a tale of two friends

  • vegemite from pen pals in Australia

a tale of two friends

Being a member of an online photography forum like Clickin Moms has so many advantages.  At CM we have mounds of tutorials, helpful blog posts, amazing Breakout Sessions and CMU courses.  More often than not, during online chatting and courses, there are connections made and friendships formed.  This is a little story of how two CMs, who had never before made contact with each other, connected through the forum and the CMglimpse project.   Their friendship has bloomed and so have their little ones.

a tale of two friends

Melissa Gibson‘s story:

The one and only reason why I joined CM back in 2010 was for the photography tutorials, picture share and serious critique. Okay, so that’s three reasons. Never once did I imagine that I would actually make wonderfully, sweet friends. Friends that are nearly down the road from me, yet also friends that are across the globe. It never occurred to me that while I was learning about photography from CM, my children would be learning about life in another country from CM. Yet that, is exactly what has been happening.

You see? Several months back, a mom of two and fellow CMer, in Australia commented on one of my CMglimpse images of my family roasting S’mores on vacation. She mentioned that she had never had S’mores before and, in fact, didn’t even know what they were. That is when it all started. My girls and I knew that we couldn’t bear to let this sweet family go on with life not tasting that yummy goodness. A few weeks later, we mailed out a package in hopes that the ingredients, books, and letter would make it all the way to the other side of the world. And? It did!

My girls have been so excited to share our lives with the Bailey Family. We have learned about their lives in Australia, their opposite seasons, having Christmas in summer, and even words and sayings that are different from our American words.  They ask me, “What time is it in Australia now, Mommy?” and “What do you think our buddies do for fun on Fridays, Mommy?” They are learning that friends are near. And far. That writing letters and sending packages is so very exciting. And receiving them is just as irresistibly wonderful! And that Vegemite? It is an acquired taste. We can’t wait to see where this friendship is headed. To Australia, perhaps?

vegemite from pen pals in Australia

Narelle Bailey‘s story:

In the past I would never have imagined myself to be actively involved on a forum. I originally came across Clickin Moms whilst internet browsing through photography related pages. There was an amazing amount of information all conveniently located in the one place. I joined right away, but just intended to read.  For the longest time I mostly lurked, and was too chicken to post much. Then I decided I would join in on the Instagram Glimpse project for a bit of fun and creative inspiration. It was then that I really started to see CM members as real people with real families. Most of the participants were a world away from me in Australia, but seeing little snippets from their daily lives made them seem so much closer to home. I started to become more involved on the forum and found that I was part of a wonderful community and genuine friendships were beginning to form.

On Instagram, it was Melissa that really stood out to me. Anyone that knows her would agree that she brings so much sweetness and humour to our days. I absolutely fell in love with her adorable family too. I often saw things from the Americans on Instagram that I had never seen before here in Australia. Melissa became my go to person for any questions that were playing on my mind. I was especially curious about S’mores and drinking out of glass jars. You can imagine our surprise when a package arrived all the way from the United States from the Gibson family! My son was so excited that I had to calm him down so he wouldn’t tear the whole thing apart. I felt like a little kid again. The package contained everything we needed to make S’mores for ourselves, some books about America for our kids and glass drinking jars! We had so much fun making the S’mores and learning about another country.  We couldn’t wait to send our package with books, Tim Tams and of course some Vegemite.

This has turned out not only to be a valued friendship for me, but also a terrific experience for my whole family.

Pen pals for children and photographers

At CM, we spend our time reading through tutorials, chit-chatting in the Break Room, and gushing over the Picture Share forum.  We are making connections and friendships with others who share our joy of photography.  Women all over the world are posting and coming together for the art that we love.
Why not take advantage of those worldwide connections?  Let’s introduce our children, through our love of photography, to another country.  Another culture.  A new experience.  A brand new friend. Come join us in the forum and sign up for the Pen Pal Project.  It’s sure to be exciting!

Learn more about the Pen Pal Project in the forum here.

About the Author:

From the parent company Click & Company, Clickin Moms has revolutionized the photography industry as the first and largest organization to embrace and serve female photographers of all levels, from hobbyists to professionals. Visit Clickin Moms Blog online.


  1. Melissa Feb 07 2013 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    I am so excited!! Thanks for posting this!!

  2. celestejones Feb 07 2013 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    i absolutely love this. i’ve met so many great connections and friendships through this community. wonderful story.

  3. Stacey V Feb 07 2013 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    What a sweet story! I have also been blown away by my CM friendships. This is such a great project!

  4. Courtney Feb 07 2013 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    This sounds like a great project! My son and I are planning to participate 🙂

  5. Melissa Stottmann Feb 07 2013 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    This is the coolest project!! I loved reading this – and what a great way for moms to bring their kiddos together. <3 The friendships I've made through CM!!

  6. Narelle Bailey Feb 07 2013 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    This is so exciting. Can’t wait for others to have this wonderful experience too!

  7. Sarah Wilkerson Feb 07 2013 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    I love this sooooooo much. Wonderful stories, awesome project – thank you, Melissa and Narelle, for being such an inspiration and representing the friendships within CM so beautifully!! xo

  8. celeste pavlik Feb 07 2013 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    I love this story! I had no idea the two of you did this!! Okay, I’m sold on doing the Pen Pal thing now. I know 4 little boys who will love it as much as I do!!

  9. Danielle Feb 07 2013 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    I love this! Such a fun idea!!

  10. Sarah Vaughn Feb 07 2013 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    This brought tears to my eyes! How wonderful that people from across the world have connected like this. Just beautiful and it so represents what CM is all about!

  11. Kara K. Feb 08 2013 at 4:57 am - Reply

    These are two beautiful stories! I love how CM connects cultures *and* friends!

  12. Katrina Stewart Feb 08 2013 at 10:06 am - Reply

    Ooh l love this. It’s just typical of the CM family. l can’t wait to get started on the penpal project.

  13. Jasmine Feb 09 2013 at 7:10 am - Reply

    I’m Australian and I am curious – what are s’mores? I can’t wait to be involved with this project.

    • Melissa Feb 10 2013 at 12:37 pm - Reply

      Hi Jasmine! Oh goodness….S’mores are YUM!!! It’s a sandwich, of sorts. You roast a marshmallow over fire, take a small piece of chocolate, and smoosh those two things up between two graham cracker cookies. In America we do this around campfires, but I may or may not have even made them in the microwave. *giggle*

  14. louise o'dwyer Feb 10 2013 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    pen pals sounds good to me …… to be a pain what are graham crackers ? (crackers in the U.K are plain water biscuits that you eat with cheese) S’more’s sound deliciously disgusting : )

    • Melissa Feb 11 2013 at 8:39 am - Reply

      Hi Louise! Crackers in the US are usually eaten with cheese, salads, dips, etc. They aren’t sweet. However, graham crackers are different and are more like sweet cookies. They are popular additions to desserts and are yummy little snack cookies. My girls LOVE them and probably eat too many some days. Hee! You need an American pen pal so he/she can send some to you! 😉

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