Update on Depression and fighting back (Finding your passion)

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As many people know, I don’t like to hold back on what’s going on in my life, especially in hopes that it helps someone else out in their own life.

On a previous post I talked about how I fell into a deep depression. It covered me up like a dark cloud, that even the brightest sun couldn’t penetrate through. All I wanted was light to come back into my life but I just felt stuck.

I had a great career in real estate, a beautiful wife, a relationship with our savior Jesus and an amazing family. What the heck was wrong with me!?!?

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The only thing that would let me escape from my dark cloud was fly fishing with my wife, friends and family. It was the one place I was able get away from suicidal thoughts and feelings of hopelessness. It was a place of comfort and finally a little peace from my destructive thoughts.

I knew it was just an escape and didn’t solve anything but it’s what I needed to survive at the time.

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So let’s fast forward to the present and talk about getting that light back :). Well it’s been one year since my darkest days and let’s just say I am alive again. It took a lot of work and taking big steps but I am the happiest I have been since the depression cloud hit me like a ton of bricks.

Steps I took to get out of my depression:

1. Go get some medical help.

I was so against going to the doctor at first. It made me feel weak inside. It was the worst thing I could of tricked my self into believing. I needed medicine and needed medicine fast. My doctor prescribed me lexapro for my everyday medicine and Klonopin for when I had anxiety attacks. It didn’t feel like it was working at all but with time it started working great. So don’t give up on it because you don’t get instant gratification. Don’t stop taking it just because you feel better. I did this mistake and I started to fall back into the sickness of depression.

2. Follow your dreams and find away to make money at it. 

I started to think about other people more than myself. What was I doing when people around me felt the most alive???? I was taking them fly fishing! Getting them outside! Finding a refuge for their everyday stressful days.

That’s when I decided I wanted to be a fly fishing guide. Not the typical guide but an outstanding guide that would give my clients an amazing break from their everyday life. A guide that would listen to their life story,love on them and most of all serve them with all I have inside of me.

I would share the overflowing, abundant love, of what God was blessing me with and give that to my clients. I will be an extension of God’s grace, Love, and listening ear to the people I was guiding for that day. Not to only be their guide for the day but to develop an everlasting friendship.

I pray for my clients everyday without even knowing them. I pray for their day to be wonderful in a way that they wouldn’t of even imagined. I pray for their needs of the day to come way before mine.

I am finally in a career that I know I am supposed to be doing and I feel alive when I wake up in the morning.

3. Fix the things in your life that make you stressed. 

Let’s be completely honest with each other. We all have bad habits and seem to repeat them. Really work on the things that make you stressed and fix them. One of the things that I repeat over and over again that stresses me out is trying to please everyone. By pleasing everyone you aren’t helping anyone. I had to learn to say no and learn to stand up for myself. This has helped me a lot in knowing who I really am and love the person I am. If you know something is wrong, speak up and educate the world. It also helps with knowing your true friends because they stand by you no matter what.

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4. Stay active and connect with great people regularly.

This one is really hard when you are depressed. All you want to do is be alone and that is the worst thing you can do. Try to push yourself into a new or old healthy hobby. Connect with friends on a daily basis. Don’t get into watching TV, Jealously, or comparing your life to others on facebook or any other social media platform. Go outside and feel the sun rays, the wind and the sounds of this world. It will make you feel way more alive than staying inside listening to your negative thoughts.

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5. Be honest with your family about what’s going on and keep in constant contact with people you look up to. 

The quicker you can bite your depression in the butt, the better! The longer it goes on it will be harder to break out of. Let your family, spouse, or friends know what’s going on and lean on them for support. Nobody that truly loves you wants you to suffer with depression. They will help you get through it and hopefully be understanding.

My grandparents are a huge inspiration to me and I would lean on them for inspiration on a daily basis. They have been married for 58 years and I wish that on my marriage everyday! They are great people for me to talk to when I’m feeling down. They instantly pick my spirits up with their loving and caring hearts towards me.

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I really hope this post is an inspiration to someone out there. Know that you don’t have to be stuck in the dark cloud and their is a way out. I pray for your recovery and hope the very best for your life.

Thanks for following my life and I am so grateful for your love and support.

