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Resolution vs. Revolution


I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions as the new year approaches and 2014 sets like a beautiful sunset.

During 2014 I feel I have accomplished a great deal. I was the General Manager of a mining company – Alpine Gems, and managed to double revenue from the previous year within six months. But most importantly, I left.

Some of you might think why would you leave when things are going so well? I left because life is more than selling and toiling to produce something. Life is meant to be spent with those you love. I felt I was missing out on my family and my greatest assets – my wonderful wife and kiddos! I was leaving to work early in the morning and usually didn’t get back till after dark. Running Alpine Gems required this workload and it still wasn’t enough. I felt the company was a black hole sucking money and resources and most importantly – time.

I remember the moment I decided to leave. I was always resolved to keep Alpine going and motivated to work my hardest and put my very best foot forward. The moment I realized that I was missing life thinking only of the success of the company. It was at the Iron County Fair. I had reserved a booth to sell my small Wowflutes. I was sitting peacefully and finally relaxed where I could think without being disrupted by customers or some needful thing to be done.

I sat and contemplated. It was wonderful! As I relaxed I sold more Wowflutes and realized it was about people – life is about people. It’s not about money or grand glory or being looked up to. It’s about being there and being available to people. It’s about catering our time around others, striving to spend every waking moment possible with those we love.

My two year old daughter was diagnosed with Ideopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura or ITP back in July. We started to notice how easily she was bruising and during a routine doctor visit they did a blood test and her blood platelets were very low. They checked for Leukemia and luckily the results were negative – but it gave us a real scare. I realized sitting in my Wowflutes booth that I was helping my family with money – but not with the other things a father is supposed to provide.

family 2014


BEING THERE. Being there is key. Sometimes it is easy to get upset with the noise or the loudness of children. But I have been awakened this year of the beauties and blessings that I have because I chose being there. When I left Alpine Gems it was a big disrupt to our financial well being. I had ideas to improve Wowflutes but we still needed a lot of help from family and the church. I am truly grateful for the help we received. It allowed me to focus on research and development of the new Relic Wowflute. My wonderful, thoughtful wife decided that I could move all my business stuffs into an office and she spent a full day moving everything and combining the kids rooms so that I could have an office.

I setup my desk and arranged all my tools and with our last $100 I purchased some materials to make the first precious metal Wowflute. It was a leap of faith. There was no reassurance that everything would work out. A flute had never been made from this material. I didn’t have the proper equipment or the resources to acquire it. My wife was very supportive and we both agreed it was the best decision to leave Alpine Gems.

Through a miracle from God I actually made a working Wowflute out of precious metals. It is a miracle. I used a pottery kiln with no temperature control to fire a mixed metal piece (mokume-gane), which by the way is very susceptible to error. I don’t know why I choose the hardest possible goals to achieve, maybe it’s because I enjoy the challenge. At any rate – I fired my ceramic kiln and after only two tries i had a working prototype! It should not have worked. I took copper, bronze, and steel (two of which have a melting point of less than 1800 degrees F, and I heated them to over 2000 degrees. The copper and bronze should have melted to a puddle. But because of my ignorance and inability to make the mokume-gane swirl patterns I had effectively mixed steel thought the bronze and copper. I had no idea at the time that this would be necessary for the proper sintering of the steel. So yes it was a miracle. And I still wear the first Relic Wowflute around my neck everyday – because I now know how unlikely it is to have worked – and worked so well.

I was resolved to get the Relic Wowflute created and I was driven to produce a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund it and market it. Well guess what? I did it and it was a tremendous success! I raised nearly 255% of my goal. I purchased all the equipment and setup shop in my new office and went at it. The research and development aspect was a huge learning curve – it took me eight 5-9 hour firings to achieve another Mokume-gane Relic Wowflute. Eight times! It only took me twice with the prototype and no temperature control – but with the proper equipment in place it took four times as long…

I entitled this post as Resolution vs. Revolution mainly because I was typing in resolution on my iPhone and it corrected it to revolution. I realized that this was fitting and ironic. I was resolute in my desire to spend more time with my family and that led to a revolution or change to my life. A revolution is defined as “a sudden, complete or marked change in something…” ( Totally coinsides with a resolution to change something! A revolution is the action behind a resolution!

This was an eye opener for me because I did resolve and revolve. The only difference was an “s or v”.

Yes 2014 has been brilliant and has been a great learning experience for me in so many ways. I have grown in my knowledge and grown in my family relations. Since September I have had the joy of spending much more time with the people I love and care about most – my wife and children. I may be the one who goes against the society norm and loathes the rat race, but in the end I won’t have the same regrets as those who fall for that trap. I may have other regrets but who’s to say what those are?

During 2015 I resolve to being there more for my family and living and enjoying each moment as it happens – I resolve to not take advantage of the time and squander it on meaningless pursuits. Life is to be enjoyed, and I intend to enjoy it. It is a revolution.

I was reading a profound and inspired talk given in 2012 by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I suggest you take a moment and read the talk in its entirety below! It is a beautiful nudge and a good awakener for the coming new year.

