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

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 and made me feel about as useful as a white crayon.

But getting 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 in my sixth grade success.

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. IHOP, I’m looking at you.

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 rural people are full of homespun ideas that sound silly to city ears.

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

My granddaddy ate brains and eggs for breakfast. My old man ate potted meat and leftover liverwurst. I eat Peanut Butter Captain Crunch and M&Ms. But it’s all the same.

To my forbears, it was the moment before the day had been written. And nobody knows what kind of day it will be. It was a day without any
mistakes in it.

There are lots of possibilities for today. Today could be boring. It could be mediocre. It could be crummy.


It could be the sort of day that lives in your memory forever. It could be the day on which your whole life hinges. The day when you finally became you.

So it could fall either way.

You might meet a new friend. A lover. A kid. A feral dog. An angel. A derelict columnist.

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 day 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. And thusly you are. Very, very thusly.


  1. David - August 20, 2022 6:58 am

    All I can say is…Thusly


    • Connie - August 20, 2022 8:32 pm

      Another one….helping me heal!

  2. Ann Thompson - August 20, 2022 9:20 am

    Hence I will venture forth into the day. My day. Not just another day….but too day.
    Enjoy yours Sean.
    Oh, and I’m having freshly baked blueberry gingerbread with freshly picked blueberries and a stand over the sink juicy peach to start it!

  3. Eve - August 20, 2022 9:35 am

    Thusly, I wonder if you write your blog around sunrise every day. Do you ever dread having to come up with another one? That maybe now in retrospect you wish you had made this blog a weekly or monthly thing? Because it doesn’t seem humanly possible to do what you do. Thusly, I am pretty sure it’s a divine thing.

  4. Debbie - August 20, 2022 9:47 am

    I love the way you write! A true story teller. Thank you. ❤️

  5. Ed (Bear) - August 20, 2022 10:03 am

    If you want to rule the world, it’s okay with me! The world needs a ruler like you.

    • Patricia Gibson - August 20, 2022 3:39 pm

      Amen to that

  6. Cynthia - August 20, 2022 10:07 am

    Today i go on her first University tour with my fiercely independent last born. She can conquer this world I have no doubt. Reading your story has given me the confidence to let her go and to look back and see that perhaps ive been more successful than any monetary gains could ever have shown. My dear sweet Mom let me go off at 17… and she somehow knew Id be just fine… she too provided a really good breakfast! Thanks Sean. I love that you walked out of that former boss’ office and your quilt analogy 💞

  7. BEX - August 20, 2022 10:35 am

    You lift my spirits every day, Sean! I too am a breakfast eater and thusly, we agree!

  8. John Mount - August 20, 2022 10:44 am

    I’m new to your gifts that you give to all of us.
    A daughter introduced me to them.
    I’m a 73 year old guy…
    have been receiving gifts similar to yours…
    all of my life…
    from an incredibly wide variety of some of the wisest and most talented communicators that have ever lived.

    are the most wonderful…
    in every respect…
    of them all.

    In the first place…
    I am amazed that anyone could craft one of these gifts…

    at your level of quality.

    In my heart…

    I can’t believe ANYONE could create one of these


    After I have read each one…
    I have had the motivation to send these same “comments”.
    Today…I could not resist doing so.

    In the future….
    I will be the person that will send “Ditto” in the “comment” space…
    reaffirming my “shock and awe”.

    Welcome to Birmingham!

  9. Kelly - August 20, 2022 11:01 am

    Your use of words is amazing. I LOVE your writings. Thank you.

  10. Heidi the Canuck - August 20, 2022 11:29 am

    Spot on, as usual dear Sean. Early morning is sacred time – sitting here with a coffee in one hand and stroking my flatulent golden retriever with the other. I watch the sunrise, bask in the morning light and savour your daily column. Thusly am I called into sleepy communion with the One who supplies the swatches and works the needle and thread. Bless you, brother. Have a good day.

    • Tracy - August 20, 2022 11:33 am

      Thanks for your comment, Heidi the Canuck. I can picture your dog.🙂

  11. Jean Sherrill - August 20, 2022 11:31 am

    Preach on Brother!! My father loved breakfast….my mother cooked breakfast…and even tho they have been gone a while I always have a big breakfast. It’s just a part of my life..and i love the early mornings..

