Her husband used to beat her so frequently, she took her children and ran away from home

way through.”

Brookins took her family to the five-mile-away construction site after school and worked on the new home late into the night.

At the time, YouTube videos were blurry and offered multiple ways to complete a task.

Brookins did hire a part-time firefighter with building experience for $25 an hour. “In terms of knowledge, he was a step ahead of us,” she recalls.

On 31 March 2009 Cara moved her children into the five-bedroom house and called it the Inkwell Manor in honor of her ambition to be a writer.

She subsequently published many novels, as well as a memoir, Rise: How a House Built a Family, which will be released on January 24.

Brookins built the house. “We were mortified that building our own shelter was our best alternative,” Brookins says.

“It wasn’t anything we were really proud of.” It turned out to be the most beneficial thing I could have done for myself.

“If I, a 110-pound computer programmer, can build an entire house,” she asserts, “you can do anything you set your mind to.”

“Decide on a single aim and stick to it. Find that large thing you want to do, take tiny steps toward it, and bring along others who need to heal with you on the journey. There’s a lot of power in that.”

Maybe the most compelling way to describe Cara and her kids’ amazing experience is via their own words.

Watch as they tell their moving story of courage and hope:

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