Category Archives: friends

that one time. when we almost…

If you read my last post, talking points, this is the post you’ve been waiting for. The burning question you’ve had since last Saturday will now find resolution. Welcome to the danger zone. Dun dun dunnnnnnnnn. (Pardon my rusty screenplay writing…this’ll just have to do)

Scene 1 – INTERIOR: Dark studio
FADE UP: Head to Toe – Joy on a stool
JOY: Freshman year of college at Oral Roberts University was a really fun one for me – with the exception of one moment.

(LIGHTS dim dramatically – there’s now just one spotlight above me at a 75º angle, CAMERA dramatically zooms in. Joy looks up and delivers this line:)

JOY: That one time I almost died.

(MUSIC: :05 dramatic string-driven orchestral stinger begins and ends. Transition to Light and happy MUSIC, add in bird sound effects)

Scene 2 – EXTERIOR: Fall in Oklahoma, students paddling in canoes down a river.
FADE UP: Wide shot of students paddling by.

JOY: It was a beautiful day in Oklahoma. The ORU Honors program retreat was in full swing. I was in the rear of a canoe that held two of my good friends. Amanda was at the helm, and Colleen was holding down the middle seat and the role of all powerful entertainer.

INTERIOR: Dark studio
CUT TO: Medium Close-Up – Joy on stool.

JOY: Mind you. Amanda and I were decently experienced in canoes at this point. Colleen was purely along for the ride, and we were ever so grateful for her contribution.
The rest of our group had varying levels of experience – from lifeguards who were almost pro, to groups of stereotypically brilliant but not always coordinated folk who were working to stay afloat.
That being said:

CUT TO: Wide shot,
EXTERIOR: Fall in Oklahoma, students paddling in canoes down a river.
JOY: We were having quite the jolly time. Colleen was leading us through songs with her glossy gospel-toned voice while Amanda and I threw in harmonies. It was glorious. Until that one moment.

Okay okay…this screenplay thing isn’t working. I’ma just tell the story.

So here we were. Canoeing. Minding our own business. The river was abnormally high due to heavy rains that season. We were approaching a bend in the river. Suddenly we heard panic around the bend. As we rounded the bend ourselves, we saw it. The. Giant. Log. It was thiiiiiiiiiiiis big around (probably 4-5’ in diameter), and it covered about ¾ of the river width – which was about 30’ where it had fallen. A canoe of some of the lesser experienced folk had rammed into the log and capsized. They were holding onto the log for dear life while the strong current was threatening to pull them under.

We had a decision to make. We pow-wow’d real quick and determined that we should dock against the log, help our fallen friends, and ultimately lift our canoe over. We made it over to the log. As we attempted to dock, we too got caught in the current flowing under the log, but we managed to get out of the canoe. Our compadre’s canoe was half submerged, bottom side up and was stuck under the log. I tried to pull it out, but instead got pulled in.  So there I was. Going from rescuer to victim in quicker than I could realize. By this time, our lifeguard friends had successfully docked and were helping direct traffic that was now building up on the log, grasping onto the closest concrete object. Next thing I know, the current took the now dis-lodged canoe under the log. I lost my grip and grasped to regain it. The lifeguard on the top of the log told me to let go.


This is now one of those ironic “you must let go….” ethereal moments.
…and i’m not wearing a life jacket…


So. I make the decision to let go. I am swept under the log. Not only was the letting go directive an ethereal moment, but suddenly I found myself in an even weirder moment. I’m fully submerged in the river, looking up at the water above me and the sky. I had the tangible thought, “Oh. So this is what it feels like to drown…” But yet I was at peace. Next thing I know, I’m up, taking in air. I see a small exposed piece of land in front of me, but still in the middle of the river. On top of this piece of land, was a wishbone shaped log – with the two prongs facing upriver. Suddenly, I found myself being the point person on the other side of the log and chaos upstream. Boats and people came my way. I docked boats and helped my friends find footing. The only casualty in this ordeal: One paddle.

