I’m warning you beforehand, what I’m about to say is going to seem utterly ridiculous.

Here goes:

My mother once told me that I could conquer the world if I ate a decent breakfast. The whole world. All because of breakfast.

See? I tried to warn you.

Anyway, to this very day I’m still not sure how this meal can make conquering the world possible, but my mother never lies.

I remember the day she told me, I was having a devastating morning. I was about to take an entrance exam into the sixth grade. And this was a big deal because earlier that year, I’d failed fifth-grade—which drained my confidence.

But back to breakfast.

Mama made the greasiest meal. Three eggs, cooked in fat from a Maxwell House can, bacon, potatoes, grits, and toast hearty enough to sand the hull of a battleship.

I passed my test. I made it to the next grade. And eventually, my confidence began to improve. Thusly—and I’ve always wanted to use that word—I can only assume that breakfast played an important role.

Since then, I’ve always believed in the first daily meal. I ate a good breakfast the day I got married. A big one. That day, the waitress kept bringing me plates of pancakes.

“You must be starving, honey,” she said.

I smiled. “Thusly,” said I.

But I was only nervous-eating. Truth told, they weren’t even good pancakes—the blueberries tasted like freeze-dried goat pellets.

I also ate a big breakfast the day I got fired. My boss called me into his office and chewed me a new nose-hole. He said things so hateful I can still remember them. I quietly walked out of his office before he finished speaking.

I went to eat breakfast. I read the paper, I watched the sunrise. I had one of the best mornings I’ve had in years.

So I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I suppose it’s because I come from country people, and these people are full of ideas.

Our ancestors believed in smearing thick butter on toast, and in farm eggs. And they believed in the sacredness of early hours.

To them, it was the moment before the day had been written. And nobody knows what kind of day it will be.

Today could be boring. OR, it could be the sort that lives in your memory forever. It could be the day on which your whole life hinges. It could fall either way.

You might meet a new friend. A lover. A kid. A feral dog. An angel. See, while I write this, the sun is about to rise, and this seemingly normal morning might actually be a spectacular day in disguise.

And if you ask me, you owe it to yourself to be ready. Because once this best-day-ever happens to you, you’re going to look backward and realize that everything had meaning. Everything.

Your good moments were like swatches of fabric. Your painful moments were little pin pricks from a sewing needle, stitching you together like a quilt. And on your final day, you’ll see this quilt and think to yourself: “My God, wasn’t I beautiful?”

Thusly, you were. Very, very thusly.

Then, it will all come back to you. You’ll remember that blind kid in the Piggly Wiggly you held the door open for. The college student you hugged—you had no idea he was suicidal.

The man at the stoplight, holding a cardboard sign. The little girl at church you gave your outdated cellphone to, who had never owned anything so nice in her life.

The red headed kid who failed fifth grade, but was fortunate enough to have a mother who said he could conquer the world if he wanted. All he had to do was eat his eggs and toast.

Anyway, I forgot what I was talking about.

Oh yeah. Don’t skip breakfast today.


  1. Walter Mark Buehler - January 15, 2023 6:00 am

    Another wonderful reflection and advice for all of us, including those, like me, who do not eat breakfast.

  2. Billie - January 15, 2023 6:13 am

    What are you doing up so early??

  3. Rodney Kay - January 15, 2023 6:14 am

    Yes; been there; done that

  4. Happy Home - January 15, 2023 7:44 am


    [Heart heart heart]

  5. Robert - January 15, 2023 11:01 am

    Thusly, weall are. Very, very thusly.

  6. Dolores - January 15, 2023 11:15 am

    Food is love language unto itself. Mom and Dad were children of the Great Depression: it was their great pleasure to supply wonderful country meals.

    We were poor but a large garden was integral to those meals. A milk cow, chickens and hogs did their part. Sometimes it was also wild game or foraged morel mushrooms or berries, nuts.

    The delicious smells of breakfast always made it a little easier to crawl out the warm covers. It’s my favorite meal to eat out on that rare occasion.

  7. Joey - January 15, 2023 11:31 am

    “Your good moments were like swatches of fabric…”. This paragraph “…painful moments were little pin pricks from a sewing needle…” may be one of the best and most beautiful I’ve ever read.
    Wow, Sean. Just… wow!

  8. Sara - January 15, 2023 11:51 am

    My first smile of the morning while eating my breakfast!

  9. Julia - January 15, 2023 12:47 pm

    and toast hearty enough to sand the hull of a battleship. Hilarious. Thank you Sean.

