about ellen stumbo

Ellen casualWhen my second daughter was born with Down syndrome, she challenged what I viewed as perfect, worthy, important, and valuable in life. I had received her as a broken baby, only to quickly recognize that I was the broken one. The treasures I have discovered along the way are not found in strength, performance, eloquence, character or confidence. They are found in brokenness, where beauty is found unexpectedly as a result of God’s love and compassion transforming my life.

I am a writer, and in this blog I write about finding beauty in brokenness with gritty honesty and openness. I tackle issues about faith, parenting, special needs, adoption, and confessions related to these topics. What you find here is sometimes raw. But it’s real, because life is messy, and broken, and beautiful.

On the other hand, I dream of writing fiction and winning a Newberry medal. Hey, we all have dreams.

Besides being a writer, my most important roles are within my family. My husband, Andy, is a real man of integrity. I respect and admire him greatly as he works with people and difficult situations, I wish I was more like him.  He’s a pastor, so I guess that makes me the pastor’s wife, but please know that I am a broken person with much need of grace. I’m not good at children’s ministry, I don’t play the piano, and I can’t sing. Instead, I teach Zumba.

We have 3 girls. Ellie, our oldest, is a talented little artist and one of the most accepting and compassionate  human beings I know. Nichole is our youngest, she has Down syndrome, and she is a rascal. Then there is Nina, our middle child, who joined our family through international adoption; she has cerebral palsy. I never thought I would end up being the mom of a child with special needs, let alone two of them! Nevertheless, now special needs defines our family and our church. Most days I love it!

You want to know one of the biggest passions that developed out of the children I have? To see the church embrace people with disabilities. Not out of pity or out of service, but out of a genuine understanding, acceptance, and celebration of their life.

I am a Latin girl, born and raised in Mexico City. I moved to the United States when I was 17 years old, and thankfully I was already bilingual. English has become my first language. I don’t think I have an accent, but there are some words that give me trouble, because of the many vowel sounds and combinations in the English language. On the other hand, I can roll my Rs like a champion, can you?

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I’m so glad you’re here!

 

27 Comments

  • Reply June 23, 2012

    Robyn

    Ellen,

    Your blog looks great! Keep up the good work! I love these two pics of your family – and your hair looks so good (I say that with a little Christian envy ‘cuz I have problems getting mine to look good :-)

    So glad I got to know you a little before you moved…hope you can go to Michigan for the Breathe Conference in October! I’ll try to check in and do the writing prompt with you each week….

    Blessings to you and your precious family,

    ~Robyn

    • Reply June 23, 2012

      Ellen Stumbo

      Oh Robyn you are great! And I am planning on coming, it is in my calendar and Andy knows he will have to be in charge of the kids!

  • Reply July 2, 2012

    Heather

    I love this new site (and your other blog). The pics are great too. I need a good long sit down at Starbucks to bust out a writing prompt. So good for the soul. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply July 2, 2012

      Ellen Stumbo

      Thanks for stopping by Heather, I hope you do join the writing prompt! We are all learning together as we go :)

  • Reply August 3, 2012

    Cathy

    Thank you for inviting me to this site. Love looking at the photos and hearing about you and your family. You are a gifted writer Ellen. I am retired now but still sub occasionally in ele. resource and reading classrooms.

    Cathy

    • Reply August 3, 2012

      Ellen Stumbo

      Thanks for stopping by Cathy!

  • Reply September 18, 2012

    Lisa Freeman

    Hi Ellen! I lost your phone number from my phone. I’d love to catch up with you again now that the kids are back in school. Hope you are all doing well. Take care!

  • Reply September 21, 2012

    Beth Carrell

    Hi!

    I went to school with your husband and got to your blog from Facebook. I just wanted to tell you that I was deeply, deeply touched to read your post about your beautiful child with down syndrome. She is absolutely beautiful. What a gift all of your children are and please, keep spreading awareness that all children deserve a right to live and to be loved. May God bless you and your family today and every day.

    Sincerely,

    Beth

    • Reply September 22, 2012

      Ellen Stumbo

      Thank you Beth, for taking the time to leave a comment here. And yes, I love to share the beauty of my child. She might be “differetn” in some ways, but her life is beautiful and we are so in love with her. :)

  • Reply October 14, 2012

    Jerry

    Ellen, It was so nice to meet you at the Breathe Conference. I read some of your bio to my wife, who also grew up in Mexico City and moved to the States when she was seventeen. Her mother is from the US and went to Mexico for a semester of foreign studies and came back 25 years later!

    We are the family that has 12 children. 8 adopted. 2 sibling groups of 4. 4,4, and 4. My wife warmly refers to them as the original recipe, crispy, and extra crispy.

    I could go on quite a while about our story but maybe another time.

    Again, it was good to connect with you!

    Blessings!

