By Janet McNeal

A few weeks ago I noticed an advertisement declaring ‘Only 71 days ‘til Christmas’.  I was absolutely baffled that someone had already begun that iconic countdown.  Summer was barely over, the leaves were just beginning to turn autumn colors, and I was still mildly surprised when I was spotting school buses on the roadways.  Where did the summer go?

Yet here we are with the “holiday season” almost upon us.  This is a fast paced world with lots of pressures and stress in our everyday life.  Now we are running full speed into the holiday season.  Halloween is behind us, Thanksgiving is only two weeks away and before you know it, it will be Christmas.

I am not a big fan of Halloween.  But I do love autumn and especially Thanksgiving.  I love the pumpkin spice products that pop up on the menus at every eatery and grace the shelves in grocery stores.  I love cold apple cider on warm days and hot mulled cider on cool nights.  I love a turkey dinner with savory dressing, cranberry sauce and of course, pie for dessert.

I love everything about autumn, even the particular shade of blue of the autumn sky and the crispness of the air.  I moved away from Adams County a few years ago but still return to visit friends and harvest Adams County apples, the best apples in the country.

After I am done picking apples, I like to stroll through the orchards to enjoy the peace, tranquility and beauty of the hillsides, and breathe in the smells of the season.  For a brief time I leave behind all the troubles, conflicts, worries and strife of everyday life.  I am thankful to have such a blessed life.

But life isn’t like that for everyone.  In fact, it wasn’t always like that for me.  Like many others, my friends and family struggled through financial loss, divorce, cancer, the death of loved ones, and bitter, angry disputes that wound so deeply they take years to heal, if they ever do heal.

In this Thanksgiving season, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who visited our table at “The Giving Spree” and donated so generously to Mediation Services of Adams County. Your financial support helps us to continue serving the citizens of Adams County with affordable mediations, and conflict resolution services and training.  Thank you for your contribution.

Are you, your friends or your family struggling with a situation or conflict that seems hopelessly deadlocked in bitter disputes?  Do you dread going to holiday gatherings that too often end in angry words and hurt feelings?  Mediation Services of Adams County (MSAC) has trained mediators available to help you work through strained family relationships, neighbor disputes, or other conflicts. To contact MSAC, call 717-334-7312, email mediationac@yahoo.com, or go to our website, https://mediateadams.org. to learn more about our mediations for economical fees based on income, or to schedule a mediation.