The Inspiration Wood promise – to provide welcoming accommodations, warm hospitality, and award-winning catering — began with hope and faith.

Our Inspiration

Many years ago, a family was struggling to stay close and united in a world not so interested in unity. They had lost meaning in their lives. They yearned for the simple times when they vacationed together and spent time as a family. They hoped for a better life. They traveled to retreats and cottages and got together for short times. Business and busy-ness kept them apart most of the time. Hope and faith brought them back.

“Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1


“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21

Suddenly, Dad got sick. A simple surgery turned into months and then years in and out of hospitals. Mom stayed by his side when he was sick. Dad went to work when he could. Friends helped, pitched in. Kids suffered and worried. Life changed. Along the way, Dad’s job changed. Family became more of a priority than stuff. People became more important than things.

“Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” – Exodus 23:20


Living by faith, life had more meaning and Inspiration Wood was dreamed. Friends and family shared in that dream, helped design the dream, became the dream. New family was added, new designs and plans came to be and Inspiration Wood was born.


Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” – Mark 9:23

Our Growth

The name Inspiration Wood was inspired by a simple elementary school devotion about the legend of the Christmas Tree. Each cottage was inspired by a different tree legend. The idea of Inspiration Wood evolved and grew over the years with the help of countless friends and business associates. Each year as we grow, we become more of what our families’ need – a connection; a place of peace and tranquility; a time where families, businesses and churches can come together in unity to reach common goals.

We love that we can work with family and friends. Mere words alone cannot express the gratitude for those who have helped build this place.

“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” – Hebrews 3:4


We could not have done it without your expertise. We are ever growing and changing in our love and faith for what we do, and the legacy of Inspiration Wood will continue long after its founders are gone. Those who work here will have the imprint of their name, their passion for their work, their labors of love, and the emotional attachment to this place to pass on to their children. Many family and friends worked behind the scenes and go unnamed, but not forgotten. Your love and faith in us has made us what we are today and will always impact what we can become. We add new members to our family of believers every day. o We hope you, too, become a part of our family. Thank you for joining us at IW.

Our Mission

Inspiration Wood strives to create an environment that inspires others to reach their greatest potential spiritually, personally and professionally. We recreate that environment each day. We recreate that environment each time a new family or group comes to visit. We recreate that environment as we learn and grow from you. Thank you for becoming a part of Inspiration Wood.

Accommodations & Amenities

The names of Inspiration Wood’s amenities come from the meaning of our names. Everyone that works here or has worked here has a special place in our hearts and in the Wood. The Gathering Space is named like our church’s lobby. The “Greeting” Barn is for welcoming guests. Prophet’s Pond is named for the messenger of God who inspired us to take this leap of faith. Grace Garden & Meadow are named for the gift of God’s Grace in our lives and the lives of those who helped us grow into what we are today. The Princess Path is named for our daughter, Sarah – our “Princess Pearl.” The Inspiration Garden is named for our love of miniatures and is a scale model of Inspiration Wood. The Lavender house is named for Martha – our Lavender Lady. Lavender means to wash in French and she is our “wash woman” and a Lady at that. The Friendship Room is named for our friend and founder, Kimberly Ruth – our “Strong Friend.” Noble Knoll is named for our friends – our “Noble Ties.” Purity Path is for our niece, Caitlin Jane – our “Pure Gracious.” Warrior’s Walk is named for our son, Mark Elliott — our “Warrior of God” (and Grammy-Mary Louise). Rulers Roost is named for our nephew, Dane Edward (and Grandpa-Dane Alan). Council Clearing is named for Dad – Ronald Franklin – who is no longer sick, thank God. Bright Belief is named for our friend in Christ and those who taught us of His light in our lives. Tranquil Trail is our quiet trail named in honor of the hunter that lived here before and enjoyed the tranquility of the wood. Handsome Hollow is named for Kevin and Kyle, who continue to give us trees and technology, and for Ken and Lyn, who gave us buildings. Funny how so many of our names mean the same thing, isn’t it?

