Category Archives: Random

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!


Joy and Chels - Blast 2013

This one is dedicated to my pal Chelsea. We’ve been through highs, lows, and everything in between. You’re everything a kid could ask for in a pal, and I’m so grateful. Here’s to new adventures, laughing about the past, and the power of presence. I love you!


When I interned at Willow during the summer of 2010, I met Chelsea. Little did I know that she would become one of my best friends. One of the turning points that solidified her in my mind as my kind of human was when we had a project to do in the Lakeside Auditorium catwalks at Willow. During the summer days when no services are planned in Lakeside, the AC is generally kept off. Since heat rises, the catwalks then become quite near unbearable on really hot days.
On this particular day, Chelsea and I headed up to the catwalks to swap out some colored gels on the lighting rig. While up there, we were discussing the heat and how we were sweating. In passing, Chelsea mentioned casually that the catwalks are “the armpit of God.” The hilarity of that statement led from one thing to another, until we made a discovery.
Go with me here for a second. There are many species of animals that have gone undiscovered that are quite real, but until they are found lack a name. The same happened with our discovery, except that instead of discovering an animal, we put a name to a phenomenon that happens often in heat.
My friends, I give you SPSBS.
You know that moment when you’re outside in the summer and your pants start to stretch out a bit? Then because you’re working or playing hard (or just in a hot area), your butt starts to sweat? Never fear. We put a name to it. Saggy Pant Sweaty Butt Syndrome. It affects us all, old and young. No one is immune. But there are things that can be done to prevent others from knowing about your SPSBS. Mainly – don’t wear mid-saturation toned shorts/pants. They show sweat.
That day in the catwalks began something amazing. And that’s my friendship with Chelsea. Thanks, SPSBS!

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.

chews like a cow.

I have a very vivid memory of the day I verbalized one of my pet peeves. Mom, Janine, and I were sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast (I’m pretty sure it was cereal). It was a normal day. We were probably about to do school. Something kept bombarding my psyche…and it wasn’t pretty.
It was the sound of my sister chewing.
I had to say something. I couldn’t hold it in. I couldn’t even think – my thoughts were pummeled by the chewing.
It seemed to get louder and louder.
Even in typing that, I realize the absurdity of it all. Make her stop (Despite all of my hoping moms can’t give anti-chewing orders.), she sounds like a cow (I don’t believe i’ve ever isolated the sound of a cow chewing to make an accurate comparison). Well. I guess it was the best I could do in that moment.
Absurd as it is, I despise chewing sounds. I’ve told groups that i’ve lead abroad that I will freely tell them to chew with their mouths closed if I happen to hear them wherever we are at. Open mouthed gum chewing drives me bonkers. I literally can’t.
But if I do happen to hear you chewing, rest assured I won’t compare you to a cow. It’ll probably be something i’ve heard before…like a camel…or a dog.

the eyeball.



Personality matched cow inspired activities. I blew up a rubber glove and Janine made butter.

We homeschooled in an era where homeschooling wasn’t quite fully accepted as legitimate. But we were surrounded by supportive friends and family who tried to provide educational experiences to make sure we were well rounded.
Someone at our church decided to provide us the experience of dissecting a cow’s eyeball. Seems pretty cool at first thought. But here’s what really happened: There was a clear container in our fridge for what felt like forever that had a floating eyeball in it. Even the most casual opening of the fridge for food grazing purposes led to being unexpectedly assaulted by the gaze of a singular eyeball floating in goo (I’m really proud of this sentence).

Finally, the day came. Janine no longer had to avoid the fridge for fear of the eye’s gaze. We pulled the eyeball out of the goo and began the educational experience. Mom dove right in. The knife drawer was opened, and the tools of choice were removed. It was time.

At this point, I thought that dissections were cool. I was as close to mom as she would allow. There’s no way I was going to miss any action. Janine was still not so sure about the empty stare of the eyeball, so she kept her distance across the island. The procedure began. Mom grabbed a knife and began the incision. What should have taken one swipe of the knife ended up taking much longer than expected. The knife proved quite dull, which meant many swipes with the blade and increasing downward pressure. When the blade finally made it through, a moment of panic ensued. The incision matched with the pressure meant that the eyeball’s lens made a dramatic upward exit. We all screamed a bit but recovered eventually in fits of laughter.

That day, we learned a valuable lesson. Don’t dissect with dull knives.

disorderly potatoes.

In doing initial research for this series, I FaceTimed with my sister. We talked for quite a while about the intricacies and oddities of our childhood and how we saw the world. I don’t remember everything. I have what my mom calls, “Selective Memory Loss.” And there are definitely moments that I blocked out or selectively forgot for some reason or other. This is apparently one of them.

We were a family of order and routine. We ate when dad came home. We sat in the same chairs at the table (Clockwise: Mom sat closest to the kitchen. Janine sat with her back to the windows. Dad faced mom, and I faced my sister). We did things in patterns. One day (for reasons unknown to me), mom and dad made Janine and I swap seats.  Messing with order meant that something probably went down that didn’t have a category in the “what-ifs” my parents had experienced in raising us to that point. The thing that Janine remembers most: she cried because my seat smelled like mashed potatoes.
I’m glad we survived that one.