Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Weekend Work Retreat

As I told you in Monday's blog of excuses for why I was a slacker all week, Brandon and I spent the weekend at a retreat hosted by his residency program. One of the reasons he choose the residency in Oklahoma City was due to the fact that they were very family friendly. In my opinion, a lot of times in professional training programs, family is pushed to the side to make way for preparing for the new job. Luckily, I wasn't married while I was in law school so I didn't notice that push near as much as some of my colleagues; however, now that Brandon's in residency I see the effects a time consuming job can have on your relationships. I understand, to an extent, that these three years are somewhat of a rite of passage for doctors... it's just something you have to get through, survive. Nevertheless, the fact that everybody else had to do it too doesn't make it any less stressful, any less exhausting, any less mentally, physically and emotionally draining. While the Oklahoma City program is extremely challenging, they do a very good job of helping their residents stay focused on what's important - their faith and their families. This weekend retreat was just another example of their commitment to those priorities.

The program hosted us and every other family medicine resident (and their families) for two nights at the Lone Wolf Lodge in the Quartz Mountains. The weekend was designed to give the residents some time to get to know each other outside of the hospital and just relax! We arrived relatively late Friday night and basically just got settled in. This may sound a little cheezy, but we love to ride in the car together and I think we both needed a good two and a half hours by ourselves.

On Saturday morning we woke up early for some yummy breakfast and then headed to a morning devotional. Our speaker was really, really good! His message was short but he made great points! That morning he taught about the importance of being godly on every normal day, not just the "important" days. He told the story of David and Goliath... one most everyone knows, but he didn't focus on the part where little shepherd boy David knocked out the big scary bad guy. Instead he went over the verses leading up to the "important" day. He explained that David's father had given him the job of shepherd even though it was a job typically delegated to servants. He told how David's brothers made fun of him for being a shepherd, but that David took pride in his work even on the normal days. You see, God was using David's normal days to prepare him for his "important" day. While being a shepherd he had to kill a lion and a bear to protect his sheep, nobody was looking and nobody really cared, but David did his job very well. You all know how the story ends... nobody wanted to fight Goliath but David volunteered because he wasn't frightened or intimated. God had prepared him. I thought it was a great point that I hadn't really thought about before! Monday through Friday, those normal days, God is preparing me for an "important" day... I may not know what that "important" day looks like right now, but I know that if I do my best, if I spend time in God's word, if I work diligently on strengthening my relationship with Him... I will be prepared when the "important" day arrives! Great story, huh?!

Trying to make a perfect square out of rope...
First they had to find the rope which was the best part!

Next we headed to do some team building challenges. These were just silly games, but everyone had a really good time observing... Something about blindfolded adults crawling around is really funny.

Headed out for a little walk
Taking a little break for a picture!
After lunch Brandon and I decided to take a little hike. There are trails all around the Lodge and it was a nice sunny day so we decided some exercise would be good! Apparently we weren't the only ones with this bright idea... so we went on a group walk!! This was probably my favorite part of the trip! We got to talk to lots of different people and I really enjoyed getting to know the people I hear about all the time. It's always nice to put a face with a name and even better when you can put a whole family with a name! We ended up going past the end of the paved trail and decided to climb to the top of a little hill. This unexpected adventure ended up being a much more difficult team building challenge then the activities they had planned! The little hill had some big boulders and you had to maneuver carefully... but we all made it!

My handsome husband!

On top of the hill!

Standing in front of our next challenge!

After conquering the hill we were feeling pretty good about ourselves... then Brandon suggested we take on the big beast. Most of our group decided that they had all the fun they could take for one day so Brandon, one of the other residents named Lacey, and I went for it! The hike up wasn't as difficult as the little hill because the boulders were much smaller and more manageable; however we had to keep climbing a LOT longer! We were a little winded but we really enjoyed this little climb! It was also great fun to get to talk to Lacey and learn more about her! She was so fun and we always love somebody that's up for a challenge!

I guess I tilted the camera when I took this picture, but I think it's funny!

The little hill looked REALLY tiny from the top!

Just getting some practice for the Alps in May!

Sunday we got up early, packed up, went to one last devotion with the group and then hit the road! We figured if we were already out this far west we should make a little detour to Meers Famous Burgers! Meers was once a bustling town of miners but now is home to only one little family and their burger joint.

The restaurant is known for burgers made from Texas longhorn beef raised on the Meer's family farm. The building (and it's decor) dates back to it's original opening in 1901. The floors aren't even remotely level and the walls are covered in old pictures and business cards. It definitely isn't fancy, but it's totally worth the drive! Plus, to get there we drove through the a wildlife refuge and saw herds of buffalo and TONS of little groundhogs! Super cute little guys...

The burger... oh the burger! It's served in a pie plate and it is absolutely, utterly, a-mazing!! Seasoned perfectly and super juicy, this burger was to die for! We also tried the frickles (fried bread and butter pickles with a little kick of spice), okra and cheese fries. **I didn't take the picture below... unfortunately I wasn't thinking that far in advance, but this picture is almost exactly what we ate!! One thing you should know in advance, they don't accept anything plastic and your check is going to need to be local (OKC is good enough) so make sure to bring enough cash for dinner and dessert! Brandon and I hadn't planned for that so we had to dig through the car until we found enough for dinner, luckily we even found a bonus ten so we got to enjoy dessert!

I want you to listen to me very, very closely. PAY ATTENTION this is important. DO NOT SKIP DESSERT. We almost made this horrible mistake but my sweet tooth kicked in and saved the day. Everybody at our table ordered something and there was plenty to share so we got to try a little of everything! Amazing homemade ice cream served on homemade peach cobbler... I'm not a huge cobbler fan so I was just going to eat the ice cream... then I decided to just try the cobbler. Oh. My. Heavens. It was the best thing ever. Doughy crust covered in cinnamon and sugar, perfectly warm peaches... I'm drooling just thinking about it! And we also tried the homemade banana pudding - wowzers. Seriously, you should go. Like today. I'm already planning a trip back!

So that pretty much sums up our weekend! We are so very thankful to get to be a part of such a wonderful residency program (even though we have to remind ourselves of this when it steals away my husband for an entire week's worth of nights). I will forever be appreciative that they realize the importance of family - that they allowed Brandon to take time off for our wedding and honeymoon, that they are understanding when he requests days off for special events, that they truly try to make everyone's schedule work so that they don't have to completely sacrifice their personal lives, and that they always include spouses in the programs events. I am also thankful that Brandon works with such a wonderful set of residents - they are understanding, encouraging and supportive. I'm glad they are now more than just colleagues, they are also friends. So, Residency, thanks for the mini-vacation, we appreciated it... and needed it!

Be Blessed!

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