Apparently…I’m known for being dramatic in storytelling. So when I verbalized this adventure to the professors downstream and we talked about the missing paddle, the paddle was of more concern than our ordeal. But this actually happened. And we all survived. And in retrospect, it was rather dramatic. But we made it!

From that day on, every time I saw my friend Gretchen, one of us would begin conversations with, “Remember that one time?” The other would answer, “When we almost died?” We’d then hug and carry on like normal.

talking points.

Somewhere along the line, I made the inner determination that I would find a way to make anyone and everyone talk to me – whether they wanted to or not. I was determined to find that secret weapon – that one question or process that would open up the tightest closed mouth and unleash the personality within.

After an undetermined amount of study, I realized a few things about getting people to open up. The odds are in your favor if: 1) You can quickly find something in common that you and the other person can nerd out about. 2) Conversation can be pulled out of the unwitting subject with a bout of competition. 3) People will talk when topics are brought up that are a) common as heck, b) polar in popular opinion. 4) You have stories on standby should your subject not want to talk.

I found the secret ingredient topic: Pickles…But before you write me off, hear me out. I’ve tested this. It has a decently high success rate.

Think about it. Pickles are super common. Basically everyone knows what it is. And popular opinion is usually polar: People typically either love or hate pickles.
I, personally, do not enjoy pickles. I have a traumatic experience behind them that fuels my dislike. When I ask people what their opinion is on pickles, they either side with me and we have an alliance against all things pickles, or they switch to defense and find themselves clarifying – all pickles? Some pickles? What about bread and butter? Dill? Oh my goodness! You really don’t like all of them?

And that, friends, is how conversations start.

Then from there, it’s sometimes fun for me to take the discussion to the next level of potential absurdidy: Have you ever known someone, or personally experienced non-life threatening electric shock? I have. And it was a dumb mistake on my part. Haha!
Once that discussion dies out, the next logical topic stems around if you or anyone you know has had an almost drowning experience? I have. And it’s a tale that goes down in history as how not to tell your mother you almost drowned.
Usually, by that point, people are loose enough that conversation flows naturally. So. Good luck with that. 🙂

Ok let’s be real. You’re probably wondering what my pickle trauma and near death experiences are.

Pickle trauma: My best friend throughout middle school loved pickles. One day, my friend Emma came over and mom prompted me to ask her if she wanted a snack. Of all the things I happened to say as I browsed through the cabinets, I mentioned that we had a jar of pickles. Emma decided she wanted pickles. So, being the good friend that I am, I went to open the jar of pickles. As I opened it, the worst thing ever happened. I spilled it all over myself. I spent the rest of the day smelling like pickles…even though I changed my shirt. Smh.

Electric shock: Apparently when I was a young’un, I stuck keys in an electrical socket. Which explains my hair.

Almost drowning: I’ll write about it in another post. This one is long enough!

throwback: the missing bed.

This is another gem from my freshman year at Oral Roberts University. Things to know:
1. ORU – Oral Roberts University. 2. Hannah and Clarissa – my neighbors. 3. WD-40 – the almighty spray oil of de-squeakerness. 4. Jess – my neighbor two doors down. The one I got into trouble with often. 5. Alcove – a common area on the opposite side of the elevators on our circular dorm floor.

October 28, 2007. The Adventures of College Life XI
4) The Missing Bed
Here at ORU, there are a lot of squeaks. By squeaks, I mean old rusty joints that haven’t been oiled in probably a decade or so. In response to this squeaky trend, I asked my papa bear (dad) to get me a bottle of all-powerful WD-40. Since returning from KC with this powerful substance, I have been going around reversing the trend of squeakyness. A majority of this reversing has happened in Hannah and Clarissa’s room. Their door was so squeaky that I knew whenever they were entering or leaving their room because I could hear the squeak through the wall. One of the first tasks on my agenda once I returned to ORU was to un-squeak their door. After completing that task, Clarissa asked me to fix one of her dresser drawers that had a nasty squeak at the end of its range of motion. I did some searching on it, greased the bearings, tightened the screws, and the drawer was like new.
So, Hannah asked to borrow my WD-40 to fix her bed on Tuesday night. She didn’t get around to fixing her squeaky bed frame that night, because she fell asleep…which is not a surprise, given that we found her asleep in one of the stairwells once…
Anyway, so Wednesday comes around. After classes, I was hanging around in Hannah’s room until she left for a practicum about a half-hour later. Hannah looked at me when she left and told me:

“Joy Bork, you will NOT de-squeak my bed!”
“Why not?”
“Because you’ve already done too much for me!”

