"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Share Some Wine {not Whine}

In preparation for our Celebration of Life tomorrow, I had a feeling that something was missing...

Mom wouldn't want us to Whine, but she'd want a little Wine!

Bring a bottle of your favorite wine to share
We look forward to seeing you there!

Love The J's

{please share this post}

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Please join us in the Celebration of Life Memorial
in honor of our Mother, Kerry Franke

Tuesday, September 29th
{open house from 5:00pm to 8:00pm}

The Farm
21648 Old Farm Ave
Petersburg, IL 62675

click here for directions

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Celebration of Life

The Celebration of Life:

Kerry Franke passed away with grace and dignity in her home embraced by the love and support of her family on September 21, 2015 at 57 years old.  Kerry’s infectious smile, energy, and passion for life and goodness touched many throughout her entire lifetime.  Her kind spirit embraced all who were fortunate enough to cross paths with her.  Her light shone brightly even more so over the past seven years.  Kerry defied the odds, turning a bleak cancer diagnosis into an amazing journey of life and joy.    

Kerry was born in Springfield where she grew and thrived with her parents and three siblings.  She felt blessed to have grown up in a neighborhood full of families and children who would eventually become lifelong friends.  After graduating Springfield High School in 1976, Kerry began her life as wife and mother.  She was married to Larry Franke from September of 1977 until 2006.  Living in Springfield as well as Petersburg, she embraced her role as mother, teacher, artist, and quilter.  Her creative vision and talented skills made turning everything she touched into a “Kerry-fied masterpiece” best described by comforts, beauty and her amazing style.  Kerry’s passion and deepest love was for her children and during this journey she also felt extremely blessed to embrace the love of her grandchildren and closest friends.  Her boyfriend Shawn McKinney of 5 years also brought adventure, creative accomplishments and fulfilled a comfort and joy during her most difficult years.

Kerry worked as an Early Childhood Aide in the PORTA School District.  She was a member of United Methodist Church, Springfield Rotary Club, The Springfield Historical Society, as well as many volunteer efforts with Petersburg Historical Society, New Salem and Clayville. She attended Lincoln Land Community College and retired in 2015 from her position as Credit Manager at US Electric.  Kerry fulfilled a 20 year dream remodeling a storefront in downtown Petersburg to open a quilt shop, offering sewing lessons and custom quilting services while supporting local artists.

Kerry was preceded in death by her grandparents Carl and Caroline Ahrens of Springfield and Albert and Cora Johnson of Indian Point and Athens, Illinois.  She was most recently preceded in death by her beloved parents, Allen and Lois Ahrens.  She is survived by daughter Jessica Skaaren (Cory) of Phoenix, AZ., Jaclyn Franke (daughter Trinity) of Springfield, Jenelle Collins (Chris) of Ashland, and Joshua Franke (Katie) of Chatham (sons Myles and Nolan). Kerry was the sister of Terry Ahrens (Judy), Todd Ahrens (Margaret), and Barb Brewer (Brian).   She was passionate about her family and kept contact with her own cousins, aunts and uncles, embracing her role as Aunt Kerry to many nieces and nephews, as well as great nieces and nephews.  She was a good steward to her family and faith, as well as her friends and community.  Kerry encouraged all to embrace those you love, celebrate life, and believe there is good in the world.  

With deepest love and respect,
{The J's} Jessica, Jaclyn, Jenelle and Josh

Kerry's children, Jessica, Jaclyn, Jenelle and Josh will be hosting a Celebration of Life in honor of their Mother's wishes on Tuesday, September 29th at The Farm open house from 5:00pm - 8:00pm. 

21648 Old Farm Avenue
Peterburg, IL 62675

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Love that Kerry built


It seems that Kerry spent a good portion of her adult life making someone else’s tired, broken-down house into a home for her family. The transformation of each of those homes radiated the love and heart of this sweet and talented woman. As we expected, Kerry’s wish was to finish her journey on earth here, here in her final, perfect little house on earth.  I don’t know who built this house so many years ago, but I know who scooped this place up, put her tender hand and heart to the bricks and boards, and transformed this weary imperfect place into a happy, loving home.

This little home is full, full of the people she loves.  It’s amazing how Kerry’s refuge has transformed and expanded itself into a welcoming haven for so many of us.  Her children, their spouses, grandchildren and helpers all have their little spaces here.  We have all found our own  bit of home in a corner, behind a chair, next to the toy box.  There was no plan, the love that brought us here spread us around to find our spots to sleep, refresh, escape, to laugh and to cry.  We instantaneously discovered that delicate balance between needing our own space and needing each other.  The house has opened and expanded to allow each of us to hear those faint sniffles or sense the falling tears, that signal someone needs a hug.  It has become so large and comfortable, we eagerly share the occasional LOL moment. Our throats are tired from whispering and “whisper laughing”. We have exhausted our quest to move around this sacred place avoiding the particularly squeaky floorboard, remembering to stop the microwave before the beeping starts, and staying on top of the endless stream of laundry for so many of us.  

As we continue our  vigil, we have gathered in the light of this home.  There is no darkness here, that’s not how Kerry built this home. All those things Kerry taught her children, to be kind to each other, listen to each other,  help each other, were lessons well-learned and shine through during our own journey; this journey to help their momma reach that next house, the only house that matters.

{written by Aunt Margie}

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Final Days

Thanks to the immense love and compassion of my siblings & family; Mom is able to remain at home as she wishes to spend her final days in peace and comfort. Due to her fragile condition Mom would want you to keep your memory of her as you remember. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts & prayers.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Nobody Like Your Mother

7 Reasons There’s Nobody In This World Like Your Mother

1. Because her love for you will always be unconditional.
2. Because she will ALWAYS have your back.
3. Because she gave you life.
4. Because she will always forgive you.
5. Because she is the glue that keeps your family together.
6. Because she is your safe haven.
7. Because she has made MANY sacrifices for you.

She has sacrificed her life to make yours better.

A sad, lonely, heartbroken you walk into the arms of your mother and nothing can seem anymore uplifting. All of your stress will wash away and you are at peace in her arms. You only get one mother, one chance to love her, to cherish her and to make memories with her. Don’t ever take that for granted. 

Time after Time

If you're lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you I'll be waiting
Time after time...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


by Aunt Margie

Kerry was diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer and was given 6 months to live.  That was 7 years ago.  She is an amazing example of the human spirit and its power to overcome incredible obstacles.  She has exhausted her treatment options, having covered years of chemotherapy, radiation oncology, and surgical treatments, most profoundly - having had a complete gastrectomy years ago (complete stomach removal).  She has never languished in a hospital bed longer than it took to recover from a surgical procedure nor has she resorted to tube-feeding.  Her spirit and drive moved her forward to planning and attending the weddings of two of her four children, witnesing the birth of two more grandchildren, remodeling a historic store front (turning it into a quilt shop offering sewing lessons as well as custom quilting services), and remodeling two homes.  Most importantly, she made time and spent time with her beautiful children.  She is an inspiration to all who come in contact with her.  She has checked many, many things off her "Bucket List" and the time has come for her to rest.  We set up her home hospice services today.  Between her children, sister Barb, and myself we will honor her wishes to leave her tattered body with dignity and rest in the home she created and dearly loves.  Please remember Kerry in your prayers as she moves along her final journey. Thank You.