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journal writing

Move More, Sleep More (a journal writing exercise about movement and circulation)


Our bodies and minds flourish when we move, stretch, and keep creative flexible ideas flowing. Sedentary bodies and static stuck thinking is not the stuff of sweet dreams.

Today, I invite you to focus on the idea of movement and circulation. This would make a great journal writing exercise.

Write the two words at the top and see what comes out and then go about your day.

For example, if I were to do this exercise this morning it might look something like this:

Movement Circulation

I move freely. I am blessed with good health and my body (and mind) is strong and flexible. I take deep breaths and see all the good around me. I enjoy my walks, trips to the gym, swims at the pool, and sessions in the Bikram studio. I take breaks from my desk at work to stretch and get my heart pumping. I have good circulation in body and mind. I have new ideas that I am excited about. If I ever feel stuck I cancel whatever thinking that is static within me and change course. I am generous with my time and money. I give freely with love without strings attached.

I will stop there. I wish you all a blessed day and restful night tonight.

In Peace (and movement),


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Acting As If You are Sleeping Well Already

daydreaming beautiful young woman lying on pillow

This is a follow up to last night’s post. Our main message was that the less we stress about getting a good night sleep, the likelihood we will sleep well improves.

Today, I invite you to explore the idea of going about your life as if you already are sleeping well at night. I don’t care if you feel like you are a walking zombie today. Fake it till you make it. When people ask how you are doing today don’t tell them about your awful night and how tired you are. Just tell them you are feeling great, you are well, and comment on the great day you are having.

Experiment with this idea. You may even want to get out your journal and write about how good you feel and what a restful night you had. You are at peace. Your body tells you when it is time to slow down and take a rest.

Feel free to comment under this post and let us know how you are doing. You may also comment on our Facebook page or email me at:

In Peace,


2012-01-04 02.41.52

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I Have the Sweetest ______________ in the World (tonight’s journal writing entry)


There are times when we just feel a bit blue. For no rhyme or reason, we are just out of sorts: sad, grumpy, irritable, etc.

This morning, I had one of those mornings. What I found that worked to get me out of it was to focus on my work for the day, things I am thankful for, and doing this journal writing exercise. It snapped me right of my “funk”. Would you like to give it a try? I guarantee you that you will feel better in just a couple of minutes…

Simply, get out your journal and write on the top”

I have the sweetest __________________ in the world

and then just write and see what comes out. This would be a wonderful exercise to do any time of the day.

My entry today looked something like this:

I have the sweetest:

1. Parents in the world

My sweet parents who live in Oklahoma City:  Joe and Donna

My sweet parents who live in Oklahoma City: Joe and Donna

2. cat in the world

3. husband in the world

4. boss in the world

5. home in the world

6. friends in the world

7. life in the world

You can see, that it did not take me long to get off my pity party once I started writing.

Now it is your turn.

In Peace,


Wedding John Debbie 331

Who, being loved, is poor? ~ Oscar Wilde

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Lucid Dreaming: Five Powerful and Easy Tricks Beginners Can Use (another great guest post)

Note from Debra: I have always been interested in lucid dreaming. Sometimes when I am very sleepy I can recall reoccurring dreams that I have had my whole life. I am still awake but I am entering my dream world too. When Mariana Sarceda brought this idea to me to do a guest post I thought it was a great idea. I would love to hear from any of you out there that have experience with lucid dreaming…


Lucid dreaming is a term coined by Frederik van Eeden to illustrate that sense of mental clarity that some people experience while dreaming. This clarity is accompanied by the realization that the experience is not actually occurring in physical reality, but is in fact just a dream. Most times this realization is triggered when the dreamer encounters some unlikely, implausible or impossible event in the dream.

When the dreamer becomes lucid within a dream i.e. conscious that they are experiencing a dream, the world around them becomes more vivid, or lucid, and everything feels as real as the waking world.

The great thing about lucid dreaming is that it opens up to the dreamer an entire world of impossibilities and allows them to enter into the realm of possibility. Therefore lucid dreaming is a skill that many people are interested in developing or strengthening. If you’d like to awaken to the world of Lucid Dreaming, we invite you to try any of these powerful and easy tricks for beginners.

What Did You Dream Last Night?

Attempting to enter a lucid dream can be difficult for many people if they do not even remember their dreams. Therefore the first step in your lucid dreaming training is to start recalling your dreams.

Needless to say, it can be hard at first but you’ll master it with practice and by following a simple plan. We usually wake up directly after we have a dream. So as soon as you wake up, whether in the morning or in the middle of the night, make an effort to remember your dreams. Have a pad and pen ready beside your bed and write down as much of your dream as you remember.

Keeping a record of your dreams can help you review them from time to time to see if you have recurrent dreams or images and try to figure out if your dreams are communicating with you.

Keeping a dream journal will also help you to more naturally remember your dreams. After all you do not want to develop the ability to lucid dream and live out your fantasies just to forget the “trip” when you wake up!

However the good news is that lucid dreams are usually recalled more easily and stay in your mind for longer because the experience is just the same as reality and they therefore feel more like memories when you recall them (which they really are).