Our Thanks

As we become what God has meant for us, we pray for the strength and wisdom to do what we must to protect the legacy we have created. We pray for those who have been a part of this, but go on to do other things in their own lives. We hope to become a place of strength and inspiration for all who visit here. Thank you for becoming a part of this legacy of hope and inspiration.


To all who join us, remember this: “The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.” – Psalm 118:14.

The Creation of the Cottages

The creation of the cottages began long before the property for Inspiration Wood was purchased. Each cottage was inspired by a legend related to a biblical story or symbolic meaning of the wood or fruit or other parts of the tree. (Just now as I write this I realize the significance since we have decided to teach essential oil education at Inspiration Wood.) Our mission is to create an environment that inspires others to reach their greatest potential spiritually, personally, and professionally. We now use essential oils from plants to create that mission. Our programming is as much a part of our mission as the places and property and people. Two years ago, we found the connection and incorporated oils into our lives and Inspiration Wood. See “Our Oil Journey” to learn more about how we found this missing piece.

Each cottage was designed from scratch, on scratch paper for that matter. I used graph paper and drew floor plans for each. The rough, and I do mean ROUGH, drawings were accepted and appreciated by a designer from a company called Yankee Post and Beam (a division of Timberpeg). Each building was made to our specifications (there are some rules of design). When this dream was just starting, Ron and I took a trip to New Hampshire to visit a model home built for guests to experience post and beam living. I was sold on the idea immediately!

The construction is panelized, flat-packed and shipped from a factory, much like the current popular tiny houses on the market today. Each panel is built in a factory with anything from raw studs all the way to finished dry wall and windows. The roof panels come with your choice of wood or drywall finish and come ready to be shingled in your choice of roofing. The panels fit within a timber frame. The Greeting Barn was built (after the foundation was finished) in less than a week from shell to roof. The photos of this process are amazing. See our gallery of designs to experience the wonder of it all for yourself.

The first cottage I imagined was Pine Lodge – a two-bedroom, loft-style Lodge for up to 8 guests. I was inspired by a memory of a lake cottage I visited as a child in Michigan. The ceilings and walls are wood paneling. The cabinets are pine and the paint is a dark rich pine green. Pinecone Cabin (our handicapped version) also came from that memory. It is the king one bedroom match to Pine Lodge. These two cottages are located in the Family Cottage section of Inspiration Wood. We also have Oak and Acorn to match. (Not yet built: Maple Lodge & Sumara Cabin.) Our original plan was to have 15 cottages in five groups of three. The Lodges would match the Cabins in color and decorative style. The Fruitwoods (Apple, Pear & Cherry) are each 2 bedroom-2 bathroom cottages. They each have 2 single beds in a room with a 3/4 shower bathroom attached and a king bedroom with a full tub bathroom. Another group not yet built are the Nutwoods (Hickory, Chestnut and Walnut). We have another section for cottages off the road a bit. We have not yet decided what size to build there.

I created design boards for each cottage with colors and finishes to refer to for the builder. Each design group has similar flooring, countertops and cabinets. The carpet we chose has sort of a leafy design. The floors are all sort of an antique wood look. The tubs and showers are all custom-designed creative marbled finish. Most of my inspiration for color came from the tree or fruit or wood itself. We started with bedding. That is important for high end resorts.

You have to have good bedding, soft fluffy pillows and thick plush towels. The rest of the decorations can be creative and eclectic. We spent many months scouring antique stores and garage sales for fun decorations and wall hangings to match our themes for each cottage. Who knew my kids were such enthusiasts for antiques and flea market finds. It was a family project. Some days we went shopping for trunks and tables, other days we were looking for fruit or wood themes. Whatever the day, we found treasures and time together to share.

