This past Saturday Parker played his last show with the Holy Smokes for some time, as he is taking off for Australia in a few weeks. We did it big for our last time together (for now), and 40 people showed up to party with us. There were lots of feelings being felt.

It is fitting, then, that the next song I explain is Celebrate. This is the second song on our new album, Wake Up Sleepy Heaven, which you can download for free here.

I met a lot of endings at the close of 2012. After three and a half years, Parker and I graduated from TCU in December. We started our time at school together, along with his girlfriend and our honorary third member Jade, and we ended the same way. It was super special.

Two days before graduation, I finished an internship at the nonprofit foundation Lena Pope Home, which provides counseling and education for children and families in Fort Worth. The good people there taught me a lot about helping others.

In between finishing my internship and graduating, I celebrated 22 years on Earth. Yet despite the feeling of accomplishment in all of these things, I was saying goodbye to a lot of people. I was experiencing a big life change, and though people were congratulating me and asking me how exciting it felt to finish school, it was hard to part with the people and places that had meant so much to me. I had not come out of these past few years unchanged, and the celebration was mixed with the funeral of leaving things behind.

The song Celebrate is about happy and sad and conflicted and resolved and so on and so forth happening all at once. In the moments where you are asked to put a smile on, you might be on the verge of crying. In the moments where you know you are losing someone very important, sometimes you can’t help but smile at the memories shared.

One of Wake Up Sleepy Heaven’s themes is that the world isn’t black and white; neither are emotions. No one can control how a moment unfolds for you; not even you. You can only control how you move on from an ending, not how it affects you in that moment of impact.

This is a song about letting go. Appreciating what has happened, and appreciating that they are over. Mourning the end of relationships and experiences, but holding your head up when it’s time to say goodbye. Thinking you had more chances, more time, but understanding that ends beget beginnings. You don’t always get to turn the page in a story; sometimes you have to start a new one. So celebrate and be sad.


I said goodbye so much this year
I hope hellos are almost here
Nearer to the end of most of what I started
With nowhere to go, do you feel brokenhearted?
Do you feel farther from the truth that you knew
when you said “I love you” and it sounded like a truce?
The people that you held became feelings that you knew
You outgrew the past and couldn’t retrace the roots/routes
So your truth became lies
Your proof, alibis
You say bye but feel like you never say hi
Goodnight, go home, turn the lights on, I’m gone
If I wanna know right, I’mma have to do wrong
I find myself more found when I’m lost
I find the benefits outweighing the costs
of how much it pays to make too many mistakes
Then make it out alive, that’s more cause to celebrate

Here’s to all the good times and here’s to the bad
For all the missed chances and all the times we had
I can’t help thinking there were more to have
But if we have to let go, let’s celebrate and be sad
Let’s celebrate and be sad

Celebrate and be sad, I’m so glad that it happened
and when it fell apart I couldn’t help but be saddened
Imagine if nothing you started had to end
Would you feel any better?
I guess it all depends
Sometimes you let go and the loss is a win
Sometimes you let go and the pain sets in
I let a girl go, too hard to hold her hand
but I let her know how I felt when I had the chance
I finished school to do my grownup dance
then found myself looking back for one more glance
I guess there’s some things we don’t get to understand
I guess there’s no sense in making concrete plans
There’s a reason hourglasses tell time with sand:
It slips through our hands, we lose everything
Find peace, please, we’re all bound to leave
In the meantime, we’re bound to each living thing
We’re bound like books with no cover sleeves
‘cause a life well-written has no summary
Summer, spring, we fall through the seasons
When winter gets cold, we remember the reasons
for warm welcomes when we come back home
We never expect to go through anything alone
but found ourselves facing trials on our own
and longed for the triumph of love still unknown

Here’s to all the good times and here’s to the bad
For all the missed chances and all the times we had
I can’t help thinking there were more to have
But if we have to let go, let’s celebrate and be sad
Let’s celebrate and be sad

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