Stay A Little Bit Longer

Dreaming is essential for our mental health. Thus, if you have been unsuccessfully trying to lucid dream, staying up a little bit longer before you go to bed to sleep can help. When you’re finally retire and go to sleep you’ll naturally have more dream cycles. And as you’ll be more tired than normal you’ll sleep more soundly, intensely and deeply.

Try Guided Meditation

Meditation has a host of benefits not just restricted to lucid dreaming training. Meditation is really a life-long commitment. As you progress through your personal meditational journey you will learn to build self-awareness while awake. This helps you to stay focused on the present moment while guiding your thoughts down a certain path.

on the river

It’s an excellent way for beginners in controlled dreaming to get more acquainted with how their minds work and to use that knowledge to the mind and body for lucid dreaming. Simply use your meditational time to visualize yourself waking up within a dream and taking full conscious control over it.

Take Advantage of Recurring Dream Images

If you realize that you frequently dream about certain objects, situations or activities, then you can tell yourself while you’re awake that the next time you dream about those objects, situations or activities you will realize that you are dreaming. This simple mental exercise is a way to trigger the unconscious to recognize that those symbols represent the dream state.

Should you encounter those objects, situations or activities in the real waking world still question the “realness” of the current reality. Ask yourself internally “Am I dreaming?”, even if you know that you are not!

Look for clues ion your environment that will tell you that you are dreaming (even if you are certain that you are awake). Is anything strange or out of place? Do numbers read correctly like a watch or a clock?

When you do this constantly you will find that you naturally do it in the dream state also. When you see that things are completely out of place you will realize that you are dreaming.

It is not strange for people to wake up from their sleep the first time they realize that they are dreaming. If this happens just keep going and look at it as a positive step towards lucid dreaming.

Reality Checks

Reality checks should be performed throughout the day while you are awake and going about your normal business. Getting into this habit will mean that your mind will transfer those practices into your dream state because we often act the same in dreams as we do in real life.
Ask yourself throughout the day “Am I dreaming?”, “Is this a dream?” or “Is that real?” and then looking to confirm or deny the reality around you are examples of reality checks. Simply look for anything strange that will show you that you are dreaming.

Eventually you will perform a reality check and realize that you are dreaming and you will have taken your first massive step towards being a controlled dreamer. After that the sky is the limit.


Mariana Sarceda is a professional writer and SEO expert. She’s interested in lucid dreaming, yoga, relaxation and meditation techniques.

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Connecting With the Natural World For a Better Night Sleep

back patio

I am an outdoor person. The beach, the mountains, my back patio, a park… these are the places where I feel most connected to God, my true self, and to life.

I firmly believe that the more we connect to what is real and authentic, the better we will sleep at night (and the happier our lives by day will be as well).

It may not be Earth Day, but everyday can be Earth day for us. The main thing is we just get outside, no matter the season or where we are.

Tonight, I invite you to open your journals and write about being outdoors. Perhaps you can take your journal with you when you hike, visit a park, visit a beach, go camping, etc.

Questions to ask yourself right now:

1. What do I see? Describe in words or simply sketch your surroundings as you experience them.

2. What do I hear? For example, right now in my North Florida back patio… it is high summer and early evening and it is ALIVE out here! Crickets, birds, frogs… it is non stop chorus.

Then just write or sketch whatever you feel like. Or do nothing.

Montreat, NC

Montreat, NC

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~ Albert Einstein

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10 Tips to Get a Better Night Sleep this Summer


It’s a cruel season that makes you get ready for bed while it’s light out. ~ Bill Watterson

It’s blessed summer. This is a wonderful time of year. We have longer days, the great outdoors, watermelon and picnics…. time for family vacations and a riot of color in our backyard gardens. As much as I love this time of year, it can challenge our sleep routines. We tend to stay up later in summer, it is warmer, and there is more noise going outside when perhaps we are trying to settle down for the evening (neighborhood children playing, dogs barking, more traffic noise, air conditioning noise) etc.

This July night, I offer you a few tips to get to sleep quicker and stay asleep during the summer season.


1. Be active during the day. Set out early in the morning for a walk. Take a swim or go the gym. Try not to be too active about 1 1/2 hours before bedtime.

2. Stay hydrated. This is so important anytime of the year. It is especially important during these hot months. Drink plenty of water and eat foods that naturally have a high water content such as: watermelon, celery, and cucumber.

3. Experiment with waking up earlier in the morning. You will be more tired at night even if it is still light out close to bedtime.

4. Invest in high quality blinds and drapes if evening and early morning light is getting into your bedroom and affecting your sleep.

5. Put the heavy winter comforter and flannel away and bring out the cool cotton linens and lighter quilts or bedspreads.



6. If outside noise including your air conditioning unit is a problem, consider trying ear plugs.

7. Lower your thermostat at night. It is worth the higher energy bill. Right now I have our thermostat on 76 by day but when it is bedtime I bring it down to 74. Some sleep experts actually recommend going as low as a chilly 68 degrees for optimal sleep.