  10. Ann T - January 15, 2023 12:51 pm

    My homemade Granola with a big dollop of yogurt, a few raisins, topped with real maple syrup, and a perfectly ripe pear is the start to my day….couldn’t be any better. Sun is coming up over the hill, big puffy clouds have a pink tinge, sky high up overhead is blue, no wind…only thing is….it’s 18 degrees out! It’s warm in my kitchen, cat is curled up by my side….I look forward to the day ahead. Enjoy your day.

  11. David - January 15, 2023 1:16 pm

    Thank you Sean!

  12. donna from Iowa - January 15, 2023 1:31 pm

    Frozen waffles from the toaster with peanut butter and honey should help get through Sunday services on this machine.

  13. Lisa Smith - January 15, 2023 1:39 pm

    All if this! Thusly, all of it! I needed every word, Sean! My hug came when the banquet was finishing up and we were all swaying back and forth to the words being chanted. My son nudged me and said this is really going to be sad in four years.
    Sometimes the present that we live in is very hard. Look for the swaying moments and for the nudges! My nudge I will talk about it in four years. #89isjackjack

  14. Yo - January 15, 2023 2:01 pm

    Everyday I see your email column and think I don’t have time to read, but on the days I do I am always inspired. Sacredness in the morning, yes–but also sanctity. It is your private part of the day to do with what you will. Thanks Sean.

  15. mccutchen52 - January 15, 2023 2:09 pm

    I rarely skip breakfast, It may be just a bowl of cereal but at 70 I need all the energy I can muster up plus my wife is one heck of a biscuit maker. Sometimes just starting the day with a lard biscuit, with what ever I can put between the layers, starts any day off with a bang.

  16. Babs - January 15, 2023 2:10 pm

    All said and read the day I determine I must cut back on our big breakfasts, oh well tomorrow is another day

  17. c lyn burnette - January 15, 2023 2:25 pm

    My Granny Ricks got up every day & milked Bessie, poured up the milk into enamel pans (so the cream would rise to the top to make butter), sat down with a bowl of Kelloggs cornflakes-cream on top, then get up & make breakfast: fresh eggs (fried in bacon grease), grits (swimming in cow butter), toast (her one splurge), & ham, sausage, or bacon from the smoke house & preached the value of a ‘good’ breakfast. You know the cane syrup & blackberry jelly were on the table. Life on the farm was hard but the eatin’ was good.

  18. Peggy League - January 15, 2023 2:28 pm

    You are amazing! I love how you can take “nothing” and with a few words make me smile and change my whole day. Keep up the good work! God bless you and your lovely wife

  19. Patricia Gibson - January 15, 2023 3:02 pm

    Breakfast gets your body kick started and is the most important meal of the day! Just ask Miss Dean, my high school home economics teacher❤️ loved her

  20. Cindy - January 15, 2023 3:06 pm

    I, too, come from a breakfast family with the same philosophy! Might I add, a blessing before the meal….that’s the cherry on top!

  21. Beryl - January 15, 2023 4:06 pm

    Good morning Sean,
    Please watch, A Grateful Day. There are NO ordinary days.

  22. Martha Nebel - January 15, 2023 4:37 pm

    Sean, beside the fact that you are an excellent story teller, I appreciate that you are an excellent psychologist. You are bivocational, I should say trivocational , since you are booked for the grand ole opry.

  23. Tom - January 15, 2023 5:02 pm

    I love a good breakfast. Anything from biscuits, eggs, bacon, grits and hash browns to just a bowl of oatmeal. But I do have one question, just exactly how do know how freeze-dried goat pellets taste. Will you please answer this question.

    • Anne Arthur - January 15, 2023 9:09 pm

      Hahahahaaaaaa! Yes, Tom, I would llike to know that too.

  24. Steve McCaleb - January 15, 2023 5:06 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with your mother’s assessment of a hearty breakfast. If fact, it’s my humble opinion that if you do breakfast right …… it completely does away with any need for dinner. Yes DINNER…there’s still a few of us here in the south that still remember that the noon meal is dinner, not lunch. I refuse to be persuaded to change my way of speaking by a bunch of pointy headed Yankees who hate us and want to change everything about us so we can “be more like them”. God forbid. When DaVinchi’s immortal painting becomes “The Last Dinner” be sure and wake me up. Just don’t count on me to give rat’s hiny what some “woke influencer “ wants me to talk like. Whew! Where’s the Tylenol?

