CAE to CAF: Transition Complete

In the fall of 2017, Tyrone and I decided we wanted to get married to each other. Somewhere between October and December, I told my parents, pastors, and close friends.

In January 2018, I told my family. After that, there was no turning back for me. Because I went from never having a boyfriend to “me and Tyrone have decided to get married.” It was a lot for everybody and we were sure before sharing that with them cuz I know it’d be super hard to walk that back.

Anywho… after I told them, I started composing my vows and speech.

I have an email thread to myself that I sent different thoughts and promises to whenever I thought of them. The thread began in January, 2018, one whole year before Tyrone proposed. So it encompasses memories of years in the past, sentiments from our grad school experiences together, prayers I prayed about being a wife, poetry and music.

Nearly 2 years for a writer to write one piece that will only take minutes to present.

Well… here it is.

When I was in Israel, I remember looking up at the landscape, taking in its beauty and thinking “I wish Tyrone was here to write the words to the songs I see.” Long before I realized you were my husband, I knew that you knew the lyrics of my heart’s song. 

You are a reminder that the Father knows what I have need of before I ask because you are the answer to the prayer I was afraid to pray. 

Tyrone, you are life giving. 

To me, you are water. 

Not only are you good for me, you’re a major part of my make up. 

I drink you and I’m satiated. 

I drink you and I’m refreshed. 

I drink you and my energy is replenished. 

I drink you even when my body, memory and desires say to drink something else because I know you are always best for me. 

Tyrone, you’re my elbow. You help me to be flexible. You give me connection and mobility. You are my feet. You allowed me to walk into a space that I couldn’t get to without you. 

You are my appendix. You’re part of God’s design for my body, but no one even understands our purpose yet. You’re my appendix. I COULD live without you, but I don’t want to. 

And as scientists continue to search, test and discover the purpose of the appendix, I vow to search the scripture and seek the Lord for His purpose for placing you inside me. 

You make all the cliches about love make sense. 

You’re my hero. You saved the day and I’ve never been a damsel nor in distress. 

I recognize the privilege I have that I have a safe person. You’ve been my safe place for a very long time. And I couldn’t be the woman I am if God didn’t give me you. You are home to me. 

Since music is how we started, I find it appropriate to share that you make me feel like music. You are intelligible words to inexplicable feelings. You are the manifestation of the unfathomable.

Songwriter says, imma movement by myself, but I’m a force when we’re together. I’m good all by myself, but baby you, you make me better.

You’re my support system. 

Can’t live without him. 

The best thing since sliced bread is his kiss, his hugs, his lips, his touch. And I just want the whole world to know about my

Black brotha, I love ya. I’ll never try to hurt ya. I want you to know that I’m here for you for whatever true. Black brotha, strong brotha, there is no one above ya. I want ya to know that I’m here for you for whatever true.

Love is a gamble and I’m so glad that I am winning. We’ve come a long way and this is just the beginning.

So, I promise to make music with you, to perfect my part of the harmonies, to match your tone in unison, and to appreciate and learn from the dissonance. I vow to share my parents with you and to honor yours as my own. 

I promise to submit to you as you love me as Christ loves the church. I promise to pray fervently for you. 

I vow to be your rib. By that I mean, I’ll be by your side, helping you to stand and part of what protects your heart. 

I promise to invest in every God given gift that you invest in and to remind you to stir up the ones you’ve forgotten or purposely abandoned. 

I vow to always choose you and to keep choosing you even when it’s hard. 

I promise to love you through the good and the bad. The trial and the triumph. 

Before you, I found myself in love a few times. I found myself there because I fell in love and I fell hard and with each of those falls I inevitably broke something. 

But with you, I don’t fall in love. With you, I walk in love. I’m walking into love with you logically and intentionally. We entered into this unconventionally and I like that. Instead of falling, I stood and sober mindedly walked into love with you and it has been one of my best decisions to date.

Because you have made scripture come alive for me. Just like Adam looked at Eve and saw himself, when I look at you, I see me. 

I hear about you when I’m listening to other books too. Like when the main character in Fahrenheit 451 said, ““…for how many people did you know who refracted your own light to you?… How rarely did other people’s faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?”

It’s an honor to be united with someone who’s as serious, committed and excited to destroy generational curses as you are. 

