A love story written by Natalie Rans.
It all started at a little coffee shop in Carpinteria, CA called The Lucky Llama…
Not too long after David had moved in with his best friend, Natalie moved onto that very same lane to live with her best friend.
The four of them would hang out occasionally in the boys' back house and watch movies. Yet, David and Natalie stayed simply friends, each focusing on growing in the Lord and being content with the unknown of who they would one day spend the rest of their lives with.
David did a lot of his work at the Llama so they saw each other quite often, being able to watch one another in many different situations: how they interacted with family, friends, and strangers; how they worked and the interests they had; how they talked about their faith and challenged others; and of course, how serious they were about drinking coffee (this is important).
They were both happy, outgoing, quirky people that truly had no idea what was coming for them in the near future.
As amusing as it sounds, they never thought of each other, not once. Not until a very unexpected day…
It was actually a sort of sad day. It was the day before David was moving back to Los Osos to continue school at Cal Poly. Natalie was at her house hanging out with her friend Taylor when she got a text from David, “Hey! Wanna go on a bike ride?”. Getting out sounded fun, so the two of them joined along.
They rode from the lane to Lune Point, a beach a few miles down. It was summertime and the air was warm. They didn’t have bathing suits but that didn’t stop Natalie; she wanted to take a swim and David was in for the plunge. They jumped in together, clothes and all, while Taylor sat on the shore. Natalie ran out to drag her in, but instead of complying she decided to make a very bold and prophetic statement, “You’re gonna marry that guy Natalie!”. And at the sound of those words Natalie giggled and ran back in the water without a wonder whether what Taylor said held any true meaning.
David moved back up north and they stayed in contact – they actually talked much more than when they were living just across the street from each other.
David had moved from Los Osos to Carpinteria to take a quarter off school to work remotely and retreat with the Lord. He was invited by his close friends, the Weber family, to live with them on El Carro Lane, conveniently placed right across the street from Natalie’s best friend, Isabella (but this is not where they first met).
One day David and the Webers came into the Llama for coffee and treats. Natalie was working and decided to wander onto the patio to say hi and meet the family. As she walked up to their table to introduce herself as "their next-door neighbor’s best friend", she noticed something that didn’t quite fit. Amongst a sea of small blonde and red-headed Webers was a tall, dark haired man that definitely didn’t look like all the others. He was extra handsome, a mystery man. (That was Natalie’s first impression of David.) His first impression of her went more like “hmmm she’s a cute bubbly girl, who sure can talk”, as Natalie has a tendency to get really chipper and banter on in new and exciting situations.
Natalie went up there twice after David moved.
The first time was when she took Isa camping for her birthday at the Montana de Oro State Park in Los Osos. They ended up spending a day with David and his brother, enjoying the place where the boys grew up and learning more about the Rans family. It was a really great trip exploring the beaches and sand dunes and hanging out with some really cool locals.
Isa and Natalie both came home thinking “Dang! David is such a cool guy!” (maybe Natalie a little more than Isa).
Their absence from each other’s lives left room for a greater appreciation for the other. They began to notice and really like all the details that made each one of them unique from all the others.
David was the first man Natalie had ever met who displayed a true authority in Christ. He looked the most like Jesus that she had ever seen and she couldn’t quite shake that from her mind. He was the kind of guy that Natalie could open up to. She could ramble on and on about random thoughts that she didn’t even quite understand herself and, somehow, he was able to comprehend her craziness and help make sense of it all. He loved to do adventurous things like take a sporadic trip to Alaska or jump in the ocean in all his clothes. David enjoyed drinking coffee all day long. Not to mention, he was awfully handsome too.
Natalie was exactly the kind of girl David was looking for, God-fearing, Jesus loving, honest, trustworthy, joyful, caring, and everything else in between. She was someone who was always excited to spend time with him and was up for any type of adventure. She was just as fun to be with in groups as she was alone. She had a sense of humor about herself and was willing to open up and be completely genuine, even at the risk of being misunderstood. Natalie was a girl who looked beautiful after taking a bike ride, swimming in the ocean, and staying up till three in the morning talking.
