August / Adeline
Name: Adeline Agtarap-Muff
Attending: Eastern Kentucky University
Studying: Elementary Education
Takes her coffee: No coffee here - red wine is Adeline's drink of choice!
Last book read: The Reason for God by Timothy Keller
Works at: Made Worthy as CEO + artist
Responsible for: Creating a variety of art, shipping/delivering orders, billing, running social media, collaborating with people in the community, setting up for pop-ups/vendor shows, and networking!
SIB: It’s back to school season! With not one but two AA degrees, what made you decide to go back for your BS?
AA: Man, it’s been a long time coming! My husband was the driving force that motivated me to go back to school. Both of my parents were physicians, so I always felt pressure to go into the medical field. I tried going into the dental field and worked as a dental assistant for two years. I ended up absolutely hating it. When I met my husband (at the time my boyfriend), he encouraged me to could go back to school for something I enjoyed and said it’s never too late to finish my degree. I am very happy with my decision to go back to school for Elementary Education.
SIB: Congratulations on your senior status! As a full time student, you made the decision to step down from a traditional work schedule. What has that transition been like for you?
AA: With being a full-time student and running my business, it still feels like I’m working so it’s not too much different! With my previous job I had my own classroom and worked with a bunch of 2- and 3-year old’s, so I miss being around students, but I also love the fact that after class I can focus on creating more art. Being in class this semester is a 9-5 job, so taking a step back from working was needed. I am very privileged to have that choice.
SIB: Your company, Made Worthy, boasts a plethora of lovingly crafted goods, from custom home paintings to hand painted pots to hoodies - and let’s not forget your hand lettering! What inspired you to begin your business?
AA: I started hand lettering because I wanted to DIY my wedding. We had 350 guests and I hand lettered all the invitations, welcome signs, and name cards, so I was able to get a lot of practice in! I started to make greeting cards for special occasions for friends and family. I always loved giving gifts that were handmade. I thought that it made for more thoughtful gifts. During Christmas, I would make personalized ornaments for friends and family. Eventually, other people started seeing my work and messaged me about making ornaments for their friends and family. That led to people asking if I could paint portraits on canvas, and later I just started to post large scale art.
I’m not sure if she knows this, but Kyla of @sissycooksitup was a huge part of the reason why I started my business. She found my ornaments on a Facebook mom’s page and reached out to buy a few from me. She asked me if I had an Instagram that she could follow because she loved to support small businesses. I never saw my work as a “business” until she called it that, and she made it feel more real to me. Another person who inspired me was Jaron Jones from @wildthingsbrand. He was my husband’s teammate in college, and I was talking to him about making some t-shirts. He told me, “Stop talking about it. Just do it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know everything about it. Just get it started. You’ll learn.” I translated that into everything I did for my business. I still got a lot to learn, but I’m learning as I go, and it has been a fun ride.
SIB: Where did your company name come from?
AA: I always want my work to point to Jesus Christ. I wanted my business name to represent me, while also having the ability to stand alone and speak for itself. In 2 Corinthians 4:7 it says, “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us”. Potters would shape and mold clay to make something beautiful and functional. God is the Heavenly Potter that shapes and molds us into a purpose that he desires. He has made us worthy not because of ourselves, but who He has called us to be. Similarly, the things I make are for the glory of God and for the happiness of others. Because of this, it is not my talents that make them worthy, but the purpose in which it was created.
When I struggle with feelings of doubt or inadequacy, it can feel crippling. It really paralyzes my creativity. Reminding myself of what “Made Worthy” means to me helps me battle those negative feelings.
SIB: You dream of creating a mural in Lexington, KY! If you could paint one tomorrow, what would it be?
AA: Ahhh, yes. I would love to paint a mural somewhere downtown or inside a local business—really anywhere! Somewhere that people would take lots of pictures in front of. I grew up in Lexington most of my life and it would be a dream to make my mark here with a mural. I would want something super colorful with a quote written in some cool lettering. Maybe something with lots of florals. Even if I had the opportunity to help with a project like this it would be amazing. Anytime I drive around Lexington and see a blank wall I think, “Man, that would be a great place to paint a mural!”