Of Regrets and Resolutions

By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

The more we devote ourselves to the pursuit of holiness and happiness, the less likely we will be on a path to regrets.

Of Regrets

President Monson, we love you. Thank you for the inspired and historic announcement on the building of new temples and missionary service. Because of them, I’m sure great blessings will come to us and to many future generations.

My dear brothers and sisters, my dear friends! We are all mortal. I hope this does not come as a surprise to anyone.

None of us will be on earth very long. We have a number of precious years which, in the eternal perspective, barely amount to the blink of an eye.

And then we depart. Our spirits “are taken home to that God who gave [us] life.” We lay our bodies down and leave behind the things of this world as we move to the next realm of our existence.

When we are young, it seems that we will live forever. We think there is a limitless supply of sunrises waiting just beyond the horizon, and the future looks to us like an unbroken road stretching endlessly before us.

However, the older we get, the more we tend to look back and marvel at how short that road really is. We wonder how the years could have passed so quickly. And we begin to think about the choices we made and the things we have done. In the process, we remember many sweet moments that give warmth to our souls and joy to our hearts. But we also remember the regrets–the things we wish we could go back and change.

A nurse who cares for the terminally ill says that she has often asked a simple question of her patients as they prepared to depart this life.

“Do you have any regrets?” she would ask.

Being so close to that final day of mortality often gives clarity to thought and provides insight and perspective. So when these people were asked about their regrets, they opened their hearts. They reflected about what they would change if only they could turn back the clock.

As I considered what they had said, it struck me how the foundational principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ can affect our life’s direction for good, if only we will apply them.

There is nothing mysterious about the principles of the gospel. We have studied them in the scriptures, we have discussed them in Sunday School, and we have heard them from the pulpit many times. These divine principles and values are straightforward and clear; they are beautiful, profound, and powerful; and they can definitely help us to avoid future regrets.

I Wish I Had Spent More Time with the People I Love

Perhaps the most universal regret dying patients expressed was that they wished they had spent more time with the people they love.

Men in particular sang this universal lament: they “deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the [daily] treadmill of … work.” Many had lost out on choice memories that come from spending time with family and friends. They missed developing a deep connection with those who meant the most to them.

Isn’t it true that we often get so busy? And, sad to say, we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life.

Is it?

I think of our Lord and Exemplar, Jesus Christ, and His short life among the people of Galilee and Jerusalem. I have tried to imagine Him bustling between meetings or multitasking to get a list of urgent things accomplished.

I can’t see it.

Instead I see the compassionate and caring Son of God purposefully living each day. When He interacted with those around Him, they felt important and loved. He knew the infinite value of the people He met. He blessed them, ministered to them. He lifted them up, healed them. He gave them the precious gift of His time.

In our day it is easy to merely pretend to spend time with others. With the click of a mouse, we can “connect” with thousands of “friends” without ever having to face a single one of them. Technology can be a wonderful thing, and it is very useful when we cannot be near our loved ones. My wife and I live far away from precious family members; we know how that is. However, I believe that we are not headed in the right direction, individually and as a society, when we connect with family or friends mostly by reposting humorous pictures, forwarding trivial things, or linking our loved ones to sites on the Internet. I suppose there is a place for this kind of activity, but how much time are we willing to spend on it? If we fail to give our best personal self and undivided time to those who are truly important to us, one day we will regret it.

Let us resolve to cherish those we love by spending meaningful time with them, doing things together, and cultivating treasured memories.

I Wish I Had Lived Up to My Potential

Another regret people expressed was that they failed to become the person they felt they could and should have been. When they looked back on their lives, they realized that they never lived up to their potential, that too many songs remained unsung.

I am not speaking here of climbing the ladder of success in our various professions. That ladder, no matter how lofty it may appear on this earth, barely amounts to a single step in the great eternal journey awaiting us.

Rather, I am speaking of becoming the person God, our Heavenly Father, intended us to be.

We arrive in this world, as the poet said, “trailing clouds of glory” from the premortal sphere.

Our Heavenly Father sees our real potential. He knows things about us that we do not know ourselves. He prompts us during our lifetime to fulfill the measure of our creation, to live a good life, and to return to His presence.

Why, then, do we devote so much of our time and energy to things that are so fleeting, so inconsequential, and so superficial? Do we refuse to see the folly in the pursuit of the trivial and transient?

Would it not be wiser for us to “lay up for [ourselves] treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal”?

How do we do this? By following the example of the Savior, by incorporating His teachings in our daily lives, by truly loving God and our fellowman.

We certainly cannot do this with a dragging-our-feet, staring-at-our-watch, complaining-as-we-go approach to discipleship.

When it comes to living the gospel, we should not be like the boy who dipped his toe in the water and then claimed he went swimming. As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we are capable of so much more. For that, good intentions are not enough. We must do. Even more important, we must become what Heavenly Father wants us to be.

