First of all, I am familiar with forums and that there have probably been a million topics like this one, but I just can't find all the info in one thread...
Please bear with me here.

Here's the plot - I bought an nice Ibanez acoustic guitar not too long ago, and I've started playing with the help of youtube and a book I got. I first started with the song "Horse With No Name" and I can play it rather solid. I asked some friends who have a "good ear" to listen to the song and listen to me as well, then and the music is, as they say quite good and similar to the original or other acoustic covers online. The main thing about that song that still bothers me though is the strumming pattern. I don't think I'm strumming "up" right (using a pic ofc). Any guides and tips you could give about this?

Now another problem I'm having is switching from one chord to the other. There's this song that goes Em7 - C - D, and I'm a bit too slow to change from one to the other. From C to D especially. Any exercises, ideas or w/e to try and get better at this? I understand everything takes practice, pain and time. I'm just trying to find the right way to do this.

Any easy songs for people who've basically just picked up their guitars a few days ago? Tips, wise words, advice, links to good guides, tutorials...just about anything really.