Wednesday, 30 May 2012


April 28, 2012

Last night as I was reading, I came across a blog linked to a book called Anything by Jennie Allen.  The basic thought is that if we believe in a God who freely gave His everything for us, then how can we hold "anything" back from Him.  I haven't read the book, but the concept from what I read on the site is to simply pray the one word prayer to God, "anything."

Lord, I'll give you anything.  I'll do anything.

What a challenge.  There is a website link for the book ( that asks for people to post what their "anything" is.  I read a few stories ranging from people who struggle with comparisons, are praying for a spouse,  needing direction, or facing physical moves away from home; to people who have lost a child or a loved one and struggle to let go and continue to believe God is good.  I cried as I read the story of one pregnant mom who had previously had a miscarriage and was struggling with fear and worry that this might happen to the baby she now carries.  I too have felt that pain.  It is not easy to give that to Jesus.

What is it that you have trouble giving to Him?  What might happen if you truly released your "anything" and gave it to God?  What would the result be?

So I was convicted, by the concept, and by reading the testimonies of these people who were daring to pray this prayer and give God their all.

I took a deep breath, and I asked the Lord, "What is my anything?  Is there anything in my heart that I have not given to You?  Am I withholding anything?  What is my "anything?" What do you want from me?"

There are times in my life where I've truly felt totally surrendered, withholding nothing.  Honestly, when I first prayed, I felt the answer from heaven would be nothing.  I thought, "I'm good here."

But, it was only minutes later when I felt the gentle thumbprint of the Lord pressing firmly down upon my heart, and I knew what my "anything" was.

Failure, more specifically, the fear of failure.

I can't say this is something new for me.  My fear of failure goes back longer than I can remember.  I can think of no reason or cause for it.  No sad story from childhood or bad event in life to blame it on.  It's just sort of always been around.

It drove me to achieve, even over-achieve (I won't bother to list the ways, though I could.)  It drove me to be the best I could be.  Wait, I hear you say.  Those are good things, right?

Achievements are great.  They  make us feel successful and good about ourselves.  We can gain a sense of value, even an identity from them, so what's the problem with that?

Here's the rub.  God never meant for our sense of value or identity or even our success to be measured by what we have (or have not) achieved.

He means for our value, identity, sense of achievement, and our success to be tied up in one thing alone...Knowing Him.

In fact, Paul writes to us about this in Philippians.

Philippians 3:8-10 (ESV)
Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of KNOWING CHRIST JESUS my Lord.   For His sake, I have suffered the loss of ALL THINGS and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law [what I've done or not done]but that which comes from faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-that I may KNOW HIM and the power of His ressurection.

Paul tells us to count everything as loss for the worth of knowing Christ.  For Him we are to suffer the loss of ALL THINGS and count them as rubbish to gain Him.

Which brings me back to my anything, that fear of failure.

This fear permeates so many areas of my life, but none so much as my fear of failing to be a good mother to my children.  Motherhood is full of loads of successes and failures, not just over the lives of our children, but in a single day, sometimes in a single hour!  At the end of the day, I just find myself hoping the victories outweigh the defeats; but, I don't think that God is in heaven watching my day and hoping that I measure up to some standard He has set for me to attain.

He just wants me to KNOW HIM. To TRUST HIM. To know and to trust that He is big enough to cover my failures with His precious blood poured out on the cross to cover all my sin and failures.  To trust Him to cover my children and lead them to a relationship with Him.

The truth is that in the chasm of my failures, God's grace fills in the hole.  He makes up for my weaknesses and deficits.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV)
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamaties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 11:30 (ESV)
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

So I guess like Paul, let me boast in my weakness!  Because when I feel like the biggest failure, when I am at my weakest moments, God's grace is filling the void, and His strength bares the weight that I cannot bear alone.

My achievements (or lack thereof) do not give me my value or identity.  God showed my worth and value when He sent His son to die for me.  Jesus gave His all, His very life for my sins, weaknesses, and yes, even my failures.

He freely gave His all, how can I hold back anything?

