Cara Brooks had a very abusive second marriage. She separated from her husband because of the violence he used. Her separation step was followed by the construction of a house.
She had seen many videos on YouTube about how houses were built. In 2007, the mother of four had to sell the Bryant, Arkansas, the house she shared with her soon-to-be ex. She started looking for a new place to live.
However, the computer programmer analyst could not afford anything at the time. Brookins also felt compelled to take action to bring her family back together. She admits, “I had no idea what that should be,” however.
Brookins had the idea to build a house himself from scratch. According to Brookins, 45, “it felt like if anyone were in our situation, they would do this.”
I now realize that it sounds insane because no one else saw it this way.
A one-acre piece of land and a construction loan of roughly $150,000 was paid for by Brookins for $20,000 each.
She also started watching videos on YouTube to learn how to build a wall, lay a foundation, run a gas line, installs plumbing, and other building techniques.
During the nine months it took to build the 3,500-square-foot house, her children, who were between the ages of 2 and 17, helped her.
Drew, who was just 15 at the time, helped Brookins make plans.
Jada, then 11 years old, mixed 80-pound bags of concrete into the water from a neighbor’s pond to make the foundation mortar because there was no running water on site.
“It seemed impossible the whole way through,” says Brookins, who worked while the kids were in school.
After school, Brookins took her family to the construction site five miles away, where she worked late into the night on the new house.
At the time, YouTube videos were blurry and provided a variety of approaches to completing a task.
For $25 an hour, Brookins hired a part-time firefighter with building experience to do some of the more difficult tasks. She recalls, “He was a step ahead of us in terms of knowledge.”
On March 31, 2009, Brookins and her children moved into the five-bedroom house. In honor of her desire to write, she named it Inkwell Manor.
After that, Brookins has written numerous novels for middle-grade and young adult readers, as well as a memoir titled Rise: On January 24, the book How a House Built a Family will be published.
By building the house, Brookins was able to get out of her funk. We were ashamed that our only other option was to construct our own shelter, according to Brookins.
“It wasn’t anything we were particularly proud of,” we said. I discovered that it was the best thing I could have done for myself.
She asserts, “You can do anything you set your mind to.” If a 110-pound computer programmer like me can build an entire house, you can, too.
Pick a single objective and stick to it. Take small steps towards the big thing you want to do, and bring others who need to heal along with you on the journey. That carries a lot of weight.