My one “must have” item

I hate running errands with my kids. Actually, I don’t know anyone who does love to run errands with kids. Is it just my children that have issues getting in and out of the car? August takes off his shoes immediately and then we all have to wait for him (or me) to put them back on. Buck is always reading so he doesn’t want to get out of the car until he’s finished with a particular page or even chapter. And Emerson is a door Nazi. She considers no greater crime than one of her brothers entering or exiting from “her” car door. And if someone accidentally steps on her seat, well then fire shoots from her eyes, her head spins around and a priest must be called for an exorcism.

So I try to avoid doing multiple errands with my kids. We can do two errands, maybe three tops, before we’ve all had it. Therefore, I eliminate errands that can be saved for a solo trip… places like the dry cleaners or The Container Store or the post office (my most dreaded child-in-tow errand).

Except for one item. If we are out of this item, it doesn’t matter to me how many melt downs we’re going to have…. I have to get this item.


I know. It’s totally strange, isn’t it? It only occurred to me the other day how strange this is when I ran out of incense and we were all hanging out at home I thought, Well, we’re going to have to go out today and get incense. Wait — I would actually load my kids in the car just to get incense? WEIRD.

I need incense in my life. I’ve been burning it every day since I was a kid when my mother said to me, “If you want a cat then you’re going to have to put the kitty litter in your room.”

I soon discovered that a kitty litter box in a small room can be rather unpleasant, so I started burning incense to mitigate the “Fresh Step” smell. But then I began to realize that incense, depending on what kind, can be a mood lifter, it can bring peace, it can help get rid of negativity and it can just make you happy.


Here are some of my favorites –

1. Nag Champa — This is my every day incense. I don’t use it for a particular purpose, I just love the smell. Come home, light Nag Champa. Wake up, light Nag Champa. Guests are coming over, light Nag Champa. Breathe, light Nag Champa.

2. Strawberry - Erykah Badu sings a song called “Strawberry incense” so you know it’s cool.  This is the kind of incense I burned as a kid, so I use it when I’m feeling a little wistful or melancholy. The smell of this incense is like a tap on my shoulder saying “Remember who you are where you came from”.

3. Log cabin incense — This incense is so adorable because it burns out of a little log cabin. It smells like Christmas and the woods of Maine.  It reminds me of the time we lived in Maine when Buck was a baby and the smell of it gives my heart a sweet ache.

4. Chinese incense – This is called “intentional incense”. Meaning, you burn it when you want to bring something in particular to your life. There’s incense for health and healing, for power and strength, for tranquility and peace and even for things like money and prosperity. I believe that “what you think about, you bring about”, so I love this kind of incense to help me keep thinking about the things I want to manifest.

5. Sage — Every house needs sage. It’s not technically incense, but you burn it to clear negative energy from yourself and your home. Maya Angelou used to say that when negative people were in her house, their negativity would seep into the wall paper. When she would discover a person saying negative or mean things, she would promptly ask them to leave. (Oprah said, “I’ve seen her do it!”) Now I’ve never been so bold as to ask someone to leave my house for being a negative bummer, but I do burn sage as soon as they leave. Sometimes they’ll be pulling out of the driveway and I’ll already have the sage going. See ya later, asshole! Pay no attention to the burning bush in my hand! Just light the sage and walk it through each room of the house, then open the windows. Then say bye-bye to negative yuck.

I keep a bundle of sage in the car, you know, for errands with kids. I don’t light it, but the scent of it makes the car smell wonderful.

Whether my kids realize it or not, I know they will always associate incense with me. It could be thirty years from now, they’ll be strolling through the streets of Paris and a bit of incense will waft through an open door and they will suddenly be five years old again, sitting in our little farmhouse, watching their mom in pajamas, lighting a stick of incense from the stove.

It’s pretty awesome.

(By the way, do you have an incense that you love?  If so, PLEASE share!)

Comments? Fire away.