chris Ryan, a Chicago Icon of his own. Several long-standing successful bars including The Original Mother’s can be contributed to his involvement. His new investment: The Rabbit Hole, has the ambiance of a local watering pub where friends and neighbors gather to enjoy a moment in life together. I just fell in love with this family style community environment. The bouncer doubles as a game show host to the masses fora game of Hangman as well as greeting everyone and inviting each guest to enjoy a great time.  Upon witnessing his talents, local Katie Umph guessed this puzzle in an impressive time with only 2 letters…how much fun can you have at a neighborhood hangout?

MIlkman Matt

The music that plays in the background is produced by a DJ named Milkman Matt, who milks the artful tastes from the visiting clientele and feeds the souls of the room with a celebration of style that satisfies everyone. If you are in Chicago and want to embrace the excitement of recaptured youth Chicago style, this is a great place to visit! 

The Rabbit Hole

1208 N Wells

Chicago, IL 60608

https://www.therabbitholechicago.com/

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Sculptures From Spills

I had the privilege to meet and amazing local man who has found a way to turn wasteful spillage from a blast furnace into significant art sculptures. His name Is Justin Sule and he is a 3rd generation steel mill worker who has a family history of about 100 years in the industry. He has been working on the blast furnace for 8 years and has a unique eye for opportunity. The above original can be seen anchored to the wall at Zorn Brewery here in Michigan City, IN. Hopefully, he will be also participating in the First Friday Art Walk displaying his artwork for sale. I will keep you all posted !

In short, sometimes the blast furnace acts like a woman with a mind of her own, and when she has an emotional outburst, she splashes molten iron out of the trough and makes a mess of things. When this happens impurities can become imbedded into the cooling splatter and renders it useless. But, with special approval, Justin has been able to take these solid iron quagmires and capture his creative talent turning it into amazing sculptures. It is a long process for each piece to remove the slag, coal, and other impurities with hand grinding and polishing the finished piece by buffing the anomaly into imaginary perfection.

He is married and has full support of his wife but pointed out that his pieces are fairly large and she doesn’t feel it contributes to the modern farm decor she has worked to establish in their home, and this is more an industrial abstract art. That’s ok, she thinks they are an ideal asset to any gallery, business, or man cave setting.

Tragically, his garage caught fire and he lost most of his collection recently, and all his dedicated hard work. No worries he is currently working an a new piece despite the setback, and will be rebuilding his collection to share with the world. I will be excited to see the end product from this rough spoilage. I will update this post with the after picture when it is complete: Here is the rough stuff he is starting out with, or you can find him on instagram: @theironcain.

During my interview with him I found out this is not the only talent he possesses. He is also deemed a Wild Mushroom Identification Expert and goes by the name: @Im_a_fungi_mushrooms on instagram and has a great business offering multiple types of mushrooms including shiitake and oyster – to name a few- for local restaurants and personal purchase: He also offers logs that are infused with spores that you can obtain to start growing your own supply. This is a guy worth taking the time to know and I felt privileged to find this diamond in the rough in our community. I am looking forward to following his progress to success and sharing it with my readers!!

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Dunes Volleyball Club LaPorte IN

When considering activities to get involved in, volleyball is a great social, healthy activity.  In a time where parents are desperately seeking something other than the electronic babysitters: This club offers a great alternative for both boys and girls from ages 8 to 18. The most common concern come with the costs and time involved. With the Club offering 4 different levels of time commitment and cost options, it is a reasonable opportunity to provide team building, social, and competitive skills that encourage continuation into the college community. They have had over 400+ college scholarships offered to participants, and scouts visit regularly. They offer clinics, camps, one-on-one coaching, and team play. From league play to strength and agility training, levels start at a local level with practice once a week and only partake at in-house tournaments, satellite teams practicing at local schools,Sei Travel teams that practice 2 times weekly and travel within a regional area, to National Level teams that practice 3 times a week and travel all over the country. The costs are minimal compared to other sports clubs, and can be covered by parents, community fundraisers, volunteering and scholarships. Just a little effort reduces the cost concern parents may have, making it even more appealing and payment plans are available too !!

Owned and operated for over 30 years by Rick Ashmore, this family owned operated with the help of his daughter Jamie Ashmore and son-in-law Adam, is an amazing facility expanding 50,000 square feet in LaPorte, IN. He started by offering his services at local school gyms and collaborated his services under one roof when he started the Dunes Volleyball Club in Rolling Prairie, IN., which operated for about 12 years until the re-location to 110 Clear Lake Blvd behind the Pine Lake Shopping Center in 2017. The only down fall was the difficulty in parking. The main parking lot along side the building is now blacktopped and wraps around to the front of the building. A second parking lot as been leveled and gravelled and wraps around the outdoor sand courts, offering plenty of parking, and a third lot across the street help cover overflow.

