Monday, July 24


Five Items in My Freezer
Package of marinated kalbi
Half a bowl of pesto sauce
Two Klondike bars
A full ice cube tray, finally
A pint of Ben & Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie ice cream

Five Items in My Closet
My favorite pair of jeans
My bright red suitcase
My bright red Korean 'mink' blanket
Mini-ironing board
Expensive iron that I never use but thought I should buy because every responsible grown woman irons, doesn't she?

Five Items in My Car
Road atlas of the contiguous United States
Small box of Kleenex tissues
A massive roadside tool kit (which I have never opened, so I don't even know what's inside it)
A set of golf clubs
Tampons, in case of emergency

Five Items in My Purse/Bag
Burt's Bees lip balm
A pencil case with assorted pens and golf pencils
A pack of Kleenex tissues
L'Occitane hand cream
A cough drop so old the wrapper has completely stuck to the drop and there is no hope of getting it off but I can't bring myself to throw it away because I might really need it someday

Thursday, July 20


This is the earliest I've gone to bed in ... months ... and of course, I'm not sleepy anymore, even though I'm technically running on fumes. I'm too excited for the Women's Conference in D.C. ... I'm too excited by feeling God's presence hovering over my bed like the warmest comforter in the world ... I'm too excited by envisioning the Spirit moving over our cars tomorrow morning like a low-lying, heavy fortress of a cloud ... I'm too excited about everything!!!

Too excited to sleep, never too excited for a meme. Cheers, TinyCricket, I'll miss you this weekend.

I can't tell, hearing myself, but people have said to me: "Are you a Valley Girl?" "You sound like Akeelah" and "That is sooooo Westchester!" When I speak Korean, I'm North Korean all the way.

Bible Book That I Like:
Right now, Genesis is making me fire on all cylinders.

Chore That I Don't Care For:
Cleaning the bathroom. If I didn't have people over all the time, I'd NEVER clean it. I mean it -- NEVER.

Dog or Cat:
All cats are evil and they want to bite my ankles and claw my eyes out. I like dogs. Big dogs that don't hiss at me.

Essential Electronics:
Bob, Herb, and my coffee-maker.

Favorite Cologne:
I like my men cologne-free.

Gold or Silver:
Silver, and the chunkier the better.

Handbag I Carry Most Often:
The Coach bag I got in L.A. with Ha.


Job Title:
By vocation, attorney, but in reality, NHF lackey. Can someone please tell me why I'm not on payroll?

My own, I'm praying for them. Until then, I'm keeping myself busy by tormenting my friends' anklebiters. (And yes, one of them DID bite my ankle once. Grrrr.)

Living Arrangements:
1.5-bedroom condo with four plants, a constant rotation of friends, and a special B.

Most Admirable Trait:
In others, compassion. I covet the compassion that others are able to possess and show to people around them. I've been told that I'm a good listener and that I have an endless heart for people and justice, but really, I think I'm merely organized and neat.

Naughtiest Childhood Behavior:
Being a smarty-pants in class, in both the smart-ass way and the know-it-all way. Teachers could never decide if they loved or hated me.

Overnight Hospital Stay:
When I got my appendix taken out. And then I was such a belligerent patient ("Why CAN'T I have a cheeseburger? I'm HUNGRY!!!!" and "I don't WANT to pee in a bedpan, I WANT to GO to the TOILET" stick out memorably in my mind.), that the staff was MORE than happy to discharge me a day early.

Clowns, deep water, and being left alone.

"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord." -- Ps. 31:24
"Quiet, you."

Evangelical Christian

A younger brother.

Time I Wake Up:
It depends when I go to sleep ... if I go to sleep ...

Unusual Talent or Skill:
I can really, REALLY multi-task. I also read and type unnaturally quickly. And someone once told me, "I didn't know Asian women could drive SUVs," so does that count, that I can and do?

Vegetable I Refuse to Eat:
Cauliflower. There is just nothing good about it.

Worst Habit:
Picking my lower lip, sometimes until it bleeds. That, and not paying for parking.

My teeth. My knees. My innards. Honestly, I want to go through an MRI machine, but I hear they're expensive. They just sound so relaxing ...

Yummy Stuff I Cook:
Pecan pie ... cranberry-toffee-chocolate-oatmeal cookies ... spaghetti with spicy and thick red sauce ... jap-chae ... a pot of real tasty coffee ... meatloaf ... any Korean dish Omma taught me to make ...

Zoo Animal I Like Most:
The penguin.