  25. Steve McCaleb - January 15, 2023 5:25 pm

    I’m not thru ranting….all this talk about froze waffles, yogurt, raisins, peanut butter and person after person singing the the praises of “toast”? AAARRG! Somewhere Justin Wilson is spinning in his grave and Paula Dean is reaching for the Gas X. The pockyclips may be closer than any of us anticipated. God help us all…..

  26. kingswaydaughter - January 15, 2023 5:54 pm

    I remember a visit to my great grandparents home after my first grade year. Their home was a working farm, and breakfast was a big deal. My eyes were as huge as saucers….never seen anything like it. There was ham, bacon, sausage, eggs any way you wanted them, pancakes, toast, cereal – hot or cold, fruit that had been canned, and fresh milk from the dairy herd. Grandpa poured straight cream on his cereal. When you are six years old and experience a smorgasbord breakfast without going to a restaurant, it was a forever memory.

  27. Lisa R - January 15, 2023 5:59 pm

    I am breakfast eater. And I read your essays every morning while eating my breakfast!

  28. kingswaydaughter - January 15, 2023 6:10 pm

    Between first and second grade was my first trip since being a toddler to visit my great grandparents home – a working farm. I will never forget that smorgasbord breakfast of ham, bacon, sausage, eggs anyway you like, toast & gravy, pancakes, home canned fruit, cereal – hot or cold, and fresh milk from the dairy herd. Great grandpa poured straight cream on his cereal. And this happened every morning. What a wonder for a kid use to Frosted Flakes or Sugar Pops most mornings.

  29. Michael M Mack - January 15, 2023 6:51 pm


  30. MAM - January 15, 2023 7:21 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever skipped breakfast (I managed the deliveries of both daughters and didn’t miss a meal!). Nowadays in my old age, I walk 2-3 miles before breakfast, so I don’t feel full the whole time, and then I eat a bowl of yogurt with strawberries and blueberries, half a sectioned grapefruit and half a sectioned orange, fixed by my beloved husband every morning, then to top it all off, homemade whole wheat toast, or left-over biscuit or cornbread (all homemade) smeared with butter and jelly or honey, accompanied by a tall glass of milk. Keeps me going for hours. I’ll agree with your mother!

  31. Sandy Burnett - January 15, 2023 7:32 pm

    I loved “ the moment before the day had been written “
    What a wonderful description!
    I feel myself sitting behind a plate of fuel contemplating which food I should eat first as I contemplate where my day is going. Which fuel I consume may make all the difference in where my day goes. You have captured the moment so perfectly.
    Thank you

  32. helen - January 15, 2023 7:51 pm

    ✅ Love reading your writing!!!

  33. gwenthinks - January 15, 2023 8:06 pm

    I love your sentiment. I wish I was more of a breakfast person, but my stomach hasn’t woken up enough for me to eat much in the early AM. Gotta drink my tea, but not a lot of food. I love breakfast foods, thusly, Breakfast Dinner is one of my favorite meals!

  34. Karen Snyder - January 15, 2023 10:44 pm

    “…the moment before the day had been written.” What a charming turn of phrase! ❤️

  35. Karen - January 15, 2023 11:35 pm

    Sean, no matter what you say, you’re a gifted writer. Looking at life through quilting squares and pin pricks from the sewing needle as painful moments in life is beautiful.
    I got to eat those farm breakfasts at my grandparents. My mom always had a filling breakfast for us. My breakfasts are lighter now, but we do have a great breakfast for dinner spread from time to time. I never skip breakfast. It is my most important meal of the day.

  36. Jeff Bayne - January 16, 2023 12:55 am

    Absolute sheer beauty!! Thusly!

  37. (E-Racer-X -or eracer-ex) - January 16, 2023 6:38 am


    Don’t Eat
    Then Eat


    Pros & Cons

    Moms Y
    Dad’s Y

    En Den-Nada
    Es En in-Denial.

    & become
    Faster than the other day.
    Faster than the other guy.

    Playoffs are here
    Shakespeare & Stage 1-2-4 (Four counts)

    Just spent a day watching
    Wild Card Football.

    Exit Stage Left (or Stage Right)
    Or Stage Four.

    That’s all.

    Exit Stage Four (Score)


  38. mevsm1 - January 16, 2023 11:16 am

    I so love this. And while I was reading your thoughts Sean, my middle daughter texted and asked, “Do you want me to come over early and we can have breakfast together?” I was already planning to forward your article when I finished reading it but did so immediately lol. +Blessings and love to all+ (And I am so glad I have homemade, pre-made, pumpkin waffles in my freezer. Bacon going in the pan 😀

  39. Renee Welton - January 18, 2023 8:06 pm



Leave a Comment