The little things that he has done show his passion for the sport and his compassion for his players. Covered in SnapSports® Sport Court Flooring Tiles: A modular flooring that encompasses shock absorbing technology designed to provide improved performance as well as joint support for athletes.  This Facility has 10 practice courts and 8 courts for tournaments, as well as 2 lighted outdoor sand courts and 2 indoor basketball courts. The facility has also expanded the restrooms to alleviate lines and a quick return to the courts.  The Pro Shop has you covered if a player forgets anything from shoes, kneepads, ankle braces, t shirts, warm-up suits, spandex shorts, to water bottles.

THE FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES

With the need of support and a location for boys volleyball, The Dunes will be adding boys teams…. It’s not just for Girls!!! Consider how many pro-athletes procure their conditioning by participating in beach volleyball during their off seasons. Volleyball builds an athletes vertical, footwork,endurance and court communication. These are skills that can be carried over to the basketball courts. Thus, the reason The Dunes includes 2 basketball courts that are open to schools and local organizations for practices and games. https://doctoryessis.com/2013/09/02/training-for-basketball-and-volleyball/ is a great article of the cross training success of these two sports.

The other need in our community is a healthy alternative for adult social activity. The Dunes is planning to expand in this area to incorporate recreational opportunities with community support. From corporate team building to social meets: what a great way to get some physical activity in and meet others in the area.

Anyone interested in participation on any and all levels should not hesitate to contact The Dunes or just make the leap and sign up !!!!


Rick Ashmore
rashmore@dunes.org 219-861-7122

As the amazing Coach Mathis exclaims,” Volleyball Forever!!”. A follow up blog will be coming soon about this amazing man and his accomplished inspiration to the multitude of players in the area.

Believe in Yourself And Show It With

Believe in Yourself and Promote Yourself

One of the biggest challenges our youth face today in finding their own voice and direction, is self doubt. Our society doesn’t help with this whole mentality of “We’re all Winners!”. No, we’re not; This insights less understanding of the effort it takes to become your very best. Winning may elevate us, but losing is what defines us, because it strengthens our convictions and pushes us to reach a higher potential  As Rasheed Ogunlaru, author of Soul Trader – Putting the Heart Back into Your Business, states, “Champions realize that defeat – and learning from it even more than from winning – is part of the path to mastery.”  In essence, it is more important to teach our youth to learn the lessons of losing with integrity: Teaching humility, and helping them learn how to respond with more effort to ward off the feeling of defeat. When asked how he felt about failing so many times trying to invent the light bulb, Thomas Edison replied, ” I did not fail, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  This is the mindset that helps establish the definition of character and establishes their competitive edge: Not against others, but within themselves, pushing them to give a genuine effort, work harder, learn more about improving yourself, and never give up… to establish their own boundries of determination. 

I Believe Sports is such an organization. With Rumond Pitt providing a Sports Resume for Athletes, he provides written proof of accomplishments, reminding athletes of the struggles, and the payoffs of their efforts. This allows athletes written and visual proof by highlighting they have earned the right to say, I Believe…in who I am, in my ability to overcome, in my success and in my failures… I Believe in me.

This is also a great way for parents to support their kids’ College efforts, and personal growth. Whether athletes are seeking support of a scout recruiter, self-promoting for scholarships on their own with direct contact to coaches, or even just need a simple reminder on their wall of who they are, this is the way to do it with style, class, and success. Provide the stats, social media links thru visibility of athletes in action on youtube or video, as well as a list of accomplishments and awards, can promote a self driven attitude that gets noticed. For under $100, a customized digital file is created to promote athletes in the right way by bringing them the attention they deserve!!!

For established College Athletes and Athletes at any level, seeking sponsorships, moving to the next level(Semi/Pro/Olympic) here or overseas, this is a must have tool to have in your Progression Tool Box of Success.

Contact Rumond and email your information today for a reasonably affordable way to show yourself in the light of “I Believe”!!!