8. In the afternoon or early evening enjoy iced lavender or chamomile tea. They are quite delightful on ice.


9. Watch a good movie that takes place in the cold to help you forget about the heat such as: Fargo, Happy Feet, The Polar Express, and Encounters At The End of The World.

10. Last but not least, get out your journals and write about what you love about this magnificent season. A little bit of gratitude will help you drift off to sleep feeling blessed and content in no time (no matter what the heat index is outside).

Sweet Dreams!

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I Am free when… tonight’s journal writing exercise


In honor of Independence Day quickly approaching, I thought it would be a meaningful exercise in our journals tonight to write about what freedom means to us.

In your journals at the top of the entry, simply write: I Am free when… then just write away.

As I sometimes do, I will begin my entry and then you begin…

I Am free when…

Oh yes, I am free when:

1. I am not worried about what other people think (people pleasing be gone)!

2. I follow my passions and my conscious.

3. I have enough money in my bank to pay the bills, help my kids, travel, and have as many beverages at Starbucks as I want!

4. I am trusted to do a good job and be well compensated for it.

5. I live where I want.

6. I write about what I want to.

7. Life and God are just working with me and I enjoy peace in my life as a result.


Your turn, sweet friends. Happy writing and a happy early Fourth of July to our American friends.

I wish to dedicate this post to the millions of people who are not free because they are victims of human trafficking. The A21 campaign which stands for abolishing injustice in the 21st century is doing good work to increase awareness and work with law enforcement agencies around the world…

You can learn more here:


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Three writing prompts for your Journal Writing today

1. Write a prayer list. Who could use some extra love and healing right now? Include them in your prayers!

2. Write a bucket list of fun adventures to do this summer.

3. Answer this question: What am I most thankful for right now?

Happy writing!


There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. ~ Celia Thaxter

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Ten things that delight me this June evening (tonight’s journal writing entry)

on the river

Tonight, I invite you to get out your pen and journal and write down as many things as you can think of that positively delight you NOW.

Ten is a good number but if you can list 100+ things, all the power to you. Write quick. Don’t think too much. Don’t edit. Just write.


My list:

What positively delights me right NOW?

1. The fact that my young son started a new job today and he is very excited about it.

2. I am pain free and feel good.

3. The perfect Florida evening I am enjoying: breeze, frogs in the back yard pond.

4. The knowledge that as soon as I am finished publishing this post I have a delightful dinner to prepare (smoked salmon and trout, onion rolls, cream cheese, Mediterranean orzo salad).

5. The time I spent with my daughter today. She showed up at the end of my work day and we took a nice walk together on the St. John’s River in downtown Jacksonville.

6. Chocolate. Always a delight. Whenever. anytime. No matter what.


7. The delightful people I am becoming friends with in our Short Morning Prayer Club. If you haven’t yet joined us, I invite you to do so.

8. The Prayer to Saint Joseph. It works (my son got the job and he is happy and excited about his future).

St joseph

9. My back yard patio.

back patio

10. Writing

Your turn, my friends. Happy writing and I wish you a restful night tonight.

In Peace,



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A mid-week gratitude list: our journal writing exercise for tonight


Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture. ~Kak Sri

I feel compelled to write a post about gratitude tonight. Change is in the air. Spring is turning into summer. People I am close to are losing loved ones. Texas and Oklahoma are drenched and we are very dry here in North Florida. The next generation is graduating and my own two kids are at forks in their lives. When there is drama and change in my life (or around me in this case), I find it helpful to pray and focus on gratitude. It is hard to be afraid and anxious when one is feeling blessed and thankful.

For our journal writing tonight my friends, I offer simply, a mid-week list of things you are thankful for. I will jot down a few things I feel thankful about and then you go ahead with your writing, okay?

My gratitude list for this Wednesday evening:

1. All of my friends and followers here at The Warm Milk Journal. I appreciate your support and feedback.

2. My parents. I didn’t realize when I was younger just how hard it is to raise kids. Now, even though my kids are getting older, it is still tough. My parents were always (and still are) there for me. Thank you, mom and dad!

My sweet parents who live in Oklahoma City:  Joe and Donna

My sweet parents who live in Oklahoma City: Joe and Donna

3. My job. I absolutely love what I do and I have the utmost respect for the people I work for.

4. My health. I am pain free and I am enjoying vibrant health and energy. Thank you!

5. My home. I am so happy here.

IMG_3262 (2)

6. All of the doctors and nurses who have taken care of me over the years when I have occasionally needed medical treatment.

7. The city of Jacksonville and the State of Florida. This is my present home and this place has been very good to me.

8. The splendid Spring weather we are enjoying here in North Florida. It is now June and I am actually feeling a breeze and no mosquitoes!

9. My husband who loves me and accepts me and lets me write when I should be in the kitchen right now cooking dinner…

10. My cat mew. The sweetest creature on this planet.

IMG_3120 (2)

Your turn. What are you thankful for this Wednesday evening?

In Peace,



We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~ Thornton Wilder

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