Where in Montana should I fly fish? (Best places in Montana to fly fish)

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I get this question a lot and I love answering it. I’m a explorer at heart and have been to all of the popular rivers in Montana and even a lot of the ones off the beaten path.

If I could only fish 5 rivers in Montana these would be them:

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#1 The mighty Missouri River!

I love this river with a passion. Huge fish and some of the most fun fish to catch. It’s a tailwater so you can fish it all year round with great success.

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#2 The Beaver Head

This is my new favorite river in Montana for when I have time off. It’s a small meandering river that is very technical but so fun. Lots of people but doesn’t seem to bother you as long as you remember they are just trying to have fun like you.

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#3 The river I guide the most… The Big Horn River!

This river is a fish producing river. It has thousands of fish per mile and they love to eat. It’s a great river to spend a lot of time on. You get great dry fly hatches, streamer action and tons of fish on nymphs. Also being that it’s on crow indian reservation you won’t see much development at all. It’s like being back in time.

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#4- South Fork of the Flathead

If your idea of fishing is crystal clear water, rapids, big cutthroat and occasionally a bull trout by accident, this is the place to go. I can’t say enough about the beauty of this place. It’s something for you to see for yourself.

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#5- The Madison River

If you haven’t heard or fished the famous salmon fly hatch, well you need to! This river is absolutely amazing! My favorite water is the upper Madison. It literally is the river of a billion riffles. Everywhere you look you will want to put a cast in it!

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Well, I sure hope this helps you out in your fly fishing journeys in Montana! I hope you get to experience it with a loved one or a great friend. Hopefully I’ll be able to guide you on one of these rivers sometime in the future!

Have a blessed day!

What should I tip my fly fishing guide?

Let me first explain how the guide world works in Montana.

Every guide has to work under an outfitter until he or she gets enough trips under their belt. To become an outfitter the guide must also pass a test and many other determining factors.

So when you hire a guide for $450 a day the outfitter takes a good portion of that amount off the top.

Then the guide is responsible for lunches ($20), flies, ($20), shuttle ($22 to $35), gas ($30-$70), tippet and leaders ($20), and drinks and ice ($15). Also general maintenance, taking care of broken rods, and other miscellaneous.

So at the end of the day, the tip from your clients really offsets those expenses. We really depend on it to help out with bills and normal living expenses .

Im writing this post to educate clients in knowing the importance of tipping your guide at the end of the day.

You might be thinking what is a good tip. When I talk to other guides and also from my own experience I believe a $100 dollar tip is a great tip for a one day fly fishing trip. I have received a lot more and a little less.

I know tips is a weird topic for some but the truth is it shouldn’t be. Tips really help people out and I want my clients to know what is normal that way they know before hiring me.

I hope this makes sense and helps people out.

Have a great day and go catch lots of fish :)!!

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How to catch a lot of fish when you hire a fly fishing guide. (Fly Fishing with a guide)

Big Horn River Brown Trout. www.MontanaMatt.com

Big Horn River Brown Trout. http://www.MontanaMatt.com

It’s time to plan your vacation. You have new hopes and dreams of catching that fish of a lifetime or maybe it’s your first time fly fishing ever. It takes a lot of time planning and getting ready for your trip and I am sure you want to be very successful. So here are some tips that will help you a lot during your trip with a fly fishing guide.

#1~ Come in ready to listen and learn. The clients of mine that do the best are very good listeners. They apply everything I teach them and in turn are very successful in catching lots of fish.

For Example:

Right now on the Big Horn River it is very mossy. Moss on your hooks is no bueno! Fish aren’t vegetarians and because of that you need to be constantly cleaning your hooks.

I had some clients the other day that wouldn’t clean their hooks ever. I would tell them every time and they would look at me like I was crazy. I would take their rod, show them how to take off the moss, or even take it off myself. As soon as I would leave to help the other person in the group, I would look back to see them casting and their hook would have 2 feet of moss hanging on it. I would say clean your hooks, they have moss on it! They would look at me like I was crazy and keep casting it over and over again wandering why they weren’t catching anything.

Then I get the clients that want to learn and listen. They are cleaning their hooks constantly like I taught them and they are catching fish all the time.

Point is: Make sure you listen to your guide and if you decide not to, don’t be sad when you only catch a few fish.

