Extra time together helps Palmyra family focus on the essentials


Lacey Timbrook is insisting that her son and daughter, ages 12 and 10, keep a daily journal of their “shelter in place” experience.

“I told them, one day you’re going to show this to your grandkids, and then they’ll have to believe the stories you tell them about all of this,” said Mrs. Timbrook, a member of St. Joseph parish in Palmyra.

She and her husband Shane have been hunkered down with their kids since the middle of March, as part of wide-scale efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“This is certainly not normal,” she said. “This is something people are going to talk about years and years from now.”

Mrs. Timbrook said in spite of being mostly isolated from the outside world, she and her family are enjoying their abundance of time together.

“The kids are getting along a lot better than I thought they would,” she said. “I guess they don’t have any other choice. When that’s your only friend who’s around, you better be nice to them.”

The Timbrooks have discovered unforeseen blessings in sharing lunch and dinner together each evening and praying as a family at home.

“Because we’re not so busy, we have a lot of time, and we can spend some of that time talking to God and praying for the world right now,” said Mrs. Timbrook.

She noted that the family is fortunate to live on a mini-farm, “so we can always send them outside if they get too rambunctious.”

She and some friends have been sharing ideas for family activities over social media.

One afternoon in their second week of intense togetherness, she found a picture on Facebook of a window painted to look like a stained-glass image of a cross.

She and her children then went about replicating that look in their dining room window.

“I used painter’s tape as an outline,” she said. “I kind of went through with a marker to show where to put the tape.”

Once the “leading” was in place, the children used a colorful mixture of “Crayola washable paint with a bit of water and a squirt of Dawn dish soap” to color in the panes.

“It turned out pretty nice,” said Mrs. Timbrook.

They plan to leave it up for a while, at least until things get back to some semblance of normal.

“But for now, it’s nice to have it in the dining room,” she said. “Something a little different for when we’re stuck at home. I like it.”

Other people who saw pictures on Facebook liked it, too.

“I love this!” posted Kim Crow Donelson. “A silver lining in all the madness.”

“We are definitely going to do this, too!” stated Margie Sharp.

Mrs. Timbrook found an online “summer bucket list” of other activities they can do “while we’re together at home.”

Although the Timbrooks are enjoying their increased togetherness, they miss being with relatives over 60 who are in self-quarantine until the pandemic subsides.

The Timbrook children also miss playing with their friends.

“We’re ready to get back to seeing all of our family,” said Mrs. Timbrook. “It’s definitely made us maybe want to limit the things we sign the kids up for, so we do get to have more of this time once this passes.”

They’re praying for everyone who’s sick or susceptible and for healthcare workers, many of whom are under a lot of stress.

They also pray for the kind of compassion that makes all people aware of those in greatest need among them.

“And trying to reach out to those who are vulnerable to the disease and make sure they’re taken care of,” she said.