About Mary

Mary R. H. Demmler

Author. Priest. Wife. Mother. Retreat and Workshop Leader. Home Cook. Joy Enthusiast.

Mary R. H. Demmler

The spirit threads through everything, even in times when we don’t see it. I often catch glimpses of the divine while I’m cooking, enjoying time with my family, working with students, or spending a day or weekend with different groups as a retreat leader. Through it all, the spirit is there dancing and weaving, illuminating and whispering.

When I have a moment and when then spirit coaxes me, I sit and reflect on these glimpses, sharing what I have seen and experienced here and through my email newsletter. With every post, readers will comment or email me directly to share how they too have encountered a higher power in similar ways.

My first book, Phe and the Work of Death, focuses on my experiences with individuals and families at the time of and following death. Being present with people at this delicate and intimate moment has been one of the honors and blessings of my life. My hope is that this work of fiction will give people a new and more comforting way of engaging a topic that otherwise is shrouded with mystery and fear.

You can often find me…

Reading and Writing

Cooking in my kitchen

Guest preaching or leading worship on Sundays at area churches

Hosting dinners in my home to celebrate the many holidays of the religions of the world

Teaching

Leading workshops and retreats for area groups and churches

Designing and leading worship services for people from around the world

Past Retreat and Workshop Topics

Food, Faith, and Meditation
Step into the world of my Prayerful Kitchen with me. Not everyone loves to cook, that’s a given, but there is no denying that food ties us emotionally to holidays, life events, family, friends, and more. For me, cooking for others has become a form of meditation and prayer. I have spent hours in the kitchen with people from different cultures, ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds to learn how the preparation of a meal is key to connecting, reflecting, meditating, and more.

The Book of Psalms and Prayer
In the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, the Psalms (or the Psalter) provides a beautiful and painfully honest template for how we can communicate with the divine. From celebration to lament, joy to crushing suffering, all of it can and should be a part of our relationship with God.

Storytelling and Identity
The stories we have heard and told in our lives have shaped our process of becoming. The stories we choose to tell others also convey to them much about what we value, who we think we are, and how we want the world to see us. Understanding the meaning within our favorite stories opens our own eyes to who we want to be and deeper truths about who we really are. This is as true for a system, such as a business or faith community, as it is for an individual.

Women and Social Media Pressures
The world we see online is not the world as it is, but it can make us feel like failures. Imposter syndrome is a powerful force, exacerbated by the constant comparison of ourselves with others as they portray themselves on social media. How do we increase our awareness of these influences on our mental health? How can we be better curators of our social media to save ourselves from some of the self-doubt or self-loathing that can arise from these forms of communication?

Getting Real about the Stress of the Holidays
The outside world literally rings with bells and smiles and everything happy from Halloween to New Years. So why do we often feel our inner life at odds with all this external bling? Too often if we aren’t constantly joyful from October through December, we assume there must be something wrong with us. How do we reclaim our humanity in the season of fun, fun, fun? And why are the holidays so difficult for most of us?

Lowering the Bar
I enjoy exercising and lifting weights and my social media feeds show me a regular parade of motivational quotes. The message is the same: Raise the bar for yourself! But what about the times when we need to lower the bar? We are living in the time of a global pandemic, political uncertainty, a polarized global society, plus have the usual peaks and valleys of basic human life. For many people, the challenge isn’t learning to rise above and setting high goals. The challenge is learning to adjust what we consider our “best” at any given time.

Interested in having Mary lead your group, in person or virtually? Fill out the form below to check on her availability. Please include something about your group and the topics that interest you.