Jenny Kinley

Writer, Artist

Food for Thought

Putting thoughts into words, serving some food for thought. 
Grab a drink and let's share.

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Posted on June 26, 2017 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

My newest painting, "Guadalupe."

Lately, my mind hasn't wanted to put together words so I have been doing more painting than writing. This depiction is Our Lady of Guadalupe, when she appeared to Juan Diego, Native American Saint at Tepeyac hill in 1531, now Mexico City. She looked like an Aztec princess. The black ribbon around her waist signifies she was with child. Mary, under the title "Our Lady of Guadalupe," is patroness of The Americas.

I'm no historian, but I read that the native Americans did not like the Spanish settlers due to their treatment and behavior. So they resisted the Spaniards' offerings of Christianity.  It wasn't until Mary spoke to Juan Diego and miraculously left an image on his cloak, that Natives took interest in the message. The original image on Juan Diego's cloak is displayed in Mexico City and science has not explained it.

Why am I drawn to this image? She's a mom. I'm a mom. It's hard to be a good mother, and I struggle.  Sometimes I feel embraced by the blessed mother of us all, and that helps me. 

The original image:

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.

More information on Guadalupe:

Kinley Studio Website image:


Posted on February 22, 2017 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Do you look for signs? Signs can be very clear and overt. (Stop signs, for example.) Or the brown and gold signs marking historical places around my home state of Ohio. This one tells about the Underground Railroad, and mentions a woman named “Aunt Jenny,” which makes me smile.

Whenever I see one these signs, I usually stop and read it. I like to know the backstory behind the places we live and the people who lived here before us. (It’s like reading a prequel to the story we’re living!)

The history of the Underground Railroad is fascinating to me. So much so, I wrote my first middle grade novel about it! The houses, creeks, trails, and landmarks associated with the Underground Railroad are all over the eastern U.S., not only Ohio.

There are other signs too, less obvious ones, that are clues to the stories leading up to us. Have you considered the name of the city you live in or the street you live on? Or the name of your school?

Cleveland is named after General Moses Cleaveland, the lead surveyor who charted the area for settlements. Ohio is the Native American Iroquois word meaning “great river.” There are roads I have driven past named Africa Road, Liberty Road, and even Gore Orphanage Road. (Believe me, there are stories there!)

There are signs of our past without words. Like, when we visit an apple orchard, I wonder if it is the legacy of Johnny Appleseed. When we hike through Old Man’s Cave, there are niches and landforms that make me wonder… did the old man maybe sleep here? Because this seems to be a good nook for that. Or did the Native Americans gather in this spot for meetings? Because the rock formations make a perfect amphitheater.

Next time you see a sign, think about what it could mean in the prequel!


The Underground Railroad in Ohio

Old Man's Cave & Hocking Hills State Park

John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed)

Ohio Native American Tribes

Room For The New Stuff

Posted on December 26, 2016 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

My sister-in-law asked me yesterday, after everyone was done opening their Christmas gifts,"Have you made room for the new stuff yet?"

"Yes!" I answered. "Cleaned the closets and made four trips to drop off at goodwill. I love getting rid of stuff!"

It's true. I do. 'Tis the season for out with the old and in with the new. Another year ended, a new one just begun. (But any time is a good time, really.)

It wasn't always this way. I liked to collect things, keep momentos, shop for things, build repertoires of whatever. Then once I had to leave home in a hurry, taking only what I could quickly fit into my car. It just happened to have been the end of December at the time, a long time ago. After that, I more liked to let go of things. And hold on to people. 

I even dream about getting rid of things. Recently I dreamed we had moved into a new home, only to find the previous owners had left a bunch of their old stuff, and there was no room for our new things to move in. (Watch for posts about dream meanings to come- there will be some!)

So being that we live in the North, the seasons beautifully act out what is going on inside of me (and around our house.) A woman on a mission, I am going through drawers and closets, clearing out old things we no longer use or need. It gets passed along to someone who will use it or is thrown out if it's no good. I'm taking inventory so I know what we have. And what we need. Dusting off and polishing up the valuables we will keep.

Just as outside, summer's abundance has waned. Tree leaves have dropped, the plants are dormant, nature has become stark and barren. Earth is covered over with a blanket of snow.

My dark and solitary winters are most enjoyably spent dimly lit with Christmas lights or candles, with drink and pen in hand. I write down all that I aspire to be, what parts of me I will let go, pray that I transform into the person I still want to become. I bask in the solitude, like I would the sun in another season. This is sacred time.

Aaaaaah. I do love winter.

If only spring will come just a little sooner this year! (Next post might be on patience.)