Declaring our testimony of the gospel is good, but being a living example of the restored gospel is better. Wishing to be more faithful to our covenants is good; actually being faithful to sacred covenants–including living a virtuous life, paying our tithes and offerings, keeping the Word of Wisdom, and serving those in need–is much better. Announcing that we will dedicate more time for family prayer, scripture study, and wholesome family activities is good; but actually doing all these things steadily will bring heavenly blessings to our lives.

Discipleship is the pursuit of holiness and happiness. It is the path to our best and happiest self.

Let us resolve to follow the Savior and work with diligence to become the person we were designed to become. Let us listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As we do so, Heavenly Father will reveal to us things we never knew about ourselves. He will illuminate the path ahead and open our eyes to see our unknown and perhaps unimagined talents.

The more we devote ourselves to the pursuit of holiness and happiness, the less likely we will be on a path to regrets. The more we rely on the Savior’s grace, the more we will feel that we are on the track our Father in Heaven has intended for us.

I Wish I Had Let Myself Be Happier

Another regret of those who knew they were dying may be somewhat surprising. They wished they had let themselves be happier.

So often we get caught up in the illusion that there is something just beyond our reach that would bring us happiness: a better family situation, a better financial situation, or the end of a challenging trial.

The older we get, the more we look back and realize that external circumstances don’t really matter or determine our happiness.

We do matter. We determine our happiness.

You and I are ultimately in charge of our own happiness.

My wife, Harriet, and I love riding our bicycles. It is wonderful to get out and enjoy the beauties of nature. We have certain routes we like to bike, but we don’t pay too much attention to how far we go or how fast we travel in comparison with other riders.

However, occasionally I think we should be a bit more competitive. I even think we could get a better time or ride at a higher speed if only we pushed ourselves a little more. And then sometimes I even make the big mistake of mentioning this idea to my wonderful wife.

Her typical reaction to my suggestions of this nature is always very kind, very clear, and very direct. She smiles and says, “Dieter, it’s not a race; it’s a journey. Enjoy the moment.”

How right she is!

Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey. I don’t go cycling with my wife because I’m excited about finishing. I go because the experience of being with her is sweet and enjoyable.

Doesn’t it seem foolish to spoil sweet and joyful experiences because we are constantly anticipating the moment when they will end?

Do we listen to beautiful music waiting for the final note to fade before we allow ourselves to truly enjoy it? No. We listen and connect to the variations of melody, rhythm, and harmony throughout the composition.

Do we say our prayers with only the “amen” or the end in mind? Of course not. We pray to be close to our Heavenly Father, to receive His Spirit and feel His love.

We shouldn’t wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available–all the time! Life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect. “This is the day which the Lord hath made … ,” the Psalmist wrote. “Rejoice and be glad in it.”

Brothers and sisters, no matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it.

Perhaps we should be looking less with our eyes and more with our hearts. I love the quote: “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”

We are commanded “to give thanks in all things.” So isn’t it better to see with our eyes and hearts even the small things we can be thankful for, rather than magnifying the negative in our current condition?

The Lord has promised, “He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold.”

Brothers and sisters, with the bountiful blessings of our Heavenly Father, His generous plan of salvation, the supernal truths of the restored gospel, and the many beauties of this mortal journey, “have we not reason to rejoice?”

Let us resolve to be happy, regardless of our circumstances.

Of Resolutions

One day we will take that unavoidable step and cross from this mortal sphere into the next estate. One day we will look back at our lives and wonder if we could have been better, made better decisions, or used our time more wisely.

To avoid some of the deepest regrets of life, it would be wise to make some resolutions today. Therefore, let us:

•Resolve to spend more time with those we love.

•Resolve to strive more earnestly to become the person God wants us to be.

•Resolve to find happiness, regardless of our circumstances.

It is my testimony that many of the deepest regrets of tomorrow can be prevented by following the Savior today. If we have sinned or made mistakes–if we have made choices that we now regret–there is the precious gift of Christ’s Atonement, through which we can be forgiven. We cannot go back in time and change the past, but we can repent. The Savior can wipe away our tears of regret and remove the burden of our sins. His Atonement allows us to leave the past behind and move forward with clean hands, a pure heart, and a determination to do better and especially to become better.

Yes, this life is passing swiftly; our days seem to fade quickly; and death appears frightening at times. Nevertheless, our spirit will continue to live and will one day be united with our resurrected body to receive immortal glory. I bear solemn witness that because of the merciful Christ, we will all live again and forever. Because of our Savior and Redeemer, one day we will truly understand and rejoice in the meaning of the words “the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.”

The path toward fulfilling our divine destiny as sons and daughters of God is an eternal one. My dear brothers and sisters, dear friends, we must begin to walk that eternal path today; we cannot take for granted one single day. I pray that we will not wait until we are ready to die before we truly learn to live. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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100 Million Just in Our Galaxy!

This morning I was reading about Carl Sagan and how he has influenced the scientific world with starting SETI. I also was thinking how naive it is for some people to think that we are the only form of intelligent life in the universe. Take a moment and read through this article!  Our galaxy is dinky in the grand scheme of the universe!

