Unfortunately, some folks find it tough to leave bad relationships. Yet, even during challenges, we come across inspiring stories of brave and determined individuals. Here’s the story of Cara Brookins, a mom of four, who, despite not having much money, chose to do something amazing to transform her family’s life.
After feeling really tired and upset from her second marriage ending badly, Cara Brookins wanted to find comfort in a special project. She decided to build her own house, even though she didn’t know how. She learned by watching videos on YouTube. She sold her property in Bryant, Arkansas, and searched for a new place for her and her four kids. The affordable options were too small, but she was determined to keep her family together. She didn’t know exactly how it would work, but that’s when she came up with the big plan to build her own house from scratch.
“At the time, it felt like the right thing to do for us,” she says. “Looking back, I know it sounds a bit crazy, but no one else thought so.”
Cara bought some land for $20,000 and got a loan of about $150,000 to build a house. She learned how to build by watching videos on YouTube, where she figured out things like making the foundation, putting up walls, and setting up gas and plumbing. For nine months, her kids, who were between two and seventeen years old, helped build the 3,500-square-foot house. Her fifteen-year-old son, Drew, helped with plans, and eleven-year-old Jada got water from a neighbor’s pond to mix with heavy bags of concrete for the foundation.
Reflecting on the past, Cara mentions, “Every step felt really hard.” She worked while her kids were at school and then took them to the construction site, about five miles away, to work on the house until late at night. The YouTube videos weren’t always clear, and there were different ways to do things. To learn more, Cara hired a part-time firefighter with building experience for $25 an hour. “He knew more than us,” she says.
On March 31, 2009, Cara and her kids finally moved into their five-bedroom house, called Inkwell Manor. They named it that because Cara wanted to be a writer. Later, Cara wrote many books, including a memoir called “Rise: How a House Built a Family,” set to come out on January 24.
Reflecting on the time when they built their own home, Cara admits, “We felt a bit ashamed that building our own house was the best choice for us. It wasn’t something we were proud of.” But it turned out to be the most powerful decision she could have made. “If I, a small computer programmer, can build a whole house,” she says, “you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it.”
Cara’s advice for people facing hard times is straightforward but meaningful: “Pick one important goal, stick to it, take small steps, and invite others who need healing to join you. There’s a lot of strength in that.”
You can best hear Cara and her kids’ inspiring story from them. Watch as they share their touching tale of courage and hope:
Even when facing really tough challenges, there’s always hope for a better future, as shown by Cara’s incredible journey. It proves how strong survivors can be.
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