SIB: Your husband, Deverin, is 100% supportive of your goals! With you in school, how have you both worked out shared responsibilities this season?
AA: He really is my #1 supporter. He used to coach high school basketball and turned down a position to coach this year just so he could be around and be supportive. When he was coaching, I was at all his games. Now, he is at all my events. He has also gotten the set-up of my pop-up events down. There have been times where he has loaded up the car and set up my pop-ups when I’m still in class. He always sits with me through all my pop-ups and stays with me the whole time. Pop-ups can be exhausting sometimes because you talk to so many people. When he notices that I lose momentum, he jumps in and talks to people when I need a break.
I really couldn’t do the whole school and business thing without him, and he does it with such grace and patience towards me. He just started a new job at Kentucky State as a professor so while he stays up to prepare for lessons, I stay up to create. We keep each other company.
^adeline and deverin celebrated their second wedding anniversary in may 2021!
SIB: You both have a major height difference, but complement each other super well! In what (nonphysical) ways do you balance each other out?
AA: Thank you! It’s crazy because we are each other’s complete opposites. I never thought that I would be with someone like Deverin (in the best way). He’s extremely logical and I think more artistically and abstractly. I’m more adventurous and he is more cautious. He is an internal processor and I like to process my feelings outwardly. He loves sports and I have very little interest in them. We grew up very differently and came from extremely different cultures. However, somehow, someway, God saw it fit for us to be together. Living life with him, I have seen why that is so. We ground each other. He helps me see things from a different perspective. He challenges my thoughts and my ideas which has helped me gain more introspection. Likewise, I have helped him to try new things and to step out of his comfort zone. I have shown him the benefit of expressing your feelings. Our opposing personalities have grown us both in big ways, especially towards our understanding of who Christ is, which is the ultimate goal of our marriage.
Don’t get it twisted though! You will still see us dancing in our kitchen or singing 90s R&B at the top of our lungs in the car.
SIB: You love exercising in your home gym! What does a typical workout look like for you?
AA: I’m not a coffee person, so I start my day with pre-workout in the mornings. Typically, I start with 10-15 minutes of HIIT [high-intensity interval training] or LISS [low-intensity steady state training] depending on the day. The rest of the time I strength train for about forty-five minutes. I typically train legs twice a week, back and biceps, chest and triceps, and shoulders, and I like to lift very heavy!
SIB: You also love to sing! What would your go-to karaoke song be?
AA: For sure “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of you” by Lauryn Hill! I love 90s and early 2000s R&B, so anytime I’m singing in my car or around my house, most of the time I’ll be singing some SWV, Destiny’s Child, or Aaliyah.
SIB: Kentucky is a gold mine for hiking and kayaking, two more of your hobbies! Where’s your favorite place to explore?
AA: My husband and I love to hike at The Pinnacles in Richmond. We are both busy so whenever we can hike, it is typically a spur of a moment trip. The Pinnacles is the most accessible trail to us. It is easy enough to where we can bring our pup and we love to stop at The Eagle’s Nest to look at the view of Richmond and Berea. It is such a calming view and I love how much it captures Kentucky!
SIB: As a petite woman, it can be difficult to find clothes! What tips do you have to find the perfect fit?
AA: I’m still trying to figure it out! I typically thrift all my clothing, and my biggest tip when thrifting for myself is to try everything on. Even if I think something might be super ugly, it helps me find out what kind of cuts or different styles I like.
SIB: Stylists/influencers recommend choosing clothes in a handful of colors for a cohesive wardrobe. What’s your wardrobe palette?
AA: When I go shopping, I typically gravitate to neutral colors. You will find a lot of black, beige, and grey in my wardrobe. Although I wear neutrals, I accessorize with bright and bold jewelry. I love big, dangly, statement earrings. You will always catch me with a dangly pair of earrings!
