Ok, I've figured it out. Just thought I'd share this with anyone who was interested.
When referencing files other than class files in the jar, you need to use the following line of code in the application:
Make sure to import the java.net package...
Then specify url when getting the image. getResource() gets the image in the JAR file.
Once you create your MANIFEST and specify the Main-Class, you would then jar the application. I used :
c - indicates that you want to create a JAR file.
f - indicates that you want the output to go to a file rather than to stdout.
m - Used to include information in the MANIFEST.txt I created in the default manifest created by the jar utility. This is why we specify the Main-Class.
Now when you create the jar, you can move that single file anywhere you want. Multiple files are no longer needed. The JAR utility automatically compresses the files by default (but this can be turned off with the 0 parameter).
Hope you find this to be useful...and as fun as I did!