Tuesday, July 18


The world ain't perfect. Oy, it breaks my heart and tires me out.

Shrub cursed into the microphone, in that dumb voice of his. What a ... grrrr. After watching the news clip on the Internet, we just dissolved into gales of laughter, rolling around on the floor. Not because he's a funny guy. It was too tragic; we didn't know what else to do.

14,000 Iraqis died so far in 2006, because of the "conflict." Conflict. What a dumb word to describe a completely not dumb thing. Me wanting Italian and you wanting Japanese for dinner -- that's a conflict.

Another tsunami and hundreds dead in Indonesia. Some people just don't get a break. I hate when I find myself in the position of asking God, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!?" I'm not being faithless; I know where my heart is. I'm just ... not understanding fully.

And I'm with Mabel -- so many people who don't know What they're missing, and don't take the time or care to try to find out. I don't understand how one can say "I need more" or "I need my life to change" or "I want to make things right" or "I want my life to be right" or even "I need God" ... then not do anything about it. It's not like saying "I want a manicure" but then failing to make time for your fingernails. Ignoring one's own soul and heart-yearnings ... it seems like such deadening, draining, life-ebbing effort. And don't even get me started on the people who don't even KNOW that they're missing something ... this past few months has felt like one-step-forward-two-steps-back, and I don't know quite what to do about the folks who are dragging me under with them. When can I kick the crutches out from under them? When can I step away and just leave them in the hands of God via prayer? Or do I have to, must I, am I called to, hold them up always?

Grey areas. I like them ... but not all the time.

My heart is so unsettled today, and I hate going into a care group night this way; Tuesdays are hard enough already. I have so many preconceived notions about how this evening will progress ... I hope to be proven false, but I also wonder if I'll sabotage myself and not allow God's grace to work around and in me. I try to be on my guard about these things ... but as prickly as I'm feeling today ... I wonder if a porcupine spine will shoot out of my back and stab someone in the eyeball.

Saturday, July 15

IT'S TRUE! . . .

Honesty begets honesty. Confession begets confession. Support begets support. Laughter begets laughter. Care begets care. Love begets love. Healing begets healing. Prayer begets prayer.



(Yeah, I know: never say never ...)

I don't remember where I saw this. But I'm bored, so I'm lifting it ...

1. "No, I don't mind the mess."

2. "Could I have more ice in my drink?"

3. "I love cats."

4. "I hate driving."

5. "I've gotta get out of New York."

6. "Can you massage my legs?"

7. "I can't wait to see that new Vin Diesel movie."

8. "It needs more sequins."

9. "I'll try the eel."

10. "Pass the Mary Jane."

Friday, July 14


I'm about to head into a quiet time with God. Side note: I was sharing with someone last night that I have seen evidence of God's grace -- "grace" is no longer a nebulous, nicey-nice concept to me anymore, because lately, no matter how tired I have been, how down I have been, how distracted I have been, I have also been craving reading the Bible and talking to God. I wasn't always like this; I have often traveled through phases of being like this. But I think that's the ultimate grace of God. It's not just that He commands us to spend time with Him, loving Him, studying His word and obeying Him -- once we start to do so, He makes it EASY for us to continue. He put in my heart a continued craving for Him, so that it's not just always ME dragging myself to my study to open up the Bible and read. No, it's HIM, drawing me in, putting something on my heart that makes me WANT to see what's next, that makes me WANT to be still even for a moment to hear His whispers. I'm not on my own; I'm not doing things on my own -- He helps me, and He helps us. So when I'm tired and sleepy like I am now, I know and can trust that if I just keep my eyes open for a few more minutes ... He'll be there right in front of me saying "hey, whassup." That's cool. That's grace.

But before I do, I still have to unwind from my busy, sweaty day. This has been going around a lot lately, lifted from "Inside the Actor's Studio, so I'm joining in the fray:

What is your favorite word?
Today, "grace."

What is your least favorite word?

What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
Wit, depth, and nice back muscles.

What turns you off?
Lack of awareness.

What is your favorite curse word?
"F*ck." It just feels so good coming off your lips sometimes.

What sound or noise do you love?
Music -- of any kind, and from any instrument, and from any voice -- that is propelled forcefully by gut-wrenching passion.

What sound or noise do you hate?
Disappointment in the voice of one speaking to me.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
College English literature professor.

What profession would you not like to do?
Physics professor.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
"Come on in; Jesus will show you to your room now."

Thursday, July 13


We swung by NHF tonight, long after the cops and crewmen and journalists and gawkers had gone home to bed. It was eerie, surreal, other-worldly.