100 Million Worlds

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Utah UFO Fest


This is a shot I got at night with my bro while we were passing through Ely, Nevada. It was somewhat strange that the road leading out of town lead to complete blackness after the streetlights faded.

I am excited to be a Co-Founder of Utah’s first UFO Fest that will be held in Cedar City next August 19-23rd, 2015.

It amazes me how much evidence that is readily available that shows there is a real anomaly occurring all over the world that is not fully recognized or understood. Many people in Utah think of the UFO question as taboo or as a means to take advantage of the misinformed. This is why we are planning the UFO fest. To get people to talk about the topic in a public discussion that hopefully will not feel out of place.

Can’t wait to go to UFO Congress down in Tucson, AZ this February!


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How I got my Kickstarter funded

The Relic Wowflute - Funding till this Saturday!


Many people dream of creating something awesome but think they do not have the resources to do it.  I am one of those people.  I dream of creating all sorts of awesome products – and now I have the resources to do it every time.

I was introduced to Kickstarter back in 2012 in a marketing class that I took from Ellen Treanor at SUU.  We surfed Kickstarter in class and found lots of cool products that were not yet on the market.  This is when I decided that I would use Kickstarter as a marketing tool to spread the word about my product the Wowflute.

While attending SUU I also decided I no longer wanted to get a specific degree that I had to jump through hoops for.  I was on course for a general studies degree with a focus on Engineering Technology.  When I started taking classes in what I wanted it was eye opening and such a better way to go through college.  As a capstone project I chose to design a 3D printed version of my popular Wowflute.  I designed a makeshift one and got it 3D printed and it worked quite well.  I got a good grade and graduated in the spring of 2012.

In early 2013, I finally decided to pursue my Wowflutes on a full-time basis and decided to kick-start my first manufactured product on Kickstarter.  I spent many long hours describing the product and the process and figuring out rewards levels.  I had my brother-in-law make a short video and I posted the Kickstarter and then went on family vacation to Disneyland.  I was somewhat naive when it cam to crowdfunding and I figured once the content was up that was that.  Needless to say my project did really well the first three days and the last three days but was completely dead in terms of backers in the middle of a 30 day project.  I came only halfway to reaching my goal of $4,500.

I was somewhat perplexed as to why I didn’t reach the goal so I decided to relaunch the project for only one week.   I also lowered the goal to $2,000.  I still had access to all the backers of the original campaign, so after the relaunch I asked them all to come back and back the project again.  They did and to my amazement, my project was funded within two days.  This put the project on the radar of more backers because it landed in the popular section and was easy to find throughout the campaign.  I ended up getting it funded at about 172% of the goal of $2,000 which was very close to my original project goal.  During the week of the relaunch I also spent every waking moment pushing the link everywhere on facebook, twitter, instagram, and other social media sites.  That is how I got my Kickstarter funded the first time.

Since this learning experience I have tried to look at Kickstarter as a great marketing tool for projects rather than a crowdfunding platform.  Having a Kickstarter really pushes you to get the word out and to spread links everywhere for your project.  It really is a lot of work, but it’s very beneficial especially when your project is a success.  But even if your project draws only a small audience do not dismiss that audience!  Those backers are interested in your project and you should keep them in the loop.

My most recent Kickstarter Project for the Relic Wowflute has been very similar to my first campaign I ever did.  I pushed and pushed links everywhere and attempted to write blog entries and create some good content outside of kickstarter to point back to the project.  The funding went really well for about two weeks and then the curve flatlined.  It was odd because I had been getting a lot of traffic and the flatline was sudden at around 54% funded.  I had a loyal backer that suggested making a mokume-gane swirl Relic out of Gold and Iron but I had not done a whole lot of research with gold and was reluctant to work with such an expensive material.

After much deliberation I decided to cancel the project three days before it ended.  I had done some research and found I could save quite a bit of money on the project by making some of the needed equipment myself.  So I relaunched almost immediately with the goal cut by half to $2,500 and offered the Gold version as a much anticipated new reward.  I also went with a shortened project time of one week.  The response was phenomenal and the project was funded by one backer who went for the gold.  I was taken aback.  I learned to listen and apply suggestions from backers especially when they are very specific ones.

My Kickstarter project this time around is currently at around 225% funded with a good four days remaining.  I am grateful for the loyal backers that came back even though I canceled the first time around.  Is Kickstarter easy? No.  Does it take tons of work? Yes. Anyone whom thinks that Kickstarter is a way for people to get handouts is kidding themselves – it is not a money grab.  I plan on launching every new Wowflute Designs project on Kickstarter in the future, mainly because it works and pushes me to build an audience for each and every product.  That is how I got my Kickstarter funded.

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Mokume-Gane – Wood Grain Metal


This morning I have been researching the art of Japanese Mokume-Gane, pronounced moe-koo-may gah-nay.  Mokume-Gane literally translates to Wood Eye-Metal.  This represents it’s similarities to wood grain.  While doing research I came across an extensive history of Mokume-Gane by James E. Binnion who has mastered the art in his jewelry pieces.

