Great Lakes Unity Music Conference With Rickie Byars-Beckwith and Tim McAfee-Lewis

“When the praises go up, the blessings come down.

When love goes out, that’s when love comes in.”

I had more fun last night, more joy than I ever remember having. The Great Lakes Unity Music Conference wrapped up with a concert. People from all over the country took part. We met each other on Wednesday, and by Friday evening we had ourselves a choir.

Under the direction of Rickie Byars-Beckwith and Tim McAfee-Lewis, magic was made. There were around 200 people in attendance, and all of them were on their feet. The energy in the room was electric.

Let’s talk about Rickie. Musical genius. Divinely inspired. Powerful. Gentle. Loving. So loving. So cool. Seriously, the “cool” factor in Ricky is otherworldly. She is the music director of the Agape International Spiritual Center in LA. The wisdom this woman carries in her stride! Being in her presence was such an honor. She is married to Rev. Michael Beckwith.


Tim McAfee-Lewis is Rickie’s right hand man, and he is brilliant. To meet him is to fall in love. He is so pure, and honest, and passionate. He is an open pipeline, just allowing God to flow through him and you can’t help but “catch” it when you are near him. Being directed by him in a choir was a transcendent experience. He gives EVERYTHING, and you just want to, have to, give it back to him. He has this rare combination of sweetness and power. His light is so very bright.

Everyone adored him, but as Seth’s mama, I will forever extra love him and hold him in my heart. You see, he and Seth share a particular teeth chattering “tic.”  Rickie described Tim’s tics as spirit flowing through his body and having out. Isn’t that nicer than calling it a disorder?

The first night of the conference I came home and found Seth upstairs huddled in his bed, afraid of the thunder and lightening outside his bedroom window. Snuggling up with him under his covers, I shared,

“Seth, I met a man tonight, who is an amazing choir director, and an amazing singer and dancer, his name is Tim and guess what? He has the teeth chatter. “

Seth’s eyes went big. He beamed. He’d never heard of anyone else who did that.

Since he was feeling scared of the storm, I taught him one of the Rickie Byars-Beckwith songs we’d learned that evening,

“All is well, all is well, everybody catch that all is well.”

We took it to his fears.

“In my bed, all is well, everybody catch that all is well.”

“In the rain, all is well, everybody catch that all is well.”

“The grass is thirsty, and all is well. Everbody catch that all is well.”

“Seth is safe, Seth is safe. Everybody catch that all is well.”

“Seth, Tim thinks of his tics as Spirit moving through him.”

“That’s just how I feel,” Seth said.

“It’s a little different from how doctors see it, isn’t it?”

He nodded.

“Which way feels better to you?”

“Spirit,” he grinned.

He went to sleep happy, thinking about a man who was kind of like him.

The next day I tapped Tim’s elbow, and briefly told him about my boy, and how much it meant for Seth to hear about him. He was so gracious.

Then, Kathy( the music director at our church whose vision brought this conference together) suggested I bring Seth to see Tim in action. She thought it would be a powerful experience for him. So Seth joined us for the last hour of the workshop on Thursday. He clapped and danced and sang his little heart out.


The concert was last night, but my feet are still a foot off the ground. Music is so healing. It is one of the only things in my life that allows me to be 100% present. Music with 60 other like minded, beautiful, dancing, joy-filled, talented people, being directed with so much love…was like nothing I’d ever experienced.

Todd drove the kids home after the performance. I left about twenty minutes behind them, and got caught in another nighttime thunderstorm on my way home. Visibility wasn’t good so I pulled over in a big empty parking lot and decided to turn off the car.

As I sat watching the storm, adrenaline continued to course through my body, and I allowed joyful tears to come.

I felt like I’d finally accepted my invitation to the party.

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7 Responses to Great Lakes Unity Music Conference With Rickie Byars-Beckwith and Tim McAfee-Lewis

  1. Bonnie says:

    It all sounds so magical…

  2. Kathy Sullivan says:

    And I am so incredibly blessed to be at the party with you!

  3. Carrie Link says:

    You! Are! My! Human!

  4. Kim says:

    Love the pictures and I especially love this:

    “I felt like I’d finally accepted my invitation to the party.”

    What a wonderful thing to feel and a powerful thing to write!

  5. And here are MY joyful tears! This is simply beautiful. I hope you have a most wonderful Mother’s Day, my friend!

  6. Natalie Coffin says:

    Oh Michelle, you are such an angel. Thank you for this beautiful blog. I have tears of joy right now. It was such an amazing moment in my life as well. I think I accepted my invitation to.

    Much love to you.


  7. Angela Newman says:

    Your story inspired me. I cannot explain how much Tim brought light into my life with his loving spirit. Today, I was just thinking how kind and generous he was with us all. I like singing, but I don’t have to sing in front of others. But something about Ricki and Tim’s spirit even encourage me to break out of my shell.
    I did not know that Tim had a “tic” problem. I was just too inspired to care. But, I liked that Seth learned that his problem will not stop him from achieving whatever he wants out of life. Just to show that Tim inspired us in more ways than one. Spirit lives in us all, for we are one in Spirit. And Spirit was working evident that night.
    Love ya,

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