Jul 13, 2007

The Mind of a Determined Woman

Valerie J. Steimle

Since Pioneer day is coming up I thought the entry I had written for my own blog over a year ago was appropriate for today.

March 10, 2006 : It’s only been two months since my husband passed away. After having a little pity party for myself, I found a marvelous book to read that I had read a few years ago but had forgotten about. My husband had given Heroines Of the Restoration to me for Christmas and I picked it up and started reading it again.

All 22 women written about in the book had been widowed at some time or another. I can take a lesson from them. They were all strong women and did what they had to do, my favorite being Mary Fielding Smith. I had given a talk about her at church one Sunday morning back when I was teaching Seminary and remember her story well. I really admire her. The author of the article about Mary Fielding Smith (wife to Hyrum Smith) said it so well I will quote her:

"It's not that it's so hard to find a determined woman. We see them all around us: the older woman resolutely keeping up with youngsters who could be her grandchildren, finally working on her degree after years devoted to family; the young woman, tomato-splattered and flustered, intent on canning every single one of the tomatoes she grew and brooding over the zucchini surplus; the mother who has made up her mind that her offspring are going to have the musical advantages she missed, even if it means insisting on and supervising unenthusiastic practice sessions from now until the far side of forever. A lot of women are blessed with determination. A lot of men joke about it, looking nervously over their shoulders lest they find themselves overtaken by a resolute female person intent on her own business. Mary Fielding Smith would have outdone them all. It's a matter of historical fact that she overtook a good many men in her day."

The writing goes on to tell the story of Mary Fielding Smith's trip to the west. "The captain of her company, a man named Cornelius P. Lott, was so unenthusiastic about the idea of including her assortment of women, children and half broken wild steers and half-grown oxen in his company that he told her bluntly that she should go back to Winter Quarters and stay there until someone could take charge of her. If she persisted in her attempt to travel west, he said, she would never make it to their destination and would be a burden to everyone else in the company as far as she might manage to get.

Joseph F. Smith (only 9 at the time) was with her and heard what his mother said to Captain Lott. She told the captain that she would beat him to the Valley and would ask no help from him while she was doing it. Then, without further discussion on the subject, she went ahead and did exactly what she told him she would do. She got there a day before he did and she got there without his help." Written by Beppie Harrison.

She is one great woman. She was on the Lord's errand and did what she needed to do without complaint. She was a determined woman. After Bob passed away, many people (even at church) thought I would and should put my children in public school and go to work full time. I really had to put my foot down and tell those who that tried to talk me out of homeschooling, that my children needed to be home with me and that sending them to public school would be devastating to them. I also have to be just as determined to tell my sons they cannot play Halo 2 no matter what they say.

So a woman with a determined mind has the gift of knowing what she wants and gets it done. She sticks to her guns in what she really believes in no matter what the rest of the world tells her. She doesn’t give up on her life goals especially when life pulls her away in different directions. We can all take a lesson from those women in the past who paved the way for us in the 21st Century.


  1. Nice : ) And, again, very nice of you to switch days with me. It really helped. Thanks.

  2. Well done Valerie. I love the Mary Felding Smith. She was a great example to all of us women. Sometimes it's a very inspiring thing to read about our early sisters. Their stories are real.

  3. Valerie,

    Mary Feilding Smith has always been one of my heroines, too. Thanks for sharing her--and your--stories of courage and determination with us!

  4. Thank you for sharing your insight, Valerie. Good for you for sticking to your guns! I directed my daughter to your website. She feels a strong need to homeschool her children..and her hubby is a school teacher! He teaches at a charter school in Laramie. Needless to say, many people question her motives and reasons, asking how she can homeschool when she has 4 young children, a dog, 2 cats, fish and frogs and a husband all in a little 2 bedroom house. But she is determined. She prayed about it and knows the answer came from the right place. I am going to forward your blog to her...thanks!

  5. As I've read of heroic women I've come to a great conclusion. What it takes to be 'heroic' is simply to do what you know you have to do, and persisting doing so prayerfully, purposefully, and cheefully -- just one moment, one hour, or one day at a time.

    Thanks for reminding us, Valerie. Not only is our heritage full of heroines, but so is ANWA -- you included.

  6. Wow....what wonderful comments. It is amazing what a great story of an amazing woman can do for our pyschie.
    I found out today that I have a live interview for my homeschool book on a local morning show on August 2nd. More determination there.


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