Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Sad Day in the Blog World

Like Merchant Ships

I realize that she announced this on Monday, but I couldn't even write about it until today. My heart has been saddened by her decision, even as I completely appreciate why she would make it.

Meredith from Like Merchant Ships has decided to stop blogging (for the most part). Her post says that she'll back for "the occasional update" and I can only hope that she will. Like Merchant Ships has long been one of my very favorite blogs to visit. I realize I may sound a little like a stalker throughout this post, but I will really miss having Meredith's viewpoint in the blog world.

Why do I love visiting her blog so much? Well, she has an amazing ability to see beauty in simple, thrifty things. She has an amazing eye and picks out deals on the second hand market. I love seeing her little spatulas for $.10 and her platters and furniture and linens. I like knowing how she found them and how she redid them. She has been an inspiration to take the time to really find what I love and to not spend much money while doing it.

The woman can really host a gathering! I've seen her do amazing breakfasts for a bridal parties, picnics for her family, birthday parties, breakfasts for 100 people and many other events. They've all been done in such a way that makes the reciever feel special (or at least I know I would). They've been done on a small budget and with mostly reloved things. She proves over and over (and over again) that you can live a very beautiful life on a budget. The way she shows hospitality is wonderful.

She also sees beauty where others would pass by. She has used found wildflowers and "weeds" to decorate an adorable birthday cake for her daughter. She figures out ways to use a simple basket of ferns that blow me away. She can take an Aldi bouquet of roses and make multiple arrangements that would brighten anyone's day. She takes huge, rather ugly paintings and helps her children turn them into beautiful artwork to grace their home.

Meredith has inspired me from before I was even married. I e-mailed her before we went on our honeymoon (to ask about Menonite stores!) and she was nice enough to answer my questions. Now that I am a wife and mother I love her ideas and look up to her even more! I am constantly impressed by her ability to help her husband, raise creative children and still do it on a budget. So many people in todays world feel that living frugal means doing without or living with less. She has shown me (and many others) how to make it be better than! There isn't a question of what is lacking when you see glimpses of her life. There is 'more' in the small pictures we see than most families I know. More beauty, more creativity, more hospitality, more family focus...more.

I sincerely hope that Meredith will keep her blog active even as she steps back. Her posts are something I often refer to and I would hate to lose them as a resource. I've never met Meredith, but consider her a bit of a mentor. If you've never read her blog please take the time to do so. It is worth going back through her archives. You will not be disappointed! The links I've included are just a tiny smidgen of all that she has written.

Thanks for all your hard work Meredith! You have touched many of us. As you take the time to raise your family please know that you have influenced how many of us raise ours. And I promise, I'm not a stalker! :)

--now go read Like Merchant Ships!


Thank you Meredith for the "Aw, shucks" on your Tumblr. If you are here via that I encourage you to leave a comment about what LMS has meant to you. I've e-mailed Meredith asking her to come and read these comments as the 7 left so far have been so touching to me. She really has done a lot for so many of us, hasn't she? Let's make sure she knows it!


  1. I'm sure that blogging can be wearing over time. And some bloggers have commented on the feeling that they are blogging their lives, not living them. I think I understand all that. But I miss Meredith already, especially because of her spirit of gratitude and her love for the beauty of homemaking and hospitality. I hope she won't stay away forever. - Marty

  2. I, too, have been very sad all week about this, and it has almost felt like hearing news of an unexpected death of someone that you love. And though I honestly DO understand that moms the world over are busy (hey, I have five kids, so I know a little bit about "busy"!), I am so very, very disappointed that Meredith has essentially given up blogging. I love her blog for all the same reasons that you do- she takes the most pedestrian, every day items and turns them into something beautiful, exciting and lovely, and makes me excited about living within a budget! I think many of her longtime readers probably feel this way, and I can't help but feel a little bit hurt that she did not enable the comments section on her last blog post so that her loyal readers could at least say "goodbye" and wish her luck. So anyway, I agree that anyone who has never been to her blog should go and pore through the archives, because there is a wealth of wonderful material there for you to read and enjoy!

