Building a Home for Healing

Cara Brookins found herself emotionally exhausted after her second abusive marriage came to an end. Determined to recover and provide a safe haven for her four children, she embarked on an extraordinary journey: building her own home from scratch. With no prior construction experience, she turned to YouTube tutorials to gain the necessary skills and knowledge.

While searching for a new home for her family, Cara realized that everything within her budget seemed too small. Undeterred, she felt compelled to find a way to reunite her family under one roof. Despite the doubts and skepticism from others, Cara devised a plan to construct her own home.

“It felt like the only option for us,” she reflected. “If anyone else were in our situation, they would do the same thing.” While she acknowledges that her decision may have seemed insane to some, Cara was determined to build a better future for her family.

Cara purchased a one-acre plot of land for $20,000 and secured a construction loan of approximately $150,000. Through countless hours of watching YouTube tutorials, she learned how to lay a foundation, build walls, run gas lines, install plumbing, and other essential building techniques.

Throughout the nine-month construction process, Cara’s children played an integral role. Drew, her fifteen-year-old son, helped her create plans, while eleven-year-old Jada used buckets to gather water from a neighbor’s pond, which she mixed with concrete to form the foundation mortar.

The road to building their dream home was far from easy. Between working during the day and construction at night, Cara faced numerous challenges. The YouTube videos were often blurry, offering multiple ways to complete a task, adding to the complexity of their project. To help bridge the knowledge gap, Cara hired a part-time firefighter with building experience, who proved to be a valuable resource for their construction journey.

On March 31, 2009, Cara and her children finally moved into their five-bedroom house, which they named Inkwell Manor, a testament to Cara’s ambition as a writer. Since then, Cara has gone on to publish many novels and a memoir titled “Rise: How a House Built a Family,” which tells the story of their incredible journey.

Reflecting on the experience, Cara admits that they were initially embarrassed that building their own shelter was their best option. However, it turned out to be the most empowering and transformative decision she could have made for herself and her children.

Cara’s story is a powerful reminder that no matter the circumstances or personal limitations, anything is possible with determination and resilience. “If I, a 110-pound computer programmer, can build an entire house,” she affirms, “you can achieve anything you set your mind to.”

So, if you have a dream or a goal that seems insurmountable, remember to focus on a single aim and take small steps towards it. Involve others who are also on a healing journey and witness the incredible power that comes from pushing through adversity together.