Fear of failure, as a mom, a wife, a missionary, a Christian, the list goes on and on (And I'm sure you have your own areas in which you struggle,) I think it's time for you to go.

1 John 4:18 (ESV)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

Dear God,

Please let your perfect love cast away this fear of failure in our lives.  Your love is unchanging and constant (Micah 7:18, Lamentations 3:22.) Let our identity and value be in You and what You did on the cross and not on our own achievements.  Our achievements don't make us great or worthy (or horrible or unworthy!) You stoop down to make us great!(2 Samuel 22:36, Psalm 18:35.)

Thank you that Your grace fills in the holes left by our failures.  You cover us fully (Psalm 139:5.)  You are strong when we are weak.  In our weakest moments, may we remember Your strength is there for us, and takes over when we fail. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Lord, may we give these things to You.  Count them all as rubbish, in order to gain Christ and to KNOW HIM.

And now, may we press on to make You our own. (Philippians 3:12-13) Let us forget the fears and failures that lie behind and strain forward to what lies ahead...Your perfect love, Your all sufficient grace that is perfected in our every weakness.

In Jesus Name, Amen

Paul says in Philippians 3:15, "Let those who are mature think this way and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to You."

Perhaps in reading this, God may reveal to you that there is an "anything" in Your life that you have yet to give Him.  

May I challenge you to give it to Him now.  Pray, ask Him to reveal your "anything." Then pray for Him to give you the strength to let it go.  

I know it may seem impossible. It may seem too big.  I've been there. But, if you will make this step of faith, I know He will heal, deliver, and restore You.  He will touch You.  I know it because I KNOW HIM, and He wants YOU to KNOW HIM too.  He will never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)  His promises are true. (2 Corinthians 1:20) Even when we are faithless, He is faithful, He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)

Beloved, You are HIS.  He will take what you are holding and transform it into something beautiful.

Will you take the risk?  Will you give Him your "anything?"

I would love to pray for you if this message is touching something in your life. You can share your "anything" in a comment below or send me a private message if you would like.  You can be specific if you, but that is not necessary.  

Pray for me too.  We are all in this race together and surely can all benefit from prayer!


The View from the Top

I wrote this on 28 September 2011 after climbing up to the top of the Salisbury Crags, part of Holyrood Park near Arthur's Seat.

I've spent the last 30 minutes climbing atop the Salisbury Crags.  My intent this morning was to just go a bit up and sit, relax, and enjoy the sun and the view.  Yet I found, at each place I could stop, I just looked up and saw a higher spot and thought, "Surely the view from there will be a bit better," and so I climbed on.  Reaching that spot, I thought, "well maybe just a bit more.  I can surely get a better perspective from there." And on and on I went until I found I just couldn't stop. I had to reach the top, the highest point I could get to or I would not be satisfied.  After all, I had come this far already.  

Sure I could call it quits and just go back, but I would always wonder about the view from the top.  What might I have seen, felt, heard?  What kind of knowledge might I have gained?  What fresh revelation might have awaited me should I have endured the journey?  And so I trekked on for curiosity's sake, sheer determination, or perhaps lack of common sense...

At any rate, I now sit at the highest point I can find, and I feel good about myself.  I have a feeling of accomplishment, and I'm proud that I endured the climb and the breathlessness, for the breathtaking view was totally worth it.  

I suppose, however, that the spiritual lesson for me is much more meaningful...

Amazing how this physical journey today very much mirrors the spiritual journey that I find myself facing.  I feel like I am scaling a mountain, much higher than Arthur's Seat, though not as high as the Everest that some people find themselves facing.  But, I would imagine that what keeps us all climbing onward is the hope that at the top, the view will be beautiful, the sense of achievement profound, the perspective insightful.  That we would have a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from conquering hindreances along the way and overcoming the desire to quit, go back, or even worse, to settle for something less than God's best.

I find myself often wanting to quit, turn back, or settle, but I hear the voice of the Lord continually calling me higher.  Telling me not to give up because at the top of this mountain, He has something better for me.  Something I've never seen, heard, or even thought about, and better than I could ever ask, think, or imagine.  