As I tell this story, I think of the next steps to growing our dream. We need more people to be part of that dream. It is a big one. It takes more hands and more time than we have just between the two of us. Our kids are grown and have moved on to building their dreams. We need to fill the Sunflower House again with a family who wants to be part of this. And then the story continues…

Our Oil Journey

It is January of 2018. As I write this story, it has been three years since I began my Oil Journey. It is all my mother’s fault that I started this (which I will explain later). I started this without too much support from my husband and children. I promised when I started dōTERRA, we would be done with everything else. We had tried so many other companies, quite a few as a matter of fact. Don’t misunderstand, my husband had always been supportive over the years in my direct sales businesses, but he figured one was enough. (He was right-and we found it.) Let’s start from the beginning, sort of…

I started my direct sales career when our son, Mark, was three and our daughter, Sarah, was one-and-a-half. It didn’t go the way I expected, but now I know I am where I need to be. This will be a raw emotional excerpt of my life and the lives of our family members who are a part of our journey. If you have the heart, get out the tissues and join me in the journey. It offers happiness and hope for those of you who like fairy tale endings. I never wanted to blog about my life, but my passion, purpose and profession is now to inspire others…SO here goes.

I started out selling classic American-made baskets and classic pink Cadillac makeup and skincare. I decided which ever one I got the most upline support from, I would pursue. The makeup won. For a while I was living in a pink fog. My collection of baskets grew until my house was overflowing. My team of skincare specialists grew. But it was unnatural and forced for me. I didn’t connect with the products on an emotional level. My mentor was a “my-way-or-the-highway” kind of leader. I had small children and a family to work around and sacrificed to get the job done. I earned a car and some cash and then my husband, Ron, got sick. Really sick. My team fell apart without me there. One night when I was in the hospital with Ron, I got a call from a team member crying because she was told that if she didn’t wear a skirt to the “success meeting” she looked trashy. She never came back to the meeting. She was one of the classiest friends I had. The sales director that told her that was not so classy. Needless to say, I was on my way out of that group soon after. For more reasons than one.

For three years, we were in and out of hospitals. Ron had a routine gall bladder surgery with every complication imaginable. Some unimaginable. The doctor who performed the surgery did everything right. But something unexpected happened. A gallstone got caught in his common bile duct and eventually caused his pancreas to rupture. But I get ahead of myself…We didn’t know that for over a year. The first year after that frantic phone call in the hospital, we were in and out of the hospital every month. The longest stay was 40 days long. My kids learned to love hospital cafeteria food for dinner and each suffered in their own way while we tried to keep our family going. Mark did nothing but eat and sleep. Sarah could barely sleep or eat at all. Each person deals with stress in a different way. Ron waited every day in the hospital bed to see the kids after school. He purposely waited for his pain meds until after he could see them so he wouldn’t be loopy. I don’t know how I dealt with the stress. I do know underwear and socks were not getting folded. Who cares if your underwear is wrinkly?

While Ron was sleeping, I came up with a plan for our business. I wasn’t sure how to make it happen or what exactly it would be, but I had always had the idea that direct sales executives would love it. The “my-way-or-the-highway” upline was less than enthusiastic about my place and chose instead to pay for a hotel conference room. So much for that plan. Eventually, she was asked to be a guest speaker at a function we were having for none other than Ron’s former employer. Talk about awkward! We took care of our guests and guest speaker and got through the day with both of our former “bosses”. It was not the plan I had in mind. But it did give me some insight into what we needed to do for our business to be unique. We had to focus on what we do differently. I knew the programming and speakers that our guests were bringing in were not up to par with the motivational and inspirational workshops I had in mind.

I began a search for a wellness company to connect with. I stumbled upon a supplier that I could sell retail and use to clean our cottages. My health was not yet at a critical place, but I was beginning the research that led me to dōTERRA. The company we started using was a naturally crafted home and health care company. The ingredients listed in their products started to concern me as I developed my education into health and wellness. So, I switched to another company that call themselves the wellness company. Of course, they had to be all natural. But, we also found out that their products are not any different from what you buy in the grocery to clean your house or take care of your health. Each of the companies have a monthly requirement for membership. No problem, we have a business to run and clean, we could meet monthly requirements easily. Once my research was complete (which was when I really understood the dōTERRA difference), I knew I wanted out of the monthly plan. Not so fast. It took countless emails, orders I didn’t want and a few calls to the company to get off the plan. Eventually I had to fax my request to cancel my order. Seriously, should it be that easy for a company to spend my money without my consent? So, we are now an exclusive dōTERRA Wellness Advocate Family. We are building a team of Wellness Warriors at Inspiration Wood Cottage Inn & Conference Center. And it is a perfect fit. Let me tell you how we figured that out.

