deb-mainI am an author, professor, soccer mom, amateur musician, and science fiction fan.  For my day job, I am a professor of English at Calvin College, where I have taught since 1996. I teach early modern British literature, world literature, Shakespeare, composition, and creative nonfiction.

For me, teaching and writing are mutually enriching actions. Teaching keeps me in contact with great literature of the past and present and with the unmatched vitality of young minds. Writing allows me to reflect, imagine, and enter a larger human conversation about things mundane and eternal.

I have published three books, as well as numerous articles, poems, reviews, and more.  This website will give you a quick tour.


In 2002, Tarcher/Putnam published my first book, Great with Child: Reflections on Faith, Fullness, and Becoming a Mother, a meditative account of my third pregnancy and my son’s first year. I have been so grateful for the enthusiastic response from readers over the years.  Not only new mothers, but older women, young women, even curious and open-minded men have told me that they have found insight, pleasure, and consolation here.  The book was out of print for a while, but is now available again in a fresh new edition from Wordfarm.  Click on the book cover for more…

smm180My second book appeared in February 2005, published by Jossey-Bass. So Much More: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality is an imaginative orientation to the Christian faith. My editor describes the book as “a doorway for people to look through and see home.”  It presents the faith as a matter of practice as well as belief, and seeks to give sense of how ordinary faith looks and feels in daily experience. Readers have found this book very useful for study groups at churches and as a gift for friends who are full of questions and doubts about faith and who also want something beautiful to read.


In January 2009, Baker Books released Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry. Written with my husband, Ron, this book aims to help people attend carefully to language for praying, singing, and preaching in the worship practices of the church.  It is written for pastors, worship leaders, musicians, and anyone who cares about worship.  This one is more of a study book, with many practical examples, discussion questions, and exercises.