And so I press on to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me.  I won't turn back, surrender, or succomb to the pressure to settle and be satisfied.  I want more!  I want to go higher, to feel the winds of His Spirit blowing over my life.  To feel the warmth of the Son, to see the view from the mountaintop, to sense the closeness of His presence, and the accomplishment that comes from following His lead regardless of the cost.

Lord, help me to never be satisfied, to never quit or settle for less than the highest ground.  I don't want to miss the beauty of chasing after You!

Was the climb today worth the time and effort?  Absolutely.   And I'm quite sure that at the top of the spiritual mountain God has me climbing, the view that I'm looking at now will pale in comparison.

Don't quit, it's worth the journey.  Don't settle and forever wonder what it would have been like had you reached the top.  Keep journeying onward with Him, and don't stop until you conquer and reach the top!  

When Overcome by Chaos and Clutter

August 13, 2011

Reading this really blessed me this morning....I'm sure many of you can relate!

Meditation on Psalm 57 by Pamela J. Kennedy from the book Songs from a Mother's Heart

Have mercy on me, O God,
   have mercy on me,
      for in You I am safe and protected.

I need to get away to a quiet place,
   to find some moments of solitude.

I feel like I am singking in a sea of needs,
   overwhelmed by the demands on my time.
Crying babies, messy rooms
   runny noses and dirty diapers
      meals and dishes and dust
         fill my minutes, hours, and days.

Somewhere in the middle of it all,
   I think I lost myself.
      I can't escape all the demands,
         but I can't meet them either.

Could you show me Yourself in the midst of my mess, Jesus?
Would you illuminate me with Your love and faithfulness?

I know You are higher than the piles of laundry,
   deeper than the ground-in dirt.
Your song is louder than a baby's cry,
   and Your love more insistent than a whining child.

I just feel trapped right now, caught
   in mind and body of motherhood's unbreakable nets.

Fix my heart on You, my Lord.
Open my ears to the music of Your Spirit within me.

Strengthen my grip on Your vision for my life
   so I can see the mundane
      through the lens of eternity.
This hectic time will pass
      and children will too soon be gone,
   and quiet, peacefull days will fill my weeks.

I will thank You even in the chaos of my world today
   and sing Your praises louder than the din around me.
Your love cannot be covered up with clutter, God,
   for You are greater than whatever hems me in.

Change my focus to Your focus
   and set my  mind on finding joy in little things.
Help me search for times when You and I can talk
   even if it's over sinks of dirty pans.

Tune My Heart

July 21, 2011

I've been hearing the words "Tune my heart to sing Thy praise" from the song Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing for quite a few days.  They have resonated in my spirit.  As I have prayed and thought about it, God has been revealing something to me about how he tunes our hearts.

On a guitar, tuning is all about the stretching and relaxing of the strings. (Also true for all stringed instruments including violins, cellos, and I even believe pianos as well.)  Here are a few nuggets I have gleaned from heaven about the process of tuning that God is always doing to help his children sound their best.

1. Some strings are too lose and need to be tightened.  When a string is lose, there is really very little sound that comes from it or the sound that does come is just flat and sounds awful. Some strings even get so lose they are useless at making music; they are falling off the instrument making it incapable of producing any kind of sound that might bring God glory.  God needs to tighten up some areas of our lives; but take caution, if the string is tightened too much, the string will snap.  Fear not though, the Bible assures us that God will not snap us into.  A bruised reed God will never break. You can't just tighten yourself up, you have to go to God and allow the master tuner to do the work.

2. Some strings are already wound so tight they are about to snap.  These strings are sharp.  Ever met someone who is like a sharp string about to snap.  Perhaps one of these strings has snapped at you?  This sound too is very unpleasant to the ear.  It just throws off what could be a beautiful sound and a beautiful testimony played from a wonderfully created instrument.  Some of us need to loosen up and relax.  Allow God to unwind us.  He is after all the master tuner, right?