My whole life I have suffered from digestive distress, skin sensitivities and other basic health issues. Hormonal havoc came in my teen years and exacerbated the situation. My mom says as a child she had to cut the tags and elastic out of all my clothes, because I would break out in a rash. Polyester was all the rage in the ’70s when we were growing up. It was not a fashion statement for me. All natural cotton clothing was the only thing that didn’t give me fits. Fast food was a luxury my family couldn’t afford often which probably saved my gut from the damage it can cause. My mom was a stay-at-home mom who took care of her family and stood behind my dad as he earned his PH.D. in Biomedical Engineering and started his own company years later. She cooked mostly from scratch, but had the occasional quick meal with pre-made soups and mixes to make life easier. We ate at home. Rarely did we venture out for a meal until my dad’s company became successful.

As a teen, I was skinny and lacked much muscle. I wasn’t sickly or strange looking, but I wasn’t really very healthy. When my menstrual cycle started, I was miserable. Cramping and clotting were normal for me as well as extreme hormonal changes and mood swings. Erratic cycles were nerve racking and played havoc on my temperament. From the age of 12 to about 18, I was a temperamental intolerable teen prone to outbursts of anger and irritability. I would sometimes purposely miss the bus so my dad had to take me to school. He didn’t understand the stigma of riding the bus with under class students when I was an upper class student without a car. Such drama. Also, I didn’t like to eat breakfast, so my mom prepared protein drinks for me. Back in the day, there were no fancy fun protein powders that you could add to a morning shake. She put in raw eggs…and if the blender was not working, I got slimy smoothies. I quickly decided the breakfast drinks were not for me! She tried. Mornings getting ready were not the easiest time for her or my dad. The “terrible twos” are nothing compared to the “tragic teen” years. By 18, my hormones and moods had stabilized some and I was an adult human.

In college, my food sensitivities and hormonal issues continued. My grandfather was a family doctor and he prescribed muscle relaxants for my periods. The choices consisted of cramps and severe pain and fog from my cycle OR manageable pain and absolute inability to focus on my studies. So either way a final exam or test was not going to go well. Between cycles, my attention span and food sensitivities were manageable. Dairy and wheat seemed to be culprits in my digestive distress, but I didn’t really know that at the time. Hindsight is 20/20, you know! My family talked about poop on a regular basis. My grandfather knew the value of whole foods and nutrition even before it became a mainstream media subject. To my dismay and utter embarrassment, we discussed bowel movements or “BMs” on a regular basis, sometimes at the dinner table. I loved my grandparents more than anything, but really, I was shy and not so willing to discuss what was a personal subject – let alone a disgusting one – at dinnertime.

Now a few or more years later, I have children who I have embarrassed regularly by asking personal questions at the dinner table. Usually only when we have had the “I don’t feel good” conversations. My kids are both college-age, they are both athletes. They each have their own Wellness Advocate accounts and teams. They are both relatively healthy, but each has food sensitivities that may be hereditary. Ron and our son, Mark, have had gallbladder removal surgery. Sarah has hormonal and digestive issues as well. My digestive distress came to a critical level a year after my dad passed away. I have never been so sick in my life. Here is what happened.

On New Year’s Eve, my mom talked me into joining dōTERRA as a Wellness Advocate. So you see, it was all her fault. I used her as an excuse when Ron reminded me of all my other escapades in direct sales. She does not do smartphones or internet, so she may have wanted me to get going so she could get them from me. Her friend Mary signed me up for an account. And I got started. I began to immerse myself in oils. I had no idea what I was doing or what each oil was for, but Mary gave me a book and I started to read. I started immediately creating concoctions and playing with natural homemade health care. My father was getting treatments in Ohio and was transported back and forth from Warsaw, Indiana, to Cleveland, Ohio, regularly. We closed our cottages and did our best to support my mom as she cared for my dad. We ended up having to cancel a Gathering with a group for a last visit with my kids and my dad. It was the hardest business decision we had ever made. But it was the last time Ron and the kids saw him alive. We grieved his loss and do every day, but we have console and peace oils now for the transition and toll it takes to lose someone you love.