Their is nothing more frustrating in the guiding world then having to repeat ourselves a million times and someone not listening. Eventually we start to feel like you don’t care and believe it or not we love to watch you catch fish. So #1 rule is to listen up and get ready to catch some fish!

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#2~ It’s way better to cast really well than to cast a million feet of line.

The truth about fly fishing is you don’t need to cast a bunch of line to catch a bunch of fish. The guide knows the river really well and will get you to the places you need to be, to catch fish. I always position my boat that way my clients never have to cast more than 15 to 20 feet to be in the correct place to catch fish.

I will tell my clients this multiple times but for some reason every once in awhile they will decide they want to impress me. They strip out so much fly line that even the best fly casters in the world would start to wonder if they could cast that much. They are hitting the water on their back cast and only getting it about 30 feet away from the boat and worst yet it is all tangled. They look at you and say “the wind sure does crazy things”!

Just remember the only thing the guide is impressed with on a day of fishing with his/her clients is how good of listeners and appliers they are.

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Ross Slayton with Beautiful Rainbow

#3~ Stay within your comfort level and gradually test yourself.

What I mean by this, is to not have too high of expectations when you are new to the sport. This sport takes time to learn and if you are expecting a 100 fish day or catching a spooky trout with a perfect 60 foot cast your first time out, you’ll be disappointed.

Go out on your day of fly fishing with your guide with no expectations besides having a great day and wanting to absorb a lot of great tips. I know you’ll have a blast if you don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Go to learn and put into practice everything the guide teaches you.

The clients of mine that catch the most fish are the ones who listen the best. They might need lots of help in perfecting their cast and presentations but they are listening and applying constantly.

The guide will give you 100% so all we ask if you give us a 100%. It is such a fun sport and I hope this helps you out in your next fly fishing vacation!

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Fly Fishing techniques for nymphing “Nymphing for Big fish”

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Who says you can’t catch huge fish on little nymphs!! This is one of my biggest rainbows and it was caught on a size 18 pheasant tail while sight casting for it.

Being a guide on the Big Horn River in Montana, I am fishing nymph rigs all the time. Tail waters and especially the Big Horn River is a great river to nymph fish, especially if you want to catch a lot of fish. Most fish through out the day are eating sub surface which means below the surface. If you have a basic idea of how to set up your rod correctly, you will get into fish and hopefully lot’s of them.

Step one: I personally like RIO Fluorflex 9 foot 4 or 5x leaders.

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Fluorocarbon leaders are the strongest of all leaders and the least detectable to fish. They have a tendency to sink which is great for nymphing. When you put the leader on your fly line make sure you do it correctly with the loop to loop connection that is shown in this video below:

Step Two: 

Putting an indicator on the top of your leader. My favorite indicator’s for the Big Horn River are the Thingamabobber’s. I use different sizes for all my different clients but my favorite has to be the small or medium sizes.

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Here is a great video on how to properly put the thingamabobber on your fly line.

If you are wanting to constantly move your indicator to fish different depths and not kink your leader this is a great way to set up your indicator set up.

 

Step Three:

I personally like to cut off 12 to 16 inches off the bottom of my leader. I then take that fly line I just cut off and tie it back on my leader with a blood knot or a double surgeons knot. This knot that I create becomes my weight stopper. That way my weights don’t slide down to my flies when I am casting.

Here is a video on how to tie a blood knot:

Here is a video on how to tie a double surgeons knot:

 

Step Four: 

Tie on your first fly on your double nymph set up. I like to pick a bigger fly pattern for my first fly. For example: A pink, tan, or orange scud. I then follow that with something that is hatching that particular time of year. For example: A black midge, baetis, or pmd nymph.

I tie my first fly, of my nymph set up, with a improved clinch knot .

For my second fly I cut off 16 to 20 inches of 4 or 5x tippet. The reason why I cut off more tippet than I need is to make sure I have some extra tippet to work with. I really want around 12 to 16 inches in between my two flies when I am done tying my flies on.

Then tie your second fly with a improved clinch knot again.

Step Five: 

Decide how much weight you are wanting to fish with. On the Big Horn I usually fish with one BB or two BB’s if I want to go deep and fast. There are all different kinds of weights you can buy. I always purchase my weights from the fishing section of a store instead of the fly fishing section. You can buy almost the same kind of weights for half the price.

