30 memories in 30 years – I’m turning 30!

October 12, 2017

I’m turning 30! And, believe it or not, despite the fear that seems to surround turning 30, I’m totally looking forward to it! As I think back on the last 30 years, I want to share a few memories with you and thank all of you who have been part of my life!

30 memories from my first 30 years…

1. Camping with my family! My grandparents were almost always at the campground, and for as long as I can remember we would join them each summer. I fondly remember game nights, bonfires, time at the beach and a lot of time with cousins. I (less fondly) remember having a fish head thrown at me and being scared of the outhouses!

2. Childhood friends: I lived in a neighborhood with a lot of kids and there were a lot of people that I loved as I grew up! Lauren Kultgen, Michelle Beam, Stephanie Hart, Kim Becker, Jennifer Faris, Megan McCormick, Andrea Rakoczy, so many more…we had the best time. I remember foxtails, neighborhood night games, trying to start our own band…

3. Speaking of friends from childhood, walks with Kim Becker were one of my favorites! One time we had a bright idea to try and walk from Grafton to Milwaukee. We made it down Port Washington Rd, probably not even past Grafton before we got blisters. Our parents never did know where we were going.

4. Growing up in a family with a hilarious sense of humor. My mom was always making things up as she thought it was funny that kids would believe anything. I remember my mom telling me my name given at birth was “Windchaser.” I told all my friends and didn’t know it wasn’t true until 3rd grade. I remember my aunt hiding in the basement pretending to be ET under a towel, just to scare me. Or jumping out of trees. Or pretending to be “Jack” swinging on the swing outside in the dark with her black sweatshirt. I should mention they’re also creepy 😉

5. The best holiday parties EVER. I developed a love for the holidays because my grandma didn’t know how to celebrate small. There were gifts from the floor to the ceiling at Christmas, thousands of Christmas cookies to decorate, hundreds of easter eggs to hunt down, costume/chili parties for Halloween and a lot of laughter all around.

6. My mom taught me about love and hospitality. Our house growing up was always the gathering place. She hosted parties and always invited our friends in. I love that about her. Pretty sure some of my friends still feel comfortable walking in without ringing the doorbell or knocking.

7. Death in my family. We lost my aunt and my grandma within a year or so, when I was about 18. They both passed away from ovarian cancer, and were both very loved. In the end, I think it made my family stronger. I’m happy to see that their memories live on, and now that I’m an adult I can see how much they have influenced others in the family. Wanita is a mini-grandma 🙂 <3

8. Moving to Minnesota for college, and meeting my random roommate: Claire! We bonded over a love for Hanson, and were instant friends from there. Claire is one of those people that I will always feel comfortable with and around, no matter how long it’s been since we’ve seen eachother. She introduced me to Christ when I was 19 and was never afraid to share her faith. Love you, Claire!

9. Joining Cru/a bible study for the first time: When I became a Christian, I got involved in a bible study. I had NO IDEA what anyone was talking about. Holy Spirit? What? I was totally lost, and so confused. Amelia helped me to sort through things and took the time to meet with me as I needed her to. I remember first learning about God’s grace and thinking “This is amazing!”

10. Going to Alaska 2 summers in a row! I met some of the most amazing women there. I experienced climbing mountains, seeing whales (AHHHHH seriously one of my biggest fears STILL if you don’t know me), amazing fellowship and increased confidence in who God says that I am. I worked at a waffle and coffee shop on the ocean shore. It’s where I first started to love coffee (you have to when you have the 5 am shift!) It’s one of my goals in the next decade to go back with Sam (maybe Micah).

11. The roadtrip up to Alaska. Buffy and I listened to Celine Dion the WHOLE WAY. I don’t regret it. We camped on the side of the Alaskan highway. We talked to people in other cars with walkie talkies. We didn’t shower for days. I’ll try to dig up the picture of what we looked like when we got there if I can find it…

12. Moving to Kansas. Kansas was always a state that I never thought about, and I NEVER thought I would live there. It was the only PT school I got into. I was crushed when I didn’t get accepted into Wisconsin schools, but so many good things came from my time in Kansas!

13. The stress that came with PT school studying. I remember many coffee study dates with Anna and Jenna. I remember Scooters coffee study dates! I even remember one time going to a teacher to have them do an EKG because of the amount of stress I was having and abnormal heart rhythms!

14. My first experience working with people with brain injuries: I got a job solely for the purpose of getting in-state tuition during PT school. It was working with people with brain injuries. I didn’t get much training, I was scared to death and didn’t always know how to act but this job started what turned out to be a huge passion in my life and something I am so thankful for! I learned to see beauty in people that the world often deems as not beautiful, and it led me to the career in neuro that I have today.