The Mokume-Gane process was invented by a Denbei Shoami (1651-1728) who was a master smith from Akita prefecture Japan.

Mokume-Gane Ring by James Binnion Metal Arts

I have been making many Mokume-Gane style Swirl Wowflutes by mixing many different colors of polymer clay such as Sculpey III, Fimo, and Premo brands.  I take four or so different colors of clay and roll them out into “snakes” which I then twist together to form what looks like a giant candycane.  I then divide this cane in half, into fourths, eighths, and sixteenth equal segments.  Each segment is then rolled and twisted into itself until a desired design is achieved.  I then proceed to take each ball and make it into a pinchpot bowl with a bit of extra clay left at the bottom.  Since I have been making these Swirl Wowflutes for almost 10 years, my fingers are accustomed to the required thickness to make the chamber the right size.  The top rim of the mini-bowl is then carefully closed off and is shaped into the mouthpiece.  I then shape this hollow form into the kidney shape the produces the best tone.  At this stage I stamp the flute and tune each one in relation to the inner chamber size.  I almost enjoy making the different colors as much as I do making and tuning the flute.  If the color mixture isn’t right I will smash a perfectly tuned flute.  I am also quite reluctant to smash a nice swirl design even if the sound of the flute isn’t the greatest.

I am really excited to pursue metalwork and I feel this is the direction that Wowflute Designs is headed.  Clay is very versatile, but metal has intrinsic value where clay does not.  I have always been a coin collector and have been interested in the minting process since I was a child.  I still have my original coin collection which includes tons of wheat pennies, and drummer back quarters (bicentennial).  I think this fascination with coins and making something that lasts more than a lifetime is the drive that keeps me pursuing metalwork and combining it with my popular Wowflutes!

Mokume-Gane has so many similarities to my current flutes made out of clay.  I can’t wait to learn more about this Japanese method while creating awesome Relic Wowflutes!

I will keep this blog updated as I delve deeper into the art and science of Metalwork!  Thanks for following.

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Link Finds the Relic

Pocket Ocarina lets you play like Link wherever you go!

Today I was thinking about all the things that have inspired me as a flute maker.  The most influential people would have to be my High School Ceramics teachers Suzi Gonzales and Brian Jensen.  Brian gave me a sheet on how to make whistles out of clay and I was mesmerized! Suzi put up with loud shrieking sounds as I added some kind of whistle or flute to every assignment for three years.

I have to give credit where credit is due: Link the main playable character in the Nintendo game Zelda was a huge inspiration.  I had a friend that said I should make an ocarina like the one in Zelda: Ocarina of Time which I proceeded to do.

I also had the Gameboy game Zelda: Links Awakening which was an intense game that incorporated all sorts of instruments.  Link always carried an ocarina in his gear to play tunes on that would carry him to certain places depending on the tune.  It was also pivotal in completing the game because Link used the ocarina to wake the windfish after all the nightmares had been destroyed.

So, yes the Nintendo Zelda games have been very influential in the creation of Wowflutes.  So I have included a short little animation with a song from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Lost Woods) played in the background on the Relic Wowflute.  Just learned this song today!

Link Finds the Relic!

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Jump off the Cliff already


“Jump off the cliff, and build your wings on the way down.” – Ray Bradbury

This morning I came across this quote by Ray Bradbury.  I have read many of his books but I have never heard this saying of his.  I completely agree with it.  There is no good time to start until you start.  Jumping off a cliff is a great metaphor because it is something that we as humans have an innate fear of.  I remember my first time repelling as a boy scout.  The anticipation of the repel was the worst.  Hiking up around the backside of the hill knowing that I would be dangling 60-80 feet in the air was exciting, exhilarating, and terrifying at the same time.  I was with experienced individuals that knew what they were doing but they were not the one making the decisions as they told me to put my back to the edge of the cliff and lean out into the void nothingness.  My heart skipped and thumped wildly at the prospect of depending on a small rounded nylon cord for my life and enjoyment.

At the edge of the cliff, the fears come flowing all at once – everything you have ever been told about falling to your death, screams squelched inside.  Then you take that leap of faith and lean into the strength of the rope and become horizontal with the wall of the cliff.  It’s an amazing experience.  The cliff wall then becomes your stomping ground.  Once you have breached the threshold all the fear dissipates.  The fear wasn’t real, it was just there to stop you from acting.  Now that you have done it the fear has failed in it’s purpose to hold you back.

I am in no way suggesting you jump off the cliff without a thorough knowledge and understanding of the pros and cons.  But in reality, one learns the most through doing.  Jump off the cliff, and build your wings on the way down.  We all are at different points in our life, and I think we reach many cliff edges all the time.  Mini fears that keep us from achieving awesomeness.  I would say eighty percent of the time people shirk because of the fear.  The mere twenty percent that take the plunge find out they weren’t at all prepared, but they are better for doing it.

