Suntree family finds perfect mix of faith, sports

Sarah and Sam Wood are devoted to Jackson, Ella and Benjamin, their three children.

Sarah Wood likes to go for a run or take a bike ride just before lunch. The Suntree resident is the editor-in-chief of mommentor.org, a ministry publication based in California that gives practical, spiritual advice and wisdom from writers all over the country.

“We could have stories on how to teach kids biblical worldviews or how to help a toddler get through a temper tantrum. We have contributors who are marriage and family therapists or interviews on how to manage and handle suicide prevention. We have a bunch of resources.’’

Wood, 37, and her husband Sam, 45, have three children — Jackson, 11, Ella, 8, and Benjamin, 3. They have lived in Suntree off of Pinehurst for the past 10 years.

Sam Wood is a test engineer for L3 Harris. The couple met in their 20s at the East Coast Christian Center on Merritt Island. They now attend Calvary Chapel in Viera.

“We’ve been together through a lot of thick and thin,’’ said Sam Wood, a Middle Tennessee State graduate, who grew up in Tampa before moving to Smyrna, Tennessee for his high school years. “She actually will listen to what my thoughts are on anything and we will process through issues together verbally. Some people think out loud. We take time out to do that.’’

The Christianity of their 20s still applies today.

“What makes our marriage special is spiritually we have the same Christian beliefs,’’ Sam Wood said. “We put our marriage and our kids first above everything else.’’

Sarah Wood’s father was in the Air Force. She loved hiking in the state parks surrounding Las Vegas as an elementary school student. Another place that she loved was Yorktown, Virginia and its significance in American history during the Revolutionary War.

The family eventually moved to Orlando, where she graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in elementary and early childhood education.

Jackson and Ella attend Quest Elementary School. Benjamin goes to Faith Viera three times a week.

Besides her work for mommentor.org, Sarah Wood is on the board for the Mom’s Club of 32940. It’s a nonprofit, community-based group for mothers of every age and stage. It arranges playdates, mom’s days out and support for mothers in Suntree and Viera. It has 70 members.

Sam Wood has been a volunteer coach for Jackson’s soccer and football teams. There are plenty of teaching moments.

“This has been a revelation for Jackson to be on a (football) team that has not won a game all year,’’ Wood said. “I want to watch him not grow in wins and losses, but in character.’’

Jackson went from being a soccer standout to a second-string football player learning the fundamentals of a new sport.

Sarah Wood is eager to see how it turns out.

“Sports are really important to our oldest,’’ Wood said. “He really enjoys the teamwork and the competitive nature. We love how it helps him navigate the disappointment. It helps build self responsibility and ownership. Kids need to learn how to be disappointed and not to be the best. That’s part of growth and receptivity.’’

Sarah Wood loves to see her husband involved in coaching.

“He’s very patient and family focused,’’ she said. “There are frustrating moments and he knows how to respond to them rather than react to them.’’

Ella can’t wait to start playing soccer and to be coached by her father.