Scenic view of trees at camp

Staff Profile: Abby “Tater Squat” Muñoz

by Karissa Pitaniello


Step into Abby’s incredible journey from Nebraska to Pine Cove, where her diehard football spirit meets a life of ministry. Follow along as she takes us through the ups and downs of camp life, marriage, and motherhood… Oh! And through the cornfields of Nebraska! The Lord led her to uproot her life for a transformative Pine Cove experience, and we’re so glad He did. 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska and am a diehard Nebraska fan. I went to the University of Nebraska and graduated with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Sociology. Nebraska as a whole is obsessed with our football team (even though—I can’t believe I’m going to say this—we’re not very good. I’ll just admit it.) Being a Husker fan, you have to just be willing to have your heart broken over and over again. But we hold onto our five national championships, and I believe in my lifetime, we’ll get there again!


How did you hear about Pine Cove? What roles have you held at Pine Cove?

I heard about Pine Cove originally in 2013 when they were recruiting at the University of Nebraska. They were setting up booths, and my friend had worked at Pine Cove the summer before and told me I had to do it. And so I went and I interviewed—Chris Sherrod is the one who interviewed me. I worked two summers at the Shores—first, I was a counselor in 2013. And then the second summer, I was a nanny for the Langemeier family.

Then I graduated, and my first job out of college was at Hudl, a sports software company. It was so fun. But after a couple of years there, I felt this tug on my heart to apply for the Forge, (Pine Cove’s leadership development program) and I’m so glad I did. I moved from Nebraska to Texas and basically uprooted my whole life. It was extremely overwhelming, but also the most transformative. I explain it as a reordering of loves. God was always on my list, but He got moved to the top of the list. I, for the first time, saw myself how God sees me and started to appreciate how He uniquely created me. That catapulted me into, I’m hoping, a lifetime of ministry. So my story is just a really cool picture of God closing doors and opening them to something so much better.

After the Forge, I worked my third summer at the Shores in 2019. That summer I started looking for jobs, and I ended up applying for a job at Pine Cove in retreats. It was crazy, but it was so fun, and I loved retreats.  Now after some time away from Pine Cove, I’m back as part of the development team!

How did you and your husband Matt meet?

He was in the Forge the year after me, and back then the Forge students worked retreats on the weekends as their job. And I was a retreat specialist, and he was in the Forge. So we crossed paths! I got word from a friend that he was going to ask me out. Our first date was the best date I’d ever been on. We talked forever, closed the restaurant down, and I told my friends after that date, “If he would ask me to marry him right now, I would say yes.” Looking back, I’m like, “Wow, that was a bold statement. But I think I just recognized his character in that moment. Fast forward and now we’re married with two kids! Matt works for Mentoring Alliance, another ministry in town. And I stayed home with our kids, well, with our one kid at the time, Milo, before coming back to work.

What made you want to come back to Pine Cove after becoming a mom?

I missed collaborating and working on a team! This job came open, and it was, again, just such an open door. I interviewed with my now boss, Susan Andreone, and she asked me, “Why Pine Cove?” And I told her how Pine Cove has changed the trajectory of my life so many different times. I love the ministry we do here. I’ve seen the ministry from being a counselor. I’ve seen it from being a senior counselor. I’ve seen it from the Forge perspective, the way it changed my life there. I’ve seen it from a family perspective being a nanny. I’ve seen it on the road at City. I’ve just seen so many different perspectives of this ministry. And every single time it’s cool to see how the roots of Pine Cove go out and touch so many lives. I was excited to be a part of that. And so I just got really excited about my current role as Associate Director of Development Communication and getting to work on the development team. It’s been a huge blessing. Working at the headquarters, the culture is just so fun. We have a beautiful building, and the people who work here are really talented, amazing people who love God. It’s fun to be a part of a team that is pushing towards the future of where Pine Cove is going. 

How did you get your camp name?

“Fish Face” (Taylor Jervis) named me back in 2013. Someone asked me what my first screen name was for AOL messaging. I vividly remember choosing “Tater Tot Queen.” I was sitting down in our basement at our computer, and it asked me to choose something. My mom was making me tater tots at the time. I love tater tots—I think they’re superior to french fries. So that’s where the tater tot part comes from. And the squat part comes from a story that happened when I was in college. I was home for fall break, and my friends and I had all gone to this kind of scary haunted pumpkin patch where they had a trampoline-type bounce pillow. When I had finished jumping and was getting off, a kid jumped off and somehow bounced me into the air. I kind of flew off and broke my tailbone. It was absolutely the worst pain I’ve ever been in. I couldn’t do anything normal for months. And so the funniest part of the story is that I had to sit on a donut. The donut was inflatable, and it wouldn’t fit in my backpack, so I would have to put it in my backpack, stand outside of class, blow it up before class, sit on it, then deflate it after class, put it in my backpack, and it was this whole thing. So they said I couldn’t squat. Put those things together, and you get Tater Squat!

What are some things you and your family like to do in Tyler?