I was never prepared to leave a good paying job to pursue my desires of making my ideas and ideals a reality.  I was never prepared to have to depend on others so much.  I was never prepared to jump off the cliff, and I don’t think anyone is.  But the reality of knowing what I know now and being what I am now has convinced me that I will jump every time in a split second.

Become a backer of my Kickstarter – The Relic Wowflute today!

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Playing the Relic in the Desert

Selfie in the Desert

My family and I took a trip down to Mesa, AZ to visit family and we had a blast!  We always drive straight through but this time we took a few days to travel down.  With Four kiddos, five and under, long trips seem to be longer.  We have to stop for potty breaks, diaper changes, and snacks.

The Relic goes everywhere with me!

Fortunately many of those stops entailed beautiful desert vistas including the 54 miles along US Route 93 northwest of Phoenix between the historic mining town of Wickenburg and the tiny town of Wikieup.  Here the Joshua Forest Scenic Parkway crosses the blurred boundary between the Sonoran and Mojave deserts in western Arizona.

I played the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly on the Relic Wowflute and got a few crazy pictures! We also stopped by the famous Nothing, AZ which is now something – they have installed a large cell-tower just behind the landmark, dilapidated Nothing sign.

Thanks to all our backers so far for sharing our project! We are now almost 50% funded with ten days to go!  I am confident that We can get this project funded and I can get to making some awesome Relic Wowflutes!

Nothing, AZ is Something Now

Joshua Forest Scenery

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Don’t Become a Chunky Prairie Dog

My wife and I had the opportunity to visit The Sonoran Desert Museum in Tuscon, AZ a few years back.  While there we came across the Prairie Dog “exhibit”.

It was hilarious, we had a good laugh while we took these pictures.  The holes in the ground for their dens were massive, and I am sure they didn’t do the digging as their paws looked useless with curled claws…  What we took from this was that yes, their life was easy – but was it?  In actuality it was probably very hard for them to be in that environment.  Nothing to do but eat, sleep, and sit there.  They weren’t happy.  They weren’t empowered to create for themselves because they were in bondage – not free to create their surroundings and defend their burrows that they worked especially hard at.

I think much happiness and fulfillment comes from an ability to accomplish a task and create something useful.  Bringing a product to market takes much creativity and once accomplished brings much fulfillment and happiness to not only the creators but all those who benefit from its use in their lives.

My wife and I have been thinking a lot lately on what makes a product and brand popular (maybe more me!).  I have studied many examples including Walt Disney and Apple and the creative abilities of Steve Jobs and Walt Disney.

One of the main reasons their products were so successful is because they were trained towards optimism and looking at failure as opportunities.  When they hit walls, whether it be financial or otherwise, rather than stopping, they found a way over, under, through, or around with creativity.

Being human is also having the innate desire and ability to create.  Creativity as defined by is “The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, originality, progressiveness, or imagination.”

I think creativity hits the target for both Walt Disney and Steve Jobs.  The word create means to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.

Our goal and the “Why” here at Wowflutes is to instill and inspire others to create!  By creating a simple product, the Wowflute, that can be carried anywhere, and is easily played with a unique, simplified, fingering method, one can create music wherever they may be.

You, our customer will be inspired to not only create music but to look at your own ability to create and bring about ways to conquer the walls placed in your path.  That is what we are striving for.  To awaken those who are sleeping giants – the next Steve Jobs or Walt Disney could be you!

Anyways, those are our rambling thoughts for today.  Have a great day and find something to create!

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Cleverness of the Musician!

Creativity needs to be applied in how and where we play our instruments as well as the sounds!

I think the Musician Leonhard Paul has achieved this feat and gone beyond!  I was perusing through The Ocarina Network and found a link to this video.  I think that being a musician in the age of YouTube and social sharing requires humor to be involved.  Humor shows a level of cleverness that people recognize and want.  The word Clever means showing inventiveness and originality.  I think that describes this short act exactly.

So think outside the box and add a bit of cleverness to whatever you do.  This is easier said than done, but if it is your passion that you apply it to it will be easy.  I have strived for this within my own studio Wowflute Designs – I create clever and creative ocarinas!  Many times when I am selling my small wowflutes or deomnstrating them I get the saying “well, that’s clever” or “Wow.”  I decided since I hear these words so much that I should use them in my marketing strategies.  I have applied both to the name of my business and our tagline and it has made a world of difference.  Cleverness when applied correctly will keep you customer involved and interested – even if it is just for a short period of time.