Make sure you clinch the the weights or weight with your forceps to make sure they are securely on your fly line.

Step Six: 

This isn’t really a step in your set up but you want to make sure you have the proper flies for your day on the water. The best place to go is your local fly shop and ask them what is working. If you are fishing the Big Horn River here in Montana I suggest you check out www.bighornflies.com. Eric from Catch Fly Fishing has the best flies for the best price. He is an amazing guy in the fly fishing industry and a great guy to support. He specializes in the Big Horn River and many more rivers in Montana. He also has a staff or pro staffers all over the country that are willing to help you for the rivers in your neck of the woods.

Here is an illustration of what your nymph set up should look like when you are all done setting it up: 

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Here is a video of 8 essential steps for nymph fishing from my friend Hank Patterson. I highly suggest you watch some of his tips. He is a world class fisherman :).

Book a trip with me on the Big Horn River by going to www.montanatrouaholics.com and click the book now tab.

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Best Fly Lines for Fly Fishing (RIO makes the best fly line in the business)

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When it comes to fly lines for fly fishing, in my opinion, RIO is the best! There fly lines are absolutely the best. They perform at such a superb level and the company is top notch.

If you are new to fly fishing or just need some advice on what fly line to buy next, let me help!

Here is a list of my favorite fly fishing lines by RIO and why.

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So Tracy and I are obsessed with our switch rods lately. There is something special about casting a line 200 feet with ease and be in fishy water few can obtain with a single rod. The RIO Chucker line is the best line for the switch rod. You can use skagit tactics to launch this line 200 feet with ease to fish a huge amount of water that normally doesn’t get fished by the average fisherman. It is one of the best lines RIO has come up with and if you have a switch rod, do yourself a favor, and purchase this line asap. You will fall in love with this line and have your friends either hating you or wandering how you cast that far.

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So for our single rod friends the best line out there right now is the RIO Perception. The Rio Perception is a line that has precise casting abilities for the moderate to experienced angler. Cast this line with ease and with every different distance you cast experience a different color of fly line to let you know where you are at. This helps out a lot when you are trying to get that grasshopper right off that grassy bank for that big trout waiting for a nice tasty lunch treat. Know how far you are casting all the time with the different color of fly line to determine your distance. It also floats like a champ and detects the most subtle take. Hook up way more fish with this line because of the lack of stretch that was developed with this line. Lack of stretch means that you strike is way more quick, which is turn means more hook ups. This line is a great line for dry’s, nymphing, and even streamer fishing. This is the line I put on all my dry fly lines and my clients catch a lot of fish with this line.

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Do you fish tail water rivers a lot? Where nymphing is the name of the game if you want to catch a lot of fish? Well Rio has you covered in the indicator game with the Rio Indicator fly line. It is superb in every way to make your indicator fishing be the very best it can be. The fly line has a short taper which turns big indicator rigs with ease. It is the perfect rig to fish indicator rigs and you’ll fall in love with it right away. I changed most of my lines to this line when fishing the famous Big Horn River because of the amount of nymph fishing my clients like to do on the Horn. We catch so many more fish with this fly line because of the ease this line provides to a day of nymph fishing. You’ll love this fly line and what it represents in the world of nymph fishing.

 

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Why are so many more people catching fish than me on the lake?? Well, it’s probably because they are using the Rio lake specific fly lines. These lines are revolutionary in the lake fishing game. If you aren’t using these fly lines while lake fishing you are doing yourself a dis service. These fly lines are a weapon in your arsenal that will catch you more fish and make your day way more productive. They have everything from 1.5 inches per seconds lines to 9 inches per second lines. The biggest thing you need to be successful on the lake is to find out what water level the fish are eating at. These lines are developed to get you there and keep you there. If your tired of only catching a few fish and want to start catching a lot more, give these exceptional lake fly fishing lines a chance. They will change your experience to such a level, you will wonder why they weren’t in your arsenal way before.

RIO fly lines are the absolute best and have a fly line for every type of fishng you and your friends are wanting to fish. Do you youself a favor and check out http://www.rioproducts.com/fly-lines/. They have a fly line fore every situation and are way superb to the other fly lines out there/

Hope this helps you in your ability to catch fish and a lot more fish.