The oils were such a support to me during that time. I learned about oils for grief and emotional support. But, a year later, I got sick. Fever, headache, vomiting, vertigo and diarrhea. I slept in a chair because I couldn’t lay flat. I suffered from vertigo for almost a year and a half and visited every specialist I could find. I tried my family doctor who recommended neurologists, ear nose and throat specialists, acupuncturists, even chiropractors. No one seemed to know what was causing it. My family was supportive and took care of me, but it weighed on them, just like Ron’s illness did. The stress took its toll. We were all struggling. Eventually, Ron and I found a nutritionist that put us on a path to health and wholeness. She was instrumental in listening to our needs and teaching us to be advocates of our own health.

The essential oil journey has been amazing and intimidating at the same time. I know that the foundation for my health is what I eat, and put into my body and environment. Ron and I both chose to begin a path to wellness. It required each of us to explore our nutritional needs and evaluate our health and how we feel differently than we were raised. We take our Lifelong Vitality supplements and each adds our own additional supplements for specific health needs. We are eating mostly whole foods now. Ron is better about the sugars which are such a craving of mine. As of today, he has lost 45 pounds and has better energy than he did when we first got married 22 years ago. I have lost about 15 pounds so far. I feel great. My vertigo is almost gone. I am learning to manage my hormones and I can sleep in the bed. Eventually my family doctor was able to confirm my research. The vertigo and other symptoms were probably caused by an antibiotic reaction which I took for a dental procedure. I had an abscess in my tooth under a root canal that had been failing repeatedly. I had to visit an oral specialist to get the repair done. I took antibiotics as a precaution. A few months later, I was in upheaval. I am so thankful for the patience of my physician and our friend the nutritionist who made me talk about my poop and get to the bottom of my issues. Pun intended.

When I was growing up, no one knew about Celiac disease. We did talk about our poop, but my mom didn’t know that the skin sensitivities are part of it as well. Wheat affects me adversely. I have oils to support me, but ultimately, food and diet are very different for me now. I have studied oils and overall health. I know the value of purity and responsibly sourced and harvested oils. dōTERRA is different and we want to share our Oil Journey with the world to give them the tools to take care of their families. We offer Wellness Workshops and private consultations. We have a team of Wellness Warriors that fight for the essential education that we all need for the future of integrative health. Our Oil Journey is not over. Ron and Mark and I went to conference in 2017. It changed Ron’s perspective on this company. He was not quite sold on the idea of incorporating essential oils into Inspiration Wood. We clean our cottages with essential oils and dōTERRA products. We use all the personal care products and supplements and essential oils for everything. We are still learning and trying new oils. We are developing programming and team training and building our dream of Inspiration Wood with the final piece of the puzzle.

Our mission at Inspiration Wood is to create an environment that inspires others to reach their greatest potential Spiritually, Personally and Professionally. We are now educating others on how essential oils can help them reach that potential. This February, Ron and I will start Diamond Club in dōTERRA. It will offer an opportunity to grow our team locally and travel to other areas where we have teams as well. We currently have teams in Indiana, Ohio, California, Florida, Arizona and overseas as well. Ron teaches the business side of the training. He shares oils every chance he gets. Our kids and my mom share oils as well and are building their own teams. This fits- dōTERRA was the missing piece of our puzzle. We have found our own greatest potential Spiritually, Personally & Professionally through wellness and our Oil Journey.

Join us to learn more. Events are posted monthly. Contact us to start your oil journey,

Reitz Girls

quotemark icon


Dear Inspiration Woods,
We have been thoroughly impressed by the work that you have put in to maintain this beautiful house. Thank you for making this a great visit for us and our family. We really appreciate you and your climb to reach the top of the mountain called Excellence.

the Reitz girls

Caroline (8), Emmanuelle (13), Glory (16) + their brother Josiah (timeless)


quotemark icon

Peaceful Getaway

This was an excellent place to stay while visiting the dunes. It’s located about 15 minutes from each of the adjacent cities and accessible by scenic side roads. The perfect place to relax after a day of hiking or soaking sun up at the beach. And the staff was very friendly.



quotemark icon


A great place to stay while visiting Indiana Dunes. Close by yet away from it all makes it a relaxing place to spend the night, or two. Deer walking by at dusk then wonderful crickets at dark. We loved it.