You are the co-writer to my unborn children’s songs. 

When we moved the bed, I saw your visual intelligence and thanked God for making you a visionary. 

I am so impressed by your use of your gifts. I am grateful to make these vows to you in this space and in this time. 

The last time I facilitated group, you had a moment when you wanted to share something but you hadn’t quite thought it out yet. So, collectively, we stopped and waited for you to share your thoughts as you gathered them. 

As I did on that day, I will wait for you. I anticipate your announcement that my pace needs to just slow down but to actually take a pause to make room for you to bring clarity.

At two separate times, I composed a similar sentiment. So I decided to say them both today.

I’m grateful for your past. I promise myself to your current self and to your future self. I commit to your potential. I vow to pray for and with you until it’s realized manifested.

I honor who you were. 

I celebrate who you are. 

I eagerly anticipate who you will be. 

Thank you for making it worth it to change my identity. I gladly lay down my identity as just Cae to pick up your name as my own. 

I’ll never forget the years we spent apart. It helped me see what it’s like to live without you and now I know for sure I’d never want to live without you again. 

Partner in love. 

Partner in strife. 

On this day of becoming your wife, I’d like to declare before everyone that I’m your partner for life. 


Claricha writes, OhCAE?

CAE to CAF 8: Therapist Friends

This one will be short.

I have been blessed to have some amazing people come into my life over the past two years and the all of the ones who have walked me off the emotional ledges triggered by wedding stuff or marriage stuff are mental health professionals.

I have a therapist. My most influential professor from Ashland Theological Seminary is a Licensed Professional Counselor. My pastor is a Limited Licensed Professional Counselor. My mentor is a therapist. My best friend is a licensed psychologist.

Joy C., Dr. Kathy J., Tayana H., Latrece M., and Janay C., thank you for your words of encouragement, your prayers, your “Claricha, pull it together” moments, and your diverse expressions of love.



Get a licensed therapist.

CAE to CAF 7: Still Grieving

Fun fact about me: I started this blog because I was heartbroken. I needed a safe space to express myself and no one who knew me personally felt safe at the time.

So if you go through blogs from 2014, you’ll have a bit more context about the series of posts that are relationship advice, encouragement to move on, and pieces about God answering prayers to heal.

It was during that season that I said to God, “if it’s not Your will for me to have a partner and I’m going to be single for the rest of my life, then I want to be happy. I don’t want to be content. I want to be happy.”

It’s been about 5 years since that day and since I have been intentional about enjoying my life. I became my own best friend.

Found my favorite pastime, karaoke, during this time. I realized how much I love reading!!! I started going to the library to spend time away from my residence. Then I started checking out books and I devoured each one. I noticed that it’s actually pretty cool to go to the movies alone because no one asks questions. Choosing a place to eat is SUPER easy when you’re the only one you have to please. Going into a space and no one asks, “Where’s ____?” is very rewarding. I spent a tremendous amount of time building my resume. I traveled to Tennessee to be with my CDF Freedom School Family several times. I went to Israel. I’ve been on two cruises where I spent most of my time exploring alone. I helped build a house in Tijuana. I visited churches. I started some businesses. I finished two masters programs. I bought a new car without a co-signer.

All of this to say, I’m grieving my singleness. I’m gonna miss just doing me. I was starting to feel chained. My dear best friend/almost husband said to me, “You aren’t chained, you are anchored.” And that’s new for me.

But it’s dope. There it is, acceptance.

CAE to CAF 6: Grief

“Dealing with death is weird because someone you’ve known all of your life is suddenly gone and you’re left to deal with the fact that they’re never coming back.” Snagged from an old blog post, Remain In Peace.

This is more of a sequel to that piece, but before I really get into the meat of this one lemme get something off my chest.

Before Tyrone and I decided to get married, I never wanted to be married. I had considered it with an ex and when that was over, I was like yea… no. Married life isn’t for me.

