I didn’t expect to have a child on the autism spectrum.

I also didn’t expect the changes it would bring in me. What would I tell my 35 year old self about wanting be in control of everything?

How cool is God’s faithfulness? How essential is community? What have I learned about galaxies, school buses, & pipe organs? Find out by reading Jacksonville. The book is currently in the editing process but will be released in 2020.

Why Jacksonville?

Our son, Jack, is on the autsim spectrum. He has a beautiful imagination. When he was little and became enchanted with the story in his head, he would gallop around the house humming with a terrific smile on his face. My husband and I would joke and say things like: “They must have inflated the bounce houses in Jacksonville” or “The ice cream truck must be in Jacksonville.” I never thought Jack noticed until one day when I asked, “Jack, what are you pretending? I want to go there. It sounds delightful!” He looked at me and said, “I’ve gone to Jacksonville, and you’re not invited.” When deciding on what to call this book, the answer was quite clear.


Our son, Jack, has Asperger’s. This puts him on the high functioning edge of the autism spectrum. On the other end of the “spectrum” are children who are non-verbal and virtually unable to connect. This book is not about them. If you have a child that is more affected my prayers are with you and my story will sound trite. But it’s my journey, and if it speaks to anyone, I’m glad to tell it.


“I know of nobody who is purely autistic, or purely neurotypical. Even God has some autistic moments, which is why the planets spin.”
― Jerry NewportYour Life is Not a Label

67820672 10157438147232114 4513135502739636224 o

About The Author

Mari lives in Carmel, Indiana with her husband of 25 years, Ed, their children, Betsy & Jack, and 2 dogs, Charlotte and Dash.  When not writing this book, she is the founder of Storycast Network and is working on multiple projects that all involve the sharing of excellent stories.

The best stories are told by those who see things differently.

~Mari Sandifer, Jacksonville

zimbleman colin 4

“Autism offers a chance for us to glimpse an awe-filled vision of the world that might otherwise pass us by.”

Dr. Colin Zimbleman, Ph.D.


”A child with autism is not ignoring you, they are simply waiting for you to enter their world.”

Autism Treatment Center of America®

Picture2 e1523690877507

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”

Angela Schwindt

I thought he would be the boy version of Betsy, but he was the Jack version of Jack.

Thank God.

~Mari Sandifer, Jacksonville


please Let others know about


As Jack passes me up in height and his voice deepens, I’m in awe of the man he is becoming. But at the same time, I recall the golden-haired boy with clear, cornflower blue eyes who captured my heart & changed me. The boy who taught me to notice. To see.

~Mari Sandifer

Custom share text.

i share section book mockup