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Action – Go Do It – Go To It – Get it Done

Action at the Tuacahn

Today on my drive to the Tuacahn I had a bunch on my mind.  The sunrise was a great sight and I decided I want to see more of those.  I guess ever since I heard the saying “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese…”, I felt that maybe getting up early and being early doesn’t always pay.  But I think the second mouse is the exception.  I have accomplished a lot in my life because I decided to take action and do immediately, rather than wait and see.  Sometimes it can seem impulsive, but when I get inspiration to do something I do it, I take action.   I have learned that when I act quickly, good things happen.  “Procrastinate Later” – I read that on a bumper sticker when I was a kid and it has just stuck with me.  If you are not going to take action at least put-off procrastination.
My family and I were supposed to head out of town down to see family in Mesa, AZ on Wednesday but I just didn’t feel right about going at the last minute and my wife and I decided to leave after the Saturday Tuacahn sales.  We took action.
This morning I nearly sold out of my Swirl Wowflutes at the Tuacahn Saturday Market. The Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George brought in lots of new visitors and the Tuacahn must’ve done some heavy advertising because it was packed!  The weather was perfect and I had a new marketing strategy to implement.  It was busy from start to finish.
I reflected on how I almost missed my personal best sales day at the Tuacahn if I hadn’t chosen to stick around for the market and take action. I believe that God inspired us in small ways and promptings, the more I listen and do the easier it gets to hear and listen.

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NYC Wowflute Story – One of Many




I woke up from the dream super excited and ready to face the noise and frustration of the New York City subway system. Then I remembered that I was still in Yorktown, New York working in the small town of Peekskill that bordered the Hudson. My dream was so vivid, it was like I was actually there. The subtle squeaking sounds as the subway rocked back and forth on the tracks, the rushing wind of close walls that solidified the illusion of speed. The smells of strong perfume that kept the other raunchy smells at bay, but one could still sense them. The details of the lighting were bright, too bright for being deep under the city. The shifty movements of people trying to look comfortable but still cramped and annoyed was amusing. We were about to break the silence with a song. My friend with me was the only missionary that would ever dare to sing along as I played hymns on a pocket flute that I had developed while on my mission. All of these details were strong afterimages from my eyelids when I woke.

I was working as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and had been for the past twenty months. I had come out here from a small town in Southern Utah called Cedar City where the stars turned out to be real instead of suddenly blinking and slowly turning into airplanes. The past months had been the most amazing adventure, it felt like a whole other lifetime. I had met some strong people and the depth of my understanding of the human condition, struggles, and life had broadened. I felt truly energized when going over the dream again in my mind. Life didn’t have to be as hard as some of the ones I’d seen. Lives broken from drugs and violence, the young straddled with huge responsibilities when at the same time in my own history I was wondering which lawn to mow to get an extra $10 bucks for junk food. I thought on the dream. In that dream I had played hymns on the little pocket flute that I had developed while serving up in Danbury, CT. I had never learned hymns on it and suddenly it dawned on me that I needed to learn some.

I snapped back to my room. My alarm clock would be going off in about fifteen minutes and I reached over to shut it off. I didn’t want to wake anyone else too soon. My apartment was the basement of a home in Yorktown and we drove into Peekskill each morning to contact people and knock doors. We would park the car and hoof it to each house, which if you’ve ever been to Peekskill you will know it is no walk in the park. All the roads are very steep with stairs leading to older remodeled victorian homes that stand tall and are painted fancy colors on the trims. People were very nice in Peekskill and just when I felt comfortable that is when everything seems to change.

I had been planning on finishing my remaining four months of my mission in Peekskill because I had just been transferred here a couple of weeks ago. That is why my dream felt so weird. It felt real. I felt I was going to be in the city – just because of that dream. Since that dream I had sounded out many familiar hymns on my pocket flute and was in the process of perfecting them. But reality was. I was in Peekskill.

An evening a week later abruptly ended my time in Peekskill. I was at our apartment finishing planning the following day and had just spoken to several of our appointments. I answered the phone when it rang and my mission president, Nelson Boren, was on the other line. He said I was just the person he wanted to talk to. There was a missionary in the city that needed to be emergency transferred and he wanted me to take his spot – in the city. Harlem to be exact.

I was so excited! Hands down the city was the place to be – Manhattan was where I had started my mission nearly two years earlier and now I had the chance to go back and see the changes. See the people I had helped in finding happiness and peace in their lives. I hung up the line and told everyone in the apartment that I was transferring to the city in the morning and needed to pack. The next morning was a blur. A missionary couple came to pick me up. I said by to my roommates and by to the hudson and by to Yorktown and Peekskill and hello to the Bronx, then Manhattan and then I arrived in my last and final service area – Black Harlem!

My missionary companion was a Scott Alger who was quite new and had just transferred to Harlem from the Bronx. He was an easy going fellow who was optimistic of the future – Just like me. We had worked in the same zone in the Bronx and I was glad to be able to work and teach with him. I made missionary work fun, because I figured if it wasn’t fun, I wasn’t having fun and I couldn’t share the happiness I felt if I was always drained of fun. We came up with clever ways to teach the gospel including chess contacting in the parks. We would just join in on a tournament and would start up conversations with everyone. Not religious conversation. Just casual conversation to let people know that we were people too and weren’t always there to convert them to our way of thinking and ideas. We would join in on the corner with the flower guy beating drums and I’d play my flute and follow along.

We got up very early each morning and hit-up the subway to catch all the family oriented folks that were commuting to work. One morning as we were sitting on the subway Scott whispered to me that I should start playing a hymn on my flute and that he would sing along. So I started playing and he was singing along and the light was bright even though we were deep underground. There was subtle squeaking sounds as the subway rocked back and forth on the tracks, the rushing wind and close walls that solidified the illusion of speed. The smells of strong perfume that kept the other raunchy smells at bay. The shifty movements of people trying to look comfortable but still cramped and annoyed… I went silent.

