This was hard. But I have worked way too hard in past years overcoming mind crap to let it pile in again. As my body is starting to get healthy my mind is racing and I need to regain balance. If we don’t use the tools and exercises we’ve learned to keep our mind, thoughts and essence healthy it will become weak, sloppy and have extra weight (clutter) just like our bodies.

Being a full time caregiver is the most honorable, humbling, exhausting, regretful, saddening, depressing, joyful, loving, heart filling, heart wrenching and every emotion roller coaster ride you will ever go on. I thank God every second of every day that Mom is the only one of our 4 parents that will go through this. The cancer and heart disease were horrific but they stayed who they were and knew who loved them to the very end.

Mind Clutter Breakthrough


I have worked very hard over the years to let go, unpack, purge, forgive, face and deal with a Crap load of internal baggage. It’s taken therapy (inpatient and out), writing, prayer, a brutally honest compassionate husband and over 30+ years of really flipping hard honesty with myself. Believe me I could have, and wanted to often, given up but I couldn’t go back only forward.


Over this past year I have put on the mask of a brave, loving, selfless daughter in law. Willing to put her life on hold (years if necessary) to move in with her mother in law and become a 24/7 caregiver. This meant giving away most of my 53 years of possessions. My own home, vehicles, furniture, books, plants, home decor items, kitchen stuff, the state we called home for 15 years, our church there, our jobs (income), insurance, stability, one of our dogs (thank God our daughter has him) and really everything that a middle-aged couple has including privacy.


Don’t get me wrong. I love my mother in law and always have. She is an amazing woman and from the moment we met we became more than just friends or in-laws. She and my father in law have always been my second parents and dear friends. There was no hesitation what so ever to make this life changing decision and I would do it again and again but with one exception. I needed to keep the “Stinkin thinkin” from cluttering up my head.

Old habits and mindsets are always lurking in the shadows. Waiting for the chance to get you in their clutches once again.


Over this past year unaware, because my focus was not clear, those “serendipitous organization of mind, body and soul” thieves were slowly sneaking into my mind. My self conscious was hiding this with food, shopping, physical clutter and people pleasing. When my health started to rapidly decline, I gained 75 pounds in less than a year. My breathing was laborious, chest was hurting, my legs, knees, hips and spine were extremely painful. I was eating pain meds like candy. I knew I had to get healthy because my husband and mom need me. So in May 2015 diet and exercise started. As my eating habits and physical health improved the Crap in my head started getting louder. I could feel the anger, resentment, self pity and oh so much “stinkin” crappy self talk filling every spot that it could.


The exterior clutter that was building, mail, clothing, books and other clutter piles kept growing. So I joined this clutter breakthrough group to help clean that up as well as I was cleaning up my physical health. What is most important to me is that I caught a tremendous backslide of emotional clutter at the early stages.


This group with it’s exercises and insights have slapped me awake again, putting me back on track. It helped me remember that feelings and thoughts just are. It’s how you choose to deal with and digest them that counts. If you keep piling them up inside eventually they spill out and affect your outside world. Eventually taking over and swallowing you up. I’m thinking clearer, my creativity is back, I’m taking time to recharge (even if I just sit alone for 5 minutes, clear my mind and breath). I’m journaling my frustrations instead of keeping them bottled by hiding ever growing piles of internal and external clutter.


I want to continue to improve the quality and appreciation of/for myself. I know life will give me hurdles, it always has, but if I was able to deal with and overcome them before, I can continue with whatever the future throws at me.


I am strong, I am intelligent, I am valuable, I am beautiful, I am enough and I can overcome anything especially if it’s my own inner demon.


School Daze


As we share yearbooks, playbills and other school mementos and take these trips down memory lane. I don’t know about anyone else, but it helps me to reconnect with my roots and remember my blessings. The awesome people I went to school with for 12 years will always be part of who I am. In the end it didn’t matter if we were introverts, nerds, creeps, rich, poor, popular, invisible, a sports star or beauty queen, from the wrong side of town, the bad boy, worse the bad girl, the teacher’s pet, class clown or even the class pain in the ass.


Collectively we have done amazing things, learned valuable lessons, shed our school hierarchy system, roles and reputations. Some of us have remained close through the years, while some have floated in and out of touch. Those that in the days of football games, dances, homework, fun and tears wouldn’t even speak passing in the hall now link on social media and even have get togethers.


With heavy heart I write that we all have lost a few of our classmates. Please cherish your memories of them for they will be forever young, forever missed, but never forgotten.


We are strong amazing people, we are intelligent, valuable, beautiful and part of each other. Without the interaction of each of our classmates, no matter how insignificant it might have seemed, that moment, word, wink, expression, hug or even slap helped mold the people we have become.


Be proud of where you are from, embrace the good and bad, for those are the seedlings from which you have grown.




I was recently asked for advice on how to forgive someone. This is what I said to the 15 year old girl. I wish someone had told me this at 15.


“Forgiveness for someone that has hurt or wronged us is for ourselves, unless they ask for forgiveness. We can forgive without even letting the person or people know you’ve done it. Also just because you forgive doesn’t mean you have to forget either just accept, learn from it and go on.” Nora Grudis


Comments on LinKedIn

Ken Fracaro

Content/Copy Editor & Formatter

Chattanooga, Tennessee

“I have told others that when you forgive someone else, you are really forgiving yourself. A person is only hurting themselves by being upset with another person.”