3. Some strings can be perfectly in tune while others are completely out of tune.  There are always areas God is working on and fine tuning, but be aware when one string or part of your life is out of tune, the sound that comes forth from your life can become a cacophony, an unpleasant noise.  Even a string slightly out of tune makes the sound of the instrument muddy and distorted.  Some people (who are probably a little out of tune themselves,) might say oh it sounds fine.  Don't be fooled!  When something is just a bit off, there are many around who hear it, and they don't like the sound of the tune you are playing.  Thankfully, as you allow God to tune in all parts of your life, it's a beautiful blend of harmony and melody that reflects and represents the glory of God.  I want the tune that comes from my life to be pleasing to God's ear and pleasing and pleasant to the ears of all those around me.  God please tune my heart!

4. Sometimes the strings's ok because God can give us new ones.  We all make mistakes and get too lose or too tight.  Let God replace your broken stings.  He is the one that can give beauty for ashes, new strings for broken ones.

5. Sometimes the strings just go dead over time, and they need an all out replacement.  A new set of strings brings new life to an instrument.  The sound becomes crisp and clear.  You can of course continue playing on old, dead strings, but it just doesn't sound as good.  Maybe God needs to completely restring some of us, so that we can feel the freshness of his presence as he gently writes and plays his music upon our hearts.  It's not an easy process.  There is winding and spinning, pushing, pulling, and threading.  But my it is so worth it because the sound that comes forth when the strings are in place and in tune is beautiful.  Would you be open to allowing God to restring and replace the old dead strings in your life?

6. Sometimes the tuning is gentle and easy, but sometimes it's stretching to the max and you feel sure that the string is going to snap. Be assured, Jesus knows just how much torque and pressure you need.  He will be as gentle as a lamb or as aggressive as a lion hunting prey according to what you need, so trust Him to tune you just right.  He is after all the one who designed and created you.  I really think he is the one who knows how to make your life sound amazing.

7. All strings fall out of tune and need a regular tune up.  This is why it's so important to spend time in God's word and in prayer and worship.  Not just on a Sunday morning, but each day.  If I only tuned my guitar once a week, it might sound ok, but it won't sound it's best. When was the last time you allowed God to tune your heart?

8. A sudden knock or change in temperature will knock the strings out of tune and require lots of time and twisting to return to the right place.  Sometimes life hits us hard.  I know I've had my share of that, and I'm sure you have too.  Circumstances heat up and we feel we are in the fire or getting shaken or beaten.  Have you ever been here?  These are times when God; if we will allow him, spends more time adjusting, tightening, loosening, or even completely changing out our strings, so that the message that people hear after we are restored is precise, effective, and clear.  After we are restored, we will sound our best.  And just maybe, another instrument that has received a hard knock can listen and receive hope and realize that God restores the brokenhearted and can redeem all things for His glory.

One thing is certain, the only way to be completely in tune is to allow Jesus to tune you.  He has perfect pitch.  Sure we have instrumental tuners, like the Bible, and pastors, and other believers to help us get there on our own, but there is nothing like being tuned by the one who made the instrument, the one who knows exactly how it has been created to sound, the one who knows its exact purpose and fullest potential.  

Why not let Jesus come right now and begin to tune your heart?

No matter how much time and effort you spend trying to tune yourself and make your life sound so wonderful, your life will never sound as great as it could until you let your Maker come in and tune it just right--tune you into your destiny--into peace--into victory--into holiness--into His image.  What better sound can we offer to the world than the very sound of whom God has made us to be.

And as we all stand in the world, perfectly tuned by our maker, what a grand symphony all our instruments make together as we reflect and reveal our maker's Magnum Opus to the world around us.  Oh to be part of that glorious sound as all the pieces come together in one purpose and design to reveal and reflect His glory.  

Don't you want to be part of this grand composition?  A part of His masterpiece?  I sure do.  Dear God in heaven, please tune our hearts to sing Your praise!