    • Reply October 14, 2012

      Ellen Stumbo

      Jerry, it was so great to connect with you! I see you have a blog as well, I will have to stop by. What did your wife thinking about moving at 17? It was hard for me! And I would love to know more about your adoption stories, have you blogged about those?

  • Reply February 26, 2013

    LUCIANO

    I am looking forward to meeting you this weekend in the Great Wolf Lodge WI. Are we going to have many planned activities or is it going to be mostly unscheduled?

    • Reply March 3, 2013

      Ellen Stumbo

      Ahhh!!! Just saw this. Obviously, you already know;) So so great to meet your family!

  • Reply March 16, 2013

    Sheila

    Hey sweet Friend! We love seeing and hearing about your family! I miss you! Hope your birthday was a blessed one. Loving you!

    • Reply March 19, 2013

      Ellen Stumbo

      Thanks Sheila, hope your birthday was great too! I got to celebrate wit my entire family, so that was really nice. Hope you are all doing well, we miss your family!

  • Reply March 22, 2013

    Jessica

    I stumbled upon a picture that had your website at the bottom of the photo. The picture caught my eye because the little girl looked identical to my little girl, Ava. Same hair, body build, facial features, glasses, and braces. Even Ava and the family was convinced it was Ava. It is the picture of her putting on braces. Amazing blog, story, and encouragement you are to many people. May God continue to bless you and your family!

    • Reply March 22, 2013

      Ellen Stumbo

      Thanks for leaving a comment Jessica! How old is your Ava?

  • Reply April 4, 2013

    Korin

    Ellen,
    I stumbled upon your site through Facebook as someone had shared your post “I See You”, I read it and it describes me in a lot of ways!! I have a 4 year old son who was born blind and has many medical conditions and is developmentally delayed. It most definitely takes special people to be the parents of such amazing children. I would not change my life the way it is for anything in this world. God has blessed us with these little angels for a reason. I will continue to follow you on here!!! God bless!

    • Reply April 4, 2013

      Ellen Stumbo

      Korin, thank you for sharing about your son. And yes, my kids with special needs are a blessing in my life. Amazing how God has used them to change my heart.

  • Reply May 21, 2013

    Linda

    Ellen, I found a like to your blog on Facebook and enjoyed reading your post about being a pastor’s wife who sometimes doesn’t feel like going to church. I’m sorry you’ve felt that way but, I can certainly understand! My husband of 26 years is also a pastor and we have three boys. Our youngest, Nathan, has Down Syndrome. He is 16 now (his brothers 18, and 21) I’ve gone through some difficult times in the last few years and I’m so proud to say our church has loved me well. (we’ve been in other places of ministry where I couldn’t say that) They have let me take the time I’ve need away from responsibilities at church. They have shown real concern for me as a person during this time. (Physical problems, leading to depression/anxiety) I’m so proud of them and can say how thankful I am to be in this place of ministry during my difficult days. I pray you find even one of two ladies who can love you for you, no matter how you are doing.
    So glad I found your blog. I plan to look around some more. Thanks for blessing me with your writings.

    Linda

    • Reply May 28, 2013

      Ellen Stumbo

      Hello Linda, so glad you found me here, and thank you so much for reaching out! You certainly understand as a pastor’s wife and as a special needs mom :)

  • Reply July 3, 2013

    Sharon

    Hi Ellen: So glad you love to write. I am thankful for the internet today. I have met so many wonderful women who impact our worlds with their words. I write as well, but struggle to carve out the time to do what I enjoy most.

    God bless you as you share your heart with us.

    • Reply July 3, 2013

      Ellen Stumbo

      Sharon, glad we can connect here! I stopped by your blog and I loved the message of hope and redemption you share! Dealing with our past and allowing God to heal us is life changing!

  • Reply October 14, 2013

    Exie Horn

    Beautiful baby, beautiful mommy and beautiful blog. No, I can’t roll my R’s. Can you speak with a sweet southern belle accent? (Haha neither can I despite being one).

    • Reply October 14, 2013

      Ellen Stumbo

      No I can’t! But I can do Italian, Spanish, and Mexican accents really well ;) Being around people from the south really makes the fact that English is my second language stand out more, because sometimes I have a hard time understanding the accent! And they talk so fast! :)

      Although, I do consider English my first language now. I dream in English, I write in English, read in English. My Spanish is getting rusty.

  • Reply October 15, 2013

    Merri Lewis

    Wow. A friend shared a link to your blog on facebook and that is how I found you. This is amazing! I haven’t found many blogs for special needs parents that see it the way you do, or the way I do. I have four children, two of them (both the boys) have autism and other special needs. I love how you talk about the treasures you find in raising children with disabilities–that is exactly why I named my blog, Treasures In The Dust–trials embraced, joy discovered. I can’t wait to join in some writing prompts and to have time to read through your posts!

    • Reply October 15, 2013

      Ellen Stumbo

      Merri, I am so glad you made your way here! It is super late, so tomorrow I plan on visiting your blog!

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