Of course, someone telling me not to do something makes me want to do it more. After Hannah left, Jess and I decided to be ornery again. We knew that Clarissa was coming back soon, so we hid in her room. I was in the closet, and Jess was at the end of Clarissa’s bed. Clarissa came in just as Jess was going through the screen door to get marshmallow guns out of my room. Clarissa was freaked out just by seeing Jess out of the corner of her eye. Being the smart person that she is, Clarissa deducted that I was hiding in the room somewhere too. After a short and not thorugh search, Clarissa got distracted and gave up looking for me. Jess, being the great friend that she is, put Clarissa back on track by asking for PopTarts, which were in Clarissa’s closet. Clarissa came over to the closet, opened it, got the pop tarts out, then closed the door again…not even noticing that I was crouching in the bottom of it. Eventually, Jess started laughing. This made Clarissa realize that I was in the closet…

Anyway, back to the missing bed.

So, I asked Jess to help me take Hannah’s matress off of the bedframe. I then started WD-40’ing the joints on the bed (If you didn’t know, our beds here on Susie 7 are awesome. They push in to be a “couch” and pull out to reveal the whole matress for sleeping…). Jess got the idea that it would be awesome if we just left the matress in the middle of the floor, since Hannah is so anal sometimes about item placement. We all agreed that it would be hilarious to see Hannah’s reaction…then the idea escalated into moving Hannah’s bed into the alcove…
Yes. The alcove.
We picked up the bed and moved it to the alcove, then remade it so that it looked just like it did when it was on the bedframe, except it was on the floor in the alcove. I proceeded to pull out my video camera to document the event. Dani got a hold of the camera and started filming a documentary of the previous events. Clarissa, Jess, and I explained why the bed was in the alcove. In order to find out when Hannah will be back, I used the excuse of wanting to study for a midterm for Charismatic Life class the next day to see when Hannah will return. We got an estimate of her return at about 7:30.
I then started teaching Dani and Jess how to iron certain articles of clothing. I had asked several of the girls on the path to Hannah’s room to get her talking so that we could know when to get the camera out to film her reaction. I got the camera out just in time and got a perfect reaction…until the battery died…
but anyway, I edited it all into a video. (see below)


KateandIThis post is dedicated to my friend Katie. From then until now and beyond. May the adventures continue. May grace and monkey moments abound. Here’s to another year, new changes, and who knows what else. Love you! Happiest of Birthdays!

For those of you who are familiar with the Enneagram, this story will be quite enjoyable. It was a normal workday. I was in a calendar meeting in the programming offices. I was in the early stages of developing a friendship with Katie.
Sidenote: When I’m new to friendships, I am constantly gathering information about where I stand. The worst thing for an enneagram 6 is relational uncertainty. With that in mind, let us continue our story.
So here I am, sitting in calendar meeting. I see an email pop up from Katie. All it said was, “Do you consider me a friend?”
Panic. Pure panic began its trek through my veins. This could mean so many things. What did I say? What did I do? What could she be implying? So many possibilities exploded in my mind that I couldn’t move for a good 30 seconds. My friend Hallie was sitting next to me, watching the whole scenario go down.
What to do. What to do.
I hit reply.
What is a neutral answer that can work no matter if she’s somehow mad or not?
So many possibilities.
I typed out, “yes?” and hit send.
She responded a few moments later.
My panic wasn’t necessary. She has recently had a tattoo of the world put on her back and she needed help moisturizing it in the middle of the workday.
In talking about it all later, we laughed pretty hard at this one. Katie is a 9 on the enneagram and goes with the flow. Her calm demeanor and up-front nature mixed with my relational anxiety in that moment caused a perfect storm. Since then, we have weathered highs and lows. And in the midst of it all, I most definitely call her a friend.

gatorade saves the day.

