Category Archives: Uncategorized

MokenaGram 05/12/16


MG_051216Morning Fog

Fog settles Wednesday morning, May 11, 2016,  at the Hickory Creek Forest Preserve on LaPorte Road in Mokena. photo by Jean Lachat

MokenaGram 04/27/16



Spring Flowers

Pat and Lindsay Kinsella of New Lenox, with their two-year-old daughter Victoria, shop Tuesday, April 25, 2016 at the Bee Happy Honey Farm annual flower and plant sale in Mokena. The Farm is located at 9909 W. 187th St. and continues the sales until all the plants are sold. photo by Jean Lachat

Mokena-Gram 040616




Led by Midori Eng, bottom left, and Ari Corbin, the Lincoln-Way East Winter Guard took home the Grand Championship trophy in Class A of the Midwest Color Guard Circuit Championship April 3, 2016 in LaPorte, IN. Their show, called “A Fine Line Between,” included dance, and spinning of flags, rifles and sabres, and competed with 14 other schools for the title. photo by Jean Lachat

MokenaGram 03/23/16


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Kids scramble to fill their baskets with Easter Eggs Saturday during the annual Mokena Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt at Main Park. photo by Jean Lachat

note: MokenaGram is making it’s last appearance in the Mokena Messenger this week, but will find a new happy home right here on my blog. Please subscribe to stay in touch and see more of my town every week! Thanks for your support! jl

I have you covered.



This year, I promise to…

Learn something new?

Have an adventure?

Find MORE fun?

I have you covered.

The Photo Love Workshop is kicking off again on January 25th – this time with four weeks of photography instruction and camaraderie in the studio. You can read all about it on my facebook page here.

We meet for 1.5 hours every Monday to talk cameras. photography and quite honestly, mistakes! You can learn about aperture, shutter speed, what all those little dials and symbols mean on your digital camera, and how to look at light in a whole new way.

We shoot, critique and laugh. A lot.

Then, this spring, summer OR  fall, you can really venture into new territory with a photo lesson and excursion around downtown Chicago AND get a great deal with my Groupon!

We will sit down at Millennium Park and cover some basic camera skills before heading out to some of the neatest places in the city for photography.

Space is limited for both, so don’t delay in getting registered! The downtown class and tour will offer a choice of six dates over five months.

Sign up for either, or both. And since it would be so much more fun with a friend, find someone to come with you!

You’ll be so happy you did!






the power of the printed photograph.



My friend Bill Liesse passed away suddenly this weekend. He was 50 years old. Together we had covered Illinois basketball while in college working for the Daily Illini – he as a writer and columnist and me as a photographer.

Once the shock of the news was realized, and the tears dried for a moment, I immediately thought of this photograph. It’s one of my favorites from college and it hung proudly on the walls of many residences for years following my glory days at University of Illinois. Because it remained out in the open and enjoyed for so many years, it is etched in my mind just like the memories and friendship epitomized by this guy.

I am so happy to still have it in my possession. It was taken long before the advent of digital photography and lasting through all the technological advances in photography over the past 30 years.

Digital images are fleeting, disposable and subject to the lasting effects of fast-moving technological advances — like when you are left holding floppy disc in a world of flash drives.

There is something tender and comfortable and amazing about pulling out old prints. I held them in my hands yesterday, and the tears came, but so did the giggles, as I remembered the great adventures of me and my Daily Illini buddies.

It reminded me of the power of photography to transport you to a time when the world was yours, anything was possible and the fun was endless.

Try doing that with pixels.




2016. Word.


MG123115Welcome to a new year, a clean slate. Resolutions, promises and a chance  to right the wrongs, improve yourself, improve your life and hopefully the lives of others.

Make a promise. Build yourself physically, mentally or spiritually. Start strong, stay strong.

Have faith.

Learn the truth. Follow it’s lead.

Find beauty. Educate yourself. Take nothing for granted.

Do one of these things and you are a success.

Romans 5:5 (NIV)

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Here’s wishing you all the faith you need to see the good in this world this year. Happy New Year!

a love story.



Met this little 12-year-old girl playing in her neighbor’s driveway about 12 years ago, as I strolled through our new Mokena neighborhood with a toddler and a baby looking for babysitters. She gave me her cell phone number and she and her mom became essentially our first friends in our new town. She is like a daughter, sister and friend all rolled up into one, and helped me and my girls through the best and worst of times. She got married to the love of her life in December, and we are so proud of and so happy for her. We love you Carissa and wish you and your Tim a lifetime of joy and happiness together.







back and better than ever.

The first snowfall of the year settles on the roof of the barn at Yunker Farm on January 3, 2015 in Mokena.

The first snowfall of the year settles on the roof of the barn at Yunker Farm on January 3, 2015 in Mokena.

Well, I’d like to think so at least.

I knew I hadn’t written anything in a while, but when I came to the blog and saw August 29 as the last post, the first thing I thought was, “uh-OH!”

New year means new commitment. And since the Mokena Messenger is so great about giving me space for my photography, I need to be quite a bit more diligent about providing these great back stories to my weekly MokenaGram.

And while on that topic, if any of my Mokena readers have ideas for MokenaGram – someone, or someplace, or something that makes our little town rock, then please email me right away at: I will consider any suggestions!

So many great things happening in my professional and personal world in 2015.

I love my cute little studio on Front Street. Kim McAuliffe, owner of An English Garden florist where my studio resides,  is my cheerleader, friend and business guru. We are planning on ripping up the second floor carpeting this year and doing some cool work to the floors so that the studio has that shabby-chic vibe both Kim and I enjoy so much. Behind closed doors, we call it “old crap” but don’t tell anyone!

I had an outstanding year for portraits in 2014. My business grew by leaps and bounds, and with a lot of hard work, I hope it continues in 2015! THANK you to all my wonderful friends here and around Mokena who consistently spread good words about me and my work. You are so wonderful!

2014 Highlights include (but are not limited to) my awesome seniors from Class of 2015 for giving me creative license to make you look super cool and beautiful!

My brides and grooms, who regularly trust me with documenting moments that will last a lifetime. I embrace this responsibility!

My families and their adorable children that fill my studio with love and laughter and JOY. And their “beasts” too — our four-legged friends who are always WELCOME at 11210 Front Street.

In addition to my studio work, I have met amazing people in and around Mokena through my work at 22nd Century Media,  the University of Chicago, the Les Turner ALS Foundation, Adler University and the March of Dimes, among others. I’ve met heroes and movers and shakers. Even rock stars. Literally. I shot Aerosmith this summer. It was, as you can imagine, a blast.

Most of all, I could not do ANY of this without the unconditional support of my loving husband, Rick, my Dad (bless his heart!) and my children Becky and Jess, who don’t always understand why I work every day, but know how much I love it, so they support me regardless! And my sisters & girlfriends and sister-friends, who, if I try to name, one will inevitably be forgotten. But you know who you are. And I love you, too.

I face a couple challenges right off the bat this year, but I am literally surrounded by God’s love and support in so many forms, that I am looking forward to both the challenges and blessings so I can watch Him work!

A happy, healthy 2015 to all.