  12. Jim Springfield - August 20, 2022 11:41 am

    Mornings at Georgie’s Diner are special to me , here in St. Augustine. Racheal is the server today and she is ALWAYS cheerful. Even though she left three young kids at home with a man I’ve never met and therefore I don’t trust.
    Locals are the only ones here. Faces I know. I’m greeted by my first name and Rachel doesn’t ask what I want to drink.
    Thusly, It is a good day already.

  13. Ann of Mobile - August 20, 2022 11:56 am

    Thusly and ‘Tis so, Sean. Thanks; I needed that. ❤️‍🩹🤗

  14. Donna Riggs - August 20, 2022 12:11 pm

    I am a newly retired, middle school teacher. You sir are my new favorite writer! I find myself eagerly checking my e-mail looking for your words. I was thirsty and didn’t know how dehydrated I was. Looking forward to my day!

    • Patricia Gibson - August 20, 2022 3:38 pm

      Welcome! Sean is a great way to
      Start the day

  15. Paul McCutchen - August 20, 2022 12:14 pm

    And Thusly you should have a great day. I need to go eat my hearty oatmeal.

  16. Penny - August 20, 2022 12:18 pm


  17. Gayle Wilson - August 20, 2022 12:22 pm

    Ah, Sean, you’ve thusly done it again. The list I had of breakfast foods that could help you conquer the world were – fried bologna, fried spam, corned beef hash, of course eggs, grits and toast slathered in butter and homemade jam or apple butter (the best). And yes, we are all being refined by the Makers fine workmanship and one day, we will look back and say, “not bad, actually a fine piece of craftsmanship.”

  18. 1018le - August 20, 2022 12:23 pm

    Wow! You did warn me! I loved your description of a big breakfast…and how dare a boss fire you like he did!!! I hope he sees you thusly, now!! I loved the last part, especially, about the quilt. Yes, some days with pin pricks to achieve something beautiful. I hope my life quilt IS beautiful; sure am working on it, thusly! 😉

  19. Cindy - August 20, 2022 12:24 pm

    Oh my goodness! I do love me some good ole southern writin’… Just found & subscribed. Thank you! Looking forward to more! ♥️ I can’t say I’ve ever used the word ‘thusly’ either. 😆

  20. 1265 16th St. N.W. Winter Haven, Fl 33881 - August 20, 2022 12:24 pm

    A week ago our family of three had a terrible car wreck while driving my son to the airport. He was flying back to Japan where he is an English teacher. While still sore, we’re all upright and breathing in and out. I’ve always tried to be a positive human and gravitate toward the good and forget the bad…but the accident has left me down in some dark place that was hard to climb out of. But this morning I’m gonna scramble some eggs, burn some toast, and start a day of unknown possibilities!…Thanks, Sean! (From an old 70 year old raised in the woods near Panama City)(and p.s. I’ll be playing out tonight..guitar and singing..just like you used to do…and “thusly” I’ll be thinking of you.)…Love, Eddie Bruner (Winter Haven, Fl)

  21. Debbie Ucci - August 20, 2022 12:28 pm

    I love sunrises and breakfast, so this was particularly meaningful. Thanks!

  22. Vanessa - August 20, 2022 12:32 pm

    Sean — this is so beautiful and well – written. Your writing continues to take my breath away! What a beautiful beginning to my day! Thank you!

  23. Theresa - August 20, 2022 12:50 pm

    Why is it we never see how beautiful until we are looking back…

  24. Karen - August 20, 2022 12:57 pm

    Sean, what a beautiful way to embrace the day and all of its possibilities.

  25. Dawn Hockenberry - August 20, 2022 1:03 pm

    How is it that you have me laughing and crying within the space of a few minutes?! Keep on keepin’ on Sean.

  26. Happy Pappy - August 20, 2022 1:13 pm

    Sunrise. Early breakfast. And your daily post, Sean. Spectacular start to the day.

  27. Edward Willis - August 20, 2022 1:16 pm

    Made my day Sean 🙂

  28. Jack Marquette - August 20, 2022 1:26 pm

    You make me smile. You make me look up at the sun rising on the mountain, to feel the cool morning air, to reflect on all the days gone by and be thankful for the few days I have left. Thank you for a beautiful beginning of today.

