Many of us have tried to learn how to do something by watching YouTube videos. The half-hearted, embarrassing results are likely tucked away in a drawer or hidden in a far corner of the garage.
Cara Brookins' story is incredibly different.
With limited funds and coming from a domestic violence situation, the Little Rock woman needed a house for herself and her four kids.
"Long story short, we needed a house, so we built one," Brookins writes on her website.
But they didn't do it in the traditional manner. Brookins turned to the internet, watching tutorials for every step of the home-building process.
“We could afford all the supplies so we just put it together ourselves," Brookins told KTHV. “With just a little bit at a time, we figured out how to lay a foundation block. There was a lot of asking people at Home Depot for help too.”
Brookins and her kids — who were 17, 15, 11 and 2 at the time — built a 3,500-square-foot house with five bedrooms, a three-car garage and a two-story treehouse.
It wasn't easy ...
"While our toes nearly froze off as we mixed concrete in a wheelbarrow, our back muscles ached from hauling two-by-fours, and we sweated and itched our way through fiberglass insulation — we also rebuilt our broken family," she writes.
They hand-mixed mortar for the foundation, ran gas lines and framed walls, proving to themselves, Brookins says, that a determined family can accomplish anything.
... but it did launch a new chapter
Brookins, who has written seven fiction novels for young adults and adults, decided to capture the family's homebuilding experience in a memoir. "Rise: How a House Built a Family" hits bookstores on Jan. 24. It also inspired "Raise My Roof," a podcast where Brookins interviews experts, activists and celebrities about things in their lives they’ve overcome. In addition. Brookins has become a motivational speaker.
She shares her advice for people struggling to tackle domestic abuse or other seemingly insurmountable problems.
“Do something big. Take a big leap and set an impossible goal. With enough determination you can do it.”
The only people who told me I could build a house happened to also depend on me for food and flip flops. (My amazing kiddo.) Build it anyhow https://t.co/hJwW7m4pTU— Cara Brookins (@cmbrookins) January 12, 2017