The tomb of St Mary MacKillop can be found inside this chapel.

Do you have a daughter who organises you? I have four of them. (I did have five but one left home.) I really don’t have to think for myself. I just do as I’m told and everything works out perfectly. And so it was Imogen who battled with the automatic ticket machines, found the right railway platforms for all the right trains, and then led me through the streets of North Sydney until we arrived at Mary MacKillop Place, for this week's Catholic Digital Media Conference. All I had to do was follow in her wake, clutching my luggage.

 I was really proud of how little luggage I took. Usually I can’t go anywhere without packing the kitchen sink, ‘just in case’. But this time I travelled light: Just the essentials and nothing else. And I did it all by myself, no daughters’ help required. 

When bedtime rolled around at the end of the first very full and enjoyable conference day, I pulled on my pyjamas, and grabbed a towel and my toothbrush, before heading to Imogen’s room.  I poked my head around her door and said, “I’ve come for some toothpaste.”

“You didn’t pack toothpaste?”

“No, I thought I’d use yours. I’m travelling light.”

“But I haven’t got any. I thought I’d share yours."

We had not even a tiny squeeze of toothpaste between us.

“Well, that serves me right,” I grinned.

Immy raised her eyebrows: “Huh?”

“I stole the electric toothbrush out of our bathroom without telling Dad. He has the toothpaste and I have the toothbrush!” (Of course Andy had his own toothbrush head but it was useless without the electric base.)

So what did Imogen and I do? Did we just suffer dirty teeth for two days? Oh no, we couldn’t do that. Being the resourceful woman I am, I considered our options. I looked at our available resources. What else was in my toiletries bag? There was soap and shampoo and foaming face wash.

“Foaming face wash!” I said. “That'll do.” 

I squeezed a little of the gel onto my brush, pressed the button and soon I was foaming at the mouth. Just for a few seconds I wondered if the face wash was one of those 'do not take internally' products. But I continued foaming away and  hoped for the best. And as I'm still here to write this post, I feel it's safe to conclude it's perfectly okay to use face wash to clean one's teeth. (If you can stand the taste.)

Last night Imogen and I arrived back from a thoroughly inspiring conference. After we’d eaten dinner, we unpacked our bags. I reunited the electric toothbrush with the tube of toothpaste. I looked at them sitting next to each other on the edge of the ensuite sink. Somehow they looked so right together. I guess some things aren’t meant to be separated. And that's why I'm taking my husband Andy with me, next time I visit Mary MacKillop Place.

So what did I learn from this year's conference? Over the course of the two day event, I heard these words quite a few times: use what you have. I've already done that: I used foaming face wash to clean my teeth. Am I resourceful? Can I be a resourceful blogger? There are a lot of ideas circulating in my head. Would you like to hear them? Perhaps I can share more about the CDMC another day.

Alma Cottage where St Mary MacKillop died, 8th August 1909

PS: If you get a chance to stay at Mary MacKillop Place, do go! It’s the best place I’ve ever stayed. I was treated so royally, I felt like the Queen. (Hey, do you remember that story?) Just don’t forget to take your toothpaste. 

I did post a few CDMC things on my Sue Elvis Writes Facebook page. If you haven't visited my page recently, why don't you hop on over and take a look? I'd love to see you there!

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  1. YOU are a super resourceful woman, friend!! Imogene sounds perfectly lovely and uber organized----seems like my Timmy! He's really on top of things...but not quite so much, as he's only 11 :)

    YES! I'd love to hear more of the ideas shared at the conf! And will you be sharing your talks too? I would so enjoy reading what you spoke of as well.....And BTW I DO remember the Queen story. I guess I;m becoming a "long time" reader around these parts!

