Saturday, April 21, 2012


Today, 12 years ago, Rupert was diagnosed with cancer.   Now, you would never know it, unless he was walking around without a shirt and you saw his long scar and his 2nd belly button (where his illiostomy was located).  Wow, we are so, so thankful to have had a second shot at life.

Rupert's colonoscopy last week came back clear.  We are just delighted!!! Thank you for your prayers.

This picture of Rupert was taken  last summer when he went to Kenya on an investigative trip.  Rupert works with both Campus Outreach and The Summit Church to mobilize students who desire to go overseas to share the gospel.  Our hope is to see a team go to Kenya in the near future.  The children pictured with Rupert are living in a displacement camp for  refugees that came to Nairobi.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Well, it has been a while.  We are still here and doing well.  After such a long absence, I don't know if we still have any readers.  For those who check now and again, I wanted to tell you Rupert is having a routine colonoscopy on Thursday (4/12/12).  He was encouraged to get one every 2 years.  In March of 2010, the doctor found 5 polyps - to which he said was a rare occurrence given Rupert's age.  Yes, colon cancer at 32 is a very rare occurrence.  So, it will be interesting to see what happens Thursday.  It has been 12 years since the original diagnosis....we can't believe it.  God has been amazingly gracious to us!  So, though I am not really nervous about what they will find on Thursday, I find myself nervous about reliving that part of our lives.....seeing Rupert lying in a hospital bed, incapacitated by sedation, being reminded of the fragility of life.   All the emotions of that time seep back to mind.  I am humbly thankful.  We didn't have any guarantees that he would be here today......and yet he is! thankful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fall Times

This is my favorite time of the year, especially living here in Durham.  Although we had pretty colors of changing leaves in Georgia where I grew up, it is nothing like the brillance here NC.  I love it!  This is our 4th fall, and I still find myself amazed at the beauty.  
This picture was taken this morning as the leaves fell like rain from the sky.  Laughing and giggling, my kids tried to catch the leaves as they fell.  Yes, it was unusually warm today, and we were all in shorts.  But it will be cold again tomorrow, after the rain comes through.  With the temperatures so comfortable and the leaves at their height of color, we decided to have school at Duke Gardens today (my favorite place!)
Hiking through the gardens with pack backs full of our school books, I was unable to take pictures of the beautiful trees.  I wish you could come for a visit, so I could take you to the gardens.

Life in the Leary household has been quite are a few of our highlights......

First day of school ....sort of.  Although we homeschool, Maddie goes to preschool twice a week and the boys have a science class on Thursdays.

Jordan turned 8 this October.  He is growing up so fast!  His cousin came from SC and surprised him with Clemson vs. UNC tickets.
 Then finally, we enjoyed the traditions of Halloween.  Each child created his own pumpkin this year (don't worry....I did the cutting).  We had 2 ninja's, a super hero, and a beautiful princess.

As you can see, there are only 3 of us didn't want to leave the football game inside......

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Fun (so far)

As our kids get older, I find it harder to take pictures of what is going on in our lives.  So far this summer, we have had a great time....but only have a handful of pictures to show for it.

 As the school year came to a close, the kids and I began to breathe a bit easier.  Fun times together became our main priority.  We spent the first 2 weeks of June relaxing....reading, bowling, and swimming....playing with our neighbor Carson.  Then on June 12th, we loaded up our van and headed to Orlando. This is a trip we take each year to visit the students at the Campus Outreach Summer Project.  Ten hours in the van....but it wasn't too bad this year.  Our car DVD player has been a life saver for me!!!
It is always a delight to see what God is doing in the students hearts.  Some are brand new Christian and others have been Christians for a while, but the hunger and excitement each of them have is so encouraging.  Bowe, our area director at UNC, has done an amazing job running the project.  

I tried to balance time with my kids and the students.  The kids and I hung out during the day...usually at the pool and then I would try to spend some time with students in the evenings after the kids went to bed. We also got to see our sweet friends - Mike, Jennifer, Avery and Keller Boland (who we have known for 10 years now - for 7 months they lived with us and for 2 years they were our next door neighbors).  Wow, we miss them, but what a refreshment to be around them again - for a short time.  

Living in a hotel for almost two weeks has its challenges, but I must is SUPER nice to have a maid clean our room most days.  Too bad we didn't have a cook....

Something funny happened this year on the project:  I was reminded several time by the students that I am no longer 25.  I got ma'amed so many time I stopped correcting them....sigh!  BUT I experienced a first.  One of the students asked me if I was another student's mother!!!  WHAT!!???!!!  Okay...I get it...I get it...I'm getting older.  

One afternoon while the students were at work, our family was able to slip away to a fun water park.  It was a wonderful day of just being together.  

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I received a phone call from my Dad on Thanksgiving morning.  It did seem a bit odd as I was still in my pjs.  Usually Thanksgiving calls come after dinner.  As best he could, he let me know that my Grandma died earlier that morning.  It wasn't a shock as she was 94, but news like that is never easy to receive. I was in the front room of our home as I talked with my dad and when we got off the phone I sat down on her piano bench that is now in our home. At that moment,  I became overwhelmed with thankfulness…. thankfulness for her.  Tears flooded me as I sat amazed at my God who gave me such a gift.   She was my gift from heaven.  Things happen in this world that are so hard, and is so confusing – like death, disease.  We just don’t understand.  Yet if I am able to look close enough, in time I will see God’s hand loving me and providing for in the midst of that desperate time – maybe not at that moment…maybe not for years.  That was what Grandma was for me. 