Resting in His Arms

June 18, 2011 

My favourite time with my 7 month old son is the last feed of the night.  You see my daughter was a big cuddly baby and was happy to snuggle with me all the time, but Eli is just a different story.  He is an absolute joy and loves to laugh, but cuddling is just not his thing.  So I find myself treasuring the small moments when he just rests in my arms and lets his head fall upon my shoulder.  It's honestly the best feeling in the world.  To hold something so precious and priceless, well there's just no real words to describe it.

The last feeding of the night is the one where I wake him up, feed him, and he quickly goes right back to sleep (well hopefully and usually anyhow.)  So after he is fed, he is just a big cuddle bug and places his wee head right down on my shoulder.  This is the one time in my day when I just get to hold him close and treasure the fleeting moments that are all too quickly passing by as he grows.  He doesn't need anything.  He makes no demands.  He just rests his head on my shoulder in the quiet confidence that Mommy is going to take care of him.  He is not worried or anxious. No wiggling and squirming...he is just still,  and I just get to be with him.

And you know what, as a parent, this blesses me beyond words because there is very little time in my day when someone isn't needing or wanting something from me.  Life with young children can be stressful because they are always demanding something more.  As a parent, you give and give and give.  You try to make the moments memorable and to bless your children.  And sometimes it's just downright frustrating because the moments when they are just thankful and content and at rest can sometimes seem few and far between.

And tonight as I was holding my baby boy in my arms.  I just remembered how blessed I am to have Him.  I was blessed in his resting in my arms, no demands, no worries.  He was just at peace.

And I began to thank God for my little boy and the blessing He is and the blessing he will be to not only me but to the world.

And I felt God's gentle voice nudging me and saying, "You know, it blesses me when you just rest in me. When you come to me with no demands, no anxieties, no squirming and wiggling. You just trust that Daddy is going to take care of you. You are even more priceless and precious to me, and I love it when I just get to be with you."

And I remembered how many times today I prayed, Lord could you just need....And I realized the times that I have just been thankful and content and at rest have been few and far between.  Father forgive me....

Don't get me wrong, God is concerned with our needs, and He knows them and has already worked a way to meet them.  But how much could we bless His heart if we could just lay them down and trust that He is in control.  If we could just rest and be at peace.  In doing that, not only does it give us peace, but I truly believe that it blesses God's heart even more than my evening snuggle with my little man.

So right now, if only for a moment, can you just rest in Him.  Lay down your worries and stop demanding anything of God and rest your tired head on the Father's strong shoulders and find peace and contentment in His arms.  I promise it will bless His heart, and you'll be blessed too.

Psalm 46:10 -Be still, and know that I am God.

Inappropriate McDonalds Toy

May 6, 2011

Dear McDonalds,

I am writing concerning the toy my 3 year old received with her happy meal today.  It is a small music box with a recorded song by Chipmunk.

After bringing it home and listening to it and looking up the lyrics, I am absolutely appalled that a company as large and international as McDonalds would include such a thing as a "toy" inside a happy meal.  I would think you would be able to find a better suited toy for children!

Have you seen the lyrics?  I will include them below if I have space.  The song Oopsy Daisy is inappropriate for young children.  The content of love and relationships is well beyond their understanding.  And are you aware that the song has a profane word *shit* in it.  I'm not sure if it's on the recording b/c I didn't listen all the way through because I looked up the lyrics first.  The lyrics for the song say why led a bird shit on me.  Do you really think that's ok for my 3 year old to hear.  Even if the word is beeped out of the song, it's still just PLAIN WRONG.

I am deeply offended and now have to explain to my 3 year old daughter why I'm throwing her toy in the rubbish bin.

I would hope in the future you would put more consideration into your happy meal toys.  Otherwise we will not be eating in your chain in the future. There is a Burger King just around the corner after all.

Song Lyrics....

I would love to hear your response to this concern and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Renea Gill

Nightmare Flights

January 19, 2011

A copy of my letter to American's a long story of how they seriously messed up our travel plans.  I couldn't make this up if I tried.  It's like a bad movie... 
Dear Customer Relations,

I am writing to you regarding our recent flights from Edinburgh, Scotland to Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina on the 22 Dec 2010.  The story is a nightmare, but first let me start by introducing you to my family so that you might perhaps see us as people and not numbers and dollar signs.

