This article is an opinion.

When my beautiful bride, Malarie, learned she was expecting our third child, I assumed the baby would be a boy, because we already had two sons — James and Brady.

Well, the Lord had another plan, and He gave us a beautiful daughter, Maggie Jo.

Our precious angel celebrated her first birthday Nov. 23. Her brothers blew out the candle on her cake and helped open her presents too. Soon, she will be trying to blow out their candles and open their presents.

Maggie’s favorite people are 5-year-old James and 3-year-old Brady. You can see the joy in her face and the love in her eyes when her brothers are paying attention to and playing with her. It’s sweet to watch her give them kisses on the cheek.

Her brothers aren’t always gentle when they play with her, so Malarie and I are expecting Maggie Jo to be a tough little lady. Malarie says our daughter doesn’t seem to show much interest in dolls and other traditional girl toys. Maggie Jo likes balls, cars, tractors, Power Rangers and Transformers like her brothers.

Malarie posted some photos of Maggie Jo’s birthday party on her Facebook page. My beautiful bride wrote, “Your party may have been low-key, but your personality is not. We love you and everything about you, little girl!”

Maggie Jo is a happy child who smiles easily. She has the cutest laugh, and I could listen to it all day. She greets me with excitement and extends her arms for me to hold her when I arrive home from work at night. I cherish those moments, because I know she’ll grow up too soon.

Malarie and I are thankful Maggie Jo has been a good sleeper, better than her brothers were at the same age. She’s also a good eater. So far, carrots are the only thing she doesn’t like.

My prayer for Maggie and her brothers is the Lord will keep them happy, healthy, whole and save their souls. Malarie and I count our blessings daily for the beautiful family the Lord’s given us.

Shannon J. Allen is sports editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at

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