about us

We are the Van Patter's– Michael, Hannah, Piper, and Watts. On May 25, 2013 Watts came down with a fever and after several days (in 3 different hospitals) was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Now we are at Brenner Children's Hospital in Winston Salem, NC. On Watts' hospital bed we've taped up pictures of him healthy and happy, along with a few verses of a favorite hymn:

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

(God Moves In a Mysterious Way, William Cowper, 1774)**

It's from this text that we've drawn the name of the blog. It was written out of a life of significant pain and suffering and we're certainly moving into the most difficult season of our lives. Already we've experienced some of these mercies in the love of family and friends and the compassion and skill of the incredible medical staff here.

The purpose of this blog is to keep those who love us updated on what's going on, as well as to bear witness to the hope that we lean into during this storm.

Lord, give us fresh courage today. Kyrie eleison.

** Here are a few settings of that text. They are from friends of ours who are incredible musicians: Jeremey Casella's version
Matt Spainhour's version.
And, my own from a few years back.


  1. You do not know me but your story/blog was made known to me through a friend on Facebook. My prayers for your family will be unceasing. Your wonderful words in this blog are so comforting to the readers but please remember to allow someone to comfort you and feed your spirts. I love the Clouds of Mercy name. I picture those clouds breaking and sprinkling Mercy stardust over you all. May the Peace of the Lord be with you. Donna

  2. Our friends shared this web site with us hoping we might be some help to you. Our son Eli was diagnosed with Infant Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on March 7th 2013. He was eleven months old. Currently we are still doing chemo but Eli is in remission and has just turned 14 months. Please if you ever want someone to talk to or just vent to please feel free to contact me my email is hesling1989@gmail.com or our sons Facebook update page is https://www.facebook.com/eli.hesling?fref=ts

  3. You said in your May 1, 2014 post that you thought only your family and close friends read your posts. I just wanted to let you know that I look forward to your updates on Watts and I love seeing all the pictures of your beautiful family. You are all in my prayers.

  4. I've followed along with Watts' story this entire time, not always commenting, but always praying for you guys and your strong little guy. I have new appreciation for your journey this week, and have found a lot of comfort in going back through your posts today and hearing again the struggles and the triumphs. Watts is such an amazing guy. Thank you for sharing this journey with all of us. :)


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