  3. Thanks for saying this, what a wonderful tribute to Meredith and Like Merchant Ships. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one feeling sorrow (along with acceptance that she knows the best for what she needs to do). This is what I wanted to say to her and fellow LMS readers.

    Meredith, thank you for giving me, and all your other readers, Like Merchant Ships. You have inspired me in countless ways the five years I have been reading Like Merchant Ships and I will so very much miss your honest sharing of successes and failures, but I applaud your decision to continue being frugal and wise with your time as well as your material resources.

    Please know that the lessons you have taught me (the biggest one being that frugality can be beautiful, accompanied by many specific examples some of which I’ve copied directly—just today working on a clothing inventory spreadsheet-- and others of which have influenced me indirectly) will stay in my heart forever. You have been my teacher, Meredith, and made my family’s life better for it. We were forced to make a major change in lifestyle due to job loss but your blog had already planted the seed in me to embrace and enjoy our downsizing and simplifying.

    I am glad you will continue posting links via tumblr as your specific sensibilities are so dear to me. I know that you will be immersed in your day-to-day life and learning new skills so I don’t anticipate many posts, much as I see that the mother’s group and playgroups that were a mainstay of day-to-day life when our first borns were infants and toddlers have taken a backseat for my friends and me now that our children are school-age, but may I suggest that you add LMS to your Christmas card list, so to speak.

    I just want you to know how much I have appreciated you, and the comments of fellow regular readers, and will miss you but I also know this will be a chance for me to find new inspiration and maybe even create a little of my own.

  4. I also loved LMS, and am mourning the loss! Thanks for eloquently putting into words what so many of us were feeling.

  5. I'm still in shock. LMS was part of my daily life. I would tend to go thrifting or to the Family Dollar store with my 'Meredith eyes' I miss her soo much! But I do understand with such a young family. Hurry Back Meredith! We miss you.

    1. I would thrift and think I wonder what Meridith would do? I miss her blog like crazy-at least she has her archives. Maybe she'll come back...What better way to journal your day to day life and go back and see pictures of her kids from the day.

  6. Sad here, too. I will definitely miss Meredith's posts of beauty in every day life.

  7. I am glad to know that I am not the only one who is sad over this! We will miss you Meredith!

  8. It's SO sad. Meredith, I checked you first every morning. I love how supportive of your husband's career you were. Such a model for all of us.

    Please keep us updated. I'm not sure if you can tell how much we'll all miss you and you need to
    assuage our grief at losing you just a little.



  9. The only thing I can add to the above is that my sister-in-law and I, when wishing to compliment the other on something we did frugal, say "Way to go Meredith!" or "Meredith would be proud". You have enriched our lives.


  10. I will miss LMS so much. The blogs I read are like visiting friends, you catch up on their family, see how they live, decorate, save a penny and live a beautiful life. I will miss visiting.


  11. Thanks for creating this forum, Heather.

    Your second sentence expresses my thoughts completely.

    Her uncommonly gracious spirit, intelligence, artistic eye, and FOCUS put her smack dab on my daily priority list. Plus, we liked so many of the same things and details. She was downright fun to talk to.

    But we knew this day was coming. Who knows how the world at large will be affected because of Meredith's switch in focus to the 4 people she, and only she, can serve as wife and mom.

    Hmmm. Even her decision to step back has been inspiring. Classic Meredith.

    I really miss you!

    Deb Meyers

  12. I too miss Meredith's pity, yet full of information posts. I had the pleasure of meeting her in person and she's just like I thought she would be, gracious, attentive, thoughtful and simply real. I adore her. She is by far one of my favorite bloggers!

    Even today I challenged myself to move away from a long wordy post and write more of a "Meredith post" a photo, few words, and an encouragement. I love how she respected the time of us busy moms and we knew how we could always pop in and get a quick, applicable, word.

    Thank you so much Meredith for all the uncompensated work you put into your blog, letting us comment on your choices, encouraging us, being open about your search for frugality and putting up with us! You will be missed!

  13. I, too, was sad to read that Meredith was no longer blogging on a regular basis. I loved reading her blog and seeing her pictures. She has a way of taking ordinary things and making them into something beautiful and elegant. I found her posts to be very inspirational.