  29. David Britnell - August 20, 2022 1:36 pm

    Every morning I find myself rushing through my devotions so I can check my emails and read your blog. I think I am going to have to reverse that order so I don’t rush through my time with God because as much as I love you, you still haven’t attained that same status. Hope you have a great day bubba!!

  30. Stev McCaleb - August 20, 2022 1:39 pm

    Sunrise is a new beginning……a clean slate. A chance to be the person your mother always hoped you’d be. It doesn’t clear the balance sheet, but it gives us the opportunity to do better. What more could a man ask for ?

  31. Ava - August 20, 2022 1:41 pm

    🌞 wonderful start to my day! Headed to kitchen to make a big breakfast 🍳. Bless you Sean

  32. Carol - August 20, 2022 2:00 pm

    Good Morning, Thank you for a great start to my morning, I’m heading to the kitchen to prepare a great breakfast, thusly, we should all have a great day!

  33. Lucy Blackwell - August 20, 2022 2:17 pm

    From the Book of Common Prayer: “Oh Lord this is another day. I know not what it will bring, but make me ready for whatever it may be. If I am to stand, let me do it bravely, if I am to sit, let me do it quietly, if I am to lay low, help me to do it patiently, and if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. And make these words more than words and give me the spirit of Jesus”

  34. Katherine Colbert - August 20, 2022 2:20 pm

    This morning one daughter got engaged and another is going back to college. Thusly, I’m not sure which emotional direction to go.

  35. lolaworo - August 20, 2022 2:36 pm

    Really loving the quilt analogy! Need to post that one on my wall for sure…

  36. JonDragonfly - August 20, 2022 2:41 pm

    For the last few years, my morning routine has begun with my morning prayers.
    Then, the First thing I read (along with my hearty oatmeal) is Sean of the South.
    The Second thing I read is the comments on the day’s Sean essay. I have grown to recognize and love Sean’s followers. The names of many, I now know. I worry when I don’t see an old friend post for a while (Here’s looking at you, Ms. Den). I delight when new commenters post. And I am often diverted to the blogs of some (Hi, Bear).
    Sean is the blessing on my day and his many followers are the path into that day.

  37. AlaRedClayGirl - August 20, 2022 2:59 pm

    Mornings are special to me: a 3-mile run while watching the day unfold, prayers, a hearty breakfast, and a Sean of the South column. It will make you feel like you can accomplish Alfred Lord Tennyson’s quote, “Arise, go forth, and conquer as of old.”

  38. Mamacita - August 20, 2022 3:01 pm

    Dear Derelict Columnist,
    The amazing, insightful way you share the world has rubbed off on your followers. Were they always so eloquent? Maybe. But I believe they grow in their abilities to express themselves because of your tutorage.
    Go ahead….shake your head in humble disagreement. Doesn’t change the fact that you ARE changing the world. One loving, positive comment at a time. God is using writers like you to show us that the loudest naysayers cannot drown out honest optimism. And He is raising the sun everyday no matter what.

    • Patricia Gibson - August 20, 2022 3:34 pm

      Well said!

  39. Jackie Logan - August 20, 2022 3:20 pm

    And , remember… we look from the underside and God sees only “ the perfect stitching “🙏🏻

  40. Melissa - August 20, 2022 3:29 pm

    love it. your advice is get up and enjoy the beautiful beginning….whatever you enjoy as the day begins.
    I have lost 2 sons, my husband, had a triple bypass, lost my home in a tornado followed by triple negative breast cancer and like you, lost my job. People, mostly women, ask me for advice. After sharing my faith in the Lord…they usually say, “No not that! I mean the real everyday stuff. How do you get up in the morning?” I always say the same thing…I try to make simple…”Get up. Get dressed. Put your makeup on and if you are able go out………if not just go sit in your favorite chair;
    if possible go see a friend or go sit in your favorite place.”
    You get up to prove to yourself that you can.
    Get dress to prove to yourself you are still capable.
    Put your makeup on so that when you walk by a mirror you see you……..or the possibility of you. You are still in there.
    Thanks for the thought on the new future you being re-created everyday……..everyday. Thank you for the beautiful peaceful thoughts.