I Believe Sports

℅  Rumond Pitt

Ibelievesports1@gmail.com

Blue Nugget is True Gold

Before you even walk into this shop, there is a scent of an incredible historic tribal essence that calls to your soul, invites you in, and directs you around until you find something that connects with you.  Owner Shera is faithfully here daily and works with meraki and I loved seeing how excited  she gets when explaining the processes of how these items are made: the jewelry, the pottery, metal art, stones. There are just so many things here to choose from!  I had to come back a second time just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. 

Shera Hardy, and daughter Nicky run this magnificent shop with supporting encouragement of her husband Craig. This couple met while she was working and going to school and have been a team ever since. 

Craig’s parents were the turquoise King and Queen of the area, and according to Shera, “If you got any turquoise jewelry during the early 70’s, more than likely, it was mined by them.” With his family history of mining and her dream of having this Native American Jewelry and Decor Establishment, It only made sense that this powerhouse team formed – The Blue Nugget located at the Mammoth Mines in October of 1990, they expanded their space in 1992, and gathering goods from the Navajo, Zuni, Hopi, and Santo Domingo Tribes. 

85% made from Native American, and about 10% are local craftsman stringing the turquoise, bone beads, and other specialized items.  I am so privileged to have met this family business and been surrounded by the spirits of this Blue Nugget Shop.

The Navojo provide the traditional chunky, excentric  pieces and are handcrafted. She has ßome of their most difficult work of bench beads or Navajo Pearls, and the fine details added to these are simply amazing!!  ( Image of beads) 

The Zuni are more ornate and petit point, inlay, and needlepoint craftsman with every piece from the stones,the beads to the settings are all hand-made. 

( Image of beads )

The Hopi is more of a layered etching of silver and with only 45 to 50 silversmiths creating by hand their artistic jewelry designs, the spirit of their genuine passion comes out. Because of the dedication to detail and rarity of the jewelry it may be expensive, but you can truly feel the ambiance of handed down artistry.  (Image of bracelet)

Santo Domingo is her favorite because they use the shells and stones and are made more colorful and can be considered more contemporary.  

This entrepreneurial family has more than one business mastermind. Craig’s passion is the spicy side of life, and he runs the Gidyup Gourmet Shop at the mine which specializes in hot sauces, salsas,  cactus jellies, rubs and more, that tingle your tongue and set your pheonix on fire.

It is wonderful to find someone who has taken the time to connect with the tribes Silversmith’s, learn about their processes, understand the craftsmanship, truly appreciate the value of their work, and share their beauty with the world, how inspiring she is!!

Due to covid 19, she now has items available online; she is learning new ways to adapt and continue sharing this passion. 

This place may be located in a gold mining experience town, but this place is definitely the treasure!

IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR

 Normally, I do not write about Jr Volleyball players, but if you meet this girl you would know why. Filled with the smile of endless possibilities and dreams, inspired by her soulful desire to be the best she can at anything she does, her competitiveness that fuels her to be better than she was yesterday, and a positive attitude of living for the moment: I found it hard not to start off my Pheonix page with anyone else.

Fresh from a tournament on Saturday, Tatum hits the courts with a passion for progression, as dad helps by raking the courts in preparation of the ensuing practice.

She is an ambitious 13 year old who started playing beach volleyball about a year and a half ago, but thinks it’s the greatest thing next to the Acai Banana Berry Bowl from Nekter Juice Bar, which I had to try and it was off the net for sure !

  She is quite the well rounded athlete. With a beginning in gymnastics, and moved into dance in which she infiltrated competition with her genuine passion; she was a success, and as most children do ..on to the next adventure: Softball. She enjoyed the team atmosphere but found it wasn’t her direction, and decided to follow a different path into beach volleyball.  She discovered a fierce passion for the game. It provides everything you need, she says, teamwork, participation, athletic skill, AND it’s a whole lot of fun!! Her dream is to become an olympic player, and then go professional.her approach is more than precision and practice, it is full speed ahead.

Diving into it with both feet, she signed up for RPM Sand in Scottsdale AZ, and Boom! She not only found a sport, but an organization that ignited her heart and soul, and serves her zeal to become a leading professional player. According to Mechelle Voepel of ESPN.com, in February of 2021, The U.S. Athletes Unlimited will be launching an Indoor Women’s Professional League, and I am sure that after the Olympics next year, if the multitude of organizations across the states could come together, it would provide a massive opportunity for pros to play. This definitely looks like a promising direction for her future.

She is one dedicated teen: practicing 4 days a week with RPM( her beach volleyball club), 3 days a week of strength training at EXOS, and private lessons 3-4 days a week. (Not to mention school work and chores) With this kind of focus, she has herself set up for success.