I was flying with my husband, Christopher, and our two children, Samantha (2 years old) and Eli (a 5 week old infant.)  If you have children, perhaps you can understand the difficulty of traveling with children.  We were flying home for Christmas so that we could enjoy family and everyone could meet the new addition.

With this in mind, please consider how your company and it's errors completely devastated our traveling agenda.

To start our journey, our original flight from Edinburgh was supposed to give us two and a half hours or so to make our connection.  It was canceled due to weather....fair enough, you can't help bad weather and snow.  Fortunately we were booked on a flight leaving an hour later, so we still had time to arrive in London and make our connection.

So we arrive in London on time.  As we come up the jet bridge, there is a man standing with a sign for RDU, our final destination.  We stop and check in with him.  He has our names on his clipboard and a walkie talkie radio.  We inform him that we are there.  He gives us Express Connection passes to clear security quickly.  One would assume the radio was for him to inform someone that we are in the airport, but as you will read, that did not happen.

So we rush on through the airport.  We hop on the bus immediately leaving for the next terminal.  No wait at all.  We clear security with no wait at all.  So we are very relieved when we arrive to our gate 25 minutes before our flight is to take off.

We get to the counter to board the plane and we are informed that our seats were given away.  What?  Given away?  How?  We had boarding passes.  We checked in with the man from our last flight.  How is it possible that our seats were given away?

We were told it was because we did not check in at this particular airport.  We had boarding passes where we checked in online for your convenience and ours.  We checked in with the man at the airport when we left the flight. So there was no need for us to check in with anyone else because we were going to make our connection.

And yet we were not allowed to board the plane.  There were no seats left on the flight.  The most unbelievable thing is that we stood there and watched another 15 people board the flight after our seats had been given away.  The only explanation is that they checked in downstairs.  How were we supposed to know that we needed to check in downstairs?  Why was this a need when we had boarding passes and had already checked in with an airline employee from our last flight and told we would make our connection.

The employees working were not able to get any one of us on that flight, so we were stranded.  I was in absolute tears holding my 5 week old son.  My daughter was exausted and crying and my husband angry.  No one could help us.  We were sent to wait in line.

It might have been forgivable if it were just this, but the saga continued like a bad movie.  The next flight to Raleigh was the next day.  But we could not be booked on that flight because your company had already oversold that flight by 20+ people, plus there was a waiting list a mile long due to the snow in London and flight cancellations.

Now mind you, we're stranded, as a family with children, with thousands of others, and now no one cares because they think we are stranded due to weather.  In fact, it was not due to weather at all.  It was because someone just decided to give our seats away, even though we were in the airport. ((I might add that our BA flight (which your company booked us on)arrived to London on time.))

So now we are informed we will have to fly standby...along with hundreds of others.  So we wait for a connection to Cincinnati.  We were not able to make that flight, but can I tell you that my daughter who should have been safely resting on our flight to Raleigh, gets tired, and when she gets tired, she gets clumsy.  She fell into a set of chairs and busted her two front teeth.  Bloody and dazed, we called for a paremedic.  It took about an hour for him to show up, but there was nothing he could do except give us some paracetomol/tylenol.  Can I also let you know (although this is not directly your fault) that those teeth have now turned grey and are likely to fall out, so she will be without them for the next 5 years.  I tell you this to help you understand that you should in fact be more careful in how you treat your customers and how you communicate within airports.  We are people, not numbers and dollar signs.

Of course, now we are shelling out money to pay for food because we have to eat and are waiting hours hoping to catch a flight home.  The next flight for us to standby for is leaving 10 hours after we were supposed to fly out....we would have been home in Raleigh before this flight is leaving.

