Her husband often abused her, so she took her children and left the house

After her second abusive marriage ended, Cara Brookins was emotionally devastated. She recovered by building a house for herself, a skill she acquired through online tutorials.

The single mother of four began looking for a new home in 2007 when she was kicked out of the Bryant, Arkansas, home she shared with her soon-to-be ex-husband.

The software analyst’s current budget only allowed for a computer that was too small. To bring peace to her family, Brookins also felt compelled to act. She says: “However, I had no idea what it was supposed to be like.”

As a result, Brookins came up with a plan to build her own home.

“Nobody saw it that way, and looking back it seems absurd.”

Brookins spent $20,000 on an acre of land and borrowed $150,000 on a construction loan.

She also began watching videos on YouTube to learn how to lay concrete slabs, frame a wall, connect a gas line and install plumbing.

For the entire nine months she spent building the 3,500-square-foot home, her children, ages 2 to 17, lent a helping hand.

At age 15, Drew assisted Brookins in the planning process.

Because there was no running water on the property, Jada, then 11, used buckets to haul water from a neighbor’s pond, which she then mixed with 80-pound bags of cement to make the foundation mortar.

“It seemed impossible throughout the whole process,” recalls Brookins, who worked while the children were in school.After school, Brookins and her family drove five miles to the construction site, where they worked late into the night.

YouTube videos used to be pixelated and there were always multiple ways to achieve the same goal.

To help with the more demanding tasks, Brookins paid a part-time firefighter with construction experience $25 an hour. He was more knowledgeable than any of us, he remembers.

At midnight on March 31, 2009, Brookins and her children were settling into their new five-bedroom home. She called it “Inkwell Manor” to express her ambitions as a writer.

Brookins’ various young adult and middle-aged novels, as well as her memoir, Rise: How a House Built a Family, will be published on January 24th.

See also: For the price of an iPhone, she built a house that’s just 900 square feet, but wait until you see the inside.

By working on the house, Brookins managed to pull himself out of depression. Brookins continues, “We were horrified that building our own home was our only option.”

“It wasn’t something we were really proud of. In the end, it was the best thing I could do for myself.”

“If I can build an entire house as a 110-pound computer programmer,” she says, “you can do anything you put your mind to.”

“Set a single goal and stick to it. Find that big thing you want to do, take small steps toward it, and take the people who need healing with you. That has a lot of power.”

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