    • Patricia Gibson - August 20, 2022 3:33 pm

      God bless you🙏

  41. Patricia Gibson - August 20, 2022 3:32 pm

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day according to my 10th grade Home Economics teacher and I tend to agree biologically and philosophically . Just sets your day up for a good start. Love ya Sean

  42. Jim Cannon - August 20, 2022 4:00 pm

    My Dad also loved potted meat and liverwurst. I’m more of an oatmeal or yogurt and granola guy myself. I am also a librarian and so I am a fan because you always say such encouraging things about librarians. We are succors for compliments. Because I’m a librarian here is some research from Tufts University https://sites.tufts.edu/foodcompass/research/data/ about a new nutrient profiling system called The Food Compass. In the grains category you’ll notice that Cap’n Crunch comes in at a respectable 23 on par with grits, Corn Pops, and Honeycomb. Enjoy your breakfast and keep up the good work!

  43. Anne Arthur - August 20, 2022 4:31 pm

    Thusly, I have to give you all thumbs up for this one. First, for pointing out the importance of a good, early breakfast (I am German, so yeah…we learn that from the first day we open our eyes.). Second, for sowing a positive attitude towards a new day. Have a good one, Sean.

  44. Linda - August 20, 2022 4:39 pm

    Mornin’ Sean! I had French toast for breakfast. Why do we call it that? It isn’t French, and it isn’t toasted! In England they call it ‘eggy bread’. I like that. It’s a true description. It tastes good; especially if you add Pumpkin Pie Spice to the egg batter; yum-O! I’m expecting a glorious day to follow! 🥚🍞

    • Linda - August 20, 2022 4:51 pm

      Just noticed that the Comments are highlighted by quilt blocks! I’m (was) a quilter. Loved it! Gave 99% of them away, because that’s what quilters do. Thusly, you can consider that quilters have a generous spirit. Is your wife a quitter? Was your Mom or Mom-in-law? 🧵🪡 Quilters/quilt history (Appalachia) would be a great subject for a blog! Just a thought …..

  45. Sybil Bullock - August 20, 2022 4:47 pm

    Loved this paragraph. Thanks for your creative writing.

    “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?”

    Presents my feelings better than I ever could though for me would edit a little and change the I to It because the quilt of my life in retrospect has been truly beautiful.

  46. Be Linda - August 20, 2022 4:53 pm

    Ohhh goodness! Where have you been thus far in my life? Your writing is thoughtfully thought provoking, humor with a twist of homespun memories. Love your style and “thusly” glad I found you.

  47. Linda Moon - August 20, 2022 6:37 pm

    My mother helped me conquer elementary school because of morning oatmeal. I’m still conquering most of the time because of Mother and a derelict columnist who’ve helped me believe I’m beautiful. My God I am, I’m thinking now before my final day gets here!

  48. MAM - August 20, 2022 7:37 pm

    I love your writing, Sean, thusly it causes me to comment. It also thusly causes me to read everyone else’s comments. Not something I do anywhere else, but your readers write completely relatable stories and comments. Thusly, we all enjoy your writing and its results. .

  49. Sandra Jones - August 20, 2022 8:12 pm

    Every word wise and true

  50. Judy Tayloe - August 20, 2022 8:27 pm

    Thusly, Sean, YOU ROCK!

  51. Barbara Zuleski - August 20, 2022 11:19 pm

    Thusly you tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth

  52. Perri Williamson - August 21, 2022 12:18 am

    Thusly, you’re a mess!

  53. Beryl - August 21, 2022 9:56 pm

    Well Sean, you made me smile from ear-to-ear with your next-to-final paragraph. I would add that I am not waiting. I awake everyday and proclaim, “God, You ARE so beautiful!” For thusly, God lives within me and She wanted you to know that the same is true for you. In the words of Joe Cocker, “You are so beautiful to me”, which incidentally, was written by, GOD!

  54. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - August 21, 2022 11:10 pm


  55. sflouden - August 22, 2022 10:35 am

    Love it….especially “made me feel about as useful as a white crayon.” hehehehe

  56. Jay skinner - August 23, 2022 2:49 pm

    Another one from you that has made me smile

  57. Lisa Heileman - August 23, 2022 6:23 pm

    I will have you know white crayons are the tops! They lubricate drawer slides, zippers, and many other sticky mechanical things in my household. They make great sweeping marks on black construction paper. I hope you enjoy the colorful days, as much as I enjoy your colorful sketches of life. That is all.


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