There’s a weird part of my past that you should know. I was once a member of the boy scouts. I have the membership card and all. It was legit.
“But, you’re a female! How could you join the boy scouts?”
Such a great question. I was a member of the geocaching sector of the boy scouts. The irony of it all – I never went geocaching with it. But I have the membership card. That was worth it alone.

So. I’ve known about geocaching for a long time. But I didn’t actually try it until last year. I had planned an adventure day in July to celebrate Katie’s birthday. We did all of the planned activities, then still had some time to spare. So, I suggested geocaching. I had found the official geocaching app, so we opened it in the parking lot of where we went to get sushi for lunch, and off we went. The first one was a premium cache – meaning we couldn’t see any details of it other than general location because we didn’t have the paid app. But like a true boss, Katie found the cache. It was attached to a stick and shoved into a stone berm. After that, we were hooked. We went on a rampage in that area and found cache after cache. We ended up on the grounds of Harper Community College. There were several caches surrounding a small body of water on the grounds. We saw a few on the map that looked like they were on the other side of the pond from where we parked. So we started walking. We searched and found a few. But this one was evading our grasp. The heat bore down. We hit the point of no return – either go a little further and hope to round the end of the pond and get back to the parking lot or turn back and get to the car the way we came. We had walked all the way around the lake. It felt weird to just give up and turn back – and to add to the dynamics at play in the decision-making process, the hill we would have to walk back on was in full sun. We decided to give up on the cache, but press on and around the far end of the pond. Turns out there was no far end of the pond. It turned from a pond to a stream that flowed through private backyards.

geocachingMind you, it’s ridiculously hot. We’ve been out in the sun for who knows how long. We didn’t have the right footwear on. And now we were at an impasse. Katie decided to see if we could ford the stream. So, she boldly walked into the stream. A few moments later, she realized it was too deep. We shared a good laugh as she came out of the muddy water. Then the realization hit us. Crap. Now we have to walk all the way back.

We took off our shoes and began the trek. Strength was waning. The sun was still high. Words were few. When they were exchanged, it was about the level of dehydration we were beginning to experience.

About 20 minutes later, we finally made it back to the car. I put it in gear and we took off. Katie found the nearest 7-11, and we bought the best and coldest Gatorades on the planet. Never before has a Gatorade hit the spot to this degree. It was literally a lifesaver.
So, that was the day we almost didn’t make it out on the geocaching field. We learned some valuable information that day. Never go distance geocaching without fluids during the summer while wearing sandals.

throwback: the gnome saga.

It’s time for another college throwback! This is how I began the journey of writing weekly college updates. In my quirky innocence, this story happened to me and is still one of my favorite college memories. Things to know:
1. Kaley and I enjoyed being floor mates my freshman year at ORU. She jumped on the gnome train with me early.
2. Melissa, Starla, and Melissa were floor mates. They were gracious to join the search party.
3. I still like gnomes.

The Adventures of College Life I – August 20, 2007


Kaley and her gnome.

It was a warm, musky Friday night when Kaley Herndon and I, Joy Bork decided to go to Wal-Mart and buy lawn gnomes. But alas, this was not the real beginning of the adventure. That started when I asked Kaley what she thought about the dwindling population of Lawn Gnomes in our society today. Kaley didn’t have a complete answer, but I filled in with my amazing improv speech skills…
And I quote:

“Assets of Lawn Gnomes in our society:
1) They keep our gardens safe from bunnies and other small rodents.
2) They help enhance the air because of their protection of green plant life.
3) They make our homes and dorms look warm and inviting.”


Kaley with gnome signs.

