She was frequently beaten by her husband, so she left the house with her kids.

Cara Brookins was left emotionally broken when her second abusive marriage ended. She got well by building her own house, which she did after seeing YouTube videos on how to do it.

The mother of four started looking for a new house in 2007 after being forced to sell the Bryant, Arkansas, home she and her soon-to-be ex shared. At the moment, though, anything the computer programmer analyst could afford was too tiny. Brookins too felt obliged to take action to bring her family back together. She admits, “But I had no idea what that should be.”

Brookins, therefore, came up with the idea to build her own house from the ground up. According to Brookins, 45, “If anyone was in our situation, they wouldn’t do this.” “No one else viewed it this way, and now that I think about it, I understand it sounds crazy.”

One acre of property cost Brookins $20,000, and she obtained a building credit for about $150,000. She then started watching YouTube tutorials to learn how to do things like run a gas line, build a wall, lay a foundation, and install plumbing.

Her children, ages 2 to 17, helped her throughout the nine-month construction of the 3,500-square-foot home. At the time, Drew, who was 15 years old, helped Brookins make the preparations. Jada, who was 11 at the time, transported water from a neighbor’s pond using buckets because there was no running water on the property. She then combined the water with 80-pound sacks of concrete to create the mortar for the foundation.

It felt impossible the entire time, according to Brookins, who worked when the kids were in school. After school, Brookins drove her family to the five-mile-away construction site where she worked late into the night on the new house.

YouTube videos previously were vague and provided numerous solutions to a task. Brookins employed a part-time firefighter with building experience for $25 per hour to help with some of the more challenging tasks. She remembers, “He was a step ahead of us in knowledge.”

On March 31, 2009, Brookins and her kids moved into the five-bedroom home. She gave it the name Inkwell Manor in recognition of her desire to become a writer.

In the years afterwards, Brookins has written numerous middle grade and young adult books. She has also written a biography titled Rise: How a House Built a Family, which will be released on January 24.

Building the house helped Brookins emerge from her depression. We were ashamed that our best option was to construct our own shelter, Brookins adds. “We weren’t really proud of it,” In the end, it proved to be the best thing I could have done for myself.

She says, “You can do anything you set your mind to if I, a 110 pound computer programmer, can build a complete house.” Choose one goal and stay with it. Find the big thing you want to do, move slowly in that direction, and take those who also need healing with you. That has a lot of influence.






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