 

Tracy and I are new partners with Rod and Reel Adventures!!

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Dale (Owner of Rod and Reel Adventures) with a great Tarpon!

RRA-Logo_final_smallTracy and I love adventures, especially when fly fishing is involved. We live for traveling and feeding our addiction to fly fishing. We love sharing our experiences with others and want everybody to have a chance to fish all around the world.

This is where Rod and Reel Adventures fits perfectly into our current and future plans. Dale Williams (current owner of Rod and Reel Adventures) is partnering with Tracy and I. We want to thank Dale so much for this opportunity. He is a one of a kind guy that we are honored to be partnering up with.

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What I loved most about real estate and what I love about guiding on the Big Horn river is the relationships I make. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories and dreams. At Rod and Reel Adventures, I want to help people catch that fish of their dreams, help sons, daughters, spouses, friends, and loved ones experience a vacation they will never forget; and most of all, be a friend in the business you can turn to when wanting to book a fly fishing trip.

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Tracy and I have been very fortunate in our short time here on earth. Our 8 year anniversary is coming up and it’s seems just like yesterday when I married my beautiful bride. In our 8 years, we have traveled all around the United States, Costa Rica, Mexico, Alaska, Africa, Bahamas, Europe and Canada. We have fished for, and caught Steelhead, Tiger Fish, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Permit, Marlin, Sailfish, Giant Trevally, Rooster Fish, Tarpon, Tuna, Bone fish, and many more. We understand why you want to travel to beautiful places and catch these beautiful fish. We want Rod and Reel Adventures to be your contact when booking a one of a kind trip.

I will be starting with Rod and Reel Adventures full time starting in the fall. For now I will be working with them part time until my summer guiding season comes to an end. I will still guide selected clients, and volunteer with the Refuge Foundation but Rod and Reel Adventures is what we are focusing on for the future.

I can’t wait to help you and your family on these amazing adventures now and in the future. Thank you Dale so much for this opportunity and we are so excited to be partnering with such a stand up organization.

Go check out the website at www.rodreeladventures.com and plan out your next adventure!

Some of the trips on our bucket list are Belize, Chile, and Brazil! Where do you want to go?

Contact Dale with questions about any of the lodges, he has knowledge and experiences to share with you about all these amazing destinations.

Dale Williams
Rod and Reel Adventures

Phone  541-349-0777
Toll Free  1-800-356-6982

Emailrodandreeladventures@gmail.com

Contact me with any questions too! MattandTracyAdventures@gmail.com

Thanks for supporting our new venture!

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Looking back on the best decision of my life

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The best decision of my life was to accept Jesus into my life. He is the source of everlasting love and blessing in your life.

The biggest blessing in his many blessing was the day I met my wife at a young life car wash.

I just recently fell in love with Jesus a week before. My life was drastically changing because the love of my young life mentor Mike Pinkston. He poured into my life the love of Jesus from his overflowing love he had for him.

I couldn’t stop thinking of the girl I met at that car wash that day. Her smile and positive energy was something I couldn’t keep my mind off of.

I didn’t think I had a chance because of the past I had once lived but God had much different plans.

Tracy and my paths kept crossing over and over in Malibu Canada at a Young Life camp. Her beauty inside and out captivated my heart and I yearned to get to know her better.

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God helped us out a lot and our constant passings would soon become more than just that. We started talking about life, wake boarded with each other and had the best talks on the dock.

I couldn’t believe such a beautiful girl inside and out wanted to talk with me so much.

Later that week I accepted Jesus into my life and knew Tracy was going to be a best friend and hopefully a lot more for the rest of our days.

After 5 years of dating and lots of stories in between I was finally married to my best friend at the age of 22.

One of the best things we did afterwards was brought a baby boy into our lives. He was a ball crazy Golden Retriever named Cooper. He is our best friend and companion :).

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Just like any marriage times get rough and priorities change. We still were best of friends but the most important piece of our marriage was fading.

The love of Jesus in our relationship wasn’t number one and it was our faults. Jesus always tried but we were focused on the things that didn’t really matter.

After a major wake up call we dedicated our lives back to Jesus and his loving arms. He didn’t care we walked away, he instantly gave us the biggest hug and welcomed us back.