As a little girl who lost her mommy, she stepped in the gap that was left and she loved me so well. When we moved to Georgia,  I was 7, but that didn't stop her... she pursued me by calling weekly.  My parents did a great job keeping us connected, too, making sure my sister and I went for a visit at least once ever year or two.  

I wish I could describe how she made me feel, but words fail me.  Of course, I couldn't verbalize this then, but as an adult, I have seen how God used her to love me when I needed to be loved.

For me, the fact that she past away on thanksgiving is really special.  I will forever remember on Thanksgiving how much of a special gift she was to me from God himself.  Sometime He shows us his love in human hands.  For me, it was her hands. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Always Present - In Good Times and In Struggle

Well, fall has certainly arrived. It was 35 degrees this morning. This is by far one of my favorite seasons. The fall foliage is breath taking and the weather is perfect - highs in the mid 60s to 70s. I love North Carolina.

The time change is another welcomed change. I know most people don't enjoy the early nights, but I really like it. With the sun going down and the boys coming back inside from their play earlier, our evenings seem to run more smoothly. Dinner is on the table sooner and our evenings together seem longer - less distracted. Ahhh...another reason I love the fall.

Schooling has gone well so far this year. It definitely started with some bumps as I made changes to our curriculum - for me that is a big step. I don't like change, especially when I am comfortable. During the summer, I sensed the Lord prompting me to consider changing to Tapestry of Grace. I loved Sonlight, and the authors make it so easy for homeschooling moms. But the closer we got to starting the new school year, the more I leaned towards TOG. After much struggle (and fear), I dove in. TOG is a history based curriculum and although it took much getting use to, it has been great for our family. We are all learning the same things in history - from 1890 to the present. Right now we are deep in the Great Depression. I am amazed at how much I am learning as well as my children. I love learning history and I am learning just as much as they are (if not more!)

God has absolutely amazed me as I have watched Payton mature. He is really growing up - not just physically, but as a young his attitude, in his character, in relationships with others. God has used our school and our family dynamics (being part of a big family, having siblings close in age, chores, our ministry with Campus Outreach, etc) in his life, but He has also used sports (believe it or not). Rupert and I looked long and hard for a tackle football league that would not overwhelm him in his first year. We found one that we felt very strongly about - except one BIG thing - it was in Wake Forest (40 miles away). After attending a few of the conditioning workshops and with lots of prayer, we decided the sacrifice it would take in getting him to the practices and games (3 times a week) would be worth what he would gain. What an amazing fall! Yes, he gained skills in the game of football, but more than that, what he gained in character was far worth the hour commute one way during rush hour to his practices. The coaches, who love the Lord and football, worked him hard and challenged him to the core. They demanded his best. At the beginning of the season, he wanted to quit - it was too hard. Rupert and I struggled with whether or not we should let him quit. Where was the line between loving him and hurting him? Should we make him finish what he committed to or is this too much for him? In the end, we made him push through. And in a few weeks time, he was a different player. He was loving it. Even the coaches noticed. I read a few months ago that in raising children, the number one priority for a parent is to develop character. Knowledge should always be second....because "no amount of knowledge can make up for deficiencies in character." As a homeschooling mom, I so easily forget this principle and get caught up with "what they are learning." I am so thankful that God loves our children deeper than we ever could and He is developing and teaching them more than we ever will. This is why I titled this blog "Always Present" because whether I see His hand or His work in our lives, He is there. I have good days and bad ones and during the bad ones, I sometimes look around and wonder where He is. But if the Bible is true, He IS there. And in times like this when I pull away, I can see Him so much clearer."

Friday, June 26, 2009

What is the best thing about staying in a hotel???


On June 12th, we loaded up and headed to Orlando, Fl. to visit Campus Outreach Raleigh's summer project for 10 days. (The car ride itself is another story all in itself....whew). Although we go down each year to love and minister to our staff and students there, our kids think we go down to have FUN. As Rupert spends most of his time in meetings or speaking, the kids and I get to play. There is just nothing like having the pool right outside our door at our disposal whenever we want...and its free. My kids love swimming more than almost anything else!

On Friday, we got away from the project for some family time. We went to Aquatica, Sea World's water park. It was really fun and the kids have not stopped talking about it.

If you don't know, the Summer Orlando Project is a 9 week summer camp we offer the area students we have been working all year. Some of them became Christians this past year, while others are still investigating. They work full time jobs at Disney World or Sea World and then in their off time we offer a variety of meetings to help them grow in their relationship with Christ. For example, we have bible study training, life management training, and discipleship groups to name a few. Of course we leave a bit of time for group dates and down time (but not much :) ). This year, there are 168 students from the Raleigh region as well as the Charleston region. Our staff are doing an amazing job of leading the project and shepherding the students. I love for our kids to be around such young, hungry, and energetic students. As a wife and mom who stays at home schooling our kids, it is easy for me to loose the vision of what Rupert does day in and day out. I am separated from the lives that are changing. I don't see first hand how God is drawing UNC, NC State and Duke students to himself. I'm not involved in the inner lives of these students like I once was. Of course this is my choice to be with my kids, being involved in their lives, but i am removed nonetheless. So each year when we go down to the project, I get to see all that God is doing and I am reminded why we do what we do and I wouldn't want to do anything else!