Saturday, December 27, 2014

It's 12/14 - I Remember Rachel all Month!

Rachel was a swimmer. She worked incredibly hard and increased her skill level each year she was on the Orem High School Swim Team.

Her forte wasn't speed. It was endurance. Like her older brothers, Mark and Carl, who swam for Orem High before she did, she decided to make the most of her talent for persistence and hard work. She choose to swim the longest race in a high school meet, the 500 yard freestyle. This involved so many times swimming from side to side of the pool and flip turning each time, that team members held a sign under the water to remind the swimmer how many laps they had left.

When Rachel was a junior in high school, 16 years old, she had a day towards the first of the season that was memorable. It inspired some writing, probably done for a school assignment, but preserved, as was so much of those years, in the scrapbooks she created. Here is what she wrote about the day

Rachel at an Orem High swim meet
On October 14, 1992 it was the inner-squad swim meet, blue against gold. I was on the blue team and Bethany and Jared were our captains. I was in the first race, the 200 yard relay medley. I swam fifty fly and I did pretty good too. The next race for me was the 100 yard butterfly, after the diving competition. I was so scared. I had never swam a 100 fly before. And not only that, I had to swim the 500 free right after the 100 fly race. The diving just ended and Dan [my coach] called “first call for 100 fly.”
I was really nervous. “Swimmers on the blocks,” Arlene [assistant coach] called. Then, “Swimmers on your marks.”  BUZZ, the buzzer went off. I took a flying leap. Splash into the water automatically. My hips start going up and down, starting the dolphin kick. I surface on the top of the water. I take my first stroke. My hands came out and over my head. I take my first breath. I started a pace that I could keep for the whole hundred. Slam! I got to the first wall with only a 75 [yard distance] left; “remember to hit the wall fast,” I thought. 
I got to the other side. “Pretty good so far.” I reach out to hit the pad and I slammed it off the wall. “Great,” I thought, and the push off the wall was no good. I am only half-way through. “I can do it,” is what I assure myself. I reach the other side again. Only a 25 left. “Pick up your speed, Rachel!” I told myself. My hands were in place. Only one more kick and I would be done. Wham! I surfaced.
Everyone was screaming. Dan was yelling and jumping up and down. I had swam the 100 yards in 1:18! I was so happy. I got out and cooled down, then went and gave my coach Dan a hug. I was happy, but the meet wasn’t over. I still had the 500 and the relay left. The 500 was the next race. All I wanted to do was finish that race. I was so dead from the 100 fly that I really didn’t expect to get my best time. But I did! 
My parents were in the stands so I went up there and was talking to them. Bethany yelled at me to come down. I was supposed to swim in the 200 free relay. They had redone the relay line-up and forgot to tell me. I ran down the stairs and ran to lane six and jumped in and swam my fastest 50 free time.

It was a great day.
Maybe I, like Rachel, can write about just one day, a memorable day, and it will help others to remember me and know me better. (

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Come Follow Me

This blog post was organized and edited by Jennifer Goodman. She used verse five of the hymn, "Come, Follow Me" (116, LDS Hymns) to organize the contributions made by members of Rachel's family. In October, President Monson announced that young women could submit their application for LDS missionary service at age 19. This has created a tremendous increase in young sister missionaries. Jeni felt that this was an appropriate time to review Rachel's missionary service. I agree, and I love what she has done.

We must the onward path pursue
As wider fields expand to view,
  And follow him unceasingly,
Whate'er our lot or sphere may be.(John Nicholson, 1839-1909)

Ticket from the Cotton Bowl
We must the onward path pursue
Rachel did not approach going on a mission lightly. She had considered it when she was young. As the time got closer it was on her mind more. Jennifer Goodman

At the end of 1996, She and Mark and I (plus 2 of my bonehead friends) drove to Texas for the Cotton Bowl and Jan 1 '97. BYU won, which was good, but it was a 20 hour drive there and a 20 hour drive back and it was the last time I spent a good chunk of time with her. I think she was pondering a mission then. I remember her listening to my "foundling opinions" as if they mattered. It meant a lot to me for sure. And the game was a blast, BYU will always make me think of her. Nate Stubbs