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Tracy and I made a commitment to treat Jesus like a best friend. Someone to pray with each other with every night. To not trust the norm of this world but to look at what we can do to better the kingdom of heaven and to remember our true treasure is there and not here.

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We stumble all the time but the good news is Jesus is always there to love and encourage us.

One thing I have never done in my relationship with Jesus is to get baptized. I don’t feel bad about it because I know now the perfect place for it. It will take place on the Big Horn River with Brian Carpenter a good friend of mine dunking my head under and seeing my greatest blessing in this world from Jesus, my beautiful wife smiling at me :). This will happen on a refuge trip that has brought me closer to God by the conversations with beautiful God fearing loving people from around the United States.

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I’m not sure what the rest of my days will look like on this planet but I know for sure my spiritual gift is encouraging people to live life happy and to make them smile while I’m with them.

Thank you lord for being such a loving God, for my number one fan, my beautiful wife, a family that loves me dearly and meeting lifetime friends I get to experience life with!

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Tomorrow I get the privilege to marry my wife’s best friend Tiffany to her amazing soon to be husband Lucas

When Tracy and I were in Africa in the midst of a journey that changed the meaning of life for us, I received a message from Tiffany asking me to ordain their marriage in June. It blew me away in the fact I didn’t feel worthy to do such a God honoring thing. I prayed about it and many thoughts came to my mind.

Am I capable of doing such a God honoring message uniting two beautiful people in a life long journey together?

It made me really think about my marriage and the way it has gone to this very moment. I love my wife with all my heart and soul but I still am a pretty crapy husband at times. I think about my own happiness often more than I would like to admit. I love adventure and fun way more than solving problems that need to be taken care of. If I’m not constantly active I can get depressed which makes it hard when my wife needs help with paperwork and things that bore me to death.

So how does a person with all these problems in my marriage able to marry two young friends that I adore so much.

That’s when I started thinking about the good traits I have. I don’t believe in the D word no matter what. That word isn’t even a option when times are rough. I always can look past the hard stuff and realize lots of life problems are things that actually build up our character and get us prepared for the future. In the midst of a storm I am always looking towards the sunshine that’s about to come.

I started thinking about how everybody pretends that everything is perfect and thinks that admitting problems is a sign of weakness. I learned along time ago it’s better to be real with people because that’s when you are vulnerable and are ready to accept help in your life. When you accept help and are real with people that opens doors for people to be real with you.

I have been to 100’s of weddings and the minister seems to always concentrate on all the good times, which is great but I think you grow way more in the hard times and the vulnerably of keeping real with your spouse. Let them know your problems, your struggles, your worries and if they are willing to appreciate that vulnerability you have and help you through it, that is true love and love that will last.

I’m scared but honored to be speaking love and truth into their marriage ceremony tomorrow and hope the very best for them.

My favorite advice from a pastor I was able to guide on a beautiful Big Horn day was to be in constant prayer with your spouse everyday. Be vulnerable in your prayers with your spouse and be a good listener. Be slow to anger and be fast to forgive. The devil loves when you and your spouse are scared to talk to each other about your deepest problems but is terrified if you talk about it because it brings light into the darkest areas which brings healing and health into a sacred bond of two best friends spending life together.

I’m still working on my addiction to the river but I guess I could be addicted to much worst things. Just remember to make God a priority and then your beautiful wife. There’s nothing better than having a best friend you can cuddle up next to at night with two hearts beating as one :).

Pray for my speech tomorrow as I’m very nervous but very honored at the same time.

Thanks for following my life and adventures we go through. I cherish all the relationships I have made in my short time on this beautiful planet and can’t wait for many more!

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Who needs a fly fishing vacation in Montana?

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So I just looked at my schedule and I’m booking up fast. The only days I have available are June 16, 17, 18, 24, 25, and 26th of this month.

In July I have July 2,3, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31st.

In August I have August 1, 2, 7, 9, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30th.

Go to http://www.montanamatt.com to look at testimonials and click the how to book a trip with me on the top of the page to find out how to book a trip. 

It will be my pleasure to treat you to a great day on the river relaxing, smiling, and having fun catching beautiful trout while being in beautiful scenic Montana! 20140603-212938-77378004.jpg