They say, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” While it’s easier said than done, the reality is that with determination and hard work, nothing is impossible.
Cara Brookins found herself trapped in an abusive marriage, and as a mother of five, she recognized the need to rescue her children from the toxic environment.
Taking matters into her own hands, she left her husband, took her children, and embarked on the extraordinary journey of building a new home from scratch. How did she achieve this feat? By independently creating construction plans and learning building techniques from YouTube videos, including laying foundations, constructing walls, running gas lines, and installing plumbing. It’s an incredible story, isn’t it?
Reflecting on her journey, Cara acknowledges that it seemed impossible every step of the way. In 2007, when she initiated the construction of her family’s new home, Cara, a computer programmer analyst, couldn’t afford a suitable home for her children. This led her to the unconventional idea of building one from the ground up.
“It felt like, ‘If anyone were in our situation, they would do this,’” Cara said. “No one else saw it like this, and in retrospect, I realize it sounds insane.”
Securing a one-acre plot for $20,000 and a construction loan of approximately $150,000, Cara enlisted her children in the ambitious project. Her oldest, Drew, assisted in creating plans, while 11-year-old Jada, using buckets, transported water from the neighbor’s pond as there was no running water on-site. She then mixed it with 80-pound bags of concrete to form the foundation mortar.
After school each day, the children would head to the construction site to lend a hand. To tackle the more challenging tasks, a resolute mother enlisted the help of a part-time firefighter with building expertise, compensating him at a rate of $25 per hour. Reflecting on the experience, she noted, “In terms of knowledge, he was a step ahead of us.”
The pivotal moment arrived on March 31, 2009, when the family finally relocated to the Inkwell Manor, a name chosen to honor Cara’s aspiration of becoming a writer.
Cara admitted, “We were dismayed that constructing our own shelter became our best option. It wasn’t something we took pride in, but it turned out to be the most beneficial thing I could have done for myself.”
Asserting her belief, she declared, “If I, a 110-pound computer programmer, can build an entire house, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.”
Continuing her advice, she encouraged, “Choose a singular goal and stick to it. Identify that significant objective, take small steps toward it, and invite others who also need healing to join you on the journey. There’s immense power in that.”
Isn’t this one of the most remarkable stories you’ve come across recently?
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