Embrace Your Awkwardness

Hi, friends!

Today’s post is something different than what I’ve posted before. Although I have a lot to share with all of you, I know that there are people in my life that have even more to share. There are many people in my life that inspire me and to show my appreciation for those people, I plan to dedicate one post every month of this year to them. Each month I’ll interview someone who inspires me and share what they have to say with you.

This month, I’ve interviewed one of my best friends, Ardel. Ardel and I have been friends since 2009, when we started college. He has been there for me through some of my toughest times, and I have been there for him. We’ve been able to do life together and lift each other up while reminding the other of the good that comes from the God we serve. I’m blessed to have a best friend who knows God and loves Jesus as much as I do.

Do you like your name?

Yes and no. I like it because it’s unique and different, but at the same time I don’t like it because it’s unique and different.

If you could change your name, what would you change it to?

I’d change it to Leonardo, like Leonardo da Vinci or Leonardo DiCaprio OR Salvatore! Something unique, but still known.

What’s your favorite color(s)?

Red and black, in that order. Sometimes it switches to black then red.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I tend to spend a lot of my free time on YouTube, thinking of creative ideas, and I like to tickle my family to make them laugh… or make them mad.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Brisket! Mainly yakiniku style, but any style of brisket would do.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I would like to have a universal remote. So I can stop when things need to be stopped, rewind when things need to be rewound, fast-forward through the things I don’t want, record the important things, and I would have the option to change the channel, like changing your ways.

What was your childhood dream?

From what I remember, I’ve always wanted to be a firefighter. That was my dream job, but I also had dreams of having a big house, a big backyard, and having my own family.

What is something that you’ve always wanted to learn, but haven’t yet?

I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar, and other instruments like piano and violin. I’ve always wanted to expand and have more diversity in my skills, and not limit it to just four strings.

If you could only keep 5 possessions (besides your family members), what would you keep?

-A picture of my family, my whole family including my in-laws
-My bible
-A pen
-A notebook

What are you most passionate about?


What teacher (or teacher figure) has made the biggest impact on you? Why?

Pastor Justin Masuda. There’s no one else that comes to mind as a “teacher” besides him. He made a big impact as a teacher, even though he wouldn’t call himself a “teacher.” He ultimately taught me what life is and what life should be, and that’s a burning question that everyone has, “What is life?” He didn’t tell me what life is in the sense of writing it down and giving it to me, but more so, he guided me to a realization of what life really is through his teaching, sermons, and our one-on-one’s. He taught me that there’s something bigger than what we have now. He taught me other things, too, like how to lift correctly and how to do different types of exercises.

What characteristics/personality traits do you like in other people?

Willingness to do what’s right, able to show appreciation, wisdom, drive to work hard, sense of humor (laughter is really important), people who think outside of the box instead of going with what the world says is normal, and awkwardness. I like when people are awkward because I feel like I can relate to them. Awkwardness is awesome!

What advice would you give your younger self?

-Remember your “cuts and bruises,” they’ll mean something to you later.
-Embrace your awkwardness.

What are the most important things you’ve learned so far?

-Wear clean underwear. LOL.
-Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to ask for guidance. Don’t be backed up in a corner when you know there are resources out there that can help.
-Don’t do life on your own.
-Have faith in what is good, God is good.

If money wasn’t an issue, would you still be doing what you’re doing?

I would want to still be doing what I’m doing, in the sense where I’m still helping people, but not in the tasks that I do now, I would want to help people differently.

What has been your most defining moment(s) so far?

-Seeing my daughter being born and seeing her breathe her first breath.
-Realizing the sacrifice that was made for me (when Jesus died on the cross) and realizing the sacrifice that I have to make for Him and the sacrifices I have to make for my family.

Think of what you regret the most. What has that taught you?

There are lessons that can’t be taught, some you have to learn on your own.

What is something about the world that you wish you could change?

If I could, I would make sure that everyone has clean water. It might seem small, but it’s a big problem.

Do you believe in love?


Some say that love is much more than a feeling, that it’s also a choice. Do you agree with this? Why or why not?

Yes, because love can’t be based off of just a feeling. It shouldn’t be based off a feeling, but in this world it is, because many people don’t know God’s love. There is a bigger definition of love that has been altered by people of this world.
God is love. Once you experience God’s love, you’ll know what love really is, and you’ll see that it’s more than just a feeling. God’s love changes your life.

What is one of your biggest goals that you’re working towards right now?

Breaking the chains that bind me.

How do you stay motivated/inspired?

In my mind I think of the good that will come out of whatever I’m doing. I focus on the checkpoint that will lead to something else. Being motivated starts in my mind, and knowing that there is something good at the end, at the finish line, keeps me motivated.

Define what success means/looks like to you.

To me, success looks like a checkpoint. When you reach it, it opens other opportunities to be successful. Success shouldn’t be limited to one thing, you should look at all the victories in your life, small or big, those are all successes, too.
Anything can be considered a success, it’s up to you what you see is successful.

Over the past seven, going on eight years of knowing Ardel, I’ve learned many things about him and appreciate his unique personality. I hope that this little interview gives you even the smallest glimpse of the amazing person who is my best friend and brother in Christ.

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