Upon this convincing speech, Kaley and I were moved to help the dwindling population. We made an exodus to our local Wal-Mart. As we entered the garden department, we noticed how small the lawn gnome population really was, because of the small selection thereof. Upon arriving in the garden glamor section, we found our two gnomes. We lovingly named them Harry and Fred. It was a lovely evening afterward. They trekked all over the store with us finding lint rollers, boxes, white boards and many other college life necessities. Upon arriving back at the dorm, we gave our gnomes a woman’s touch, since their wardrobe was clearly in need of it. Then we placed them in their places of glory…on the left side of each of our doorways. We were then moved to run around the circular halls of our dorm with PVC blowguns that shoot amazing ammo: Marshmallows. While I was being chased, I was looking for Harry, my gnome, as a reference point as to the location of my residence. After missing my room two or so times, I realized that HARRY WAS GONE!


Melissa making signs.

So, as the good protector that I am, I went after Harry. Kaley and I recruited several others to aid in our search: Melissa, Starla, and another Melissa. We scoured our floor, Janine’s floor, and a few other places. When our search turned up no leads, we came back to my room (Search HQ) to regroup and come up with a new plan. One of my comrades suggested making lost notes. So, all four of us began creating art in the effort of having Harry returned to us. Kaley then posted the notes all over the floor and put a petition in the elevator. We then decided to rest and let God do the work.

After some time, all evidence pointed towards my next door neighbor, Hannah, as the thief of my lawn gnome. The evidence was mounting…a comment made before the crime (“Joy?!?! What is this evil troll lady thing doing outside your door??!?!?), an observation after the crime (“So, you guys are making lost signs?”), and evidence later on from two separate conversations:
My roommate, Mattie: “I heard Harry was in the bathroom!”
Me: “Who told you that?”
Mattie: “Hannah.”
Evidence also came from a conversation on the way back from an evening chapel service with a connection to the thief (I don’t remember his name…)
Him:” Joy! Do you know who stole your gnome?”
Me: “I have my suspicions.”
Him: “Who?”
Me: “My next door neighbor, Hannah.”
Him: “You’re probably right…and I think you should get her back.”
Both of us: *Evil laugh*


Oh Hannah. From gnome thief to wonderful friend.

The evidence is all pointing in Hannah’s direction, and only God can convict her to confess the truth before God and us.

So ends your first glimpse into my college life.



The Adventures of College Life II – August 29, 2007
Since my last update, there have been numerous other abductions of Harry, my innocent lawn gnome. One day as I woke up, I had the familiar sensation of needing to relieve myself at the latrine. On my way back, I noticed that HARRY WAS MISSING! Given the turn of events at the last abduction, I assumed that Harry would show up soon enough and that his abductors just wanted a reaction. Being the ornery person that I am, I decided to not give them the reaction they wanted and go back to bed. Later in the day, one of the girls on my floor came up to me and told me that Harry freaked her out really bad when she took a shower that morning.  Apparently, Harry’s abductors thought he needed to take a shower, so they set him outside the shower stalls in the east bathroom complex. My friend was still in that after sleep groggy state, and the sight of a man in the bathroom apparently startled her into a scream.



But this was only the first abduction of Harry. Another day, I awoke to find Harry missing once more. I found out from a source later in the day that Harry was visiting the west bathroom complex. On Sunday, I was on my way to lunch when I entered the elevator and found my dear Harry guarding the corner. I exited the elevator on the fifth floor and placed Harry in a temporary holding location until he can get over the shock of being abducted three or four times in a week.



just like that.

A group of us were sitting on the Swing’s front porch enjoying a warm, quiet summer evening. We were doing what I imagine folks have done for centuries. Small talk, acapella singing with three part harmonies and making up hypothetical tales. One of those tales has gone down in the annals of history and can be summed up in a phrase and a gesture.
My pal Lyle is a down-home, can-do, can fix anything, make anything, all around amazingly quirky guy. Many times when he opens his mouth, the words that come out catch me completely off guard. This particular evening, the topic of my dating life (or lack thereof) came up. It’s not a new topic, so nowadays when it comes up, I just go with the flow. I haven’t tried online dating, nor am I particularly interested in it. Then Lyle spoke up. Lyle and his wife Julie both grew up in rural Nebraska. Lyle said that they could get me a man “just like that” if I’d cross the Nebraska border. He snapped at the peak of the word “that.” I haven’t tested this theory, but according to Lyle, things could happen just. like. that. *snap*
If Lyle says it, it must be true.