As you can see, David and Natalie had finally began to think about each other.
What she didn’t know was the thoughts circling through David’s mind while he waved from his house in Los Osos as they drove away, Dang, I miss Natalie. I kind of feel like getting in my car and following her home so I can tell her. As he walked into the front door of his house, he thought to himself, Why am I still here!?. David would have left that very moment but he thought it might be nice to shower first. David spent the next two hours in the car praying and calling his closest friends and family to let them know he was going to get Natalie. Some of them thought him to be rash but knowing his devotion to the Lord they thought, She must be special and David must be hearing from God.
Meanwhile, Natalie was at her house trying to get some peace and quiet (considering she barely slept a wink that night). Her efforts were futile. Her neighbor Hannah really wanted to hang out and wouldn’t take no for an answer. First she wanted to journal and draw. Then she wanted to bake. Then she wanted to go to the farmer’s market, insisting Natalie needed to change. All Natalie wanted to do was sleep. After going back and forth, Hannah decided sitting at Nat’s house and reading sounded nice, so that’s what they did. Natalie curled up in her yellow sofa chair and finally felt an air of tranquility fall over her when suddenly, she realized everyone in the house, including the ever-persistent-Hannah was no where to be seen. Usually she would have jumped up and said “Hey, what the heck guys!” but in her drowsy state she grinned and sank back into the cozy chair and continued reading.
It didn’t take long for them to fall in love. As David likes to say, “It was only thirteen days into our relationship when Natalie told me, ‘If you asked me to marry you tomorrow I would say yes, and if you told me we needed to end things I would be okay with that too, I trust you and I trust God with our relationship.”
After a month of living apart, they couldn’t take it any longer, and David moved his life back down south to be close to Natalie.
They spent as much time as they possibly could together, driving up through Big Sur to catch the sunrise, watching the sun go down in Morro Bay, hammocking in the trees, enjoying beach walks, playing games with friends, taking trips, flying across country, exploring D.C., and so much more. Every day gave them another reason why they were absolutely perfect for each other. Before they said it with words, they expressed it through visions, their plans of getting married and spending the rest of their lives together.
Natalie likes to say that once they got together, they simply never thought of any better possibility.
He was it. She was it.
The second time Natalie went up to Los Osos, about a week later from the first trip, was with the obvious intentions of seeing David.
Natalie had Thursday off work and decided her and Isa should go visit the Rans brothers up north. They left Carp at 9pm Wednesday and arrived back the next afternoon so Isa could get to work. It was a short trip that consisted of hanging out eating donuts and drinking coffee in SLO, watching “What About Bob?”, attempting to stay up to catch the sunrise, enjoying Sandi Rans’ famous chocolate chip pancakes (with whipped cream of course) and visiting the Top of the World. Somewhere in the span of those 8 hours, things became very real and very clear for the two of them.
After saying their goodbyes, Natalie and Isa jumped in their car and left for home. The first words out of Isa’s mouth as they drove away were “what the heck!?”. Natalie smiled and began to blush realizing, Dang, I really like this guy and I hope he feels the same way too. They did what girls do best and went on and on analyzing the night, including Isa’s bold statements about their future, “Awww Sandi would be your mother-in-law”, “Awww I’ll drive you up to see him all the time." Natalie couldn’t help but hope she wasn’t just wishing on a star, so they took the time to pray and give it completely over to the Lord. Natalie arrived home experiencing a sense of peace and hope in God.
It was only a few seconds before she heard someone enter the room. She looked down and saw a pair of familiar shoes heading her way and as she raised her head upwards, her eyes rested on the most unexpected and beautiful sight, David Rans standing in her living room holding a bouquet of sunflowers.
“What are you doing here!?”, Natalie exclaimed!
“I came to bring you flowers and tell you how awesome I think you are and that I think we could be best friends. So what do you say!?”