            In her down time, as if she has any, she loves to watch any kind of movies: old movies, new movies, any kind of movie, but her favorite are movies based on real life stories. Something about learning from others life’s experiences, helps to appreciate what she has, expand her reach and drives her ambition. It totally bumps up her focus and awareness of everything life has to offer her.

          Academically, she has the same strive to reach her personal best. Holding a GPA 3.8, and of course her favorite subject is history. This high flyer is killin’ it on every level!

This girl is the epidemy of dedication, focus and direction and will be a force to watch out for in the future. She has goals not dream of becoming a Division 1 player, and ultimately of one the pushing forces in Women’s Professional Beach Volleyball.

I truly enjoyed meeting with her and having the opportunity to see her play, as well as practice. Her passion for the fun of the game is pure joy to the soul, so watch for this girl !!! Follow her on her journey on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/tatumhemenway

Singing From the Heart with Kristen Kuiper

Kristin Kuiper is a GR Original, and has been professionally singing for 10 years. She started publicly singing at the young uninhibited age of 3, and has never stopped.

A Star in the Making

Convincing her brothers to play in her living room band, they would humor her and provide the back up stage for her in house performances, never knowing that this would be her destiny in today’s trying times would come back to the internal share of her soul from her home studio. Church was her main stage as a youth, graduating from College in 2008 in Health Information Technology, and decided to follow her own path in 2010: moving to Nashville where she continued writing and performing everywhere and anywhere she could. She started touring out of monetary necessity, as there were more opportunities to play and more importantly getting paid outside of Nashville.

This increased her fan base as she traveled from Key West to New York, Texas to the Carolina’s, she began to tour and played anywhere who would let her play for eight years. 2018 she moved back home to gather her strength and foundation, and has been non stop ever since. This girl has a voice that comes from deep within her soul and reaches to your very heart. As a woman who plays acoustic guitar, sings and writes her own music, she is unmistakably an accomplished artist. She promised herself she would not do something unless her heart and soul were part of it, and it shows.

Song Writing Talents Collide

John Slaughter was her first singer to buy one of her originals for an album, and has grown to Ashley McBryde who also recorded one of her songs. Ashley needed a song for her class reunion and they collaborated on Fat and Famous, which was co-written with Terri Jo Box, Ashley, and our very own Kristen. She loves being home again and feeling the sensation of being grounded and centered in her journey of endless travels. She says “Performing is like a two way mirror, everyone sees you and remembers you, but you don’t really see them. I just love to hear the stories of how my music has made a difference to someone, or the effects it has had sometime in their life.”

Since the COVID-19 Apocalypse has everyone isolating in their homes, she has found her voice and calling to share her inspirations on the internet. Music is the universal language that unites those who hear the heart spoken messages, and you don’t have to play the album backwards to hear hers. She has been showcased on Skype, YouTube Videos, Private shows in Zoom and for Businesses on Facebook Live. She will be performing tonight live for Shady Creek Winery here in Michigan City, and uniting us with Grand Rapids on a whole new level. Please feel free to join in the virtual Facebook show at 6pm Central Time, (that’s 7 pm GR Time).

Please show support and love to those who put a smile and a song in our hearts and share the love !!!

www.facebook.com/kristenkuiper

www.twitter.com/kristenkuiper

www.instagram.com/kristenkuiper

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAiRJmj5RNa1fmkk7ZXXoFQ

www.kristenkuiper.com

Tip The Band:

Venmo: @KristenKuiper

Paypal: paypal.me/kristenkuiper

CashApp: $KristenKuiper

In These Times…

My heart and soul reach to you with love, light, patience, and kindness. Please step outside for 5 minutes and give yourself a mindful vacation from me. Feel the grass on your feet, close your eyes and feel the embrace of the air as the breeze gently caresses your soul and brings calm. Breathe in thru your nose and sample the flavor of life’s essence from the earth in it’s scent. Exhale out slowly and feel the toxins of stress be released from your body and given back to the earth to be rejuvenated.  Focus your mental eyes on the serenity that is you, and the strength in you will rise. Play your favorite song and give yourself a pat on the back for tackling yet another day and appreciate the grace of knowing you are not alone in this battle. My love, light, strength, and inspiration are there for you in your time of need. You cannot give energy you do not have and the kind of energy needed for this battle is not taken from the souls of others but is given freely from this Earth in abundance. You only have to choose. Find comfort and strength in knowing you are not alone, you are beautiful and amazing!!!