Much of Butler County's history is rooted in self-sufficiency as people build, enhance, and preserve their community with duty and pride. Grace enables us to see what might otherwise go unnoticed or unheeded.

Welcome, neighbors, to our community blog. This is the first of somewhat weekly blog conversations that we invite residents of Butler County to have with us and each other.

Pete is the peanut butter and Judie the jelly of the sandwich of our lives together (some of you know Peter from his “Changing Lanes” blog). One of us grew up in upstate New York and the other in Wisconsin. We have moved a lot during our adult lives, living much of the time in the Midwest. We are a blended family that includes six adult children and their families scattered across our great nation.

Butler County is where one of our sons and his family established themselves six years ago. During our visits as we met people and experienced life in this community, it began to feel like home to us as well, culminating in our relocating here about two years ago. Since then our life has been an accumulation of small things -- personal observations, interactions with others, volunteering, community events, home improvements, and the like.

We plan to blog about current events, civic life, and issues relevant to life in Butler County. Some postings will be a solo effort, and others collaborative. In some respects it's presumptuous for newcomers like us to observe and comment on our community. After all, most of our friends and neighbors have been here much longer -- some for generations. One lives in the house where he was born 85 years ago!

Seeing the world through the eyes of young children, what for us has become commonplace is newly a source of wonder. Similarly, this blog is an opportunity for you to see life in Butler County through our eyes as recent transplants. It also is an opportunity for us to expand our knowledge through your collective voices as commentators on our blog post (that's what will make it a conversation).

We invite you to converse with us and other readers via the El Dorado Times’ comments feature -- to suggest topics for our blog, share your views, and expand the discussion. Avid discourse among a diverse population living in community is part of the glue that both tests and binds us as we strive to discern common ground.

We aren’t always going to be on target, and you won’t always agree with us -- and that’s where grace comes in. Grace intervenes to steer a community of sundry peoples, beliefs, and thinking to live, work, and pray in harmony. It’s the influence of God’s spirit, the source for the kindness of a stranger.

Much of Butler County's history is rooted in notable self-sufficiency. People step up to the plate to build, enhance, and preserve their community, with a laudable continuity of duty and deserved pride. However, this can also foster a protective sense of ownership that sees things as better than they might really be or could be. When we let it, grace enables us to see what might otherwise go unnoticed or unheeded. Our hope is that our blog conversations with readers will include ways our shared community might meet these challenges.

We look forward to getting to know you and our community better as we experience Butler County together through this blog.

Grace be with you,