One of the panes of the front stained-glass window is gone; apparently, it was just sucked out of its frame and ended up as a shattered, tangled mess down the block. There are things on the roof that don't naturally belong there; there are parts of the roof missing that should be there. The church van is smooshed; a car parked in front of the van is destroyed. Twisted -- and yes, now I know what it looks like when newspaper stories report "twisted tree branches" -- tree branches and portions of tree trunks lay flung about the church driveway. Entire tops of huge oak and maple trees rest against the church building. The solid iron railing is pulled and wrung away from its posts. There is a hole in the roof, maybe more than one.

But the cross over the rear entrance door is intact and hanging straight. The newly-installed front steps are just as sturdy and pretty as they were the day the stones were laid. The flowers lining the front walk are completely untouched; their stems are unbowed and the petals are not battened nor wilted. It's totally remarkable, miraculous and confusing how precise the tornado was, how it touched some places but not others, how its wind and debris would spare a delicate row of freshly-planted flowers but suck a heavy stained-glass window from its wrought-iron frame. Nature -- God -- is confusing and deliberate, careful and devastating all at once. It's a wonder to behold, even in aftermath.

When I read about other churches, temples and places of worship suffering some sort of devastation -- fire, flood, vandalism -- I always feel a particular pang for them. "Why?" I always ask myself, ask God, "why a place of worship, of all places?" But then, I always come to the conclusion that it makes sense. A church, a temple, a mosque all have built-in communities ready to rally, ready to raise funds, ready to come together in crisis mode to clean up and rebuild. And so it is I feel the same about NHF and its mother church, KCW. There is much healing that needs to be done, and for KCW in particular, a community that needs to be rebuilt itself. Perhaps our little tornado blew through today to knock some sense into some people.

It really could have been so much worse. More windows could have shattered, the roof could have disappeared completely, the building could have been utterly destroyed. Worse, the tornado could have touched down just a few yards over and cut a swath through the residential homes sitting behind NHF. The church is home to so many of us, but at least none of us live there. Everything that happened to NHF/KCW can be fixed, cleaned, polished, rebuilt. Come to think of it ... thank God the storm hit us and not too many others. Better us than them, I think.

(Still, it's scary. I was scared. I was devastated, even viewing and understanding that in the grand scheme of things, in light of other storm potentials, what touched down in our neighborhood was small fry. But NHF, so reliable and strong and ever-present, looked fragile in the night light, covered in leaves and sticks and debris, wrapped in yellow fire-department tape. I repeat that I'm glad the tornado hit the church and not the homes around it; I'm glad no one was hurt and that lives can still go on, for the most part as usual. I'm also glad that the damage was so minimal; really, it was. Even so ...)


Really, the worst thing about today -- millions of dollars in business loss and repair-work aside -- is seeing on the news that another hard-hit place is a street just one over from where NHF stands. Lots of Hispanic immigrants -- most, probably illegal, or just freshly legal -- and low-income families live on this street. The television footage of their homes -- trees atop houses and cars, downed power lines running up and down the street -- made me think of the people who live there. People without money to just write a check for clean-up or repairs. People probably without a great deal of insurance coverage. People who are not in a position to freely call their local authorities for help or advice. People who are not able to communicate easily with the power authority, the cable company, the police department.

It always seems to be the case -- I could go on and on about what I've learned and observed about this socio-economic phenomenon -- that the poorest and most underserved people live in the most devastated and disaster-prone areas. Well-to-do people can live on higher ground, on larger plots of land, away from a stormy seashore. They -- we -- can landscape their lawns so that trees lie far enough away from the houses to pose no real danger. They -- we -- can afford to build houses on stilts, to sit high above potential flood waters. Their houses are far enough apart from each other so that tornadoes can wind their way between homes, instead of right through them. But for everyone else ... thus was the ninth ward of New Orleans; thus was our neck of the woods today.

Yeah, maybe it's just bad luck. After all, a tornado can't tell the difference in different people's incomes. But the visual image confronting me on television tonight ... well, it did just that. It confronted me. I wish I could do something about it -- buy insurance for everyone, build everyone nice houses, get everyone a green card, teach everyone English and equip them all with the confidence needed to negotiate aid routes.

Hmmm. I come to no conclusion. I'm just thinking about all this, is all. Yeah, I know I was not really near the storm today; heck, I didn't even know two tornadoes touched down around here until Mabel told me about them. I missed all the good stuff, remember? But things like this -- weird, eerie, scary things like this -- make me think about things. All sorts of things ...