That was fun. We had 50 yard line tickets 7 rows up. We were first in line. I was a little nervous to drive all the way to Dallas, and it made me nervous to be at the Fairpark. I think the game was sealed with a last minute interception by BYU. Mark Stubbs

After praying and fasting, discussing with her family, and wrestling with the Lord, she puts her papers in. Once Rachel decided she wanted to leave right away, as in the middle of winter semester right away. Instead she is there to see her brother, Mark, graduate in April. She still lives in BYU housing near her cousins. Rachel enrolled in guitar and self-defense, helps her parents with the Independent Study lessons, and Stephen with his schooling. She gets called to Australia Adelaide Mission to report to the MTC July 9, too far away for Rachel. Luckily there were two brothers from Idaho (who her cousins call the Spud Brothers) to help her occupy her time. When she is not engaged in Nerf Warfare, making no bake oatmeal cookies, spending as much time with her family as possible going on truck adventures with her cousin, Jeni, she studys for her mission. During this time, one of her friends gets a mission call, has a farewell in Idaho (that Rachel sacrifices to go to), and then gets proposed to and declines the mission call. This was frustrating to her, as she willingly leaves the Spud Brothers behind. Jennifer Goodman

Before her mission she got super stressed out and spent a fair amount of time in my basement watching old movies to distract herself. Amy Stubbs Gibson

As wider fields expand to view, and follow Him unceasingly
Finally she has her mission farewell on June 29, 1997. While at the MTC, Jeni, Amy and family try to write on the sidewalk outside the MTC, and are thwarted by the MTC police. Rachel cuts 7 inches off her hair. Aunt Adele sends her fresh warm cookies through Mailboxes etc. Rachel wants to leave the MTC and just get to Australia already. Her family is glad she is still around, and show up en mass at the SLC airport to see her off. Jennifer Goodman

Rachel at the mission home in Australia
For the first couple of months in the mission it is especially hard, because maybe only her ever-loving parents write her, as everyone else assumes because they just saw Rachel at the airport they don't need to write for a month. That combined with the long time it takes letters to get there, she incorrectly thinks her friends/family are just glad to get rid of her. Rachel starts saying dinkum, no worries, and singing "Dancing Matilda." Her parents sell their house and move, prompting a call to the mission president. While she was gallivanting in Australia I got married. My sister and cousins sent her letters about Rex, before I wrote to her. They had differing opinions about our relationship. It wasn't until her dad met, Rex, and wrote her and told her that he was good guy that she believed the positive reviews about him. Jennifer Goodman

I didn't write her hardly at all and she brought it up often. I assumed she was having a grand adventure and wouldn't notice that I wasn't writing. I have several letters from her that I love to read. Amy Stubbs Gibson

The water was terrible on her mission her hair started falling out...she saw the wiggles in concert and sent Zack and Josh the tape. She said her famous ap-ness joke. She brought back stuff for my boys and when she talked to Zack on the phone she said he sounded like a hick...he was so little. She said Mormons were terrible Christians and had an argument with Aunt Marilyn about it. Amy Stubbs Gibson

Rachel said the people in Australia were happy with how they were and not much interested in hearing about a different religion or any religion. The "no worries" attitude. She liked their positive and relaxed feeling but wished they were more open to hear about God.
She loved the Australian Aboriginals. There were some who were her friends. One painted Aboriginal pictures and she brought some home. She used pictures of her family in her missionary work. Often there were children who she sat with in Church or in missionary lessons and she showed them all her family photos that she carried in her wallet and talked about who they were and what they were doing.
She worked sometimes at the family history center there. It was a way for the missionaries to connect with the people. She also did a lot of service with her companions. She had some really great friends for companions and some (one at least) who drove her crazy. Rachel wanted to work really hard and this companion wasn't so focused. That was also her problem with the members. She didn't think they wanted to help the missionaries in their work enough. Some members she was great friends with though.
One experience she had tracting was when she and her companion were very discouraged. No one would listen to them--even give them a chance to say anything. They decided that the next place they tried they would sing instead. They knocked at a locked gate. A woman came out and yelled at them to go away. Rachel's companion turned to her and reminded her they said they would sing. She didn't want to but bravely started in on "I Am a Child of God." The woman listened to their song and invited them in.
One time she and her comp didn't have much money. They had spent it all on medication for her companion's acne problem. They were on the street when a bus driver stopped them and gave them some money. Also that day one of the members gave them food. They were fine. She felt competitive with the elders and she enjoyed working with them.
She had to ride bikes most of the time. It was hard to ride a bike in her skirts and she worried that she was getting big muscles in her calves. Her mission president helped her with her wardrobe. He taught her that it was better to spend the money and get quality clothing than to try to save on lesser quality clothes. She taught me that principle when she got home. I still wear a few of her mission clothes. Joy Stubbs