Kent, WA

J. Baker

quotemark icon

Family Vacation

What a great place to take the family to get away for a while. It lived up to the website and more. The cabin was great, well maintained and the staff were very friendly/hospitable. Highly recommend. We will bring the family back next year.

J. Baker

Fishers, IN

Paul M.

quotemark icon

Wonderful Setting, Always a Pleasure

On a beautifully mild summer day, the serene setting of Inspiration Wood made an otherwise tedious business meeting almost enjoyable. Great food. Attentive staff. Easy to get to, yet far enough from any city noise.

Paul M.

Valparaiso, IN


quotemark icon

Perfect for Team Meetings and Retreats

Inspiration Wood is the perfect place to hold you team meeting or retreat. It is located in a beautiful setting and the main meeting space will comfortably seat about 30. The food is always fresh and great care is taken to meet special dietary needs.


Valparaiso, IN

Lisa G.

quotemark icon

Sisters Reunion

We had a fabulous sisters reunion at the Gathering Place. We had a lovely reunion of two sisters, in their 90’s, who had not seen each other for over a year, for the afternoon. Catered lunch for 19 family members was delicious and catered to our every needs. Lovely spot, beautiful grounds, even with the occasional rain drops, did not dampen our wonderful event. Ron helped us with every detail!

Lisa G.

San Rafael, CA

Amanda H.

quotemark icon

Inspiring, Wonderful, Restful … All in All Perfect

We fell in love with Inspiration Wood basically the moment we drove in. A co-worker and I chose it as the location for our universities Senior Women’s Retreat. Ron and Kim helped create the perfect atmosphere for the retreat through the details of all the cabins to the wonderfully catered meals. They also had all the equipment needed for our speakers presentations. They made it easy and our students could not stop raving about Inspiration Wood.

Amanda H.

Sharon M.

quotemark icon

Perfect Place for our Leadership Retreat

Our Agency had our leadership retreat at Inspiration Wood. Ron made it so easy to organize the facility part of our retreat. We had the entire place to ourselves using all of the cottages but one. Ron arranged for all of the meals to be catered and his recommendations for the food were perfect. The Gathering room was used for all of our training. With all the windows and the wrap around porch it was the perfect place for our staff to meet as a group yet have plenty of area to break into small groups.

Sharon M.

Jim W.

quotemark icon

Ideal Place for a Family Reunion

My family came from all over the country and booked the entire retreat for three blissful days with just the right mix of activities & relaxing. The owners Rom & Kim were very accommodating to our needs and always on-hand, living on the farm just next-door to the compound. The grandkids especially loved the hayride over to check out the horses & other rescued animals, all lovingly cared for by our host’s family. We also had a great time with two off-site excursions to the nearby Indiana Dunes State Park and a great local water park. Our final catered meal at the Gathering House was a perfect end to my parent’s 50th anniversary.

Jim W.

Larkspur, CA

Judy R.

quotemark icon

Delightful Retreat Out in the County

We had a lovely weekend at Inspiration Wood. The cabins are clearly a labor of love and were both charming and very comfortable. The hosts were extremely friendly and helpful and you are really away from it all and yet 15 minutes away from some great attractions. We had them cater in meals for a family reunion and the food was very good and the Gathering Space a very nice building for a big dinner.

Judy R.

Chicago, IL

James H.

quotemark icon

Perfect Place to Stay with Our Family

I could not have imagined a better place to stay from the perfect setting to relax and give the kids a chance to go to the beach less than 15 minutes away yet go outside and enjoy the fresh air! Breakfast was great and the staff was even better. WOW is all I can say.

James H.

Avon, IN

Testimonials provided by TripAdvisor.

cottage-inn-retreat logo

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11