Tornado victims celebrate holidays a little different this year

By Katherine Tellez

December 24, 2013 Updated Dec 24, 2013 at 11:15 PM CDT

East Peoria, Ill. -- The holidays are a little different for an East Peoria couple who lost almost everything in the November tornadoes.

Shirley Diveley and her husband are currently living in a senior apartment community in East Peoria, but this is only a temporary home.

The couple says while the apartment is nice, it isn't home; and it doesn't feel like Christmas.

Shirley said she bakes every year for the holiday -- and this year she can't.

They couple wasn't home when the tornado destroyed their home of 23 years.

They lost almost everything, except something irreplaceable -- pictures.

"They are just things," said Shirley Diveley. "They're a loan to you until you go to heaven. When you get to heaven you aren't gonna take any of this stuff with you."

The Diveley's say it was never a question whether they would rebuild on the lot where their home stood for 23 years.

But the process isn't easy.

"You're still kind of in limbo...knowing what to do next," Diveley said. "We'll survive, like we have, through thick and thin."

The two are anxious to get back into their home. It's expected to be ready May 1, 2014.

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