    Speaking of how little you packed, I had to laugh. My hubby thinks I OVERPACK, when all I have is one bag.( it's kind of big and we ARE going cross country for 3 weeks for heaven's sake) But my brother kills me. He travels a lot for work...around the world actually. He prides himself on a two night trip to London from NY for being able to put all he needs in his briefcase ( !!) extra shirt, essentials, toothbrush and all the papers he needs for his meetings. That's it. Yikes. This way he doesn't have to deal with baggage claim and customs....just the passport and get out and get the taxi. I had to giggle when you wrote that you were proud of ho little luggage you brought along! I'm thinking I couldn't streamline like you and he in terms of packing!

    Loved your post, friend!

    I'll be back soon!

    1. Chris,

      Every mother needs a child that's good at organisation. I'm lucky. I have lots of them! Sounds like Timmy is doing a great job keeping your life in order too!

      I WILL write about the talk (at least my part of it.) I had a wonderful co-presenter called Laura. We are different in almost every way but somehow we complemented each other perfectly. Dare I confess I spoke too much? (Why will that not surprise anyone?) Fortunately Laura was very gracious and didn't make me feel bad at all!

      Oh I would love to be able to travel with just a briefcase. That would make travelling so simple. I think men find it much easier to pack light. They don't have half so many 'essentials' to take along. For example, Andy can survive quite nicely without a hairdryer but I can't. And men don't seem to have many toiletries. We seem to need a different lotion or potion for each part of our body!

      Chris, if you ever do make it to this side of the world, you will have to schedule in a visit to Mary MacKillop Place. It's like another world hidden away in the middle of the city. I really want to return soon with Andy for a couple of days' break. I want to show him the chapel and Mary MacKillop's tomb, have coffee and cake in the cafe, explore the museum, take more photos...

      Thank you for the long and delightful comment. Love chatting with you! xxx

  2. I used to be very good about packing, making a list and checking it twice. Now, I wait until the last minute and throw things in the bag at the same time the Husband does. Sure enough, we get to our destination and find out what we've forgot. It's part of the adventure. :-)

    1. Suzie,

      Oh I like your style of packing. Most things can be replaced if we forget something... or we just improvise! I hate packing, and unpacking is even worse. But when it's only me, it's not too bad. Packing for a big family holiday is a nightmare. Luckily these days, the girls usually do the packing for me. Part of the adventure... yes. And if I'd actually remembered everything I would never have had this story to tell!

  3. How cute both of you thought you could use the other's toothpaste ;) very resourceful I do say!


    1. Betty,

      Oh yes, Imogen had exactly the same idea as me. Like mother, like daughter. It was rather funny really. Thank you for stopping by!

  4. This was such an enjoyable post. Although is that a bit of foam I see around Imogen's mouth? (just kidding of course!)

    I have been known to pack so much that I began mailing a box ahead to my destination (when I was staying with friends) just so I wouldn't have to collect check luggage in the airports!

    1. Nancy,

      I love it when things don't go to plan because then I can make a story out of it!

      Mailing thing ahead... oh I like that idea! So if a huge box arrives on my doorstep, containing everything including the kitchen sink, with your name as the return addressee, then I'll know you're on your way!

  5. I just love your parable of toothbrush and -paste belonging together, and bringing Andy along next time. I feel absplutely the same way.

    1. Uglemor,

      I'm glad you appreciated that part of the story. I did enjoy my time away immensely, but if Andy had been with me, I wouldn't have had that 'not quite right' feeling. And if he had come too, we'd have brought both the toothbrush and toothpaste!

  6. Oh my goodness that's hilarious! You're a very resourceful lady indeed!

    That's a beautiful photo of Imogen, it is a very special place. I had a beautiful, though brief, prayer time in the chapel on the second morning of the conference.

    It was great to meet you, I'm a bit intimidated by the size of your blog but I love your writing so I'll just try and keep up from here! xx

    1. Marilyn,

      It is so lovely to see you here on my blog. I do hope you'll keep reading my posts. That would be so good. I've been blogging for 4 years and I'm a prolific writer so that's why my blog is so big. It doesn't take long for a blog to grow when there is so much to write about!

      I have decided that Mary MacKillop Place is one of my favourite places. I hope there will be another CDMC next year and we can all return to enjoy the beauty and peace all over again.

      Thank you for stopping by!


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