“Sunflowers are my favorite how did you know?”
Natalie got to her feet and gave David a hug. His legs were slightly wobbly and in a state of amazement he said, “I wasn’t nervous at all the whole time I drove over here, until I saw you.”
They walked out of the house with all their friends spying from a distance, got in his car and drove.
That was a beautiful and perfect start to a confident and strong kind of love.
The first three months were long drawn in the best of ways. So much learning, so much adventure, so much wonderment in such a small span of time. They introduced one other to all the important people in each of their lives. Everyone close knew of their plans to get engaged and be married before summer hit. Again, everyone thought them to be crazy but they knew it was a true kind of love.
And on the 15th of December it all became very very real. It was a normal day. Natalie had to open at work and David had to drive up north to go in for a job interview in San Luis. He came in for coffee, she wished him luck, and they said goodbye.
After work, Natalie went home, showered, and attempted to pick out something cute to wear. Isa wanted to have a friend date in Santa Barbara where they went on a “cute walk” and took pictures of each other in beautiful places. (Believe it or not, this used to be a regular activity in their friendship.)
Natalie cautiously neared the stump and saw an envelope that read, "NATALIE". Her heart stopped when she realized, It’s happening! This is real! Ohmygoodness! She opened the envelope and in it was a card that had in it written only two words, "TURN AROUND".
Her heart stopped again. (Is that even possibly?)
“Will you marry me?” is all he said.
And it was a good thing because that’s about all Natalie could take in before she said, “Yes!”, and pulled him close, holding him tight against her.
They spent a bit of time moseying through State Street, drinking apple cider, and browsing shops. Then Isa said she wanted to take Natalie to a spot she loved on the Mesa called The Douglas Family Preserve. Natalie had never been. They walked up on the bluffs and into the trees. Natalie saw a bushel of bright red berries and was drawn towards them, wanting to take some close up pictures. As they approached the berries, her eyes were distracted by a tree stump surrounded by daisies to the right of them, in the middle of a clearing. Isa wasn’t saying anything so Natalie awkwardly whispered, “What’s that?” Isa replied with, “I don't know; let’s go see."
She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t turn around. She knew who would be standing behind her and she couldn’t fathom how unbelievably lucky she was to be the one opening that card. After about a minute she decided she better turn around and as she made her first move she saw the most handsome guy she had ever laid her eyes on, David Geoffrey Rans. He began walking towards her but before he made it all the way he stopped and kneeled down on one knee. He lifted his arms upwards and presented Natalie with a box containing a ring.
There was more to come. David had packed a picnic and they ate and talked until the sun went down. They drove back home, smiling the whole way. When they got to the house, Natalie grabbed the doorknob and began to turn when she realized it was locked. Once again, her heart stopped. The day was not over. She looked up at David and saw a glint of mischief in his eye. Then Isa, from inside, yelled, “Okay, it’s open.” Natalie opened the door to a living room full of their closest friends and family. She ran back out the door, stunned and in awe. Nobody had ever surprised her like that.
“So you didn’t go in for an interview!? I’m not on a friend date with Isa!?”
“Nope.”, he said with a grin.
Nathan, David’s best friend, came out of the bushes and Natalie exclaimed, “I thought you were a homeless guy!”.
They all laughed and enjoyed a perfect moment of bliss. Isa and Nathan congratulated the two lovebirds and left them be.
Thanks for reading!
Happy Falling in Love!
xoxo Natalie Rans
She pulled herself together and walked back in, grabbing David and thinking to herself, It really can't get better than this. The room was decorated in lights and flowers. A wall was devoted to pictures of David and Natalie, draped with a sign that read “Until Forever”. Everyone circled around while David told them how he asked her, they raised a toast to true love and celebrated a turning of leaf in this young couple’s life.
Their story goes on and on and will continue to be filled with more love and adventure than they could ever have hoped for.
And Natalie will continue to realize that she was very wrong, it gets better every day…