  14. Every interaction that I've ever had with Meredith was pure encouragement and inspiration. She has a unique and genuine way of loving others as herself, complete with kindness and humility. Her creativity and knack for simple, frugal living are icing on the cake. The archives of her blog will, without a doubt, always be a treasure trove of ideas for many!

    Thank you, Meredith, for all that you have given. God bless you as you seek to give more to those who need you most, your family!

  15. Yup, I think LMS has been the most influential blog I've read. Thankfully she has tons of older posts that we can go through!

  16. Meredith, I hope you come back as you are able. You're my absolute favorite blogger! I'll miss you! ((hug))

  17. I am so glad to have a way to tell Meredith how much her writing means to me. Thank you Heather.

    Dear Meredith

    Thank you for opening my eyes to color and design. You see, I was already a black belt in frugal and haunted many thrift stores. But, I was more of a "determined frugality" rather "cheerful frugality" type of girl. You brought me out of that grim determination to see real beauty in my home, on my table and in my life. My frugal meals are served on reloved china with candles and reloved silver platters. My books are organized by subject with my children's books artfully arranged at their eye level. Even my husband notices how homey the house has become.

    For the past few years, my morning would start with a cup of coffee and opening your blog. I would never peek in the evening, I would save it for morning. I would mull over your words or images all day.

    When I shop thrift stores, I ask you (in my own mind, of course) whether this or that is worth the money and effort. You would tell me about grouping items together to make a larger impact or encourage me to put something back. It was lovely time, shopping with you.

    Your blog was my motivation. If you rearranged a room, I would rearrange a shelf or a small part of a room. It always made me feel better that you had done the same thing (without complaint), so I had no excuse. Monkey see, monkey do being the best way of learning! And to do it cheerfully is so important! I really had no idea of just how important until I read your blog.

    Thank you for showing me that cheerful frugality is the most beautiful, most fun and best way to run a house. My family is grateful for this lesson. My house is more a home because of what you taught me.

    I will miss our morning coffees. (I do, however, reserve the right to keep you with me when I shop. You have made a great recommendation to buy the round, high edged silver plated platter. I get all sorts of compliments on it!)

    Much affection,

    Miss Mary

  18. Because of you, I will never look at used yellow paint and make a icky face - Instead, I run and get my brushes and rollers -

    Because of you, I was inspired to build, organize my food pantry and clip coupons more -

    Because of you, I didn't wallow in despair when my hubby lost his job - instead GOD lead me to your blog, and I learned how to live with your leadership.

    Because of you, I shared my testimony of 'frugality' to the sisters at my church and hosted a coupon clipping class at the Mariott, for goodness sakes. Equipped with YOUR fruit brunch stagings...

    Because of you - I'm - a better woman - a happier wife and mom - Encouraged when I felt like giving up - You held me up girl. I've let you know that in email exchanges.

    Because of you, I realize that I can't do it all, and it's okay - and that I can actually be the best me possible despite my many career demands.

    thank you, dear meredith - There will be extra jewels in your crown for every woman you've encouraged to live a better, more frugal - more fulfilling life...

    We owe you!

    "working mama in the nw"
    'i'm a stalker, I think.' lol!

  19. Oh yes, Meredith will be missed in blogland! Her gracious way of sharing life through her eyes was an inspiration to so many! Now, I feel like I am writing about someone who has died but the beauty of this is that she is stepping back to LIVE more and that is what makes her an amazing inspiration.

    Blogging can take the life out of you if you aren't careful. I'm always impressed when bloggers can be quiet for a period of time whether it is a day, a few days, a month ... it shows me they have a real life that they are living. Love that about Meredith!

  20. I started blogging on Feb 8, 2008 and my first post mentioned Like Merchant Ships!

    Meredith has encouraged me in so many ways. I was afraid to blog because I thought I wasn't a good writer and didn't have enough to say. But I knew I had a few words, and Meredith showed me a few words are sometimes all that are needed.

    Thanks Meredith!