Might I also add, that no consideration was given to the fact we are flying with 2 small children.  No one seemed to care and our position on the standby list was only based on amount of time traveled.  What kind of screwed up thinking is that?  If it had just been my hubby and I, we could make the most of it and get over it.  But children cannot adapt to such things so easily, especially young children.  This policy seriously needs to be rethought.

So by miracle, we are able to get on the flight to New York/JFK.  Then we would have to change airports to La Guardia (a cab ride) to fly standby the next day and hopefully get to Raleigh.  We would have to spend the night in New York (a hotel cost).

We get to JFK and recheck with a ticket agent to hopefully get something confirmed to get home the next day.  She rebooks us on a confirmed Delta flight the next day.  She gives us a voucher for a cab to change airports.

The saga continues....

The cab agency that they called and gave us a voucher for was Avenis (or something like that I don't exactly remember the name.)  What I do know, is that when this company shows to pick us up, it is in a Jeep Cherokee with no cab company markings.  There is no car seat for my 5 week old or 2 year old.  There are no working seatbelts in the back seat at all.  No signs marking taxi anywhere in the car, but because an AA supervisor called the taxi for us, we thought it would be ok.  The driver was nice enough, but his driving was absolutely scary.  He weaved in and out of lanes (not traffick mind you as it is after 10pm in New York.)  Forutnately we arrived to the airport with no accidents.

Of course, our flights were not until the next day.  And since AA did not offer us a hotel (which would have seemed fair for a family of 4 traveling with small children and stranded due to the inefficiency of your company,) we had to spend the night, with our children, in the cold airport.  We went down to the luggage collection area, found a luggage cart where my husband tried to sleep with our two year old and our baby while I slept in a chair.  It was absolutely freezing.  Thank God we kept our jackets with us and did not put them in our checked bags.

The next day we finally arrived in Raleigh over 40 hours of travel with little sleep and little to eat as we could not afford a hotel or a lot of airport food.  (We booked with you because it was cheaper at the time...big mistake.)

But the saga still continues...

We get to Raleigh, but our luggage did not.  We filled out a report.  It was about 5 days later when we received a call from a lady who found our bag in New York.  The air travel sticker had been removed and she found our number on our luggage tag and called.  The bag was brought to our home, fair enough.

The second bag arrived to us about 7 days later, but our third bag has still not arrived.  No one can seem to find it.  So we are to fill out a claim with Delta for our lost bag.  File with delta even though the bags were lost by American Airlines.

This third bag was the only one of value.  It had my clothes and my jewelry (which will not be replaced apparently because lost luggage claims will not cover jewelry.)  I firmly believe someone from your company stole the things of value and conveniently lost the bag to cover it up, but who knows.

So that is all for now, though I just read on the Delta form for lost luggage that it was supposed to be filed within 21 days. I had been giving it time hoping the piece would be found, so they may try to not even cover the loss.  So much for my faith in you to recover my bag.

I want you to know that this flight was purchased and began in Edinburgh, Scotland and I plan to do all that is possible to recover our loss and receive compensation according to the Passenger's Bill of Rights.  I intend to even consult with a lawyer should this become necessary.  I am also copying this letter to the following places...

The Department of Transportation, Aviation Consumer Protection Division
400 7th Street SW, Room 4107
Washington, DC 20590


The Aviation Consumer Action Project
P.O. Box 19029
529 14th Street NW, Suite 1265
Washington, DC 20045

Now we are looking towards having to fly back to Edinburgh with American Airlines even though my faith in your company has been completely violated.  We can't afford to get a flight with another airline as we spent close to $3000 purchasing these flights. 

We make this flight path about twice a year.  Unless something is done regarding this matter, you can be assured that we will no longer be flying with your company for this trip (or any other for that matter.)  The incompetence that we encountered is just ridiculous.

Please carefully review this matter and consider our family and what your company might do to restore our trust in American Airlines.

I do have the flight numbers and baggage claim ticket. I would include them here, but now we are away from home in Kentucky (where we flew Delta, not AA.)  I will send them on to you when we arrive back home on Monday as I am sure you will need this information.

Kathrine Renea Gill