I will always remember that moment. It was then that I knew I was exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing. It involved a small little flute that my mission president encouraged me to make and a vivid dream that I wrote down in detail.

I have been back from my mission for nearly eight years now and life has been a blast.  I have a wonderful wife and five kiddos who support me in all that I do.  I decided to pursue a life as the Designer / Founder of Wowflutes because there is more to the story than just making a cool pocketable instrument.  Sometimes it feels strange doing something that everyone else seems to be opposed to.  I get that exhilarating feeling again and again and the inspiration just flows when I focus on Wowflutes.  Life has a way of being exactly what you want even if it’s a dream.

One of my first Wowflutes made out in Manhattan – Spanish Harlem.


Art is everywhere in New York City!
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Four Hour Reading


So last night I fell asleep quite early on my recliner in the living room, around nine o’clock or so. I woke up around eleven and for some reason was wide awake. I felt as if I had slept the whole night!

I climbed the stairs to my room and my wife was already asleep – mostly.

I remembered that I had bought a book for my nook app on my iPhone that I had been wanting to read for a long time – “The Four Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris

I opened my app and began reading… Four hours later, almost, I didn’t realize how quickly the time flew by. I was enjoying the concepts and ideas in Tim’s book so much. He talks a lot about how to work smarter rather than harder. Hard work is important, but if it’s hard because you don’t know how to do it – that’s just a pure waste of time. Especially if someone already knows how to do it and is an expert. Experts have just gone through all the mistakes before and found out what didn’t work.

I was thinking about how there are always lateral choices in the decision making process. I have always said that there is a whole alphabet of choices not just a or b. Then it hit me last night that there are numerous alphabets in numerous different languages as well, that leads to an abundance of choices!

Choices are good.  I sometimes struggle with making decisions mainly between two good choices.  I have found that making quick choices leads to either finding a better choice more quickly or being happy with your choice.  Life is about choices big and small.  Everyday we are bombarded with choices: What to eat, should I go to work, how many cookies should I eat… ect, ect, ect…  Some choices are easier when we have already made them in advance.  This mainly is applicable to avoiding wrong choices and situations.  I am reminded of the song by the group BNL – “Never is Enough”.  I think never is enough for many of the choices that one may face.

Choose the Right is a major teaching tool with my LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) faith.  Choosing is critical to advancing life and choosing the right is key.  I also think choosing the wrong sometimes helps us to understand a bit better why it is wrong.  Now I don’t condone choosing the wrong on purpose, but if we never choose we do not go anywhere.  The choice is the first step in a certain direction.  So choose quickly and decide as you go whether it was a good choice or not.  Chances are the first choice is usually your best!

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Designing Dual-Functionality


I was thinking about how the design process works when dealing with a new product.  This is my favorite part of the design process is figuring out how something works or why it works.  I think this is how every discovery is made.  First you think about something and say  “wouldn’t it be cool if it had this feature…?”.

I have been working in my new ceramic studio for the past couple of weeks designing and refining new products for my business Wowflutes. The concept of Wowflutes is built on the idea of dual-functionality in each creation.  I try to think of something somewhat mundane, like a mug for instance, and make it into a new product with a musical twist.  I have been working on refining my design of the Wowflute Mug.  I first throw a simple cylinder on the wheel, cut it off and let it dry to leatherhard.

Then I take my trimming tools and trim it like a standard mug.  After trimming I take a needle tool and cut in half about 2/3rds from the top.  I then fashion the flute mechanisms into the bottom part of the mug and using knitting needles I create an airflow channel through the top 2/3rds of the mug and make this the mouthpiece.  I then cutout a traced circle of the mug piece and add a flattened mid-section that serves as a false bottom to the mug and a top for my closed vessel whistle that is in the bottom portion.

Then it is on to tuning the mug by putting the proper amount and size of holes in relation to the size of the chamber.  After it is tuned to play the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly with the proper fingering to match my tableture notation it is ready for a handle!

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Relic Wowflutes

Rough Polished Relic Wowflute

Our new Relic Wowflute Ocarina will be coming soon!  We are still in the development stage and are working on producing a Kickstarter campaign!  Keep your eyes peeled.


We have launched our Kickstarter Campaign and with the first day we have gotten over 20% funded!  Yay!  The Relic Wowflute is a very in-depth process.  We first start out with a powdered metal.  We used Hadar’s Clay because it seemed less commercialized.  Hadar’s Clay was a great choice because it allowed for much more versatility and control over the consistency of the clay.

Metal clay is quite interesting to work with.  As I was shaping a Relic, the water would flow towards gravity and would pool there.  The top would dry out quickly but the bottom would still be wet.  It definitely will be a  learning curve that I am willing to take the time to develop!

Mirror Finish Relic Wowflute

In the Kiln