Cara Brookins was left with severe emotional damage after her abusive marriage ended. She built her own home to help herself get better after seeing YouTube how-to tutorials.
After being forced to sell the home she and her soon-to-be ex shared in Bryant, Arkansas, the mother of four started shopping for a new home in 2007. However, all the computer programmer analysts could afford at the time was too small.
Brookins felt compelled to take action to reunite her family, but she wasn’t sure what she should do. The answer was to construct her own home.
When Brookins, 45, realized that no one else would build a house from scratch in her situation, she got the idea. Brookins declared, “If anyone were in our shoes, they wouldn’t do this.” Nobody else saw it this way, and now that I think about it more, I know it sounds crazy.
Brookins paid $20,000 for an acre of land and received a building credit of around $150,000. She then started watching YouTube tutorials to learn how to run a gas line, construct a wall, lay a foundation, and install plumbing. Brookins saved a lot of money by doing this project on her own.
Her children, ages two to seventeen, assisted her throughout the nine-month construction of the 3,500-square-foot home. Because there was no running water on the property at the time, Jada, who was 11 years old, transported water from a neighbor’s pond using buckets while Drew, who was 15 at the time, assisted Brookins in making the preparations. She then made the mortar for the foundation by mixing the water with 80-pound sacks of concrete.
Brookins, who worked during her children’s school hours and then took her family to the construction site (five miles away), where she worked late into the night, felt that the entire procedure was impossible. Brookins was adamant about finishing the house for her family despite the difficulties.
In 2009, YouTube videos offered a variety of answers to a challenge but were unclear. Brookins paid a part-time firefighter with construction experience $25 per hour for some of the more complex duties. “He was a step ahead of us in knowledge,” she recalls.
Brookins and her children moved into the five-bedroom house on March 31, 2009. She named it Inkwell Manor to honor her ambition to become a writer. After that, Brookins produced many works for young adults and middle school readers. On January 24, she will publish a biography of herself titled Rise: How a House Built a Family.
Building her own home, according to Brookins, was therapeutic for her while she battled depression. According to Brookins, “We were ashamed that our only choice was to build our shelter.” It was the best thing we could have done for ourselves in the end.
She encourages people who require healing to choose one objective and stick with it. She affirms, “You can do anything you put your mind to.” “I, a 110-pound computer programmer, am capable of constructing an entire home.” Pick one objective and stick with it.
Find the significant thing you wish to do, and take those who also need healing with you as you go gently in that direction.