Ok, so I am getting close to having a fully functional phone. I got it working, but it was all luck. (note: I tried each of these steps before, just not in this exact order)
a. I installed a TWRP backup of my Avatar ROM
b. flashed the appropriate boot.img
c. then flashed the Avatar ROM and gapps over the top of the backup.
It is functioning, but I am unable to access the internal storage. In ES Explorer, I can get to "/external_sd/"(which contains files) and "/mnt/sdcard"(which is empty) but if I try to click on the sd card icon it says "SD Card empty, unmounted or not present. I am unable to save screenshots and pictures because of this. This could stem from the SD swap I did.
Now that I have the radio working, I think I want to just start over with the device, without the sd storage, some of the apps are not working correctly. The factory reset I did blasted a lot of stuff. Also my download speeds are VERY slow... it says 4G but I don't believe it. Does anyone have a link to a good walk through on completely starting from scratch on a phone? What is the most stable CM ROM that does not have screen flicker?
thanks for the help guys