I go to bed tonight, finally, with so many prayers on my lips. Funny ... this morning, I woke up praying for myself, for my needs and my desires, for guidance of my life and thoughts.

I end the day prostrate before the Father of Creation, thanking Him for keeping us -- all of us -- safe; being grateful for fantastic emergency response crews and systems; beseeching Him to show His mercy and power upon those who are without power, air-conditioning, food, roofs or homes tonight; and wondering about the goal of His sovereign plan in the events of today. What are we to learn from today? How are we to help and care for each other? And how am I to turn all of this back to Him as praise?

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.

Wednesday, July 12


I always miss the good stuff. No, no, I'm not just being self-pitying: it's really true. Something always beckons me away from the television set during the last four minutes of the show. I always arrive on scene about 30 seconds after the most exciting thing that evening has happened. I always glance in the wrong direction when the most spectacular firework is set off.

And from this afternoon on, I will always be indoors, working on something intensely and ignoring the thunderstorm outside, when two tornadoes blow through town and touch down. Rats.

Not that tornadoes are "good stuff." I say that only because I know that only five people suffered minor injuries, because no one is dead, and because houses and roads appear to be fixable. So given all that ... I can't believe I missed the good stuff again. When does a tornado ever blow through the metro-New York area? NEVER. And I missed it.

Monday, July 10


We are a strange bunch: Mabel and Mr. Safety emailed from their honeymoon ... TWICE. Ranger Jay and IYP did the same ... albeit only ONCE. I take Bob everywhere, even to a Floridian spa getaway.

And now, Charlie checks into MC Estoppel from her annual leave-the-kid-at-home-and-spend-quality-time-with-the-hubs vacation.

God bless us, and God bless the Internet.

(And smooches to you in Mexico!)

Thursday, July 6


That I should catch up on The Unlimited Mood and find a meme listing life's 10 simple pleasure that I enjoy the most. Today, of all days. Today, my heart has been shattered and the pieces already hardened. It's gonna be real hard to melt them down and put my heart back together again. Life's simple pleasures ... the angry cynic in me wants to say NOTHING in life is simple, and ain't NOTHING about life pleasurable right now. But no ... that would be wrong, morally, and wrong, WRONG. So here's my list of 10 of life's simple pleasures that I enjoy the most:

1. Boboma.
2. Boboma.
3. Boboma
4. Boboma.
5. Boboma.
6. Boboma.
7. Boboma.
8. Boboma.
9. Boboma.
10. Boboma.

Oh, what? That's a ridiculous list? I suppose it is to you, to any objective eye. To me, it's the truth. Sad but true. But here's a less ridiculous list, then ...

1. Driving along unfamiliar streets in surrounding neighborhoods, browsing, exploring, slowing down to ogle a beautiful house, winding around and around and almost getting lost, but recognizing the tree I just passed for the fourth time and then eventually following the power lines back to the highway leading towards home.

2. A really delicious cup of coffee. Whole Foods Kona blend. The coffee served up at MoMA. McDonald's coffee when I'm hitting the road early in the morning. A cuppa or two brewed at home ... especially shared over chats with Boboma.

3. Bold and beautiful splashes of colour. The persimmon hue of my curtains. The stripe of hot pink under my brown sweater. A bird of paradise blooming in the brush. The unique dresser throwing on some dark purple in a sea of blacks. That one handbag, dress, skirt, pair of shoes, that makes me feel like hot sh*t.

4. My J.Crew jeans. Ahhhhhhhhhh, soft.

5. Watering my plants. I only have five, and one is already dead I think, but I water it anyway because it hasn't ACTUALLY fallen over in death. It's just sort of ... perma-brown. But I love watering them, feeling that I am giving them life, watching them perk up. It makes me feel that I am good at taking care of something, caring for something other than myself.

6. Flossing. It just feels good.

7. Korean food. I'm always in the mood for it. ALWAYS. One day the rice, the next day the noodle, the next day the jigae, the next day the barbecue, the next day the spice, the next day the soup, etc. etc. etc. Most of it is simple. All of it is pleasure.

8. The AJAs. Words can't describe the pleasure of being in these women's company. They don't laugh at me when I cry; only when I spew food out of my mouth. They don't judge me when I confess; only when I do my hair wrong. They don't ignore, withhold, discourage, misinform, lead astray, humiliate, press down. They only encourage, listen, give generously, welcome, lift up, smile, speak honestly. Nothing about them is simple, but it's all pleasure, all the time.

