Here is an update. So one of the problems is that I was coding on windows - duh right? Windows was changing one of the forward slashes into a backslash when it got to the files folder where the image was being held. So I then booted up my virtualbox instance of ubuntu server and set it up on there. And will wonders never cease - it worked. The other thing was is that there are more than one spot to grab the templates. I was grabbing the template from the widget when I should have been grabbing it from the other templates folder and grabbing the code from the actual theme for the plugin. If any of that makes sense.
I was able to set it up so it will go to mydomain/blog and I don’t have to forward it to the user/username/blog. Now I am in the process of styling it to the way I want it to look. I wish that there was a way to use a new version of bootstrap. There are so many more new options. I suppose I could install the newer version or add the cdn in the header, but I don’t want it to cause conflicts. Bootstrap 3 is a little lacking. I believe that v2 of nodebb uses a new version of bootstrap or they have made it so you can use any framework that you want for styling. I would have to double check though.
Thanks for your help @phenomlab! I really appreciate it. I am sure I will have more questions so never fear I won’t be going away . . . ever, hahaha.