  21. Echoing all that has been said above, I too have been missing Meredith's posts. We are moving into a new home and while I have always been a yard shale and thrift store shopper - she has inspired me to look more creatively. I love to entertain and have not been able to for so long. Now that we will have the home, I won't have the money for the splurge foods for entertaining but Meredith has again inspired me to entertain elegantly but thrifty.

  22. Hey, Meredith (if you read this), I just want to say that the best way you've helped me is developing a better attitude-of-gratitude toward my Dear Husband.

    Instead of sighing, and whining, "ANOTHER project, this Saturday!" I am more likely now to just appreciate that hard-working man who uses his days off to make our lives nicer.

    So, I hope you return to blogging sometime ... you've given my life an uplift. And please keep your archives active for a dose of re-inspiration!


  23. What a joy our dear Meredith is...yet what an amazing testimony she has left us even in her decision to step back (which we all know was laden with prayer and very difficult). That decision, in and of itself, has spoken volumes to me. And like the Nester, I had the delight of meeting her, and she her precious in real life. :)

  24. I've been so inspired by Meredith and will miss reading her posts. When my husband lost his job a few months ago, it was as if all the wisdom from Like Merchant Ships came flooding in. Like all Meredith's posts about thrift, frugality and seeing the beauty in the ordinary were preparing me for that very moment. Even though the situation was one of great uncertainty, I felt comforted by all that I had learned. Thank you Meredith!

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

  25. I, too, have been a long time Meredith fan (yes, I checked LMS daily) and I was so surprised by her news. Now, I want so much to know more of her homeschooling plans/fall plans, so I have checked back a few times "just in case" she has a little more to say to all of us. We will be here Meredith, in waiting. Blessings to you and your family! ~Connie (homeschooling mom in OR)

  26. When I read Meredith's update that she was stepping back from blogging, I wasn't especially shocked, but I was saddened. I felt the same way I did when Amy Dacyczyn decided to give up The Tightwad Gazette just as I was reading the first book! Meredith and Amy have different styles but they both inspired me and continue to do so. I'm re-reading some of Meredith's birthday and party posts in preparation for my daughter's upcoming 14th birthday. I'll be doing the birthday table this year (see the 2/27/08 post under "Life and Family") Thank you, Meredith, for all the inspiration. I hope you come back to blogging if/when you feel the desire to do so and it fits in your life.

  27. I just recently found LMS and have been telling everyone what a beautiful blog this is and what a creative eye she has. I still check the sight everyday for updates under her Food for Thought, and am so thankful for these entries. I hope to be suprised with occassional blogs that show beauty and calm in daily living.

  28. So glad I found this place to tell Meredith how much I will miss her. She was a gracious, thoughtful, encouraging and beautiful part of the blog world. I miss you, Meredith. Thanks for sharing your heart and home with us.

  29. I'm still heartsick, Ladies -
    Really. I want LMS back - there are zero substitutions out there - Zilch.

    I need her posts back!
    Okay, I'm done whining - almost.

  30. She was an inspiration to many. I go back and read all the old posts. I love them. SHe will truely be missed. We "heart" you!!

  31. Meredith is a classic....
    A woman of elegance, who truly lives out Proverbs 31.

    You are highly esteemed and deepy appreciated, Meredith...

    Thank you for all the years of sharing you. We've been unspeakably blessed...
    As He leads...

    All's grace,

  32. oh my goodness. I just came back days later and read my comment.

    I meant "pithy" not PITY posts! goodness.

  33. I still check your blog every day to see if you have come back. Your blog was the first I ever started following. You have truly changed my life and blessed me in so many ways.

  34. I feel soory to here about that. Do not loose your hope. Time changes.

  35. Meredith, sadly, you're not here anymore. I trust you and your family are well. Thought I'd check back after 5 years away... Blessings to you always. You're simply UNFORGETTABLE!
    Working Mama - Latrice.

  36. yep, almost 9 years later we are still awaiting LMS return! I just found this blog by searching for LMS and am so happy to see that Meredith has so many fans! I hope she knows how much she has inspired and encouraged! I still organize my linens "because my family deserves it" just like she taught me.