Overcoming Adversity: A Remarkable Journey of Resilience
The sad reality is that some individuals find it difficult to leave abusive relationships and start anew.
However, amidst these challenges, stories of extraordinary courage and determination emerge. One such example is the remarkable journey of Cara Brookins, a mother of four who, despite limited financial resources, embarked on a life-changing endeavor that would reshape the future of her family.
Emotionally drained after the end of her second abusive marriage, Cara Brookins sought solace in a unique project: building her own home, learning the skills necessary by watching instructional videos on YouTube. Selling their Bryant, Arkansas property, she set out on a quest to find a new place where she could provide her four children with a safe haven. Although affordable options seemed too small, she was determined to find a way to reunite her family. “However,” she admits, “I had no idea what that would entail.” That’s when Cara conceived the ambitious plan to construct her own home from the ground up.
“It felt like the natural thing to do in our situation,” she recalls. “In retrospect, I realize it sounds crazy, but no one else saw it that way.”
Cara purchased a one-acre plot of land for $20,000 and secured a construction loan of approximately $150,000. Through YouTube tutorials, she taught herself essential building techniques such as laying foundations, erecting walls, installing gas lines, and plumbing. Over the course of nine months, her children, ranging in age from two to seventeen, actively participated in the construction of the 3,500-square-foot house. Her fifteen-year-old son, Drew, assisted in creating plans, while eleven-year-old Jada used buckets to fetch water from a neighbor’s pond, which she mixed with 80-pound bags of concrete to form the foundation mortar.
Reflecting on the experience, Brookins, who worked during her children’s school hours, admits, “It felt impossible every step of the way.” After school, she would take her family to the construction site five miles away and work on the house late into the night. At the time, YouTube videos were often blurry and presented multiple approaches to completing a task. To supplement their knowledge, Brookins hired a part-time firefighter with building experience for $25 an hour. “He had more expertise than us,” she acknowledges.
On March 31, 2009, Cara and her children finally moved into their five-bedroom house, which they named Inkwell Manor, symbolizing her aspiration to become a writer. Subsequently, Brookins published numerous novels and a memoir titled “Rise: How a House Built a Family,” scheduled for release on January 24.
Recalling the process of building their own shelter, Brookins confesses, “We were embarrassed that this was our best option. It wasn’t something we were proud of.” However, it turned out to be the most empowering decision she could have made for herself. “If I, a 110-pound computer programmer, can build an entire house,” she asserts, “you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
Her advice to others facing adversity is straightforward yet profound: “Determine a single goal and remain committed to it. Identify that significant objective you wish to achieve, take small steps towards it, and invite others who also need healing to join you on this journey. There is immense power in that.”
The inspiring story of Cara and her children’s extraordinary experience is best conveyed through their own words. Watch as they share their touching narrative of bravery and hope:
Even in the face of unimaginable hardships, there is always hope for a brighter future, as exemplified by Cara’s remarkable journey, which stands as a testament to the resilience of survivors.