We love to be outside! When the weather is nice, we love to take our kids on walks or to play in the backyard or to the park to let them run around and get energy out. If I’m with just my husband, we like to play disc golf! That’s definitely a hobby of Matt’s that he encourages me to tag along to. I also love Javi’s! It’s my favorite restaurant. We love Japanese and Asian food or any foreign cuisine. A lot of our fun nights entirely revolve around food and being outside. We love to go to True Vine just because the kids can go, and we can listen to live music. When I get time by myself, I like to drive around, listen to music, drink iced coffee, go for a walk, or window shop!

Tell us about your kids, Milo and Schuler! 

This is my favorite question. Milo is two and a half. She is strong, bold, independent, hilarious, and bossy, just everything. She is going to be a force to be reckoned with. The challenge of raising Milo is figuring out how we guide and train her to use that for good. I don’t want to dampen or break her spirit. She’s in the two to three-year-old phase right now. But, she’s so funny and super smart. She’s a clever queen. She’s fun. She loves Dora the Explorer. She loves to run. She just ran the True Vine little kid race with Matt and was so excited afterward. She’s a great sister. She’s just so fun.

We name our kids intentionally. Her name is Milo Imani. Milo means soldier. And Imani is Swahili for faith. So a soldier of faith. She is a soldier. She’s got so much fight in her. We intentionally named her that so that we could pray that she would be a soldier for the faith.

Schuler is 14 months, and he loves keeping up with his big sis. He is gentle, sweet, and so kind. He is starting to walk. He’s funny. He loves balls, his little basketball hoop, and he loves blocks. He mainly wants to be next to Milo. They have the sweetest relationship. He’s starting to get more passionate. His name is Schuler after Jared Schuler, Matt and my Forge director. He has been influential in our life in such a positive way that we named our son after him and his family. The name Schuler means student, and his middle name, Hannan, means gentle, compassionate, and kind. We chose that in the hospital when we Googled names that meant gentle or compassionate because we could tell from the moment he was born that he was different than Milo. They are two very different kids. He was quiet, gentle, and cuddly. Milo came out screaming and kicking, and it was so funny. Our prayer for him is that he would be a student of God’s word and that he would be able to express that with gentleness and compassion towards others.


Over the years at Pine Cove, what meaningful memory stands out? 

It’s got to be from my time in the Forge. I don’t think I have one specific memory, but instead, what the Forge taught me throughout all of my time there. We had community dinner basically every night of the week and were consistently with each other. All of these hours spent together gave us a depth in relationship that I had never experienced before. I didn’t realize how much I appreciated this until I went back to the “real world” and tried to recreate those types of relationships. It was much harder, but it spurred me on to try to be an example to other people on the benefits of being “all in” when it came to real, deep friendships. So, although a specific memory doesn’t stand out, I can look back on all the little moments of praying together or having dance parties together and be reminded of the beauty of doing life in community like we’re called to. This was emphasized in a book we read where Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “In the presence of a psychiatrist, I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother, I can dare to be a sinner.”

What are some of your favorite things right now?

Iced coffee always! I’m kind of like a seasonal girl, so my favorite in the fall is pumpkin cream cold brew. I’m sure I’ll love whatever Starbucks is coming out with near Christmas, too! I’ve been loving football season, and having weekends where college football is in the background. I’m loving my kids and the season that they’re in and watching them grow so quickly. Then, this is a little bit of an unconventional answer, but I love what God is doing in me and Matt’s lives through the tough parts of our marriage. Marriage isn’t easy. It’s just a giant mirror to your sin. And I love that He intentionally created Matt and me differently. Lately, as we’re realizing our differences, it’s been a gift to see how God uses those, not only to grow each other but in our ministry as we glorify God as a couple. We’re leading the college ministry at South Spring church right now. That’s another thing I’m loving. I love college students, and I’m loving doing ministry alongside Matt. Just a little side note—my husband is the coolest person I know! He’s the most fun and full of swag. People feel so known and so cared for by him. That is affirmed day after day. I feel very lucky to be married to him.

What’s something that the Lord has been teaching you recently? 

I’m going through a program right now at my church called Regeneration. It’s like an adult version of the Forge. It’s been really cool to have something where I’m digging into the deep parts of my heart. Through that, He’s teaching me a lot about prayer and about quick repentance. The more we get to know the character of God, the more we realize how much we don’t measure up. And you can take that one of two ways—you use that to wallow in your sin, or you can let that turn you closer to the Father. It’s a gift to be able to see your sin, recognize who God is, repent, and know He’s already forgiven you. So you get to come to Him and say, “Lord, forgive me in this moment,” quick repentance. Not like, “Oh, here’s what I did last week.” It’s in the moment! Quick repentance leads to so much freedom. We have direct access to the Father, and I’ve known that my whole life, but I’ve never felt the need to experience that until I’ve understood the character of the Lord to a depth that I understand my depravity, and that’s what points me towards Him.

Posted Oct 17, 2023

Karissa Pitaniello

Content Coordinator

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