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Em began this song for our 25th anniversary, September 1998. He had so much trouble writing lyrics that he simply set it aside. Like many other songs, it was unfinished.

Then, finally Cheryl began writing the lyrics. It was a really important part of our “new beginning.” To help us reflect on the different phases of our life together, we began describing images from the years past.

We had lost sight of the magic—that spontaneous, childlike, playful quality that had marked our younger days together. The secret, after all, was really quite simple: Our happiness wasn’t to be found in the tireless planning, working, and striving. The magic was in trusting ourselves and the sponteneity of the moment.

Simple Plans was an early song recorded with Tom Tomasello.

Check out our related story at Uncommon Promise


The best plans are the simple ones
That’s what we both knew
But we were so much younger then
Twenty-three and two

Create a home for a family
A boy for me, a girl for you
Searching for the secrets
That would make our dreams come true
Make our dreams come true

One and one makes five years pass
And we wonder how
There could ever be anything more
than we have now

The best plans are the simple ones
Time passed—in fact it flew
And we were somewhat older then
Thirty-three and two

Land a job for security
Some dreams would have to wait
Still searching for secrets
We trusted not too late

One and one makes ten years pass
And we wonder how
This need for security
Matters so much now

The best plans are the simple ones
Lived steady straight and true
And we grew even older still
Forty-three and two

Run the race to the finish line
Rewards to to the best
Focused on the future
While we laid some dreams to rest
We laid some dreams to rest

One and one makes twenty years
And we wonder how
Praise might just possibly count
To dreamers now

The best plans are the simple ones
Persistence pulled us through
Time has a way of catching up
With me and you

We are bound by experience
Belief and common ground
A constant search for questions
And the secrets that we’ve found
The secrets that we’ve found

One and one makes twenty-five
And now we know why
You believe in magic
And so do I

The best plans are the simple ones


from Never Sleep, track released January 1, 2003
Cheryl Martlage - Lyrics and vocals
Emerson Martlage - Music, guitar and vocals
Tom Tomasello - Producer/Arranger
Jim Bruno - Vocal producer
Mr Toad's San Francisco - Mastering


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Cheryl and Emerson Martlage San Diego, California

At the age of 48, and after 25 years of marriage, we headed to a secluded town for 6 weeks, to create a new relationship and begin again.

When we arrived as if by magic, we co-wrote our first song ever— "Never Sleep," evoking the mystery and magic of the new adventure. Twenty years later, we're still making music. Join us on our musical storytelling as the adventure continues to unfold
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