Whate'er our lot or sphere may be
I met her in San Francisco at the airport on her way home from Australia. We were the first non-missionary people she had contact with on her way back to the real world. Anna Kendall

Amy & Rachel after she returned home. She is wearing
a type of lei given to her when she left Australia.
Other family see her at the SLC airport. Rachel lived with her parents after her mission, sharing a room with Julia. She enrolled in institute (where she met Wally the guy who can crack wal-nuts with his pecs). Beyond whatever she was learning at the institute she took a D&C class with her mom. She also showed me all types of makeup tips/tricks she learned on her mission. In addition, she explained to one of my younger siblings that if you take your dress clothes out of the dryer right as it stops then you may not have to iron them (another mission field tip/trick). Jennifer Goodman

When she came back she showed us the TimTam challenge. You sucked up milk in those yummy Australian cookies until they broke and then ate them. She also came home liking barbecue pizza. She said they had barbecue everything there. I loved being at BYU with her when she was home. We would "eat out" together at the Family Living Center where they ran a practice restaurant.
I remember a home evening lesson she taught us when she got home about the plan of salvation. She explained the Atonement as a bridge and also used money in the lesson somehow. It was so beautiful. I wish I could remember how she taught it. Julia made visual aids and learned it too. Rachel taught me some things she learned from her mission president about principles and doctrines. I loved talking about the gospel with her. She told me to never be afraid to tell the Joseph Smith story. Even though it seems too incredible to believe, it carries its own spirit and those who are tuned into it can feel its truthfulness. Joy Stubbs

Pages from the family newsletter, Glimpses of Heaven, from Rachel's mission

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Remembering Rachel in so many ways

Anna, Amy, Nathan, Mark, Julia

November 5th was Nathan's wedding day. He was married on the beach in Florida with a beautiful party following. But there was a moment. Or more. The first was just before the bride appeared. My son took his place and raised his hand briefly to the sky. No words were spoken, but we knew he was saluting his sister Rachel. After the wedding, the siblings who were able to attend the wedding took their place for a happy wedding photo. Again, Rachel was remembered. I think she knew. I think she attended the happy occasion.

I miss Rachel, sometimes so painfully I can hardly bear it. Other times with a smile and a warm thought, like Nate's wedding day. Her brothers and sisters have similar feelings. She is often in our thoughts. She doesn't seem very far away. Sometimes we speak of her, sometimes the gesture or the smile or tear is enough. We are remembering Rachel.

Jenny has remembered Rachel in a special way this month. She has just completed a beautiful book of photos and text to honor her. She has had a strong impression that Rachel's girls will be with our family again in the future, and she felt an assignment to be ready with a book to bridge the “lost” years for Addie and Elizabeth with this book. Thanks Jenny, for remembering Rachel.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Remembering Rachel

My daughter-in-law, Jenny, is working on a project: a book about Rachel Stubbs McTeer. She enlisted my help to scan dozens of photos that were in my possession. What a trip down memory lane! It was bittersweet to re-live those days gone by, but I wouldn’t have missed the closeness I feel to my dear daughter. I remember the cuddly sweetness of her baby self, her elementary school enthusiasm and innocence, her beautiful red hair, her determination to win for her swim team at Orem High School, her love for God and Church, the fun of her college years, her joy in her mission to Adelaide, Australia and then her love for her husband and two daughters. Rachel, I do remember you. I miss you. I love you.