And it’s important that I say that here because in my moments of grief as it relates to family members who have died, I would think “if only my Grandma could’ve seen me graduate college.” Or “my Granny would be so proud to see me raising all these kids just like she did.” And “My Auntie was an amazing Auntie. That’s why I have my babies call me ‘auntie’ because it’s a way of honoring her.” I’ve always known that degrees were part of my life plan. As well as working with and pouring into children. I really wanted to be an auntie of my village. So I allowed myself time to process the fact that they’d never see those moments. But I never imagined myself married. So with just a few days to go, I’m giving myself space to grieve over the notion that none of them will be there.

Grandma won’t get to “hit the high note.” Granny won’t be there to cheer when she sees these homegrown Clay hips in my dress. Auntie Teresa won’t get to steal the show with her jokes. Uncle Wayne won’t be there to heartily tell me how proud he is of the woman I’ve become.

But as a therapist who has a therapist and who started therapy because of my response to grief, I can’t let this moment pass without telling you a person doesn’t have to die for you to grieve her/his presence.

People read my posts about doing things alone for years and they’re inspired to try life on their own as well, but no one has ever stopped to ask me “where did everybody go?” Whenever I did indulge in conversations about hypothetical married life, there are some faces that I thought would be in the space on my hypothetical wedding day. But the way that life happens and the way free will is set up, many of them won’t be present for the real thing. While I’m ok, I’d be less than the authentic self I’m trying to be if I didn’t outwardly say they have been missed during this process.

Nevertheless, the last stage of grief is acceptance.

I accept that some people pass on.

I accept that some people move on.

And I affirm that I have everything and everyone that I need with me.

CAE to CAF 5: Lyrically Yours

If you’ve ever asked how Tyrone and I met, you know this story.

Picture it. East Lansing, MI. Fall. 2006. *dream music*

I was invited to come to MSU Gospel Choir’s first rehearsal of the school year. Rehearsal starts and some stuff happens then we start the icebreaker.

Get with your class and create a song. Standing in a group of fellow freshpeople who were nervous, I was like “Listen y’all, I’ll say this and y’all repeat.” So we wrote our little jam and went to perform. I sang my line and they repeated, but somebody was harmonizing with me. I looked over like,

As if he knew I was looking for him, Tyrone looked back and made eye contact. He smiled and nodded like,

And we kept singing. Since then, we have been connected.

So I think it’s only appropriate to write one of these posts to share the lyrics I hear that reflect my feelings for him.

🎵I never knew I could be such happy. I never knew I’d be so secure. Because of your love, life has brand new meaning… 🎵 Brighter Day – Kirk Franklin

🎵Forever is a long time. That’s how long I’ll love you.🎵 Forever – Jonathan Nelson

🎵He heals me. He knows the real me. He accepts me. He never hurts me.🎵 He Heals Me – India.Arie

🎵In this crazy world, we all deserve a second chance.🎵 Second Chance T Pain

🎵When I see your face, there’s not a thing that I would change cuz you’re amazing just the way you are.🎵 The Way You Are -Bruno Mars

And millions more lyrics. Tyrone makes me feel like music. He is words to inexplicable feelings. He is the manifestation of the unfathomable.

CAE to CAF 3: Therapist

My best friend has walked with me through so many seasons of my life.

He and I met when we were 18 and 17, respectively. We clicked instantly, but I had no idea he’d become such a major part of my life.

I remember one time in 2007 we were walking across campus (Go Green!) to praise team rehearsal and I just listened to him pour out his heart about the choir (MSU Gospel Choir) and his feelings about being assistant director.

Fast forward to 2010 when we became inseparable. It got easier and easier to talk to him about almost anything and I knew he’d listen without judgment and would help me see the bigger picture.

So in 2017, after seeing a licensed therapist for sometime (Daughter Status) she convinced me to apply to the counseling program at Ashland Theological Seminary. It took some time, but I eventually convinced Tyrone to apply as well. After all, he had been my therapist for years and I’d heard snippets of conversations he had with others when he’d walk with through difficult times with such grace.

It was during this season of our friendship when we realized that the strength of our relationship was built on our abilities to be honest with each, challenge each other, and give grace to each other.

Tyrone had been my therapist for years. Ashland allowed us the opportunity to be more equipped to healthily engage others and one another. He learned how to be an even safer space for me. I didn’t know that it was possible. It opened up my mind to wonder how much more I didn’t know was available to us in our relationship.