9. Being with God. The simplest of all things in this life, and yet such simplicity can restore my soul, heal my deepest wounds, speak wisdom into a stubborn and prideful mind, and move a cynical and pessimistic heart. And such simplicity has saved me. What greater pleasure then?

10. Boboma.

Tuesday, July 4

URGH . . .

They did it. Those nuts really did it.

North Korea fired two short-range missiles this afternoon.

Everyone's saying, "Well, at least it wasn't The Big One, the long-range missile we were all afraid of, the one that might hit the United States."

Oh goodie. Who cares about the rest of the world. As long as those crazies can't get us ... well, phew, then.

Saturday, July 1


From today's New York Times, a warm article about the children of Warren Buffett and what impact they might have on the world, given the billions of dollars they have received to run their various foundations ... from a very early age, don't we all imagine what we might do if we had $100, $100,000, $1,000,000? And just last week, the question was posed to me: What would you do if you had $31 billion -- THIRTY-ONE BILLION DOLLARS?

My goodness, what WOULD I do? The possibilities are endless, the money seems endless, yet when I sit down to make a list, my brain jams up. It's just too much ... yet for the Buffett family, it's not. Who knows what their personal lives are like. Who knows what their deepest motivations are. Who knows if they mean what they say. But my eyes see what they see and my ears hear what they hear. These people, and people like them (thank you, Bill and Melinda Gates) have the ability and the heart, apparently, to change the world. Would that we all did ...

Published: July 2, 2006

DECATUR, Ill., June 28 — The three middle-aged children of Warren E. Buffett watched along with the rest of the country last week as their father, the celebrated investor from Omaha, told the world that he would pass the bulk of his $40 billion personal fortune to the charitable foundation of Bill Gates, a fellow billionaire, and his wife, Melinda.

But Susie, Howard and Peter Buffett — who, like their self-effacing father seem little affected by money — spent the week focusing not on what they might have received. Instead, the siblings said in interviews, they were already at work trying to figure out how to manage a gift from their father valued at about $1 billion each that will go to their own charitable foundations.

That will propel them, along with a fourth and larger foundation named for their late mother, into the top ranks of philanthropy — dwarfed, to be sure, by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the $60 billion or more endowment from the Gates and Buffett fortunes.

The younger Buffetts, given their current interests, could emerge as powerful forces in the areas of early childhood education, safe drinking water for poor countries and the well-being of Native Americans.

The foundation named for their mother — Warren Buffett and two of his children are on the board — will roughly double in size to about $5 billion. It will be able to greatly increase spending on birth control and on making abortions available, a cause supported by both Warren Buffett and his late wife, Susan Thompson Buffett. He has spoken relatively little about the issue in public, and neither did she.

The Buffett children have long been aware of their father's contempt for inherited wealth. "He signaled early and often to his children what his intentions were. They built their lives accordingly," said Sherry S. Barrat, president of personal financial services at the Northern Trust Company, a big Chicago bank that manages money for many wealthy families.

Indeed, Howard Buffett said, "It was always clear we were not going to get a lot of money. If my dad said, 'either you can have $50 million a year personally or $50 million a year for the foundation,' I'd put it in the foundation. What would you do with $50 million if you didn't give it away?"

All of Warren Buffett's gifts are planned to be stretched out over about 20 years. (Warren Buffett declined to be interviewed for this article).

The Buffett siblings said they support the large gift, valued at about $31 billion, to the Gates' foundation. "Gates is geared up, doing all sorts of worldwide stuff," Howard Buffett said. "They're prepared to handle it."

Like their father, who despite his wealth could easily pass for an insurance man (which in the simplest terms he is), the younger Buffetts stand in stark contrast with so many other children of wealth.

They live comfortably, though not lavishly. They get some money from their father. And they appear to be working hard at their foundations and at other pursuits. In interviews, they returned again and again to their upbringing.

"When I was little, every night my dad rocked me to sleep and sang 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow,' " said Susie Buffett, the oldest, who is 52. She lives 10 blocks from her father in Omaha and still calls him Daddy, she said.

"I just think of him as my dad," said Howard Buffett, 51. Howard looks like his father, sporting big 1970's-style glasses and the beginnings of a sandy-colored comb-over. The son of a technophobe, Howard said he won't touch e-mail. He lives here in Decatur, near an 800-acre farm he owns, and spends much of his time traveling the world to photograph wildlife and poor people.

Peter Buffett, 48, is a new age musician and composer who plays the keyboard. He has just moved from Milwaukee to New York City, where he finds people are far more impressed by wealth than in his native Midwest.

