An Uncommon Woman

Saturday, October 21, 2017

I am honored to write this blog about a special woman in my life who has been a constant source of inspiration to me.  
  I'm so lucky to know her and grateful to be able to share her story with you as she turns 80 years young. My birthday gift to her is this blog and a wardrobe makeover at Uncommon Threads, complete with a photo-session by her daughter Raeanne.  
Meet Rejeanne Keeley, the most Uncommon Woman I know.  Be prepared to be inspired and grab a few Kleenex as you may need them.

I'll start off this story by telling you that I met Rejeanne when my children were very young (back in the mid 90's). She lived down the street from us and her two daughters Jeannie and Raeanne quickly became friends with my Alyssa.  Alyssa suffered from separation anxiety as a young child, but when she was with Rejeanne she felt safe and nurtured. For Rejeanne has a way of making everyone feel loved.

As I got to know Rejeanne, I learned about her incredible life story and amazing accomplishments. Nothing stops this woman....absolutely nothing. 

I want to share her journey with you as well as photos of her styling session at Uncommon Threads-- a small token of my appreciation for all the people she's helped in her lifetime. Rejeanne loved getting new clothes and I was thrilled to give back to this humanitarian who has dedicated her life to helping others.
Rejeanne's was born in 1937 in Manchester, NH. After graduating high school she entered the convent with the Sisters of Mercy in Windham, NH and for thirty-three years she was a sister. During this time she had four careers that touched the lives of many people and inspired many more.
Rejeanne was a teacher---she taught taught pretty much every grade from first through junior college. She also received her nursing degree and worked in nursing homes to care for the elderly with love and compassion.
Her desire to help those less fortunate led to launching Neighbors in Need, an agency that provides low-income families with food, home-goods and baby items. Rejeanne led the agency as the Executive Director and through the years opened food pantries, organized volunteers and constantly invented new ways to ensure families in-need would not go hungry. 
But Rejeanne's journey really began in 1985 when she started Maria's House, a "home" for foster children.  One of the babies, Jeannie Maria, stole Rejeanne's heart. This tiny infant weighed just 2.5 pounds at birth, was deaf, and dependent on oxygen. But with Rejeanne's nurturing and love, Jeannie thrived.  Her hearing came back and she was taken off of oxygen--she blossomed into a healthy child.  Rejeanne knew that she and Jeannie needed to be together, but in order to adopt her she had to choose between being a mom or a sister.  The love of a child won out.
But Rejeanne's love for children didn't stop there. In 1994 she took in another little girl named Raeann (who she also adopted). And in 2001 she started taking in foster children of all ages from infants to teens. She added on to her tiny two bedroom ranch, turning it into a seven bedroom home!
During this time, Rejeanne continued to run Neighbors in Need. Finally in 2003 (after 20 years of helping families) she decided it was time to move on.
But the unstoppable Rejeanne was not going to sit home and twiddle her thumbs. She worked at City Hall as a greeter, at a livery company and with developmentally disabled adults. Her desire to help people never wavered.
This remarkable woman deserves to be honored and recognized for all of her amazing accomplishments and dedication to helping those in need. Over the years, she has taken fifty children into her home, developed programs to help the community and provided love to so many.  Rejeanne lives very modestly and never asks for anything, so I was so excited to tell Rejeanne that my birthday gift to her would be a session at Uncommon Threads.  Living on a fixed income, splurging on new clothes is not always in her budget.  After all she's done to help others, I wanted her to sit back and be taken care of!  
Rejeanne loved this jacket and the mug that says "I'm nicer when I like my outfit".  SO true, right? 
Aventura clothes really caught her eye.  I put her in this super comfy (easy on/off) Aventura top and vest. The suede moccasins are from Sole Amour.  Rejeanne commented that she has never had such comfy shoes!  
Rejeanne said that she felt like a million bucks in this Aventura knit dress paired with the vest.  Mission accomplished!
There are some people who touch your life in a very special way. Happy birthday with lots of love Rejeanne. 


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