The Neshoba Central Spotlight is on Michael Hardy, a 2009 graduate, who now lives in Nashville, Tennessee.  Michael with Brad Clawson and C.J. Solar wrote the song, "Up Down" sung by Morgan Wallen with the Florida Georgia Line.  The single recently went gold. It was Michael's first Gold which was so exciting!  He is doing well in his chosen career.

Michael has received another honor from the music industry in Nashville.  He is a final nominee for AIMP Nashville Rising Songwriter of the Year.  AIMP is an acronym for the Association of Independent Music Publishers.  The various awards will be given during AIMP's third annual Awards ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium on Monday, May 7, 2018.  The evening will again feature performances and appearances from artists and industry executives, while highlighting Nashville's Independent Music Publishing Community.

Michael is the son of Mike and Sarah Hardy of Philadelphia and Nashville.  His Philadelphia grandparents are Bobby and Joyce Hardy. His family is so very proud of him!

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On Sunday, May 6, 2018, the congregation of First United Methodist Church celebrated and welcomed their 2018 Confirmation Class as they made their professions of faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, and united with the church.  The members of the class took an active part in the morning worship service with scripture readings and a solo hymn by Mary Montgomery Mars.  Their parents came forward and stood behind their children at the altar as they responded to the Pastor's questions regarding their acceptance of confirmation in the Methodist Church.

Members of this year's class are: Baylor Coggins, Olivia Donald, Georgia Hardy, Benjamin Jackson, Ian Madison, Mary Montgomery Mars, Anna Marshall, and Abby Windham.  Congratulations to all of these young people on completing the requirements for this very important step in their spiritual growth.  A potluck luncheon was held in their honor immediately following the service.

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Imagine actually making your own ravioli and pasta from scratch right in the country for which it is famous! Marcia Blount did just that when she went on a tour to Florence, Italy.  She and a group flew from New Orleans to Florence with Robert St. John and Wyatt Waters as their guides and coordinators.  The two have collaborated on several projects together with Wyatt Waters doing the illustrations and Robert St. John developing the recipes for their beautiful cookbooks!  They also do a television show on PBS on Thursday, "Palate to Palette", in which they visit different places in Mississippi and take their audience to interesting spots in each place.

Their tours are divided into two groups. One group under Wyatt's guidance paints and listens to his talks about painting in the areas they visit, while Robert St. John takes his group to the pasta making, cheese, and wine producing areas to learn about the culinary delights of the area. Marcia was interested in Robert St. John's part of the tour and that is how she ended up making ravioli dough in the kitchen of the restaurant with others. She enjoyed it so much that she bought a pasta machine and had it shipped home.

According to Marcia, it was the trip of a lifetime for all of them.  They made new friends for life.  Cynthia Jordan and Dawn Henderson went along, too.  The first night in Florence they attended a special concert by a few members of the Florence Opera Company at the Villa where the group stayed.  They toured Florence and ate the best pizza in Tuscany for lunch!  They also visited the Florence market where they did some shopping for silver and leather goods. Another interesting place they visited was the Galleria dell 'Academia where they saw Michelangelo's David, the most famous statue in Florence, and, perhaps, in all the world.  The members of the group were invited to a private sale of leather goods for their shopping pleasure.  Florence is famous for the beautiful leather products that its artisans produce.

Wyatt took his artists to paint the gorgeous Chapel of St. Michael, and Marina from the Villa took her group on a walking tour to the Chapel.  Its beauty was absolutely breathtaking.  They also toured Siena with Marina, the American Cemetery, and the Uffizi Gallery.  Their dinner on the last night was at La Tattoria where they ate the best Florentine steak in all of Tuscany.  Marcia enjoyed her trip so much that she has already signed up for the Amalfi Coast with them next year!

During the March day trip to tour Kemper County, the Just Older You (JOY) members from East Philadelphia Baptist Church had no idea that while on that trip a very special event for their April meeting would be planned as they ate at the Kozy Kitchen in DeKalb.  

A prior request to Kozy Kitchen had been made for greens and corn bread to be on the menu especially for their new pastor, Brother Jeff Brewer, who had not had the pleasure of eating this southern treat.  However, his plans to attend were suddenly changed, making five of the fortunate attendees able to enjoy this treat.  One of those was Harold Anderson, who decided he would have plenty of greens growing at his cabin in time for the April meeting.  He then offered the idea of a greens and fish luncheon at his cabin for the JOY group, while his wife, Paula, looked on and listened. She graciously agreed with Harold.

When the bus arrived at the Anderson's cabin at 11:30 on April 17, with 27 hungry souls on board, the aroma of fish and hush puppies greeted them as they were being cooked outside, while inside they were met by Paula and the scent of large pots of fresh turnip greens, mustard greens, baked sweet potatoes, corn bread, and all the trimmings, along with a wide selection of desserts, and coffee and tea.  Before the meal, Harold welcomed the group and blessed the food.  There was so much fabulous food that it was overwhelming!

When everyone was overstuffed, Bro. Jeff Brewer reminded them to always be good and kind to others, especially those who are less fortunate.  Wonderful fellowship was enjoyed by all during this special treat, both indoors and outdoors where the final touches of fish frying was happening, There were deep discussions, and ideas were being passed around as how to grow earthworms for fishing, along with many other interesting topics.  All were most informative, of course!

The JOY group's next potluck luncheon will be held on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at 11:30 a.m. in the church fellowship hall with speakers from Jackson, Mississippi.  Meat and tea will be provided.  Please come join the group and bring your favorite dish if you like.  You are welcome without bringing food. For more information, please call Bobbie at 601-562-9799.