Our time spent as seminarians was cleansing and refreshing. It was a beautiful experience to watch my best friend intentionally become a more mentally healthy person. I began to realize that I wanted to ensure that I get a closer seat in the audience of his life as God reveals more of His purpose for Tyrone. As I took my seat in the audience of his life, God ushered me to the stage with him.

Now, we get to be covenant partners and watch the Lord move in a whole new way in our relationship.

2 years later, we both have masters degrees in counseling and we found our forever partner.

Drink some water. Get a licensed therapist.

CAE to CAF 4: Entrepreneurship

This series is called CAE to CAF to highlight my most obvious identity change, my name, but this season of my life has changed many of my identities.

Since I was 15, I have seen myself and identified as an educator. 15 years later, however, I now hold two advanced degrees in social science. I’m legitimately a counselor. I emphasize legitimately because many educators counsel their kids and I wouldn’t be who I am without their willingness to expand their roles as teachers.

Anywho… I’m a teacher. I’m a counselor. On weekends, I’m a waitress. I spend majority of my time finding out what people need and serving them. Servant leadership has been part of my identity since long before I knew the term. Its role increased tremendously when I took on my latest (and most prevalent) title: entrepreneur.

I co-own two businesses. Elevated Education Center, my childcare center and God Be Goddin’, my Christian apparel line.

I have years of classroom experience as an early childhood educator, but I never expected to be the boss. Yet, here I am. It has taken a new level of energy and commitment because now I serve my children, their parents, and my staff. I’m bombarded by questions, requests, and needs all day every day. All. Day. EVERY. Day.

This has been EXTREMELY difficult for me since the beginning. There is absolutely no way I could have made it through this first year without Tyrone. I needed to be able to come home to him. I needed him to be one person I can always count on to serve ME.

It is a blessing when he comes by the center when he leaves work and grabs the vacuum while I interact with my last couple kids. When he grabs the trash at the end of the school day, it translates as love to me. When he listens to my stories about the babies, I feel heard. And the fact that he doesn’t pressure me into domestic roles has encouraged me to want to fill them even more. Working for people is hard and draining. I’m grateful to have someone who fills me.

CAE to CAF 1

This is long, but go with it.

During this almost married season, I’ve had to repent to God.

Changing my name has REALLY done a number on me.

I love that people cleverly comment “OhCAE” on my posts cuz they recognize it from my hashtag. It’s cool when people ask my cash tag and assume it’s $OhCAE.

It’s a reminder that I have been diligently building something for years and at least in my social media world, it has become something.

So the thought of changing my name has been paradigm shifting.

Who am I if I’m no longer CAE? And how will I develop this new woman I’m becoming?

When I shared with my close friends, a few have said I have the option of keeping it. And while I know that it’s true, it doesn’t work because the woman I’ve become since getting engaged deserves a name of her own.

For the first time in my life, I’m for real deciding to submit to someone else and let him lead me.

***So here’s why I repent.***

I’m allowing someone to change my identity. Give me a new name. Allowing myself to be identified by his name first. I’m be possessed by someone. (Mrs. is short for Mister’s as in belonging to him.)

While pondering this, I realized this is the same process I went through when I gave my life to Christ except I never fully gave in to it. I’ve been trying to belong to myself and to God. And changing my last name has put into perspective how lightly I have taken being called a Christian.

I know the rhetoric we use in Christian related things. “He wants it all.” “You’re a new creation in Christ.”

We talk about all the literal name changes of people in the Bible, but because I’ve been able to continue to be Claricha, what I’ve been saying all along really didn’t hit me until I started preparing to become Claricha Foster.

I have given more time and space to changing my last name for the sake of my man than I ever gave to the Lord for changing my heart.

This process has made scripture come alive for me. I’m a new creature. I’m learning to submit to someone like I have the Lord and because of this, I’m learning to submit to the Lord for real.

There’s Something Growing There Now

Harper and Bewick

Many memories were created on this corner where my childhood church used to stand.

I hadn’t come by in a while because the pile of rocks was too hard to look at.

Now, there’s stuff growing there.

It’s a visible metaphor.

Things that were once of utmost importance suddenly don’t exist. The devastation turns to anger then sadness when you look at what’s left.

Over time, though, something new starts to grow.

The structure is gone, but the memories stay for as long as you’re willing and able to keep them.

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