His mother was an occasional nightclub singer, but he credits his father, too, for his musical success. "He would always sing and whistle around the house," Peter Buffett said, who went to Standford for about a year and a half.

As children and young adults in the 1960's and 70's, the siblings said, their father was not yet famous. "We did not grow up with Warren being No. 2 on the list" of richest Americans, Susie Buffett said. "We grew up in a normal situation."

The family housed high school foreign-exchange students. As teenagers 18 months apart, Susie and Howard fought over the family car.

The investing genius's children went off to college and all three dropped out before graduating. "I had a great run in high school, academically, and then I got to college and just struggled," said Howard, who spent one year at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., and one year at University of California, Irvine. When he told his parents he was quitting school, he said, "neither of them was very happy about it."

Howard loved heavy machinery. He bought a bulldozer and began doing residential excavation work around Omaha. His father got him a job at See's Candies, a Berkshire-owned company, in California. There, Howard met his future wife, Devon, who already had four daughters, and they all moved back to Omaha. "I missed the Midwest," he said. They also had a son together.

Howard is the only Republican in the Buffett family, he said. Asked who is the most liberal of the Buffetts, Howard rolled his eyes. "They're all liberal," he said.

Susie initially majored in home economics. "If we didn't have foundations to run, Howie would farm. I would be sewing, knitting and quilting," she said.

She dropped out of the University of California, Irvine, just shy of an undergraduate degree because she was enjoying work as an administrative assistant, making $525 a month. "I thought, boy, it just doesn't get any better than this."

She moved to Washington, working at magazines, initially as an assistant. There she met her husband, Allen Greenberg, a lawyer for Public Citizen, a liberal public health advocacy group. Warren Buffett? "I had never heard of him," Mr. Greenberg said in an interview.

The business mogul and public interest lawyer, however, came to admire each other. Susie said her husband told her in the late 1980's, " 'I think the smartest, most interesting person you could work for is your dad, but I don't want you to tell him that.' "

Mr. Buffett, she said, in turn asked his daughter, " 'If Allen could do anything, what would it be?' " Soon, the couple moved to Omaha and Mr. Greenberg went to work at the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation.

Mr. Greenberg and Susie Buffett divorced, amicably, about 10 years ago. They have two children. Susie currently runs her foundation and serves on the board of the trust named for her mom.

Warren Buffett's original plan was to leave most of his fortune to that foundation. He expected his wife to outlive him and that she would oversee the charitable work. But she died in 2004.

That same year, the foundation gave away about $21 million. Planned Parenthood and some of its local chapters received large grants. So did some other providers of, and advocates for, reproductive services, including abortion. The foundation also seeks to finance nuclear nonproliferation efforts. But it has found few chances for nongovernment entities to exert influence in that field, Mr. Greenberg said.

He declined to comment on grants involving birth control. The foundation is wary of anti-abortion sentiment. Pampered Chef, owned by Berkshire, was the target of a boycott organized by anti-abortion advocates displeased that some Berkshire contributions went to the abortion-rights foundation. So, in 2003, Mr. Buffett ended the charitable contribution program at Berkshire.

Mr. Buffett, however, is giving that foundation almost three times as much as he is giving each foundation run by his children. He did not explain why. And it also has $2 billion to $2.5 billion from the estate of Mrs. Buffett. Its gifts could increase to more than $200 million a year.

Peter Buffett and his wife, Jennifer, 40, run his foundation together, and they are slowly educating themselves on what it will take to run a bigger institution. They are proud of their early-education grants, following his sister's lead, and of a small grant that helped a Canadian Indian tribe recover one of its totem poles that ended up in Sweden.

They plan to consult with philanthropy experts, Bill and Melinda Gates included. "We're going to do great things," Jennifer Buffett said, citing basic human needs like clean water, education, health care and nutrition. As for specifics, "ask us in a year," she said.

All three siblings may find a $1 billion foundation significantly more work than one a tenth that size. "It takes some work. They're going to have to find some staff to help them," said Michael Cawley, president of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore, Okla., which has about $1 billion in funds.

To pursue its founder's goal of improving agriculture, the Noble Foundation employs more than 300 people and directly conducts research. By closely managing operations, "our comfort is higher," Mr. Cawley said.

The Buffett children each said they plan to operate with just a handful of staff members, giving to groups that then directly perform charitable work. Their father, after all, runs one of the country's biggest corporations with an office staff in Omaha of fewer than two dozen.