SIB: You’re super open about your relationship with Jesus! How did you get to know him? What’s it like sharing him with others?
AA: I first heard the gospel through my sister at the end of my senior year in high school in 2014. I learned that it is through grace by faith we are saved; not through our “good” works. I never read the bible in my life. So, I started to search the scriptures for myself.
I learned that there was nothing I can do to earn my way to Heaven. My good works were filthy rags to the Lord (Isaiah 64:6). It was completely against what I learned from my Catholic faith. I always thought that I could work towards being good - I can try my best to be good and hopefully I would be good enough to go to Heaven. But those are all lies. My salvation is a gift from God, since He already paid my debt on the cross (Romans 6:23). I wanted to know more about who God truly is through what He says in His word. I prayed to the Lord and earnestly asked that he would break my heart so he can make me a new one (Ezekiel 36:26). The Lord was faithful to answer that prayer and saved me. I didn’t know much, but I knew that I wanted to know God more.
The Lord led me to a church here in Lexington called Main Street Baptist Church. I had a community of loving believers, got baptized, and became a member. Being a new believer and a freshman in college came with challenges. Although I understood what the gospel was, I didn’t recognize my sin for what it is. I was living a double life. I thought that I could love God while also loving the sin I was in. The Lord brought many trials in my life that taught me that I could not have both. It was an answered prayer. God was breaking me so I can become new. I learned that it wasn’t enough to recognize sin. I had to let go of all the pleasures of the world and hate it. There were many sleepless and tear-filled nights. But through this, the Lord truly showed me the joy of knowing Him. He stripped me away from the life I once lived. I learned that at the end of the day, if I had nothing, Christ would still be enough. I treasure the gospel so much more because of what He has done in my life. I know that I am a sinner who continues to sin daily, yet God gave me His only Son to die on the cross for all my sins. I have been a believer for almost seven years now and have seen His grace and mercy towards me through it all.
Sharing him with others is scary, but I also know that as a Christian, that’s what I am called to do. Most people think that when I share Jesus with them, I’m trying to force them into believing in God. But that’s not true. I know that it is only the power of Jesus that can save someone; nothing of myself. However, just like anyone with any kind of passion, you can’t help but tell people about it. With my business, it’s only natural for me to share Christ with people because I live my life solely to glorify God in everything I do. On the other hand, I am, to a fault, a people pleaser. I get scared of what other people think and what they will say about me. But I know that it is all a part of the Christian life. At the end of the day, God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him. Not people.
SIB: Your faith is integral to your mental wellness. How has it kept you grounded?
AA: 2 Cor. 10:5 says to take every thought captive. When my thoughts start to consume me, I must search God’s word to remind me of truth. In order to do that, I have to be in God’s word so that I can recognize any thought that is not of him. I know that people’s opinions change, my thoughts can change, but God’s word never changes. It is the only foundation that I can stand on.
SIB: What brings you joy every day?
I define joy as sustained happiness regardless of circumstances. Of course, my husband makes me happy every day, my family, my church, my business—but even those things can be fleeting and can last for moments. My husband can do something that makes me sad, something can happen with my family that makes me angry, my church could do something I don’t agree with, my business won’t grow as much as I would and could potentially fail. But the relationship I have with Jesus won’t ever change. Jesus is the only true joy I can ever have in my life. What makes joy so special is even if I don’t understand what is going on my life, I can rest in the goodness of God and what He has done in my life. If joy depended on me and my circumstances, I would never be joyful. I might be happy, but not joyful.
SIB: What does balance mean to you?
AA: I believe balance means to have contentment in all situations. You often hear the verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” [Phil. 4:13]. However, no one talks about the verses before that. “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” (Philippians 4:11-13). No matter how busy I am or how hectic life can be, it’s important to me to prioritize God, my husband, and my day-to-day responsibilities. I am constantly learning how to do this. In life, there will always be opportunities for distractions to hinder you from your priorities. Guarding your priorities and making clear boundaries for yourself gives room for balance.
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