15. I can’t talk about Kansas without mentioning meeting Sam! He thinks we met in PT school. I don’t actually remember meeting him there, but I do remember meeting him at a pro-bono clinic that we both volunteered at. He stole my patient, and I was a little annoyed. I remember he had highlights in his hair. So funny! He signed up to volunteer as an instructor in our class to get to know me more, he offered to walk home with me, and he was persistent. Glad he was!

16. Living with Cindy! We had an awesome roommate relationship. We prayed together and encouraged one another, which was so refreshing! I remember one time there was a knock on the door late at night. We didn’t live in the best neighborhood. The person was POUNDING on the door. Our purses were on the table, in view of the window, so they knew we were home! I army crawled to her room and we hid in the closet together, calling people for help. You know what? It ended up being Sam…

17. Sam and I started dating and eventually talked about marriage. He flew to Wisconsin to ask my parents for permission. My dad totally ruined the surprise on the phone (he thought I was coming too- I didn’t even know that Sam was going there). I gave him a ride to the airport to be with my family!: )

18. Nov 30, 2013- We got married! I pray that I will never take Sam’s character for granted.

19. Completing the residency program at Marquette. This was a really tough year. It was busy, and it was our first year of marriage. I learned so much about PT and about myself as a person. My confidence grew. I was mentored by amazing women who were passionate about what they were doing and who excelled in their work, and more importantly made a difference in people’s lives.

20. Getting my first PT job at the VA. Getting to serve veterans and hear their stories, and all the amazing coworkers that I had.

21. Growing in my sense of identity. Along with getting jobs and trying to “keep up” in the neuro world, I was learning about my identity as a Christian FIRST and as a PT second. I realized that there was more to who I am than my work, or my achievements and it was so freeing.

22. Feeling “new” in Milwaukee even though I grew up just north in Grafton. I remember trying to “Restart” with meeting friends and people here in Milwaukee. We met amazing friends at Crossway Milwaukee, work and elsewhere. It’s crazy how much longer it can take than the instant bonds that seem to happen in college.

23. Adopting our dog, Adam. He came with that name and it’s just perfect for him. He’s basically a little human.

24. Finding out I was pregnant for the first time! It took 8 months, which is not long in retrospect, though felt long and rough during that season. When we would find out that it wasn’t happening each month, we would have a “celebration of God’s sovereignty” which was a wine and sushi night – two amazing things that I wouldn’t be able to have when pregnant – and we would remember that we aren’t really in control!

25. Micah’s birth. I remember telling the nurses that things were going fast, and that I needed an epidural. They told me it was my first one, so I was probably fine. They were wrong, I got an epidural and it was fairly smooth sailing from there on out. I remember seeing him for the first time, holding him and just crying so hard! It was awesome. I don’t even have words to describe it. I remember telling Sam “well, that wasn’t so bad!” and him laughing at me, telling me that it kind of seemed like it was.

26. Moving into our house. We bought a huge fixer upper home. We thought it wouldn’t be too bad, that it just needed a little work. We spent hours ripping out carpet, sanding floors, taking off wallpaper and getting quotes for BIG repairs. I cried a lot, wondering why we bought something that needed so much work. Our family came around us and helped a TON. We love our first home.

27. Meeting our awesome neighbors. We couldn’t believe that we lived in a place with such amazing people around us! Our neighbors were our age, with a son our son’s age. We had game nights, dinners and always had fun. They ended up moving (SAD DAY!) but we still are surrounded by great families

28. Starting a photography business. I was so scared to start it, thinking that people would think that it was weird, or that I wasn’t legit since I didn’t go to school for photography. I took classes, I watched tutorials, I learned from some amazing mentors and it’s something I’m very excited about! I’ve been blessed by the support that I’ve received so far. THANK YOU!

29. Learning to become a mom. It has been a challenging and rewarding ride so far. I have learned a lot about myself- what makes me impatient, what my “buttons” are, and how much love I can have for another person. I’m growing in patience and understanding and selflessness. My priorities have shifted and I think it makes me a better person.

30. And of course, preparing for baby Jude, which I have no doubt will be one of the greatest things that happens in my 30th year of life!

If you made it all the way through (or even if you didn’t) thanks for reading! Thanks for being a part of my life. While it’s often easier to remember events, they are only important because of the people that were part of them.

Bring on year 30!



Love your 30 memories for 30 years! You have done so many amazing things and discovered so many important things about yourself, you have learned things that some people take a lifetime to learn. So very proud of you Abby, and your amazing family! Can’t wait to hear what you have to say about your 50 years of life, I do know that they too will be filled with love, joy and gratitude…
Thanks so much for sharing and Happy Birthday ❤️
Love Amy (aka) Jack! 😜

Happy Birthday Abby! Loved reading this! You are a beautiful woman and I’m so grateful for your friendship and the huge blessing and gift you were the year of our residency! God sure gives good gifts! Hope you have a wonderful day celebrating!!! And here’s to another year of adventure and growth!