Our Christmas in July

– Posted in: My Stuff

It seems like half a world ago that my family had our “Christmas in July” and I haven’t had a chance to share until now. That was a little over a week ago and now I’m on the other side of the world!

We all gathered together at the Worendo Homestead, overlooking the World Heritage Rainforest mountains of Lamington National Park. We’d rented the place for a couple of nights; my three “kids”, their spouses/partners, my three wonderful grandchildren, and of course, me.

For me, the past few weeks had been ultra busy, preparing myself for a trip to Europe. Three months is a long time to be away and much needed to be done to ensure all my “affairs” at home were in order when the time came for me to load my car to leave for the weekend and immediately after for my trip overseas. My nerves were as tight as a drum and I was weary.

As I drove further west into the rural area I felt the stress of the past few weeks slipping away. It was mid afternoon before I left home and the sun was low in the sky. The dappled shadows of the trees stretched across the road ahead of me. The fields were scorched due to our dry winter and the afternoon sun turned the dry grass a beautiful shade of gold. Oasis’s of evergreen trees dotted the landscape. Several times I pulled over to the side of the road to marvel at the beauty and to try out my new camera.


Worendo Homestead was a perfect choice for us. Plenty of space but very homely and cosy. We’re very fortunate to have a true-blue Aussie in our family who not only chose the location and was also able to name the various types of birds we spotted. Elisha was raised on a Queensland farm and loves nature.


The children were able to feed the newborn lambs each day which were black; something they’d not seen before. According to our host, all sheep were once black, but were bred to produce white wool for commercial reasons. Occasionally a black lamb will be born to a white ewe as a “throw back” and are considered commercially useless. The owners of the property at which we were staying have rescued some, bringing them to the farm.

When does a country farm not have chickens? There were baby chickens to hold and eggs to collect from the nests of the hens and a bossy rooster strutting his stuff around the hen-house.


Various family members contributed to the preparation of the meals in the well-stocked farm kitchen as they laughed and joked and simply shared some good old comraderie. With plenty of hills and valleys to explore, everyone had great appetites by meal-times.


We had our newest addition to the family, only 10 weeks old, to cuddle, burp, and laugh with. How much he will have grown by the time I see him again!


Although the weather was mild for winter, we still lit the wood fire in the cosy living room. How else were we to toast the marshmallows? In the evening we played monopoly in front of the fire. The 8 year old was our “bank” and seeing the happiness on her face as she watched, listened and interacted with her aunties and uncles as they teased, challenged and laughed with one another I realised just how precious family times like these are and sadly how seldom we manage to have them.


These are the times that are remembered forever in a child’s mind. Times of warmth, love and laughter. They enable a child to form healthy family values. Times like these are great for the adults too. Although we’re all different and unique, we can come together as a family and respect, love and appreciate one another.
















13 Comments… add one

Russell Miller August 8, 2014, 1:13 am

This is what Christmas is about. Too often we get side-tracked with gift giving and spending money – THIS is the true spirit of Christmas…no matter what time of year it happens

Maxine Stephenson August 8, 2014, 3:20 am

I totally agree Russell. And although we called it “Christmas” the girls didn’t mention or apparently expect presents. Maybe we’ll do it this way in future

Liz Koh August 8, 2014, 6:17 am

Precious memories to take with you on your travels! What a lovely family…

Maxine Stephenson August 8, 2014, 7:36 am

Precious indeed Liz. And thanks my friend; I’m very fortunate to have them all.

Wendy Jenkyn August 8, 2014, 9:38 am

Great Blog Maxine.
I look forward to your Europe trip.
I’ll be in Africa for part of that time but I look forward to stories and pictures.

Maxine Stephenson August 8, 2014, 3:56 pm

Oh yes…your African trip Part 2. Have you somewhere online where we can see all those great shots you took other than FB?

Jaci Byrne August 8, 2014, 9:44 am

Beautifully written Maxine! I was just thinking that a blog on your travels would be great to read. Have a ball! xx

Maxine Stephenson August 8, 2014, 4:00 pm

Coming from an accomplished writer like yourself Jaci, that’s a great compliment. Thank you.
I’ve been promising myself for ages that I’d blog real-time on my travels, and so I’m a little closer to fulfilling it. Rome wasn’t built in a day! 🙂

Liz Kennedy August 8, 2014, 10:08 am

So beautifully written Maxine! Yes my dear friend, there certainly is nothing like special times with the family & yours truly are beautiful! Love you all! xoxo

Leah Barsallo August 8, 2014, 10:33 am

I enjoyed reading about your family weekend away Maxine. Great pics too 🙂 all the best on your trip.
You are added to my list of travellers to be jealous of, my brother and his partner head to Europe soon and my sister and her man to the US.
Lovely what you wrote about children lapping up relaxing time with all the family.

Maxine Stephenson August 8, 2014, 4:03 pm

I’ve always thought it would be awesome to take the whole family somewhere to live for a year or so, so the little ones could learn a second language. Your children are perfect ages for it Leah. Although maybe they learning Spanish at home?

Liz Kennedy August 8, 2014, 7:27 pm

So beautifully written Maxine! Yes my dear friend, family times certainly are very special, & you do have a beautiful family! The pictures are also wonderful! Love you all! xoxox

Vashte August 10, 2014, 9:33 pm

I absolutely agree. It was such a wonderful weekend with our fabulous family! The homestead was simply gorgeous too!

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