Baby Rachel
Nathan and Rachel (4 years old)

Rachel, Anna, Amy
Rachel and Nathan learning piano

Preschool activities
Joy and Rachel at high school graduation
Orem High School graduation 
Getting ready for college date

Rachel, Julia, Zack

Stephen and Rachel

Rachel and roomies
Amy with Rachel just home from Australia

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Rachel's Writings from January 1982

I got a tape recorder for Christmas and I got pick-up sticks. Today I waited in the wrong place for my family after Primary and they went home without me. I wondered where they were after everyone left so I went in the bishop’s office and asked him to call them to come and get me. Dad said I was his tithing.
Family Photo 1982
This little article from our family newsletter, Glimpses of Heaven, breaks my heart. Rachel often got lost in the shuffle of a big family. How I would like to hug her tight and tell her that I miss her today, although I may not have noticed her missing on that day. She was remarkably self-possessed and independent. Was that because she had to be or did I not worry about her because she was that way? It worked both ways, I suppose.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


My cousin Wayne sent me a link to view some of my grandparents' home movies. Wayne rescued these from the scrap heap left when Grandma C died in 1993. The newly digitized video was a little "scrappy." But as I watched the parade of Grandpa's grandchildren march through his proud movies, I was touched. Memories stirred of long-ago days when I was one of that group. I was excited to see my cousins and I interact together in that setting. Cousins! What a blessing they are! We don't always remember or hang out with our cousins, but in my case they are an integral and treasured part of my life.

Cousins, aunts and uncle interact this summer in Florida
As a grandmother, I love to see my grandchildren interact together in "cousinly ways." A favorite part of grandchild watching is to see how the children of different families share friendship with each other. Each is enriched in the process. The same is true of Rachel and her cousins. This year several of her cousins married. Other cousins came to the various celebrations. I love watching the interactions of the cousins and now the second cousins as their children find friends among family members as well. A pair of girl cousins who were close to Rachel's age particularly brought Rachel back to me this month. Sweet thoughts filled my heart as I heard the conversations, casual and sometimes serious, of these two women. I treasure my cousins and I treasure my children's cousins too.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Memorial Day

"Waving flags are beautiful, the call of the lone bugle is tender, and the sharp report of a gun salute is a great honor, but to be held in sweet remembrance is the finest tribute of all."

Carl and Stephen working together
Last week this quote from "Music and the Spoken Word" with the Tabernacle Choir grabbed my heart. "To be held in sweet remembrance is the finest tribute of all." I hold many loved ones in sweet remembrance. The older you get, the more people there are to love, and many of them have passed on. As a family, we particularly remembered my daughter Rachel and her girls this year. First we had an outing at Thanksgiving Point, once again enjoying the Dinosaur Museum and lovely grounds there. It was our granddaughter Addie's favorite place to visit with her grandparents. Then we met again at the Rachel Stubbs McTeer Memorial Park. There a lovely monument stands to honor Rachel and we had some plans to do the same.

At the park's dedication in 2006, our family planted a tree in Rachel's memory. However, it didn't survive the winter. I felt that it was time to replant. The season was right and the ground has been prepared by our heavy spring rains this year. We bought the same type of tree, a flowering pear tree that will blossom in the spring, provide shade all summer and then show beautiful red autumn foliage. 

Olivia, Andy and Amanda celebrate the planting.
I couldn't help but ponder the symbolism of our replanting. The season of Rachel's death was difficult, but we pulled together in love as a family. The last six years have been hard on many of us and there have been heartaches and divisions. However, I believe the ground has been prepared for a season of renewing our love and family unity. I'm looking forward to basking in that love and enjoying the beautiful "foliage" of family life that surrounds us. 

Amy and Stephen compare ribbons as Tommy looks on.
An especially sweet moment occurred at the tree planting when both Amy and Stephen pulled out their pieces of ribbon from the original ribbon cutting at the park. They had each carried those little white ribbons with them for 5 years. Amy also had her little rock from that day with her. Each of us had been given an small apache tear. These little rocks look black, but when held to the light, they are transparent. This Memorial Day 2011, after the tree was planted in that beautiful spot, Jim led our family group in prayer to ask God's blessings on the park and on our family.

Park monument as it is today
We also noticed that Rachel's dreams for this piece of ground were being fulfilled. Many people were enjoying the park, its walking path, playground and basketball hoop and athletic field. It's a small park, but it has been used and enjoyed.  The monument reads "Rachel Stubbs McTeer: Alpine City Planner; A cheerful, outgoing, positive personality; Adelaide, Elizabeth (in a heart); A loving Mother." We totally agree.