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> Can someone give me a quick overview (or direct me to a page) that 
> describes what lua_refs can do?  I've been looking for details on them, 
> but most web pages mention them without giving a "here's what and how" 
> about them...

> They're also not in the 5.0 manual (that I was able to find).

A very abbreviated description is at: 

To fill in the blanks a bit, "t" is generally "LUA_REGISTRYINDEX" and "r" 
is an integer which acts as a handle for the ref. luaL_ref() returns "r" 
and luaL_getref() and luaL_unref() take "r" as an argument.

lua_ref(), lua_getref() and lua_unref() still exist as compatibility 

You have it almost right, as long as myCPPObject-> ref is an int:
> myCPPObject->luaRef = lua_ref(L, true); // take whats on the top 
> lua_getref(myCPPObject->luaRef);        // push the contents of the ref
> lua_unref(myCPPObject->luaRef);         // drop the ref

The "new way" would be:
  myCPPObject->luaRef = luaL_ref(L, LUA_REGISTRYINDEX);
  luaL_getref(L, LUA_REGISTRYINDEX, myCPPObject->luaRef);
  luaL_unref(L, LUA_REGISTRYINDEX, myCPPObject->luaRef);