Precious Moments Chapel and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

It’s strange being in the same state for two blog posts. But ’tis true. We are still in Missouri.

But we’re not in — misery.

*lame laugh* Ha-ha. Ha-ha-ha.

Yeah, I bet Missourians find that old by now.

In short, today we went sight seeing, starting with a whole lot of “aww.”

The hotel we stayed at was the Precious Moments, Best Western Hotel. It had a beautiful lobby, high ceilings, and a huge glimmering chandelier that reminded me of Phantom Of The Opera. We were planning on seeing the Precious Moments Chapel anyway, but just happened to stay at the specific hotel by chance.

It was cold and rainy, and the hotel told us the chapel opened at nine fifteen when it actually opened at ten, which set our traveling back about an hour, but we waited. It was worth it.

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We had a minor tantrum after we finally entered and realized we’d missed the tour — after all that waiting. But a nice lady in a light green sweater came and told us to follow “the lane lined with angels” to the chapel.

I would love to work there just so that I could use phrases like “follow the lane lined with angels.”

The “Chapel Center” where you first enter has a gift shop, and maybe even a little eating area but it wasn’t open so I’m not sure. But it’s an awesome place to instantly step into this world of sweetness and simplicity. There were castles and cottages and a little town square, all with Precious Moments figurines, some mechanical and painting, or playing in a country band, or waiting for prince charming’s rescue.

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There was also some huge statues, the biggest one being maybe ten feet high of a little girl and her white goose.

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It’s a bad picture, though. They’re not that close together, it’s just the angle I shot. Here’s another picture of a Fireman. But it makes me so sad.

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The last picture we shot in the welcome center was one with two praying statues. I had mentioned that they looked like my older brother and me, so we sent my little brother in to complete the trio.

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Soon we were on the lane lined with angels.

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My mother is an excellent photo-bomber. And she doesn’t even know what a photo-bomber is.

We walked in just in time to hear the tour guide explaining the different paintings on the walls. It was amazing.

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This huge, wall covering painting is called “Hallelujah Square.” I remember the name well from an old Baptist CD we listen to in the car all the time. I’m glad we got the tour version explanation of it, there is so much more to this painting than meets the eye.

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The girl at the gate with a handkerchief in her hand and a single tear on her cheek, and the sign that reads “no more tears,” referring to heaven as the place where death no longer has any sting, the grave has no victory, because she’s going to be spending the rest of her eternal life in the glory of God’s presence.

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The woman with the jet black hair and purple dress is the painter’s mother. She was recently painted in about three years ago, along with the white dove, a sign of her grace, and the turtle, a symbol of her slowness to anger. The girl next to her was a little girl who inspired the painter. Her chocolate lab was her best friend in the world, so he was sure to paint him in as well.

The painter, Sam Butcher, often painted in people who he knew. I often found myself looking for tiny details that seemed a little peculiar to the setting in order to point them out. In the same picture, further up, the blond little girl with a pink bow and clown doll was a little girl who was always struggling with illness. She soon passed away, but her parents can always look at her on “Hallelujah Square,” standing and smiling, and know she’s happier now than she’s ever been.

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One other addition was the sailor in his watchtower, looking out at Jesus, called “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” Sam Butcher never paints Jesus as a Precious Moments character, but as a man and savior. The figurine of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” is not for sale, nor will it be until the painter’s death. He said that when he dies, that’s the legacy he wants to leave.

The whole place is beautiful and inspiring. And leaves you, honestly, humbled.

I had expected some cutie pictures and a girly environment, but it’s not even that. It’s so much more.

IMG_0132For a grand twist, we went from the Precious Moments Chapel, to lunch, then straight to the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum, and I have to admit, I was buzzing – no – embarrassingly giddy, with excitement — while my little brother just stared at me with that “..what are you?” confused expression I get from people sometimes.

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It was great. We saw a bust of Ripley himself, sculpted from a man who had been blind since he was eleven years old , if memory serves me correctly. And Ripley said it was the best likeness of him than anything he’s ever owned. We saw the world’s largest ball of yarn, portraits made with nail polish/air soft pellets/butterflies/cassette tape tape/cobwebs/M&Ms/junk mail/you name it, wax figures of the world’s tallest man, and a real shrunken head.

And I finally found out how they even shrunk human heads, which may sound absolutely morbid, but I was honestly curious. It amazes me that Ripley was so curious, he risked getting himself turned into a shrunken head to ask.

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Look, my family is actually TALL!! . . . Believe it, or not! (Teehee)

Anyway. Fun day. And even though we didn’t make that much headway, travel-wise, I’d say it was totally worth it.

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