Nora Grudis

“Yes Ken Fracaro I agree. If I had not found forgiveness for people who have hurt me, such as my abusive ex, I actually would still be a victim 33 years after escaping from him. I forgave, found acceptance as well as embraced the strength, humility and compassion I gained from the hell he put me through. I cannot forget because it is part of who I am but I forgive him because I have the strength and courage to do so. I choose forgiveness and freedom rather than the binding chains of hatred and blame.” Nora


Ken Fracaro

“Nora, you are an inspiration to others because you showed strength and wisdom by forgiving others but not forgetting. You are going on with your life, and I sincerely believe that you will be successful with anything you attempt. You learned from the past and that makes your outlook of the future brighter and more attainable. Take care and keep looking ahead to new opportunities for yourself.” Ken







Once upon a time there was a young woman that was very sad and lonely. She had been through several horrible years and thought she couldn’t bear anymore. Across town there was a young man going through almost the same, but was drowning his sorrows.

God was watching these two and knew what they needed, for he had planned it from the start. Their paths had crossed so many times, but they had missed the clues every time. Instead they had tried to live their way not God’s.

This time they would confront their destinies’ head on, their last chance to choose the right path. With the help of an angel named Doris, they ended up in the right place at the right time.

Their bond was instant, love at first sight, soul mates bound together for all time. They felt hope and completeness for the first time in their lives. It was as God had planned all along.

They had their first date a week later, saying “we’ll just be friends, no commitments”. Today they celebrate 25 years of marriage. Some years rough and bumpy, but God paved the way and they kept on course. They’ve learned to trust in God and each other to weather any storm.

They have built a wonderful legacy of love. Along the way they became a family with 3 beautiful daughters and 6 amazing grandchildren. So many memories and more to come, forever and ever through the end of time and beyond.

This is the story of Mark and Nora Grudis,

and our unbreakable bond for all time.


Forever n ever till the end of time and beyond I will always love you Markiejoe.



Hello All


At the moment I am rewriting my memoir and including some touchy things that involve family still living. My mentor told me if I was afraid to include them I shouldn’t write any of it. After all I am changing names and adding a disclaimer.

Otherwise I am working on some of my children’s books and learning the art of public speaking. Here on Norasnotes you will find a rough sampling of my writing. Most of what is here are infant versions, after feedback I’m tweaking a lot. Please feel free to critique, compliment, suggest anything. I am open to learn from others, tips, suggestions and networking are always welcome.

A few excerpts from my memoir “The Path Taken”


My current project, my memoir, “The Path Taken” has reached it’s final stages before publication. Here are a couple bites for you all to taste before it is published in a few months.

I do not set out to blame or hurt only to tell a story in hopes that someone somewhere may benefit from mine and my family’s experiences. I want my friends and family to know these are my memories and interpretations of events. After all a memoir is by definition the author’s memories not necessarily the exact historical facts and timeline.

The Path Taken
Nora Grudis

Chapter 1PicsArt_1430600507736

Beginning My Journey

Have you ever thought back in time and found that point where life as you knew it changed forever? That pivotal, monumental moment, when life veered off into a completely different path. The path taken, the crossroads, the fork in the road, you know all the clichés heard over and over. It’s the one moment in time, the almost perfect moment, for your do over.

My moment woke me up from a sound sleep around 4 am this morning. I felt my husband get out of bed, heard him open and close the bedroom door, go into the bathroom come through the door again. I heard him breathing, not asleep breathing, the wee hour’s kind. As if standing at the side of the bed pondering a few seconds. “Should I stay up or get back into bed and sleep a little longer?” Suddenly I realized He hadn’t gotten up at all, he was quietly and peacefully sleeping next to me. Was I dreaming? Maybe?

Looking back, as I write this down, it was the opening and closing of the doors that was the important part. My mind was unlocking, opening and closing behind me a well hidden door. Crossing the hall to the next door to discovery, realization and understanding of why I am who I am today. Hiding memories of the moment that would lead me to the path taken.

Chapter 5

I Walk through Hell

Fuzzy worked as a structural iron worker on a crew that constructed high-rise steel beam buildings. With this type of work, 60 to 80 hours a week, you build up enormous physical strength. As is customary construction workers provide their own hand tools. In Fuzzy’s collection of tools he had what is known as a “spud wrench” that was approximately 18 to 24 inches long and quite heavy. For some odd reason he had two of these. One was kept in his car with his other tools the second one was kept on top of our refrigerator. This wrench would no longer be used to build; rather it would now be used as a weapon to destroy but not as much as the hands that used it.

Chapter 9

The Dawn Breaks on a New Path

Today is the day I let the hole close, let it complete its digestion of me. I will never get out I’ll be gone forever.

Damn my plans have been interrupted again. My roommates are insisting I go to a party with them. Why won’t they just go away and leave me alone? Must I come out and put that mask back on? Fine but just for today, this is it, tomorrow the pinhole will be closed completely never to open again. Everyone will be better off without me, especially my girls.

Notes on my complete story

I am the source of the events in “The Path Taken” they are me and I am them. I am currently in the process of publishing my manuscript into book and ebook form. Therefore the conclusion can only be obtained by reading the book.
Thank you for your interest, Nora